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New comms network to ‘help organisations tell their story’

A new communications initiative that brings together bespoke teams of freelancers to deliver projects and campaigns has launched this week. The Story Network has been co-founded by former political communications advisers Alex Bigham, Jo Gibbons and Ed Owen.

The network is being set up to meet client demand for greater flexibility and efficiency in a more financially-restrained market.

Ed Owen, co-founder of The Story Network, said: “We are a network of freelance consultants working together to build and lead communications teams that meet client needs. Without the overheads of an agency, we can provide value, flexibility and longevity, providing support on an ad hoc or a secondment basis.”

The Story Network’s name reflects the belief that effective ‘story-telling’ is the best way to engage with audiences and deliver impact.

The group will bring a distinctive approach that enables story-telling to breathe life into an organisation and its work. It is inspired by American author Simon Sinek who argued that the strongest narrative starts with ‘why?’. Why does your organisation exist; why are you leading this change; why should the public care about the issue that matters to you?

Alex Bigham, co-founder of The Story Network, said:

“Throughout history, humans have told stories. These echo through generations crossing cultures and languages. These stories can be counter-factual and are based on an emotional response to people, places and groups.

“The most effective organisations and leaders are ones that engage effectively with customers, staff and stakeholders telling stories, often on an emotional level, driving loyalty and developing passion.”

Jo Gibbons, co-founder of The Story Network, said:

“In an increasingly unpredictable world, where an organisation’s reputation is all, we have developed specialist skills to support clients through crises and change programmes, with a focus on managing communications and stakeholder risk.”

“Operating across all sectors, we have honed our experience shaping political campaigns and leading communications activity for high-profile government programmes under huge media and public scrutiny. We bring the best of each of us to the partners we work with.”

Alex Bigham was previously a political adviser to Stephen Twigg as Shadow Education Secretary and a Lambeth councillor for 8 years. He is currently seconded to National Highways helping prepare their planning application for the Lower Thames Crossing, an £8bn infrastructure project . During the pandemic, he was seconded to the Department of Health and Social Care as a Deputy Director for Strategic Communications, leading on Covid-19 work. He is also an associate with Deloitte, developing crisis communications protocols for clients.

Jo Gibbbons was previously a special adviser to Alan Milburn and worked in 10 Downing Street as Tony Blair’s Head of Events and Visits. Most recently she ran the marketing function for the Health Industries business at PwC and is currently providing communication support to a number of charities. She is an Associate at the Sheila McKechnie Foundation and a Board member of Compassion in Dying and Haringey, Hackney and Waltham Forest Homestart.

Ed Owen was a special adviser to Jack Straw as Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary between 1997 and 2005, and then a communications consultant to organisations such as EMI, Channel 4 and the British Beer & Pub Association. He was CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Director of Communications at HM Courts & Tribunals Service and most recently at Ark Schools. He is a trustee of London’s Air Ambulance and has particular knowledge and experience of charity communications and campaigns.

The Story Network are actively recruiting those working in communications who are looking for freelance work. They put together bespoke teams for projects and campaigns.

Interested applicants can send their CV using this Google Form

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