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Lisa Featured in the Sussex Business Times Magazine

15 May 2019

Hot on the heels of International Women’s Day, and being awarded Digital Woman of the Year, Lisa caught up with the Sussex Business Times to talk about her career and the glittery charity event she inspired and helped to organise, The Execs Factor...

Excerpt from article:

Lisa Seymour is undoubtedly a leader in her field; someone who knows what type of branding a company is looking for and how to create it. She co-ran Face Media Group for twelve years. Spoken was launched as a side project three years ago. Life was breathed into the sub-brand while Lisa was still the Operations Director at Face Media. The business was incorporated in 2016 and has gone on to win major recognition in both Sussex and beyond.

While working at Face Media Group, Lisa developed a strong relationship with the design team. She worked alongside Jim Cunliffe and Chris Riley, later being (Jim and Chris weren’t designers, just co directors) the design team was joined by Adam Prew in 2011 (Adam was head of design at Face Media) 

“They often asked me for ideas and my creative take on projects,” she says. “I realised that Adam was a pretty amazing designer straight away. His work is creative and classy, and he has a keen eye for the small details.” 

Reflecting on her time at the Face Media Group, Lisa says: 

“Over time, the business changed from purely design for print to offer websites and logos. We offered this successfully, and customers felt they always received more than they were expecting.”

The business re-positioned itself to expand it offer. Lisa explains: 

“We honed our branding skills and attracted larger, more aesthetically minded companies. These businesses were looking for more than a logo. They were looking for a brand identity that helped them grow, encourage recognition and drive customer loyalty. Our first taste of this was working with Ticketmedia. We won the project based on our pitch and have never looked back. It was all about re-brand, re-position and developing a new creative website that attracted large blue chip clients and London agencies as well as being relevant to direct consumers.”

At the end of 2016, Lisa, Jim and Chris parted ways after 12 amazing years together, Lisa wanted a new challenge. She had a vision and it was for one brand – Spoken.

“It was scary,” she says, “but I wanted to take Spoken in its own direction,” she remembers. “I wanted to develop a creative agency that would help luxury and boutique brands position themselves in their market. Adam took charge of all the projects, and it was my job to drive sales and grow our visibility.” 

The partnership approach worked. Spoken cornered a niche and in 2017 won Best Website in the Sussex Digital Awards. It was also shortlisted for The Good Web Guide and was runner up Start up of the year in the BWEA (business women excellence awards). In the same year, Lisa and Spoken were involved in the staging of a charity event called Tycoons in Tights and grew the company’s customer base from four to 75. At the beginning of 2018, Spoken was a passionate and driven brand in its own right. 

It started the year winning one of its biggest projects - the rebrand of River Aesthetics. The company is a globally recognised aesthetic clinic that works in partnership with Sinclair Pharma Limited. Having won the project, Spoken positioned itself as a go-to expert in the aesthetics industry - something that has grown its turnover by a staggering 70 per cent. Lisa was crowned Digital Woman of the Year shortly afterwards. She says: 

“The award encouraged some local, well-known names, such as Brighton Gin and Proud Group, to work with us. It gave me a fantastic platform to launch our second charity event, The Execs Factor."

Looking back on her journey so far with Spoken, Lisa said: 

“It is an agency that started with passion. Our aim is to bridge the gap between the client and their demographic. We want to create an experience. Our ethos is: You should feel a brand not just see it. After all, you don’t just buy an iPhone for its operating system. You buy it for the brand, the packaging, the experience. Branding should explain what you do, who you are and your ethos - at a glance. No gimmicks, just beautiful, uncomplicated, and expertly executed. Like your favourite pair of shoes.” 

Lisa says she was excited to be involved with The Execs Factor. It was something she felt more than a compulsion to pull off. After all, she was the driving force behind it. She even appeared in the longed-for extravaganza herself - performing on stage at the Hilton Metropole. She says: 

“I knew my mum would be proud. I knew my daughter was proud. I was on the stage because of them. My mum, Monica, died at the age of 31 of complications caused by Crohn’s. I was two years old. Then I became a mother. And history repeated itself. In reverse. My daughter, Megan, was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2013. She was 15 and spent three months on a liquid diet while revising for her GCSEs. Boom! Welcome to my nightmare of guilt, panic attacks and a severe crisis of confidence. Two years of living in Dante’s Inferno. Who wants to hang out with demons forever? Not me!” 

