Bristol Academy of Voice Acting (BRAVA), is thrilled to announce the appointment of Fern Dunn as social media and community manager, who joins from globally renowned British animation studio, Aardman.

Fern is a communications specialist with nearly a decade of experience working across the creative industries in Bristol, including the independent multi-arts venue and cinema, Watershed. With a degree in Graphic Design and an MA in Curating from UWE, Bristol, Fern has a passion for all things communications – from social media to web design, to copywriting and print design.

Fern brings her wealth of communications and social media knowledge to the BRAVA team to continue to help them realise their growth ambitions.

She also runs the Cary Comes Home Festival, a biannual film festival that celebrates the Bristol roots of the iconic Hollywood star, Cary Grant. Fern has hosted events at the Hippodrome, Trinity Centre and St Mary Redcliffe Church – and even Hannover, Germany, bringing the magic of vintage cinema to all.

Fern Dunn said: “The voiceover world is fascinating, full of talented people and amazing stories. I can’t wait to delve in and start creating content to showcase BRAVA and the breadth of work of its Talent.”

Melissa Thom, Founder and CEO of BRAVA said: “It’s brilliant to have Fern on board, she has fantastic creative skills across a multitude of areas. She will drive the strategy and implementation for our social channels, ensuring our community of professional voice actors is targeted with relevant and inspirational content.”

BRAVA offers personalised training in the art and business of voiceover and is aimed at professionals who are interested in adding voice acting to their skillset or for those who wish to work on voice, impact and presence in the workplace and beyond.


Founded by experienced voice actor and communications consultant, Melissa Thom, BRAVA brings together acting and voice experts from the UK & US to deliver best in class training and advice about the industry.

At BRAVA, all learning is done online, meaning students can learn at their own pace, wherever they are. Training is offered as personalised 1-1’s or group sessions and covers a wide range of topics, including Getting Started in VO, Corporate, Commercial and Narration, Characters, Audiobooks, Performance Techniques, Home Studio, Marketing, Vocal Health, VO & Shakespeare, Voice, Presence, Impact, Presentation Skills and more.

Find out more at

Team Varn was pleased to be attending Brighton SEO this year, one of the biggest search conferences in the world. It was a great opportunity to learn new ways we can do our jobs better, as well as keep up to date on new trends in our industry that we can take forward in our client work.

We were very proud of our MD Tom Vaughton, who took to the main auditorium 1 this year to share a talk on ‘How & why the history of SEO will help us plan for the future of search’. You can see Tom’s slides here.



Tom shared what 24 years of up and downs, success and failures in SEO has taught him about what we need to focus on for the next decade if we want to be successful as agencies and for inhouse SEO. Tom set the scene of why it’s vital to look back at the past to help us plan for the future and shared an insightful quote by Jeff Bezos:

“I very frequently get the question 
‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’
I almost never get the question
‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?

Tom highlighted to the Brighton SEO audience that he has identified 8 principles of effective long term SEO that he believes will not change and we need to be aware of these constants…

  1. The point of search engines was to make information easy to find – that’s still the same today
  2. Over time you WILL make more profit with organic search over paid.
  3. Relevant high quality content still rules.
  4. Always align with Google’s roadmap. Don’t try to trick it – you won’t be able to.
  5. There is no silver bullet.
  6. Never stop learning.
  7. Link building is irrelevant unless you build your brand. Work on building a brand for the long term with your clients.
  8. Understand your competition and ensure you are monitoring them closely as if you don’t stay ahead your competition will win.


