Company of the Week - Boost Awards

Introducing Chris Robinson, MD, Frankie, project and office coordinator and Carrie, Graphic designer for Boost Awards.


So for starters can you help us get our heads round what Boost Awards do and what your roles involve within the company?


Chris: Boost Awards is what we call an “award entry consultancy”. This is where we help businesses pick, enter, and (40% of the time) win business awards. This might sound a bit niche and most people think “I didn’t know there was such a thing”... that is because we are the world’s first - founded back in April 2006. We are on the agency rosters of loads of big brands as the provider of this specific service, mostly writing award entries, and we help loads of small businesses too - who often have the more exciting innovative stories.

There are 20 of us. Mostly on payroll, and spread around the country. Our Platf9rm address is now our head office address though. I’m the founder and MD.

Carrie: I’m graphic designer here and responsible for making our award entries and marketing materials look pretty. I also send out our email marketing as well as setting up and maintaining our CRM. I tend to muck in with lots of things!

Frankie: I look after all the admin needs across the company alongside coordinating projects with our consultants. I dabble in a bit of everything really which is nice, no two days are the same.

What are the most satisfying elements of your jobs and what are the most exciting?


Chris: Unsurprisingly we get a massive buzz when clients win awards. Particularly when the win is either super competitive, or when they experience a win for the first time and get ‘that’ walk up on stage in front of up to 1,200 people. I love getting a “we won!!” text around 11pm (when most dinners finish). Clearly not all clients win, but we try and make them have more than one shortlisting at any dinner to reduce the chances of them going home empty handed. Also we love finding a killer angle for a story, something we know the judges will love. The other thing we do a lot of is measuring the impact of a project, campaign or initiative, and we can present new findings to the client to quantify just what a difference they made. It makes them glow with pride - a win whether they get the award or not.

Carrie: I love all things design and really enjoy the challenge of designing award entries and aligning them with clients’ branding (usually at break-neck speed!) My favourite things are creating icons and infographics but I do love a bit of document layout!

Frankie: Last year I had the opportunity to be a judge for a Customer Experience award scheme, I had so much fun and it was so exciting to see loads of our clients going up to win awards at the evening event, you normally don’t get to experience seeing your clients win first hand!

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What lead you both to doing your current roles (for example if you studied at university what did you do etc)?


Chris: I was driving back from the Dentists one day, returning to a marketing job I didn’t particularly enjoy and it came to me as a lightbulb moment. You see I had a bit of a reputation for writing winning award entries. I jacked in my job and set up Boost. The rest is history.

Carrie: I’ve been involved in lots of different aspects of the business over the years, but gradually got involved in prettying up our award entries and became driven to improve the standard of design across the business. A few years back I studied graphic design at Brighton City College and haven’t looked back!

Frankie: I have a very mixed background… I started out at as a ballet/contemporary dancer, then I became a hairdresser. Once I moved to Brighton, I fancied trying my hand in something quite different and here I am!

Who are the people in your life that you find most inspiring?


Chris: My granny was simply incredible. So positive and clever, forgiving and sensible. She was my inspiration as I grew up. When she sadly passed away it was my inheritance from her that I used to set up the business. I hope she supports that decision - I expect she would as she always stood by even my most odd life choices.

Carrie: My mum for her work ethic and being a role model for me and my sisters as a strong woman! Also Beyonce because Beyonce.

Frankie: My Mum without a doubt. She brought up five children on her own and she’s a total babe, she’s my hero!

What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?


Carrie: Death Valley, Nevada!

Frankie: My baby nephew!

If you could summarise your attitude to life in a catch phrase what would it be?


Carrie: Call me what you like, but don’t call me late to breakfast!

Frankie: My Grandpa always tell me to not worry about the things that I can’t control. Silly and simple but it helps to remember that sometimes.

You have just moved in to PLATF9RM, are you managing to feel settled?


Chris: Yes, all settled in now. Very happy with everything about the space (although can I please request a shower?) A great buzz about the place too.

Carrie: It’s lovely here, big change for us but we’re settling in! Looking forward to going to few of the socials :)

Frankie: Absolutely, I really love it here. Everyone has been so friendly, I felt settled on day one.

What drew you to PLATF9RM, where were you before?


All: We had our own office in Hove before, but as we are a flexi-working company and we’re based all over the country, it quite often ended up being a couple of us or just me rattling around an office on our own. We looked into shared office space and found PLATF9RM, we were head over heels as soon as we stepped in for a tour!

You may be aware but we’re opening up a new space in Hove Town Hall - which will have offices and coworking and a cafe - will you guys be hopping over to Hove come and check it out?


All: Absolutely, Hove Town Hall is really near our old office, so we know and love that area. We can’t wait to see it!


Thank you so much guys for taking the time to chat with us!

