Insights - 20.10.23

I owe it all to MC2.

Hannah Thornley, content consultant, MC2

Becoming a communications consultant is incredibly daunting, so there was no better place to start the journey than here at MC2 the agency that catapulted me into the industry. 

I spent four formative years at MC2 from age 19 to 23, and it was those 1461 days that laid the foundations for my career. The company’s visions and values cemented themselves into my daily life from the moment I buzzed into The Boardwalk – whether that be pushing myself to think big, bold and ballsy or come together to collaborate with colleagues to deliver for a client. 

I was surrounded by the most supportive team from the start – many of whom are still with the agency today, who enabled me to achieve academic success with an apprenticeship degree in PR and marketing alongside practical skills that I’ve implemented over the last decade. 

Following exactly four years at MC2, I left sunny Manchester and moved to the big smoke after landing a press secretary role at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). 

I joined the department during a time of great political turbulence as the EU Referendum had just taken place. The rumblings in Westminster, and May’s subsequent arrival, brought with it a departmental reshuffle and the communities and charities brief made its way from the Cabinet Office portfolio to DCMS. And I was in charge. 

I went from a bustling PR agency where everyone chips-in and has your back, to running a press desk in silo. I was solely responsible for sourcing, scribing and securing coverage for the Departmental Ministers and Secretary of State, and within my first two weeks I landed a front-page splash in The Telegraph – promoting the government’s plans to utilise dormant assets for charities throughout the country. 

The confidence and belief I needed for this job is something MC2 provided. The pressure for publicity was heavy on my shoulders, and I needed to harness the plethora of stakeholders and policy officials at my fingertips if I was to produce regular news. 

Over the course of my career at DCMS, I liaised heavily with policy officials, nudging my way into meetings, reading countless (rather wordy!) reports and bills to spot a story. I learned how to transform government-speak into layperson’s terms in a way that would resonate with the public – and made a concerted effort to highlight the real-life impact these laws, bills and plans were having on our population. 

It was riveting. I thrived on proactively bringing tales to life in a range of media, from regional radio to BBC Breakfast and broadsheets, to the Charity Times and consumer nationals amid reactively responding to last-minute journalist demands, statement requests or (several!) crises. 

Then came Covid-19. All government messaging was paused, and a ‘war-room’ was set up to field media enquiries on the pandemic. The requirements of my role changed dramatically, and halfway through 2020, I decided to make the move to The Crown Estate after being poached to become their Head of Digital Media. 

The Crown Estate continued its communications despite the shutdown throughout the UK and this provided a much-needed focus for me. 

The role saw me in charge of the Queen’s property portfolio – promoting locations like Oxford Street and Windsor Castle through a range of digital media, such as social blogs, creative assets and website content. 

Within my first few months I devised a strategic plan to bolster social media presence and quadrupled the usual reach as a result. I put this down to dramatically changing the tone of voice which enabled us to reach new audiences – again, using easily digestible language and real-life examples to resonate with people. 

When my contract role concluded at The Crown Estate my heart knew that it was the right time to return to agency life. I joined Harvard PR – one of the country’s biggest technology agencies – and worked there for two wonderful years on clients such as Fujitsu, HubSpot, OPPO and Dun & Bradstreet. Harvard is an agency that genuinely cares for its employees and instilled a narrative to never stop learning. And after accepting redundancy from them in August this year, I put the latter into practice and made a move I had been dreaming of for a while – to return to MC2.

Stepping back into the agency has been magical. Within my first month back we’ve brought some creative ideas to life for a number of high-growth businesses, and it has been a privilege to work alongside many incredibly, talented driven people.  

I owe MC2 for everything I have achieved in my career. And having worked in a multitude of workplaces and organisations, I can honestly say there is no better place to kick-start your career in communications. I’m honoured to return with an opportunity to share this knowledge, skills and experience with the next generation of talent here, and feel incredibly lucky to be part of MC2’s mission to be the North’s most sought-after marketing communications agency for high-growth businesses and talent.