Tom also noted six trends that he is keeping an eye on that will impact the world of SEO in the near future…

  1. Predictive SEO analytics. Big data & AI algorithms will be increasingly important and if you don’t have a specialist analytics team then build one.
  2. AI & machine learning. AI will be disruptive but not fatal – it’s about strategy, and how to use it.
  3. Ways of searching are always changing.  Having multiple ways to search means your content needs to be good and in multiple formats.
  4. Local SEO. With the rise of mobile devices and local search queries, local SEO will become increasingly important for businesses with a physical location.
  5. Search engines are becoming more personalised. Quality content and a brand identity will play a vital role to help you stand out in the SERPs.
  6. How Google understands content..Keep an eye on Google evolving it’s understanding and how that impacts how you write content and structure your website


Tom ended by noting that SEO may suffer from imposter syndrome, but actually search is very much here to stay, so always plan for the long term…

“in the early 2000’s people said SEO was a fad, a dark art and wouldn’t last. It seems a lot of the time we still treat it in the same short-term way. Like imposter syndrome it seems that as an industry we subconsciously worry that we may get found out. When in fact search optimisation, in whatever form, is here to stay and people that fake it or don’t plan ahead won’t be around in 10 years. So whether you work in ecommerce, healthcare or B2b be proud of what you do, be confident and plan for the long term. Please go set those big hairy audacious goals.”

Keep on reading to explore some of the key takeaways from a selection of the brilliant talks we heard this year.


Katy Powell – Ideation: Thinking beyond the first idea

During this talk Katy shared tips on how to up your game in Digital PR campaigns and create reactive PR stories. She focused on the idea of thinking bigger and better to grab the spotlight in crowded industries.

Key takeaways:

Graph demonstration.

Andrei Tit – 10 quick wins to improve your rankings (using Ahrefs)

Andrei spoke about 10 low-hanging fruits of SEO use cases that enable you to increase your rankings, via Ahrefs.

Key Takeaway:


Andrew Holland – The new SEO metric that makes SEO 10 x more valuable (and 10 x more effective)

In this talk, Andrew presented a new SEO reporting metric called “Share of Search”. This metric changes the approach and places SEO at the centre of all marketing.

Key Takeaway:


Azahara Corrales – Unlock the power of AI: harness AI to create your winning marketing strategy

Azahara explored the immense potential that AI can have in a winning marketing strategy.

Key Takeaways:


Michel van Luijtelaar – Apple, Bing & Google platforms for multi-location local SEO Optimisation

In this talk, Michel explained the latest local SEO strategies with a focus on the latest developments in ABC and Bing.

Key takeaways:


Ellie Connor – How to measure SEO sustainability

Ellie spoke about how to measure SEO sustainably and why it matters. She covered Google’s commitment to sustainability, and the rising interest of consumers and financial markets in this area and gave actionable insights on how to create a more sustainable website.

Key Takeaways:


Meg Sharma – Level up your content by REALLY knowing your audience

Meg discussed how you can really level up your content strategy by going beyond keyword research tools to find content ideas, and really understand your audience and the topics they are interested in.

Key takeaways:


Aleyda Solis – Embracing AI in SEO: how to 10x your SEO leveraging AI bots

In this talk, Solis explores a variety of practical methods you can use in SEO. This ranged from conducting keyword research and competitor analysis to performing audits and generating reports.

Key Takeaways:


Margaret MacArthur – Designing Viral Content

Margaret explored what content tends to go viral and what content rarely does. She focused primarily on TikTok but also touched on other relevant platforms including the up-and-coming platform Lemon8.

Key takeaways:


Ryan Jones – Mastering mental health in digital marketing’s always-on world

Ryan talked about his personal experiences navigating his mental health while working in digital marketing and he shared the valuable insights that he had learned along the way.

Key Takeaways


Why we attend Brighton SEO 

As the world’s largest search marketing conference, Brighton SEO is a must for our calendars at Varn. Every year the team come back having learnt new things, met inspiring people and are energised to make an even bigger impact in search for our clients.

If you want to learn more about SEO and the different areas and talks covered above, get in touch with a member of the Varn team today.

Becoming a member of Bristol Creative Industries brings many benefits. We regularly add new opportunities so here is a guide to the latest benefits you can enjoy by signing up. This post is regularly updated.

Join Bristol Creative Industries from only £4.95 a month.

Appear in the member directory

Showcase your best work and attract new clients with a company profile in the Bristol Creative Industries member directory. The directory receives lots of visits every month from people looking for services from creative businesses.

