21st March 2017

Why working for free has such enormous value!

Last year we made a commitment as a team to support the charity Motivation as they celebrated their 25th anniversary and launched a major new Innovation Fund.

This was a big undertaking as the project was of a similar scale to many of the mid-sized branding projects or campaigns we handle. So why were we so happy to do all this for free?

It’s not all about money

In this world, money is never far from your mind. You are thinking about how much to charge, if you’ll be able to deliver within the budget agreed, if you’ll make a profit and when you might get paid. So sometimes it’s really wonderful to do something for no money whatsoever, just because you want to and can. It’s also very important that your people understand that you are willing to do things without always putting finance first.

We valued our relationship

Motivation and many of the people there have been part of our history. David Constantine their founder and I met at the Royal College of Art 27 years ago and have been firm friends since. Our careers were largely determined by what we experienced while at the RCA. Over the past three decades we have often compared our very different organisations: Motivation working in the third sector and rbl operating in the private sector. Our journeys have in some ways been very similar but in other ways entirely different. 25 years after Motivation was launched, it felt right to return to the start of our personal and professional friendship and help launch Motivation’s ambitious new Innovation Fund at the Royal College.

We wanted to make the most of Adam’s prior experience and expertise

Adam Concar joined rbl in 2015 having worked for agencies with a particular focus on the charitable sector. He came with enormous experience and expertise in this space and we wanted to give him a platform to showcase a new way of thinking. Motivation has given us an important case study to reference.

We wanted a project that would help us grow as a team and as individuals

By giving Adam an opportunity to shine, we also created a perfect scenario for everyone at rbl to develop some new skills. We pushed more junior members of the team to take more responsibility and become client facing. The project was multi-dimensional so there were so many learning opportunities: research, strategy, planning, creative, event management, film making, social media etc. But we did it together and that’s what mattered more than anything.

It felt good

Working together as a team to deliver something really important felt good. Not since we’d cycled 100 miles for Meningitis Now in the Prudential Ride 100 had we put ourselves out there in such a big way. By contrast, the impact we made on behalf of Motivation was much greater and more direct. We all went down to the launch event in London and felt part of something that truly mattered. It was humbling to see how much Motivation does for people learning to live with severe spinal injuries in the developing world. A bad day in the studio isn’t such a bad day after all.

So what’s next?

Well, we are already working on our next big agency initiative, but this time it’s focused on a cause much closer to home. We have designs on putting our beautiful home town on the map for residents and visitors alike. Yet again, this is an all agency initiative for nothing more than the joy of taking part. Watch this space.

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Rebecca Battman

Managing Director

Rebecca is the founder and Managing Director of rbl. An experienced brand and marketing professional, Rebecca has spent over 30 years helping clients to build, design and manage their brands.

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