In September 2019 I brought to an end a self-imposed separation from BIG Partnership that had lasted six years. Having ended my first stint at BIG in 2013, leaving to become media manager at Partick Thistle FC, I was returning to the business older and (hopefully) wiser, but with the same enthusiasm for the job that I had when I first walked through the doors as a fresh faced graduate.

I closed the door on my Firhill career with a heavy heart, but the timing was right for me to move on to a new challenge. However, despite the excitement about what lay ahead, I never quite managed to shake a lingering concern at the back of my mind.

At first I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what the feeling was but, eventually, I realised it was the thought that, like a favourite movie from your childhood, some things are best left in the past (see Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – casual racism, honky effects and a plot that even George Lucas struggled to justify, means repeat viewings bore little resemblance to the swashbuckling adventure I remember watching as an eight year old).

It’s fair to say my brain was going at 100mph. What if returning to BIG proved to be a step backwards? What if it wasn’t as good as the last time? Was it a terrible career move to be returning to a past employer?

Despite my slight misgivings, it didn’t prevent me from rocking up to the office on my first day back, ready and eager to please. After reacquainting myself with colleagues and friends that remained from my first spell and, having been introduced to all the new faces, I sat down, logged on and, almost immediately, any concerns that still lingered evaporated.

They evaporated not because of the warm welcome I received (which I absolutely did), but because I very quickly realised that this didn’t feel like going back to something old, it felt like something entirely new. It felt like a completely different business to the one I had left.

For some context, BIG was already more than a decade old when I first joined the payroll but it still felt like a young company. Everyone worked extremely hard and there was a really good sense of camaraderie. We produced superb results for our clients and BIG had an excellent and growing reputation as it spread south of the border for the first time.

It was a fantastic place to work, filled with talented and diligent people. That being said, the industry was still getting to grips with the growth of digital media and naturally there were challenges associated with this. We had digital clients and PR clients, and occasionally they would cross over but in those rare cases there wasn’t an integrated feel to our approach – the digital guys worked their magic and we got our clients in the papers. It worked well but it always felt like we were missing a trick.

Fast forward a few years and, while all the good things are still there, the company has grown, and matured massively.

By lunchtime on my first day back, I could see that I had returned to a business that was truly integrated, with marketing, digital, design and PR teams across the business working together to provide a complete and comprehensive package to our clients.

We have fantastic, creative talent with a massive variety of experience which covers a wide range of specialisms. A dedicated marketing team ensures we are able to deliver varied and complex campaigns involving everything from social media to web development. There is properly established communication between us PRs and the digital and creative wizards across the office and we’re now a business that is not only capable of but is also regularly delivering fully integrated campaigns for even the biggest brands. For sure, there are still areas that we can build on and improve, as with any business, but the progression is clear and it’s exciting to be part of an organisation that now feels capable of doing some really exciting things. I for one am glad to be back and, resurrecting the Indiana Jones comparison from earlier, I’m happy to say that this definitely feels more like a Last Crusade kind of career chapter than a Temple of Doom one – I just hope it doesn’t end up going all Crystal Skull!

George Francis – Account Manager

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