Bristol Creative Industries membership

Self-publish content

Got some business advice or news to share? As a Bristol Creative Industries member you can self-publish content on our website and it will automatically appear on your member profile. We upgrade great content to the newsfeed and homepage, while four posts by members are included in our monthly email newsletter.

To get an idea of the content topics that do well, here are the top 20 most popular posts by members in 2022.

Bristol Creative Industries member Jessica Morgan from Carnsight Communications discussed the benefits of posting content in this interview.

Advertise jobs on the BCI jobs board

The Bristol Creative Industries jobs board attracts thousands of job hunters every month. As part of your membership, you can post unlimited free job adverts, saving you on average £3,500 per candidate.

Piers Tincknell, co-founder of Atomic Smash, is one of BCI’s longest serving members and he told us in a member profile interview how he regularly uses the jobs board to recruit new employees.

Attend members’ lunches

BCI’s monthly members’ lunches are a perfect opportunity for members to catch up with fellow members and the BCI team.

Everyone has a slot of up to three minutes to tell the others a little about who they are and what they do and share any news and/or challenges. You don’t need to fill the full three minutes. We usually find some common themes emerge to discuss over the course of the session.  It’s all very informal with no need to stand up and present slides.

The events are free to attend for members. They are a mix of in person and virtual events. The in person sessions are at The Square Club in Bristol and include a free buffet lunch.

Check the events section of details of the next lunches.

Discounts for keynotes, workshops and other events

Our flagship keynote events and workshops feature world class speakers sharing their expertise. It’s a unique opportunity to access valuable insights for growing your business. Bristol Creative Industries members receive a ticket discount.

Some events, such as our regular freelancer networking drinks, are free for members.

Keen an eye on the events section for the latest events. You can also sign up to the monthly BCI Bulletin to be notified of events.

Big thanks to everyone who joined us at @SquareClifton last night for the Bristol Creative Industries freelancer networking drinks ☀️ 🍷

Sign up to the BCI Bulletin to be notified of new events: #Bristol #freelancers

— Bristol Creative Industries (@Bristol_CI) June 21, 2023

Attend and host Wake Up Call

Wake Up Call is a member exclusive live webinar that takes place every other Friday at 8.30-9am. The content is delivered by members for members.

Attending the free event gives you access to valuable insights from your fellow members and if you host a Wake Up Call, you can share your expertise and attract potential new clients.

See details for upcoming Wake Up Call events in our events section.

If you’re a BCI member and you’d liked to deliver a presentation on a topic of your choice during Wake Up Call, email Sian Pitman.

Join outdoor networking events

The regular BCI Walk & Talk networking sessions are for a group of 12 BCI members who don their walking boots and explore the stunning countryside around Bristol and Bath.

It’s a great opportunity for members to make some new connections whilst getting some much needed fresh air!

Keen an eye on the events section for details of the next outdoor networking event. You can also sign up to the monthly BCI Bulletin to be notified of events.

Bristol Creative Industries Walk & Talk outdoor networking

Attend exclusive roundtables

We host regular roundtables for agency leaders to discuss strategic challenges. These events are vital for us to hear from the member community about the key issues you are facing and how we can help. A roundtable on funding led to us creating this popular and regularly updated guide to the latest finance on offer to creative businesses.

If you are interested in getting involved with future roundtables, email Sian Pitman.

Discounts on workspace, hotels and more

Reductions on co-working spaces, meeting rooms, hotel accommodation, a recruitment strategy review and a coffee subscription are just some of the many discounts and offers we’ve negotiated for members.

Other benefits

We regularly deliver other benefits.

Members can currently book a free 30 minute legal advice call with award winning business lawyer Rebecca Steer on 10 November or 8 December.

To stay updated on the latest member benefits, sign up to the monthly BCI Bulletin.


Join Bristol Creative Industries from only £4.95 a month.

If you have any questions about membership, email Alli Nicholas

We are a group of friendly Digital and Tech runners who go for a social jog around Bristol’s wonderful harbour each Wednesday lunchtime at 12.30 from the Lloyd’s amphitheatre. It’s an opportunity to get away from our desks, get some air, and get to know some other people in the tech industry in Bristol.

