While many agencies laid off staff last year, Mother London hired 5% more employees. While others retrenched amid cloudy economic forecasts, privately held Mother awarded its staffers a 1,000-pound cost-of-living raise. With many employees coming to the office only three days a week as a result of the pandemic, Mother donated its free lunches to local charities on the other two.
“A lot of people talk about people putting people before profit, but when times are tough, they don't really stick to it,” said Katie Mackay-Sinclair, partner. “Making Our Children Proud is such a defining goal for us that it wasn't a hard decision. We're lucky that our independence means that we can do that.”
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Despite this—or perhaps because of it—the agency managed to hit its biggest income numbers to date and notch 23 new clients last year. “Our values make us feel like a [client] partner that will be with them through ups and downs, that we will really care about the people in their business and their customers versus just what we want out of work,” said Mackay-Sinclair.
In this spirit, Mother has proposed “Pitch It Forward,” an open-source plan to eliminate wasteful pitches. In return for skipping the pitch in favor of chemistry meetings, the agency has pledged to donate its first year of profit from any client adopting the plan to a nonprofit.
The agency’s principles also speak loudly in the work. Last year, while Ukrainian families fled the war and relocated to the U.K., Mother came up with the idea of working with the BBC preschooler cartoon show “Hey Duggee” to add familiar characters from a Ukrainian kids’ program. In an effort to make refugee children comfortable, Mother created a welcome episode including a song sung in both English and Ukrainian.