With this Ring I Thee Wed....

Another fantastic interview here at Carli-Art photography and we have the very talented, Creative strategist Doug Hewett from Engage Group, London. Specialists in communications, branding and employee engagement.

We met Doug in his office...(yes of course he made me a cup of tea!)

• Doug, what 3 objects on your desk best describe Engage and why?

1. My mini
‘Munny’ doll - whenever anyone joins Engage Group they get given a little white plastic toy to design up however they like. It’s our way of saying you’re part of the team, and celebrating everyone’s individuality. We’re building a shelf to put them all up in the foyer…

2. My potted plant - last year we ran an internal competition called ‘Plant Idol’ to see who could grow the best desk plants. Our HR manager Emma won it easily, her Bonsai was awesome.

3. An old antique letterpress - when we left our last office I saved this from being thrown out. It stamps our very first company logo, before we joined as a number of companies to become Engage.

• I love a cake, anything sweet really tips my scales so is there a cake Friday arrangement at Engage or another advocate of biscuits who we can thank?

Shuk is our resident chocoholic - she’s always got a great stash. And we have cup cake ‘bake offs’ every now and again for our company charity. We have breakfast for everyone on Friday mornings (and beers on Friday afternoons).

• Engage state they transform relationships. Now being a fan of Dear Maggie columns when younger how would you answer the following reader question: “Dear Doug, I am thinking of proving to my boss we can work as a team, what would you recommend?”

Haha. Um, well I’d say good bosses appreciate people that see problems as challenges and opportunities. Be yourself though, that’s the most important thing.

• Pick one and why?
o Telephone
o Good old Letter
o Twitter
o Post it note

Hmm… everyone loves a letter, but I’ll have to go with Twitter - I’m a big fan of social media, one of our main growth areas has been collaboration online for employees. We help turn employees into brand advocates, which in turn affects customers.

In an age of such modern communication methods and less face-to-face experiences, do you think this makes your job harder and do you think this year may see a return of the more personable approach?

Good question - I think modern communication methods like social media and web 2.0 functionality can be profoundly personal and engaging when used in the right way. Face-to-face communications will always be really powerful, but you need to invest in talent to get great line managers. The real answer is that a combination works best - it depends on the needs of your people.

• Where does the name Engage come from?

When we came to developing the brand, it summed up our approach of engaging people with art (beautiful creative) and science (measurement).

• You have some great clients including Action Aid, O2 and Transport for London. Can you tell us a little more about these assignments and why these companies chose you to take on the challenge?

Sure. With ActionAid we created an online hub for people to build profiles, collect donations and keep their friends and family updated with blog entries. We’ve built a long-term relationship with O2 - we’ve done everything from developing a social network for employees, to measuring brand engagement across the UK. And TFL are another big client of ours - we’ve created campaigns to support sustainable travel, and developed microsites that allow Londoners to collaborate online. I’d like to think that they choose us because we’re good people to work with, we understand their needs and aren’t afraid to challenge them with new ideas.

• If you weren’t at Engage what would you be doing?

Travelling around the world to somewhere I haven’t been before…

• Like most offices there is a constantly a fair amount of gossip doing the rounds….so anything exciting you can reveal?

There was a good one the other day - turns out one of the Account Managers has a dad that was in the Human League.

• What does 2010 see for Engage?

Lots. It’s a big year for us. After a tough 2009 for everyone in the industry, it’s about pushing on now - offering better services for our current clients, and winning new clients with great new ideas.

• Final question….back to the sweets….your boss leaves a box of Thorntons in the office, a total of 35 beautiful chocolate wrapped delights. He takes 2, the mob in the office take 19 but then Sarah from HR brings a further 47 chocs in. Add these to the 15 you have stashed in your desk & divide this by the number of letters in Engage. How many chocs?

I have 15 chocolates stashed in my desk?!