We’re a super friendly bunch and everyone is welcome, whatever aspect of digital and tech you work in and wherever you work.

Our pace is gentle, it normally takes around 30 minutes to do the 5km loop around the harbour. Nobody gets left behind – ever! It’s totally free and we go for a coffee afterwards at the Society café.

Find out more here.

Catherine Frankpitt has a 20+ year career working in PR and communications. In 2020, she decided to launch her own business. Strike Communications works with organisations that are doing something positive in the world, such as delivering education, creating cultural opportunities and supporting disadvantaged communities.

Catherine launched her business just a few weeks before the start of the first coronavirus pandemic lockdown. A year into her entrepreneurial venture, she joined Bristol Creative Industries.

She tells Dan Martin about starting a business during the pandemic, how it has grown and the benefits of being part of the BCI community.

How did you get started in PR?

“I started out at the Mail on Sunday’s You Magazine as a 21-year-old. They had regular features called ‘My Last Good Read’ and ‘My Last Good Buy’. I phoned up celebrities to interview them. I spoke to Lloyd Grossman, Carol Smillie, Ulrika Jonnson and others

“I had a media degree and didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do although I knew it was on the editorial side of things. At the magazine most of the stories were coming from press releases and the copy was just rewritten. I decided that I wanted to go into PR because they were the ones actually having the fun writing the stories and coming up with the ideas.”

Why did you decide to start your own business?

“While working at a big agency, the clients that I was really interested in were the likes of charities who had lean in house teams and were not able to maximise the opportunity to do bigger and better things, reach more people and get more funding etc because they hadn’t got the capacity and resources to do it. They need the support, but can’t afford the bigger agency fees. 

“I’m motivated by working on communications that I think people need to know about. I work on a lot of causes, charities and culture where the comms plays more of a role than just selling. It’s not just a transactional thing. It’s reaching people that benefit from knowing about it. 

“That’s why I decided to set up Strike Communications, to provide a full service agency offering but keep the costs leaner than a bigger agency.” 

You started Strike Communications just before the first pandemic lockdown. How was that?

“I was director of communications at UWE. There are some brilliant people doing great things at the university, but while managing a big team, I missed being hands-on. I like to get stuck in and ask ‘what’s the problem?’, ‘what are the objectives?’, ‘let’s get creative’. 

“I wanted to do my own thing so I went from running a department with 85 staff to running a business on my own during lockdown in my spare room!

“I’ve been a single parent with a single income for a while and I’ve always been careful with money. I took out a loan in advance of starting the business just in case something went wrong. That was the best decision I could have made. I very quickly needed it because I launched the business with two anchor clients but within a few weeks of lockdown, everybody went insular. 

“It was scary to start with because I didn’t qualify for any of the support that the government introduced. All of my network was in Bristol and that’s where I had planned the work to come from but I had to rethink the plan and widen my reach.

“Eight weeks or so into the first lockdown people started realising that they needed to communicate more than ever. A previous boss once said to me that in a crisis, the first thing to go is the comms and marketing and the first thing to come back is the comms and marketing. She was absolutely right. 

“Suddenly people were knocking on the door and saying they needed extra support. I worked with two London universities because their comms teams were so busy doing internal activities and keeping the students informed.  

“My networks changed almost overnight and I teamed up with people in the same situation. My experience during lockdown shaped the business in a way that I didn’t expect. We were working with organisations in Devon, Basingstoke and London which we probably wouldn’t have done without the pandemic and everyone being online.”

Strike Communications

Tell us about how the business has grown and why you think you have achieved success.

“There are now three of us full time and two associates who work with us regularly plus a few others we bring in as required.

“In March, we celebrated our third birthday and appointed Scott Fletcher as our new creative director.

“I got some advice from a business coach who said in year one, you do anything for anybody. Year two, you start working out the things that you don’t want to do. Year three, you work out who you are. That’s absolutely what I’ve found.