PLATF9RM Reveals Plans For Latest Hove Town Hall Development

Brighton & Hove’s largest independent coworking and business community, PLATF9RM is turning a previously vacant area of Hove Town Hall into the company’s first semi-public venue. The new ground floor development will connect to PLATF9RM ’s existing space on the second floor of Hove Town Hall, which has been home to more than 200 members and 50 businesses since 2017.

Artist's impressions have today been released of the latest PLATF9RM venue, which is opening its doors on Friday 1st March. With space for up to 200 people, the bold ground floor development of more than 4,000 sq foot will breathe life back into the building, accentuating its original soft-brutalist features and exposing shuttered concrete previously unseen for over 25 years.

The development follows an £11 million renovation of the iconic Brutalist building in 2016. The Church Road undercroft that PLATF9RM is converting was last open to the public as a walkway more than 25 years ago. In the intervening years it was divided into separate spaces that were used for council offices, parking permit collection, a toy library and even a wedding room.

PLATF9RM ’s new members-only coworking lounge and informal meeting area will benefit from an adjacent cafe and bar space that will also be open to the public from spring 2019.

The mezzanine floors will feature four meeting rooms available to members and non-members, including a 12-person boardroom with elevated views across the atrium. Downstairs will house showers for cycling commuters, artwork, bar seating and a 100-person plus event space with a full community programme of social and cultural events. The outside will also be opened out into a cafe working space.


Seb Royle, CEO and founder of PLATF9RM , said: “Brighton & Hove has the most incredible blend of talented people and businesses, but they have long lacked a home that matches their ambitions.


PLATF9RM exists to support new and exciting ways of working and enable freelancers and businesses to spark new connections. This venture is a physical representation of that vision. “It will be the first PLATF9RM venue with a high street presence and public access. We’re bringing this right into the community to support our city’s unique working culture, while rejuvenating the high street at the same time.”


Council leader, Daniel Yates, said: “Brighton & Hove is at the forefront of new ways of working, and it’s great to see an unused part of Hove Town Hall being brought back to life, offering co-working space for people wanting to work, network, host meetings and do business.


“Collaborative workspaces that foster connections between small businesses and freelancers are an essential part of the ecosystem for this thriving part of our economy. We’re very happy to be supporting PLATF9RM in transforming this space to serve our diverse business community.”

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PLATF9RM ’s two existing venues at North Road’s Tower Point and the second floor of Hove Town Hall on Church Road are already home to 650 members across 200 businesses ranging from startups to larger employers. The new venue, especially aimed at freelancers, will have room for 200 more members.


Anthony Prior, Director of Bagelman, added: “As a local high street business owner it’s encouraging to see this aspirational development bringing together the trends for freelance working and cafe culture. We need people with new ideas to evolve the high street and this hybrid between work, leisure and community could be part of the puzzle.”


PLATF9RM members use a blend of private offices and collaborative working environments among beautifully fitted surroundings. They can choose various packages ranging from unlimited access or a set number of hours per week starting from £99 a month. Packages above the entry level 40hr/per month membership allow members to move between venues as much as they like, with the latest venture at Hove Town Hall being no exception.


More than 50 new members have already signed up to join once the building opens. To book a tour of the space contact jess@platf9rm.com or visit www.platf9rm.com/groundfloor.


About PLATF9RM

PLATF9RM is a thriving business community in Brighton & Hove, creating contemporary workplaces for its members. From freelancers and contractors to local businesses of any size, members have access to a range of desk space, from collaborative and shared working environments to private office rooms. PLATF9RM also runs a programme of educational and social events encouraging members to connect and reinforce the collaboration the space is designed for.

Set up in 2016, the co-working space has grown to over 600 members across both the Brighton and Hove sites. The company’s latest venture, a renovation of Hove Town Hall’s ground floor into the first publicly accessible PLATF9RM space, has already begun and is due to complete in Spring 2019.

For more information and interview requests please contact:

Mila Brazzi/Vicky Welstead at Fugu 01273 327 514 PLATF9RM@fugupr.com

How To Be Freelance And Maintain A Happy Relationship With Social Media

In 2019, the notion of not having a social media presence seems as archaic as using a typewriter. For most of the UK’s two million professional freelancers, it’s unthinkable. Whether you prefer Instagram, Facebook. Twitter, LinkedIn or Myspace (the latter of which some strange diehards still apparently use) our pages provide a space to oh-so-humbly show off our achievements whilst connecting us with a digital community of like-minded souls. Yet our relationship with social media is at the heart of a mental health crisis.

Studies have suggested social media is highly addictive, likely to fuel feelings of isolation, and adept at causing us to compare ourselves negatively with others. Freelancing creates its own unique set of pressures that have been shown to increase risk of poor mental health, so how can freelancers stay connected whilst staying productive, proactive and happy? We asked some experts (and expert freelancers) to find out.


