Realising there was an opportunity for the company she worked for to better leverage digital content, Clarissa Bloom took an idea to her boss and has now undergone a comprehensive job role overhaul off the back of it.
Bloom wanted Procoal to think outside the box a bit and make her the company’s dating and relationship expert. Now an increasingly trusted voice in the space, she has since appeared on Talk Radio and ITV as a dating expert and morphed into a “brand representative” for the business, which produces teeth whitening powder and has a team of 11 based in Brighton.
Be the Business wanted to find out what encouraged Bloom to take the idea to her superiors, and how Procoal has created an environment which encourages this kind of thinking, as part of our monthly “From the coal face” series of articles.
(1) Please tell us a bit about your day-to-day role – what you get up to and how that supports the business?
I was the content executive for Procoal, largely writing content for the product packaging and ads. However, that has now shrunk to 20 per cent of my time. I’m now largely working on dating and relationship articles, which will be part of the new blog section, as well as doing the occasional media appearance.
(2) What interests you about the way in which a company is run?
I love it when a company is open to creativity from their staff. It is easy to wrap up a company in bubble wrap and bureaucracy, but the benefit to working for a slightly smaller company is less people to sign off an idea and more creative freedom.
(3) What were you doing in your spare time that led you to pitch the idea of being Procoal’s dating and relationship expert?
I was ghost writing for two websites as a dating expert over the past 18 months and really enjoyed it. It was always amazing when there would be responses, emails or comments from people who were eager to meet the right person and wanted to share their gratitude.
(4) What was management’s response to your suggestion, and how did you communicate the value of what you were proposing to do?
I told Tom, our marketing manager, and I was a little nervous in the build up – thinking he’d laugh me out of the room. But he was a huge fan of the idea. He took myself and one other colleague into the meeting room and we drew up some ideas straight away and he begun researching areas and digital content I could start writing.
(5) Does this fit into your day-to-day or is it in your spare time?
They have given me complete freedom to spend three quarters of my time working on this. I obviously still need to handle product copy and the occasional ad copy, but my role has very much evolved and adapted. Most of my time is now spent writing incredibly fun and interesting stories.
(6) What has the impact been so far? How has it changed, even if in a small way, the way the company operates?
I am quite new to marketing and learning the ropes as I go, but this has helped me to get media attention and become an integral part of the marketing team. I also think it’s allowed my voice to be heard more. It’s promoted an atmosphere of open ideas, as once per week the whole company now joins together to combine ideas, regardless of level or department.
(7) Is Procoal a company which actively encourages staff to make suggestions on changing the way things are done – and if yes, how does it create a forum/environment to do so?
Yes I believe so. The owner, Yousaf Sekander, is very kind hearted and trusting and he is always happy to listen to ideas from anyone in the company. He promotes internal entrepreneurial ideas and projects, which creates a great atmosphere and sense of loyalty.
(8) What gives you the confidence to stand up for what you think is the best way of doing things?
Knowing that the people here won’t shoot down an idea or make you look stupid is important. I think a lot of people have ideas and you have to know they will listen and react to your idea, rather than stick up their nose.
(9) Have you ever had an instance in another job where you weren’t listened to?
When you are new to any industry you have a transition period where you feel largely ignored and your job is to listen and learn rather than speak up, which isn’t necessarily always the best.
I was learning every day in my previous job and loved it, however being slightly younger I had some recommendations on the social media aspect and it was largely ignored. The profile of my previous company was very “corporate”, yet they were targeting 18-25 year-olds who wouldn’t react well to the style of posts and it was frustrating to witness and know they wouldn’t listen to me.
(10) What advice would you give to other people who want to question the way something is done in the company they work in?
Don’t hesitate to speak up, but maybe if you are unsure, arrange a meeting with your manager and share your idea first. Just because something is in place, it doesn’t mean it is the right way, it could be that way simply because people haven’t questioned it or have got used to it, not because it achieves optimal results.
Read more from our “From the coal face” series: