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Meet the team that brings us Alive – James

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Meet the team that brings us Alive – James

Meet James, Alive’s communications consultant and former journalist, with a burning passion for the public sector and a penchant for horse racing of a slightly unusual kind….

How did you first get into comms?

Having spent three years completing a science degree, I realised that spending my days in a lab coat surrounded by test tubes just wasn’t for me! I had always loved writing and journalism fascinated me, so I arranged to do work experience at my local paper the Bournemouth Echo.

How was life as a journalist?

Following in my big sister’s footsteps (she was also a reporter), my work experience turned into a job and I went on to retrain, gaining my National Certificate in Journalism (NCE).

Being a small regional paper, I was able to get involved in loads of different things. I started on the sports desk before moving across to news and really enjoyed the variety. But after five years I decided it was time to try something different and began to investigate PR and comms roles.

First agency job?

I joined a specialist tech PR agency for a year and gained some valuable experience, before spotting an inhouse comms role at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. It immediately appealed to me, especially as I’d had a lot to do with the emergency services as part of my job at the paper.

It was fantastic and what started as a one-year contract gladly turned into something permanent. I found the role to be a perfect fit for me and it was while there that I first met Alan, co-founder of Alive.

When did you join Alive?

I continued to follow Alive from afar and a few years later got talking to Alan and he mentioned an opportunity had opened up, which I may be interested in. I’d left the fire service by this point and was looking for a new challenge, so I applied and happily got the job.

I’d always loved what Alive does and had heard great things about them, so the chance to join the team and to be part of that was very appealing. I knew Alive was an agency with a great culture that ‘walks the walk’ – they don’t just support clients to create amazing workplaces through creative and thoughtful comms, they’ve done it themselves.

What are your key responsibilities?

As communications consultant my key responsibilities include working with the design team to help build out campaigns for clients, considering different channels and platforms and how to optimise results. Basically, applying the experience and ideas I have to help the design team produce what Alive is known for – amazing creatives!

I love the variety of what I’m doing and get stuck into everything from pitch documents, to campaign evaluations and copywriting. I’m also working on some stuff for a fire service client right now, which has given me a chance to put my public sector experience to good use.

Finally, something we’d never guess about you?

My party trick is that I can say the alphabet backwards in less than three seconds.

Something else you’d probably never guess about me is that I’ve run a full lap around Ascot race course, including climbing over every jump I met along the way. The whole thing was very tiring and also not the most comfortable of experiences, as it was minus any clothing (being part of some heavy 21stbirthday celebrations!). It’s fair to say I’m a little older and wiser now and my racing days are probably over!

“The guys at Alive understand the complexities of our business which means we don’t need to explain the detail of every project or design piece – they’re already on it, which keeps things moving and delivers the results we need.”

Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“So glad that we chose Alive to create our new website. As well as taking the time to get the visual side of our requirement right, they worked with us to understand us, our business and our clients and reflect this across the site. We loved their flexible approach, which, coupled with the right level of challenge has replaced our old, clunky site with one we can be proud of. ”

Victoria Ford — Perago

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“Alive with Ideas was able to help transform the visual layout for our RSVP invite into an crisp, vibrant, and eye-catching design. Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“This looks amazing - brought a smile to my face scrolling through it :-)”

Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

“Love it. I will pass to the boss, but I think it's awesome.”

Matt Fletcher — Met Police

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“Boom!
Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

“Alive were professional, friendly and great to work with. Most importantly they were creative, helping us to bring an extremely important safety campaign to life.”

Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Alive helped us create a video of our response to the floods of winter 2019. Our Chief Officer received messages from all round the country praising us for it and was really pleased with both the video and the response to it.”

Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“I have worked with Alive with Ideas for many years now and they are by far the best Ideas and design company I have ever worked with (I’d even go as far as to say the best company of any sort that I’ve ever worked with). They are an incredibly talented and creative team, who are normal human beings, completely grounded, totally down to earth, approachable, friendly and an overall joy to work with.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist — StephTranter.com

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist — StephTranter.com

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q