Stick social media on your to-do list

Using social media can seem like a reflex: in queues; on the commute; yes, in the toilet. This is especially true when you’ve just posted a link to some work on Twitter and you’re desperate to feel the sweet dopamine rush of those fresh likes and RTs. Why not build social media time into your working day instead?

“Add social media time to your to-do list to keep it managed,’ says Kenny Wood, founder of digital agency, Indigo Melody. “Develop healthy habits to eliminate the urge to look at social media in the first place. This can be done in loads of ways. I looked for the cues that cause the craving for social media (like finishing an important task or waiting for a meeting to start) and replacing the act with something more productive, like reading a saved article I’ve been meaning to go back to.”


You are, in fact, not alone.

Working from home and being your own bossperson may seem a dream. But it can be a lonely game, especially on the dark days when a pitch gets turned down or a hard-won client is negative about your work. Social media – harnessed correctly – can alleviate this.

“Social media can be used as a great resource for freelancers as a way to connect with other people who are in a similar situation,” says Nicola Jagielski, Associate Director of Clinical Services at Health Assured. “With over two million freelancers working in the UK and a growing number of social media groups, industry support networks and meet-ups, the community of freelancers is only going to get better.

“Having an online community solely for freelancers to turn to for discussions around work, mistakes or successes, can be a huge benefit to someone’s mental health and can massively reduce the feeling that you’re going it alone.”

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Dig a little deeper

Ever find yourself mindlessly jumping between Instagram and Twitter and back again when you’re got a 30-second queue window in Pret? It could be the sign of a deeper anxiety. “When you keep going back to your apps you are trying to achieve a change of state,” says Sally Baker, senior therapist, author and speaker. “You can start to feel anxiety, even under your radar; if you’ve been feeling like it for a long time you might not register it anymore.

"So you try and distract yourself by a number of ways and social media can be another of those. It’s just a coping mechanism. What’s best is to clear the anxiety.” This could mean speaking to a GP or mental health professional. “You can find out what your coping mechanisms are but eventually you’re going to need someone to sit down with you and pick your subconscious brain apart.”


Say goodbye to the Twitter app

According to Hootsuite, 326 million people use Twitter every day. Whilst Twitter is undoubtedly a useful tool for amplifying work and staying up-to-date with news, it can also feel like there’s a world of vitriol and negative energy burning at your fingertips.

“I deleted Twitter from my phone and felt better within hours,” says Will Lyth, a conversion copywriter from Brighton. “It’s just too noisy. And as there’s a character limit, you never get anything to hold your attention – it’s just a battleground for headlines, spam and controversy. “


Focus your evenings on personal relationships

As freelancers, we can fall prey to the habit of using likes and shares as metrics for business and personal success. But online pals shouldn’t take the place of IRL friends. Finding time to maintain your real relationships will be infinitely better for your happiness, so initiate a social media cut-off point in the evening.

“Have a cut-off point toward the end of your day as part of your pre-sleep routine,” says. Hope Bastine, mindfulness and sleep psychologist “You can use Downtime [which will stop notifications from apps] option in your Screen Time settings on the iPhone to support this practice. Once you’ve applied your Downtime, make use of your time to connect to loved ones. Often our digital addiction is a consequence of our loneliness and isolation epidemic.”


Don’t be scared to unfollow

You can’t like everyone you meet, right? The same principle works for online, yet we often still follow people who annoy, upset or cause us anxiety. For freelancers this can be especially hazardous as it’s oh-so-easy to compare yourself negatively with other people in your field.

“Don’t be afraid to take time out or unfollow someone who makes you feel rubbish, insecure, or like a failure,” says Hope Bastine. “Remember that It may not be their fault! But it's all about you.”


But...embrace the success of your peers

It’s certainly easy to compare your achievements negatively with your peers, especially if you’re having a slow month and their work is getting praise from all corners of the social media universe. Why not try – rather than suffering under the weight of jealousy – turning those feelings into something positive by cheering and sharing their great work instead?

“It’s great to see people you know, and respect doing really well,” says Will Lyth. “You might know about some of the tough things they were dealing with behind the scenes.”

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Stop using your phone as an alarm clock

“Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock,” says Sally Baker. “Keep it away from the bedroom. When people scroll through social media first thing in the morning, they are procrastinating and putting themselves under pressure. If it’s at the end of the day it’s because they’re bored, slightly tired, off-kilter, maybe looking for a bit of a boost. Make the bedroom a place of sex and sanctuary..”

Sally cites Ariana Huffington (founder of The Huffington Post) and her sleep-espousing book The Sleep Revolution as inspiration if sleeping without your phone under your pillow sounds like a recipe for acute anxiety about missing a vital DM on Instagram. “If she can survive without a phone in her bedroom, we all can.”