“In terms of reasons for success, I’ve got a really good network because I’ve worked with a lot of organisations and that has been really helpful. 

“Also, I very much operate on gut instinct and my idea for the sorts of organisations that I wanted to work with that I thought needed the help at a certain price point has proven to be true. Whether it’s dealing with COVID-19 or the cost of living crisis, there is always a need for support at a certain level and a certain price. While there are plenty of creative people in Bristol we have created our own niche. 

“I find it very hard to do anything other than be honest and transparent. I have strong values and the people that work with us, whether it’s staff or clients, buy into those values. People look at how we talk about ourselves and see that we’re authentic. There’s an appeal to that. There are certain organisations that we just wouldn’t work with because it wouldn’t be right for us. There are others that we really care about and want to help.” 

Why did you join Bristol Creative Industries and how has it benefitted the business?

“It’s important to be part of an organisation that is championing your sector, listening and supporting you. It’s also very useful for learning, networking and meeting people.

“I love the Friday morning Wake Up Call webinars with bite-sized advice. The members’ lunches have also been very helpful and I’ve made interesting connections. You can’t underestimate the importance of peer-to-peer support and solidarity, particularly for the founders of smaller businesses like mine. By talking to others, it makes it feel less overwhelming and less of a lonely place.  

“The Bristol Creative Industries jobs board has been really useful when recruiting.” 

Watching Wake Up Call webinars, attending free member lunches and unlimited job postings are some of the benefits of Bristol Creative Industries membership. Find out more

What’s your advice for being successful at PR and communications?

“You need to know what it is that you’re trying to achieve, who it is that’s going to help you get there, what they are going to be interested in hearing to help you get there and where you will find them. Your comms should frame around that. 

“People get really bogged down by saying things like ‘we need to be on TikTok’ and ‘we need to be on Twitter’ but they are being led by the activity. You should take a strategic approach and know what you are trying to achieve and how the comms can support you to get there. It’s about working out who your audiences, stakeholders or customers are and where they are, whether that’s online, the media they read or where you can physically find them.”

Fancy joining Catherine Frankpitt as a Bristol Creative Industries member? Benefit from industry expertise, training, leads, curated news, kudos and more. Sign up here.

Probably the most inspiring little film night in the world. Join us in Bristol for an evening of learning, stimulation, collaboration, entertainment and general filmmaking joy!

Tabb would like to invite you to join this month’s Filmmakers’ Shindig on Tuesday in Bristol!

Along with being a great place to meet like-minded creatives, We’ll be screening the brilliant short ‘Swiped’ by Luke Collins & hosting guest speaker, Tom Brereton Downs!

This is an exclusive opportunity to:

February’s guest speaker is Screenology‘s Tom Brereton Downs. Tom dares you to take more risks, make more mistakes, do less of what you’re “supposed” to do, and more of what works! All within his purpose-built talk, “Ten Dangerous Ideas for Filmmakers”.

Find out more info and sign up here!

There are lots of brilliant events and other opportunities for creative businesses this February and March. See the full list below.

Events are either free or discounted for Bristol Creative Industries members. Some other opportunities are exclusive to members. Not a member? Join today.


9 February, 12.30pm
Fearless Girl: How to make your brand famous and why that matters

However big or small your business, nothing has more commercial impact than fame. Join us in Bristol to hear Pete Bracegirdle share the incredible story of ‘Fearless Girl’ and what she can teach us about how to make your brand more famous. Book your ticket here.

10 February, 8.30am
Wake Up Call: The DIY guide to filming short-form marketing videos

Join Inkwell founder Chris Goodfellow for advice on how to create your own high-quality videos.

Wake Up Call is an online event exclusive to BCI members. Book your ticket here.

23 February, 4pm
Data privacy workshop

Join Rebecca Steer, Steer & Co’s award-winning lawyer, for this talk at Watershed in Bristol on data privacy laws in the UK and Europe and how they affect creative, digital and tech businesses. Book your ticket here.

24 February, 8.30am
Wake Up Call: Workshop Wizardry – How to run magical workshops with your team and clients

Join Mette Davis for top tips on how to deliver a great workshop experience for your team and clients.

Wake Up Call is an online event exclusive to BCI members. Book your ticket here.

24 February
Legal surgery

BCI members can book a free 30 minute call with Rebecca Steer, an award winning business lawyer. Book your call here.

1 March, 12.30pm
BCI members’ lunch

The free BCI members’ lunch at The Square Club in Bristol is an opportunity for members to build connections while enjoy a delicious buffet lunch. Book your ticket here.

3 March, 9.30am
Walk & Talk outdoor networking event

A networking event with a difference! A great opportunity for BCI members to make some new creative industry connections whilst exploring the countryside. Book your ticket here.

7 March, 5.30pm
Bristol Creative Industries freelancer networking drinks

Come along to our freelancer networking drinks at The Square Club in Bristol to widen your networks, make new connections, discuss common problems, and discover potential opportunities for collaboration. Free for BCI members. Book your ticket here.

10 March, 8.30am
Wake Up Call: Retain your talent – What makes a positive human employee experience

Ruth Clarke discusses six new big trends and ideas for how we look after our people.

Wake Up Call is an online event exclusive to BCI members. Book your ticket here.

29 March, 12.30pm
BCI members’ lunch

The free BCI members’ lunch at The Square Club in Bristol is an opportunity for members to build connections while enjoy a delicious buffet lunch. Book your ticket here.

31 March
Legal surgery

BCI members can book a free 30 minute call with Rebecca Steer, an award winning business lawyer. Book your call here.

BCI member competition: Win a three months private office tenancy

Forward Space is offering BCI members with turnover below £150,000 the chance to win a free office for three months in Bristol’s Boxworks. Find out more.

New BCI member benefit: Legal help and templates from LawBite

A new partnership between BCI and LawBite gives members access to free and affordable legal expertise. Find out more.

Take part in BenchPress 2023, the UK’s largest survey of independent agency owners

Our friends at The Wow Company have launched BenchPress 2023, the largest survey of independent agency owners in the UK.

It’s the perfect opportunity for Bristol Creative Industries members to benchmark themselves against their peers and build a picture of the latest trends impacting agencies across the country. Find out more.

Event: The CMO’s Guide to Customer Acquisition  

Microsoft will join a select panel of senior marketing professionals in Bristol this March to discuss how businesses can best drive more online customers through digital marketing. 

Hosted by South West performance agency Launch, the breakfast event will be held on March 22nd at the Showcase Cinema de Lux in Bristol from 8:30 – 11am.  

The CMO’s Guide to Customer Acquisition will provide a vital opportunity for like-minded marketers and brands to listen and debate with other CMOs about their successes, challenges and their strategies around data, conversion optimisation and paid media.   

Marion Gould, Client Partner Lead at Microsoft, will be speaking on ‘Marketing with purpose: how to create a strong brand in digital marketing.’ Also on the schedule is the managing director of Launch, Jaye Cowle, who will chair a panel debate with senior marketing leaders to open the event, discussing the evolution of performance marketing.  

Jaye Cowle says: “This is set to be a really insightful event for marketers, brands, and business owners. Together with our brilliant guests, and media partner Microsoft, you can learn how brands like yours are getting the most from their performance marketing activity.”  

In addition to Microsoft, there will be panel discussion with Barney Bell, Head of Marketing for David Salisbury; Piers Tincknell from Atomic Smash and Harriet Barter, Account Director at Launch, on ‘Why channel diversification is key to converting and finding new audiences.’ 

Data Strategist, Michael Patten, will discuss the countdown to GA4 in ‘Leverage your data to target new customers.’ In addition, Launch’s Conversion Director Joe Johnston will be joined by Account Manager Josh Marinaro to discuss the customer experience: ‘How incremental website changes can bring big results.’ 

Find out more about the schedule and book a place at this event 

Picture: Marion Gould, Client Partner Lead at Microsoft, will be speaking on Marketing with Purpose.

