Going Independent – MaxTB Comms

Last summer, I left my agency to become an independent comms consultant. I was looking for new experiences and new challenges that would push the scope and breadth of my knowledge as much as they drew upon it. When Tradeshift asked me to come on board, it felt like I could tick a lot of those boxes in one place.

After an amazing year, I feel a changed man. Older, and maybe even a little wiser, I’ve learned a lot seeing a thriving international tech startup from the inside. And I’d like to think I’ve done my fair share to help get it where it’s going (bit more on that here.)

But some things haven’t changed — by definition, the craving for new experiences and challenges thrives on the variety that a more agency-like lifestyle brings.

So, I’m going independent, launching MaxTB Comms and looking for the opportunity to do more great work with great people. 

If you know anyone looking for a fresh perspective on their strategy in areas like PR, Comms, Content, Social and Community:

  1. Get in touch and let’s talk
  2. Find out more about what makes me different

A “formula” for landing page optimisation

A “formula” for landing page optimisation – Smart Insights Digital Marketing Advice.

via Smart Insights Digital Marketing Advice



How formal should your marketing experiments be?

too much formality — strictly enforced in all scenarios — could dramatically constrain the growth of grassroots marketing experimentation.

via How formal should your marketing experiments be? – Chief Marketing Technologist.

One of the best article about making marketing more scientific that also emphasises the importance of not letting that scupper your creativity. We’re all trying to find the balance but I think ultimately I’d still sacrifice more of the ‘science’ in favour of gut instinct and strategy.

Even with strict testing, you only get out the answer to the question you put in — and those options come back to your gut instinct and experience of what to include.

Marketing Odds and Sods Tumblr

Top Vine-vertising, would this have been possible inline for Twitter before?





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What happened next…


You remember that time I left my job and launched my own independent consultancy? Well, about that. It never actually happened.

Despite registering the company, hiring accountants, developing my business plan and doing all those things you do when you’re launching a campaign to take over the world, life happened instead.

Or Shift Happened.

Just as I was launching MaxTB Ltd and planning to go my own way, I got a call from the ever-charismatic Christian Lanng inviting me to join Tradeshift. Strangely, it’s almost exactly a year ago to the day that I became fundamentally sold on the idea that it’s a company that could change the entire world.

To cut a long story short, I start on October 1st after a couple of months obsessing over PR strategy, exploring places to work from (there’s no UK office) and working as a proper honest-to-God almost-a-real-journalist paid freelancer for

What does Tradeshift do? If I’m doing my job right, either you already know or you’ll find out soon enough…

In the meantime, I’d also like to thank everyone who kindly got in touch hoping I might be able to do some work for them as MaxTB Ltd. Not exploring that avenue was sad sacrifice to make — but this job at this company is the only thing that could have distracted me from it.



A New Start: MaxTB Ltd.


MaxTB Ltd.



Two and a half years is a long time. In dog years, that’s a decade and a half – in PR years, at the rate things are moving, it’s almost certainly more. And in *tech* PR, God only knows – let’s say a century.

But anyway, a century ago I left AxiCom to join Debby Penton, Lorraine Jenkins and the team at Wildfire PR in search of somewhere I could learn, experiment with other ways of doing things and hopefully help a client or two along the way.

Since then, a lot has happened – most notably, the merger last year which created EML Wildfire, magnified the proposition and introduced a new, broader canvas for everyone involved. It’s a great place- growing, innovating and evolving while still remaining faithful to the kind of culture that makes an agency a pleasure to be part of.

But my part in that story is coming to an end – as of August 2012, I’m leaving the sanctuary of EML Wildfire to become an independent consultant.

Why? It’s a hard one to explain but I’m sure most people who have made the same leap probably have some sense of the curious gut feeling that propels it. I’ve reached a point where I want to experiment with the potential of applying an increased intensity of focus to a smaller range of projects – and I think I have exactly the kind of knowledge that companies need in their strategy today.

To understand more about what I’ve got planned, you have two options:

1. Click here
2. Let’s grab a coffee/ beer/ Bloody Mary and talk it over. I must say, it has been too long and you’re looking wonderful today – have you lost weight? I absolutely love what you’ve done with your hair etc etc

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How will we Manage without degrees?

Management is a skill and a great example of nature and nurture coming together as one. In PR, there’s no way to skip straight to management. It’s vocational enough that you simply can’t start delegating without the proper understanding of what you’re asking of people, what you expect from them and, as much as anything, experiencing good and bad management yourself.

But in recent years, other industries have pushed forward with a dynamic that ignores this – the graduate trainee scheme. The idea of these is that if you bring in talent with allegedly great potential and fast track it, you make sure the cream of the crop gets to where it’s needed in your business as quickly as possible.

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Failure Conference: the ultimate success?

An interesting slide deck came to my attention today via @JordanStone, which takes a look at examples where companies have failed on social media.

But the key fact is that the story doesn’t end there – it then looks at what they did to recover and the intelligent moves they made to correct the situation or turn it into a positive.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff being written about failure today – seemingly a growing buzz around the idea that it does happen and you shouldn’t be afraid to take risks which might result in it. What matters is what you do next.

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PR coverage- a new perspective

As you may have heard, last week my agency Wildfire PR released some social media research which saw some pretty excellent pickup all over the place.

As PRs, we’re all pretty used to the value of good coverage- traditionally,  it’s one of the great magical currencies of what we do and a satisfying achievement.  But it’s easy to start seeing it in pragmatic terms as a commodity listed in Excel, meeting targets and making clients happy.  It’s easy to lose sight of what coverage may mean to clients, not just in the marketing department but for everyone from the founders downwards.