Download these apps and read these books

There’s a world of apps aimed at keeping you on-task and away from the temptation of a mindless timeline scroll. [RescueTime][0] will give you detailed stats of your computer usage, whilst Chrome extension [StayFocusd][1] limits the amount of time you can spend on productivity-wasting websites. If you want to go a little deeper check out the [The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How To Change][2] by Charles Duhigg. It gives loads of insight into the nature of habit loops and how to break them. Also, [Why Social Media Is Ruining Your Life][3] by Karen Ormerod is the ultimate millennial social media tome and should arm you with some positive habits.

Read these other freelance guides on PLATF9RM Press

How To Be A Freelance Writer And Stay Zen

9 Crucial Tips For Going Freelance

Member of the Week - Benji Lamb

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This week we have Chinese Digital Marketing master Benji Lamb sharing with us a little bit about his 2018 and plans for 2019.

Can you tell us a bit about Gentleman Marketing Agency and your role within it?


So we are GMA and are one of China’s largest domestic, homegrown digital agency, our founder, Phillip, was born and bred in Shanghai. We begun life by specialising in Chinese brands, now we’ve gone the other way round, specialising in international brands. Though we do get a lot of Chinese brands, we localise and adapt in our market. When I joined we were 5 people in a little box room and now we’re just over 70 people. We’re the largest independent agency in China, we’re not owned under an umbrella; a pure start up.

What’s been your most exciting project?


Probably Vitabiotics, the UK vitamins company. Not the most sexy thing, but it excites me the most because I get to work really closely with Tej Lalvani, one of the dragons, he’s a really fascinating character, very smart about how he’s expanding into China. They’re selling very very well in China, it’s a very flagship british case study. It’s a huge success. It bucks the trend of China being a black hole market. It’s rewarding when something goes well, not sexy, but still exciting.

Anything on the horizon this year worth mentioning?


Yeah, we’re opening a UK office, which I’m spearheading, so that’ll be really exciting. We’re also opening in France and Berlin and Taiwan: four new offices. We’re in a place where we’re aggressively trying to grow. It’s a David and Goliath kind of mentality, but we’re winning those pitches because we’re more of a team on the ground. We’re winning them because I really care about the UK projects as well, I want to see British business winning in this market, with Brexit, it’s really important we do well in China, so I really give a damn. It’s close to my heart. The USP of being a proper born and bred chinese agency is working in our favour as well.

How long have you been at PLATF9RM and what keeps you here?


I’ve been here for 8 months, I took some time out, but I’ve been on the books for eight months. What keeps me here is: I’ve made some really good friends, I like the vibes, I just enjoy myself. I’m more productive because I’m happier. I’ve built a network of relevant people in different industries, I’m doing more work with people on the music and photography side. Forming those relationships in a more organic way. It’s easy to organise meetings when you’re working on the same floor. And the beers good on a Friday, no complaints.

What do you do outside of PLATF9RM? Word on the grapevine is you’re a musical soul, what do you play?


I play guitar and I sing and play a bit of keys and synths and bits. I play in a dream pop outfit, which I started, we’re called Pavillion, not the most subtle Brighton band name, but crazily it wasn’t taken. We’re ambitious dream pop, big sounding four piece. Evidently I need to be a lot better at hyping us up; some people might like it, some people might not. First thing I’ve done musically for a while, so I’m getting back my confidence, but fragility is definitely not a bad thing in music.

Any creative plans for 2019?


Yeah, we’ll be launching the Pavilion project, our debut album is out in March, we’ll see how that progresses really. It’s a big unknown. We’re doing some work with Julian Tardo, he’s worked with War on Drugs and Fair Weather Friends on their debut. The creative process is moving forward with him; lots of writing and a bit of recording. I’m gonna need a better wardrobe for performing, get creative with that, look more inspiring.

Favourite album of 2018?


The 1975 - A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, the production on that album is really fresh. And Wild Nothing - Indigo, really love the production on that too, really restrained in his delivery, but I really like that, it’s a real step forward. They’ll be playing Komedia later in the year and surprisingly it’s not sold out yet.

Any tips for balancing your side projects and working life?


What I do is I finish my marketing work and then I’ll move to somewhere else in the office, I never sit in the same place. This is a lame one, I use two different browsers, I use chrome for work and safari for personal. I could bounce down to floor 5, it’s nice to put yourself in that different space. It’s a case of prioritising.

You live in Hove but are most often based in Brighton, is there a reason behind this?


I don’t use the Hove one cos it’s too close to home. You have a walk to work, need that separation. I live basically next to the hove one, so that’s the only reason I don’t use it. I made friends and got comfortable here I guess.

Thank you Benji!

If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.