We recently said a fond goodbye to the Founders of our agency, Jonathan Turner and Nick Honey. The pair founded Together back in 2006, when they joined forces to combine their agencies. One day over a beer they said “why don’t we do this Together?”, and the rest, as they say, is history.
It may be the end of a chapter for our agency, but Jonathan and Nick have left behind a legacy that will last forever. We took some time with Jonathan and Nick to reflect upon their time at the agency, discussing their best moments at Together, fondest memories and plans for the future.
What motivated you both to start Together Agency?
Jonathan: I had achieved a lot in corporate life, and I wanted a change. I read an article by the CEO of a Footsie 100 company who said that he had spent 20 years climbing the corporate ladder only to find out when he got to the top, he was leaning against the wrong wall. This resonated with me and reflected my own feelings, so, I started a Sales Promotion, Experiential and Retail Marketing agency called Makari.
Nick: I had been working in client-side marketing for almost three years and one of the agencies that I worked with were brilliant creatives, but didn’t really get marketing. So I joined them.
It wasn’t easy circumstances, the agency ran into some serious difficulties and needed refinancing. I took out a second mortgage on my house, surrounded myself with a small but highly talented team, and we soon became a successful brand response agency called Solution 2.
Jonathan: Makari began collaborating with Solution 2 on a number of projects. One day over a beer we said “why don’t we do this Together?” and our agency was born.
As you embarked on this daunting challenge together, what qualities made each other a great business partner?
Nick: On one hand we’re very similar, but in other ways we’re very different – our skills complement each other and it just works!
JT’s very focussed on finance and has a memory and mental agility for numbers that’s utterly remarkable. He works incredibly hard with a tenacity like no one else, especially on new business. And his knowledge and expertise in brand strategy and retail has been at the centre of much of our growth over the years. And he’s good fun – we’ve always had a good laugh along the way which helps!
Jonathan: I have known Nick for almost 40 years. He is smart, analytical and has a great strategic brain. He has strong emotional intelligence and builds enduring relationships with clients and staff. He is probably one of the most articulate people I know and very persuasive.
As you look back on what you have achieved together, what are your proudest moments?
Jonathan: We have delivered some outstanding work for many well-known brands, often competing with big London agencies. We survived the 2008 recession and recent pandemic when many agencies went out of business. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the agency staff and the strong foundations of the team that we have built.
Nick: I agree with Jonathan – I’m most proud of the people at Together and the teams we’ve built over the years.
Seeing individuals grow and develop within the agency team has been a joy, but also seeing people moving on into impressive roles, either becoming senior level in top agencies, starting their own businesses or moving into freelancing. I’ve also got a lot of admiration for some of the career choices people have made – in recent years we’ve had three people move into teaching, as well as those that have taken career breaks to spend time with children. Both those choices are hugely giving to others.
In 2020, Together Agency was acquired by the MMR Group, a successful global consumer market research company. Why did you feel this was the right move for the agency?
Jonathan: We’d had a successful 5 years and doubled our profit in this time, so we were looking for our next stage of growth. We considered acquiring agencies ourselves, merging with another agency or being acquired.
Nick: And we weren’t getting any younger! I think when we hit our mid-50s, we knew we needed to look for a way that Together could go on beyond our tenure. There were lots of options, but the way forward with MMR seemed like the right one.
What makes the MMR Group such a good fit for Together?
Jonathan: MMR was the ideal partner for our agency. They provided Together access to many international clients and to some smart research tools and thinking, which will help drive our creativity. They are strong within FMCG, our heartland, and share similar values and culture as us. They have a progressive outlook and a very talented team. Nick and I immediately recognised MMR as a great fit for Together.
Nick: At the same time, I also believe that Together compliments the MMR Group. We bring a creativity and flair that gives a bit of va va voom (to coin a phrase) to MMR’s service offering, that was the whole idea behind them buying us.
What are you most excited about for the future of Together Agency?
Nick: I’m most excited about the potential of the new clients we’ve won in the last year as we rebuilt the agency following the impacts of Covid. I hope they will give Together a very exciting future. We have very quickly built some strong relationships and already delivered some great work.
Jonathan: Absolutely, and Together are currently going through a period of change, reshaping and developing the agency proposition and putting in place processes and systems to allow the agency to be more agile and efficient. I am confident that these initiatives and working collaboratively with other businesses in the MMR family will allow Together to continue to prosper.
Nick: That and the new proposition for the agency using Behavioural Psychology as a differentiator. It’s not easy, but if the agency can get a grip of this it will open doors very effectively.
Now that you have both taken a step back from the agency, what are your plans for the future?
Jonathan: To Sleep! It has been a challenging 2 years and I would like to recalibrate and take time to think about the future.
Nick: JT and I have been so totally immersed in setting up the agency for success during the handover, I’ve not really had a chance to think about it! I’ve had a few approaches for non-exec roles, I’ll probably do some pro bono, not-for-profit work, or maybe some consultancy. The one thing it won’t be is 10-12 hour days, 5-6 days a week!
Jonathan: For now, I have a garden landscaping job I need to complete. I’m also cycling the Outer Hebrides in June and learning to sail later in the year. Like Nick, I also plan to do some Non-Exec and consultancy work.
As is said, when one chapter ends, another must begin. On behalf of the staff, clients and the MMR Group, we wish Jonathan and Nick the best of luck in their future endeavours, and thank them for their time, energy and dedication to our agency. They will be dearly missed, and we can’t wait to hear about all of the exciting things the pair will no doubt get up to!
Together Agency is in safe hands going forward, and we have ambitious plans for the future. Guided by the expertise and industry expertise of the MMR Group, the future certainly looks bright. We have some exciting news which we will be sharing soon, so keep your eyes peeled and ears open!