Think of your ideal client? How would the relationship be? Simple and easy? Low maintenance? Drama-free? When you’re juggling a million and one other things, smooth and breezy interactions seem incredibly appealing. But to build long-lasting and fruitful relationships with clients, our interactions need to be honest, and we need to create a genuine connection with them.

So how can we go from transaction to connection?

Be there in the storm and the calm

How do your clients see you? Are you the saviour who sweeps in to save the day in their time of need? Or are you the quiet confident, ready to lend an ear at any time? If you can be both, you’ll be in a good place.

It’s something David Ogilvy talks about in Confessions of an Ad Man:

“The head of an agency has so much on his plate that he is apt to see his clients only in time of crisis. This is a mistake. If you can get into the habit of seeing clients when the weather is calm, you will establish an easy relationship which may save your life when a storm blows up.”

To be able to help solve clients’ problems and challenges you need to be armed with the insight into what works for them, how they see success and what their goals are. To get an understanding of this goes beyond their top-level strategy, it’s what makes them tick on a day-to-day basis, and the more interaction you have the deeper your understanding will be.

Don’t flatter to deceive

Think your client’s product or service is flawless? Brilliant, be sure to tell them. But if it’s not, don’t flatter to deceive – there’s a strong chance it will come back to bite you.

Ogilvy has words of wisdom on this too:

“It is difficult for a doctor to tell a patient he is suffering from a serious disease, and equally difficult to tell a client his product has a serious fault. But the time comes in the life of every advertising agent when he must grasp this nettle. When I told one client that I had doubts about the consistency of his spaghetti, his reaction was to question whether I could do a good job for any product I disliked… On the whole, however, I have observed an increasing tendency on the part of clients to welcome candour.”

Tell people their offer is flawless, and they will expect immediate outstanding results. And if those results don’t materialise? It’s likely you’ll be in the firing line. Tell clients where you think their strengths and challenges lie and you can focus on amplifying the strengths and together you can work on the challenges.

For a well-functioning relationship, both parties need to feel free to speak their minds. It takes time to build trust but inviting honest feedback from clients from the off and accepting this without pride and hostility will set the tone for open communication as the relationship progresses. Sometimes the client will know their industry and market the best and sometimes you will have the expertise and ideas to change their perspective. But when you have established honesty and openness in the relationship, these discussions become constructive rather than destructive.

Build deeper relationships

Deeper, more honest and connected relationships with clients take time. But the investment is worth it. It will allow you to set realistic goals, expectations, and deliverables – and meet them. You’ll be better positioned to address bottlenecks and potential challenges. And you’ll be armed with all the information and insight you need to better report on your success.

Every relationship is different, but have a think about your current clients – do you really know what their motivations are? Have you a firm grasp of what success looks like for them? Are you investing the right kind of time with them? Do you need more face-to-face meetings and less reporting? Could they benefit from networking in your circle?

The easy client relationship might on the surface free your time up to concentrate on other things. But you might be missing opportunities to foster a deeper and longer-lasting connection.

Founded in 1990, The Square is Bristol’s Private Members Club for the creative industries, located on Berkeley Square. Members of The Square are part of a unique community of like-minded creative professionals. The Square provides an arena of original thought and discussion, and members enjoy a range of personal and professional benefits.

Event and work space

Along with a vibrant events programme and an award-winning restaurant, The Square provides a dynamic social environment and a flexible workspace. Equipped with a boutique lounge, the Square Kitchen restaurant, the Lower Deck Cocktail Bar and hidden city-centre Terrace, The Square is ideal for working, socialising, holding events and meeting new people.

Reciprocal club access

The Square Club connects creatives across the world, and has reciprocal arrangements with clubs in the following locations:

Discounts for BCI members

BCI members can apply for discounted membership at a rate of £60 per quarter. This not only gives members access to The Square Club, but to all of the reciprocal venues around the world.

For an additional fee, membership can be upgraded to include access to Square Works, The Square’s high-end, part and full time serviced offices and co-working space. 

Square Member Benefits include:

To apply for discounted membership, please email [email protected].