Don't Cry Wolf Winds Up As Founder Starts New Venture

(MENAFN- PRovoke) LONDON - Don't Cry Wolf, the B Corp agency set up in 2018 by former Hotwire head of engagement John Brown, is to cease trading this month after six years, as the founder moves on to independent consultancy.

Brown, along with Don't Cry Wolf (DCW) managing director Sara Collinge, who joined the firm soon after it was set up , have created a new venture, Feral Spirit. Their aim is to act as senior consultants rather than under an agency model.

Speaking to PRovoke Media, Brown explained the reasons for the move:“Let's not sugarcoat this. I probably wouldn't be winding the business up if DCW posted epic profits and we were all rolling in cash and gold-plating our impact reports.
So, the brutal truth is, it's not doing what we need it to do financially.

“The fact of the matter is this: we win on our seniority, unique approach and talent but are then undercut on cost and forced to reduce prices, and then, despite all that, need to deal with procurement wanting to get a little bit more stuff for a little bit less.”

On the thinking behind Feral Spirit – intended to become a“collective” of senior consultants operating around a“lean, clean and simple” central operation – Brown said:“The work has changed, whether it's how we work or what work we do. Big chunks of our industry are becoming automated, and so the value of knowledge, experience, and creativity is increasing.

“However, we've devalued our industry so much that we're struggling to determine what we are or how much we're worth in those areas, and so, for the most part, clients are looking for big-ticket
strategy but with press office purses.

“Sara and I thought there was a way to operate as independent consultants, pricing ourselves accordingly and selling valuable time for high-impact work, and come together as part of a collective where other consultants
to deeper briefs requiring a mix of specialisms.”

Don't Cry Wolf, which was one of the first in the PR industry to achieve B Corp status in 2018, worked with clients including B
Elvie , Cook , Natura&Co, Manhattan TV, Green Chef , Vivobarefoot, North Sails , OPRL, Tangle Teezer , Meridian , IOSH,
Livi, Soda Folk and Virgin Pure. The agency repositioned in 2021 as a“brand activism agency”.

Brown – known for being outspoken about the need for the communications industry to do better in combating climate misinformation , and a passionate advocate for sustainable business – said he was proud of what his team had achieved at the agency over the past six years:“We never once stepped back on our commitments to each other and to society. We met our climate ambitions with committed action, and we always looked after each other and
created an award-winning culture.

“I don't regret investing in people and the planet and, for the most part, turning a profit.
What's more, we did all this and still delivered astonishing work. Award-winning campaigns that saw 18ft vaginas floated over the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, or orangutan graffiti appearing across the country, billboards to thank back office GP surgery staff, and a TV advert shown during the champions league final.

“I said in my first blog that we wouldn't end up being nice and grey and quietly sitting in some part of some massive conglomerate while counting the number of cylinders on my G Wagon. We were always going to fight, evolve or die trying.

As well as the directors, Don't Cry Wolf has a team of seven, who have all been made redundant. Brown said he had brought on recruitment consultancy Reuben Sinclair to help with outplacement. Some of the team will become independents and continue to work alongside Brown and Collinge at Feral Spirit.

“The whole team is gutted, but we have been entirely transparent. We never shied away from sharing financials and being clear about our challenges. I cannot thank the team enough for sticking with us right through to the end and wanting to give everything into the work and the agency.”

Finally, Brown said:“It's not been easy, but it's been exhilarating, and despite every fibre of my being wanting to blame governments and instability, I do need to reflect and take responsibility.
There is stuff I've learnt and won't repeat. There are other things that I didn't do that I will do next time. I have no regrets. But I do have a lot of love in my heart for everyone who helped shape DCW into an industry renegade.”



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