10 March 2022
Creative agency Brothers & Sisters converts to social enterprise /
London creative shop promises to give its annual profits to good causes
Brothers & Sisters is becoming a social enterprise – the London creative agency will still work with commercial clients but will donate all its profits to good causes.
The agency is changing its articles of association to enshrine its promise to give away its profits and also to prohibit selling company shares without a guarantee of maintaining its social enterprise status.
Andy Fowler, the founder and executive creative director at Brothers & Sisters, told Contagious that he was inspired by current events and his agency’s close work with Grenfell Athletic Football Club (which helps men affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower) to use his business to make a difference in the world.
‘In our industry there are lots of really good people and there are lots of really good companies doing good things,’ he said. ‘But as far as making a real stake-in-the-ground commitment was concerned [...] we felt nobody was doing anything that radical.’
Brothers & Sisters is now looking for more charity partners with which to share its creative expertise, as well as its profits, which Fowler said amounted to approximately £200,000 in the 2021 financial year.
But the agency will continue to work with its existing commercial clients, like We Buy Any Car, Center Parcs and Yakult Europe, and also pursue new ones.
‘We're not saying we don't believe in capitalism,’ said Fowler. ‘We're an advertising agency. Our job is to sell things.’
He added: ‘We're not trying to reinvent the entire model of an advertising agency. All we're doing is saying, “at the end of the year, your 10% profit, what are you doing with that?”’
Fowler also stressed that he would continue to pay his staff, as well as himself and co-stakeholder, CEO Matthew Charlton, the ‘going rate’. Staff bonuses are not off the menu, either, although he said the agency may change the criteria used to award them.
Becoming a social enterprise may even be good for business, argued Fowler.
‘There's a generation coming through, 20-something creative people, who don't want to just sell stuff,’ said Fowler. ‘They want to know the company they're working for has got some purpose and it's going to put something good into the world.
‘I’ve always had a belief that interesting things happen to interesting people. We hope that by doing this and making Brothers & Sisters interesting [...] maybe it'll help us attract better people, maybe it'll make us interesting to clients who have a strong feeling of purpose.
‘These are all good byproducts of making a decision to do something altruistic like this.’
Brothers & Sisters created a short film, called ‘Prophet’, to announce its change of business model.
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