Spoken was her way forward. She started to create beautiful brands and produce engaging websites. Lisa stepped out of “a downward spiral” and stepped into the Brighton business community. 

“What a tonic. New people. New challenges and new opportunities,” she admits. I reconnected with myself again. Hello Lisa! I decided to confront Crohn’s head on and raise awareness about the condition, and fundraise for Crohn’s & Colitis UK. With a little help from my friends, of course.” 

Lisa met Leah Mooney, as previously mentioned at the BNI. 

“We clicked. So much so that she agreed to write a madcap alternative, tongue-in-cheek panto starring a hotchpotch of Brighton business owners and friends. They were all more than happy to leave the boardroom behind for two nights to be Ugly Sisters, Princesses, Dwarfs, Widow Twankie, Voldy, an Evil Queen and Sidekick, Genie, Chav Cinders, Buttons, an Internet Troll, Maleficent and a Fairy Godmother. I pictured an evening of unadulterated entertainment that would be The Greatest Show London-by-the-Sea had ever seen. 

Tycoons in Tights raised £4,000 over two nights. I was delighted. It was a success. But it wasn’t an extravaganza. I wanted my next venture to make an indelible mark. I wanted it to tingle with twinkling lights and ticker-tape. White smoke. Glitter. Glitz. Glamour. Sequins. Sparkle. Celebrity. Singing. Dancing. I pictured an evening of unadulterated entertainment that would be The Greatest Show London-by-the-Sea had ever seen.” 

Lisa was inspired by the story of Phineas Taylor Barnum, the mastermind of a circus that came to be known as The Greatest Shown on Earth. It went on to inspire The Greatest Showman, a 2018 blockbuster with box office sales of $435 million. The highly-original musical celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rises from nothing to create a spectacle that becomes a worldwide sensation. 

“Forget big thinking - I had my giant thinking top hat on!” Lisa doesn’t jest. She admits: 

“The idea of The Execs Factor was a blatant X-Factor spoof. Not that I thought Simon Cowell would mind for one minute. Eight acts, four judges, two presenters, one writer, and me - The Ringmaster (or Mistress). Everyone involved was hand-picked from the local Brighton business community. Hands up those who’ve never sung their fave song in front of a mirror. We’ve all done it - when no-one’s watching. The Execs Factor was an opportunity to perform in front of a crowd as Tina Turner, Freddie Mercury, Beyonce, Kate Bush, Moulin Rouge can-can girls do. Just like Agnetha, Anni-Frid or Madonna, and Stevie Nicks in suspenders, or a pastiche of Barnum’s ‘best of the best’.

“The panel and the presenters were my cohorts, partners in crime, who joined me in pulling in a crowd of 239 guests. Yes, we put on the show and raised £10,000. Credit for The Execs Factor lightbulb moment rests with the Yin to my Yang, Katie Gibson. When two like-minded individuals with shared values and a common work ethic find themselves in the same room, that’s when the magic happens.” 

Lisa says: “Katie has walked beside me on this journey every step of the way. We’ve been Thelma and Louise, Cagney and Lacey and Betty and Wilma. She’s steely and canny; driven and determined, with super-human organisational powers. Whenever I felt a storm brewing, Katie was the sunshine that made the rainbow appear.” 

The other two members of Lisa’s gang were the trusty Leah Mooney and James Dempster. What a double act. 

“They helped me see hurdles were there to be jumped,” Lisa remembers. Obstacles were there to be overcome and challenges there to be addressed. When I was tearing my hair out, they encouraged me take a step back, take a deep breath, and take stock - without going stir crazy. The panel and the presenters were my cohorts, partners in crime, who joined me in pulling in a crowd of 239 guests. Yes, we put on the show and raised £10,000.” 

Looking back on the organisation of the event, Lisa says:

“I have always recognised great things in business are never done by just one person. They’re done by a team of people, where ME becomes WE. Teamwork makes dreams work. Camaraderie is the secret sauce that leads common folk to achieve uncommon results. Now it’s time for me to step back and ask the following to all take a bow as they were instrumental in turning my vision onto a reality, making the impossible possible and The Execs Factor the talk of town. Thank you. You are all my secret hot sauce.”

The funds raised at The Execs Factor will be evenly distributed between: Crohn’s & Colitis UK, The Starr Trust and Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis.

Many thanks to Sam Thomas at the Sussex Business Times

Contact Lisa to find out how creative branding can grow your business

Contact Spoken 01273 311592

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