One of the effects of the fight against COVID during the past year has been that people have revaluated what they consider to be essential services. There has been a general awakening to the fact that people like cleaners, refuse collectors, delivery drivers and retail workers have enabled society to function during the pandemic.
Doctors, nurses, hospital staff and care workers have proven themselves time and again to be truly heroic, working under extreme stress, often with inadequate protection, risking their own safety to protect others.
When danger knocks, there are always some ready to answer the call.
And when that threat is a more visible one, an aggressive regime that threatens us or one of our allies, an oppressor who jeopardises peace in a region or commits atrocities that must not go unanswered, our country is glad to be able to call upon its Armed Forces to put themselves in harm’s way to protect our way of life.
At Focus7, our links to our military communities are very strong. I had two grandfathers who served in the RAF during the war and my father was a Vulcan bomber pilot. Our CEO, Vida’s father served in the Royal Navy and our COO, Leona, served in the British Army and still serves as a Reservist and is currently Colonel Commandant of the Essex Army Cadet Force.
It’s not surprising then that we have a deep and genuine respect and admiration for our Armed Forces community, and that we strive to help and support them in whatever ways we can.
Like many businesses we have signed the Armed Forces Covenant. This is a pledge that together we acknowledge and understand that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives.
For us, this extends to practical support, including guaranteeing interviews for any veterans, reservists, cadets and spouses who apply for jobs with us, offering coaching and mentoring support and discounted rates for ex-service personnel.
We have provided significant pro bono support to promote the Armed Forces Day activities and to support the recruitment of businesses into the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. We were awarded Bronze recognition from this scheme in 2015, raised to Silver in 2016 and in 2019 we were delighted to become one of the smallest businesses in the UK to receive the Gold Award. It is an incredible privilege to be recognised alongside some of the UK’s largest and most prestigious employers.
The transition from military to civilian life is not always easy. X-Forces Enterprise has developed training to give delegates the knowledge, understanding and enterprise skills to be able to decide if they want to pursue self-employment, and what their unique business journey will look like and to support this transition through an extensive programme.
We are delighted to have been asked by X-Forces to support this program by creating and presenting a series of marketing masterclasses.
So far, we have delivered two of these sessions based around Creating a Brand-Led Business and Emerging Audiences in the Post-Covid Era. The feedback has been really positive and it highlights the ethos behind our masterclasses – to provide insights, practical advice and strategies, in a relaxed and nurturing environment:
“It was simply excellent, and I now have lots to do to put all your wise advice into practice!”
“I had another fantastic day with Focus7 with huge thanks to the X-Forces community for this wonderful opportunity to explore marketing strategies. It was such a delight to see so many familiar faces and have a bit of gentle banter along the way, blended, of course, with a lot of smiles. I have gained so much valuable insight into current consumer trends, now to digest and act upon this shared wisdom. #grateful”
“I recently attended the Evolving Customer Personas Business Masterclass. The class was excellent, with knowledgeable presenters and amble time for interaction. The tips and tactics are invaluable for all businesses, no matter the industry.”
“Great presentation and strong participation from all – again to hear the experiences of others was invaluable. Just a great course, so helpful and insightful. Really gave me a lot to think about in a really encouraging way, thank you.”
We will soon be running masterclasses that are accessible to all and I encourage you to keep an eye out for them for yourself or a member of your team. The first one which will be based around how audiences have changed as a result of the pandemic, will be a virtual event to be held on Wednesday 12th May – more details to follow.
Finally, if you have never thought about the benefits of employing service leavers or Reservists, consider some of the many attributes they possess, including:
- Highly sought-after vocational skills
- Communication skills practised with internal and external stakeholders
- Leadership and management skills
- A high degree of professionalism
- Problem-solving skills
- Health & safety and security awareness and best practice
- Team-working skills
These are people who have been prepared if the call came to put their lives on the line for us. We all have the opportunity to recognise that in providing opportunities once their service is at an end.
If you haven’t signed the Armed Forces Covenant or you are interested in accreditation through the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, please get in touch with us and we’ll be very happy to help you.
David Langdown is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Focus7, a purpose-driven, brand-led growth agency. David has been a Fellow of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing since 2003. He has an Advanced Professional Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and is a practising counsellor.