A small company making a big difference: We are Vista, small Responsible Business 2017

  • Review of internal communications
  • Focus on the balance of culture and strategy
  • Broadening of the horizons of the employee led intiative "Green Team".

We are Vista, winner of the small Responsible Business of the Year 2017 award discuss what winning the prestigious award has meant for them.


Being a small company winner of the Responsible Business of the Year 2017, was an immensely proud moment for everyone in the business. It was a great achievement to be recognised for the work we have produced for our clients, supporting their desire to have a positive impact, and putting purpose at the heart of our business.

To be in the company of previous winners such as Jaguar, Land Rover, Fujitsu and Veolia, was a real milestone for a business of our size. The job is never done, and we’ve seen this as an opportunity to make even more of a meaningful difference.

Making a meaningful difference

As an SME, it’s always interesting to think “How can I really make a difference?”. Especially considering the challenges the government is facing, looking at global issues, and the role of large organisations in this country. Fascinatingly, more people work for an SME than they do for any other business in this country.

Winning the award has strengthened our position as experts in purpose-led business. We’ve continued to drive cultural change for household names and global brands; such as Lloyds Banking Group’s Helping Britain Prosper. Taking on new clients, we launched an award-winning campaign with VOXI, Vodafone’s innovative new youth brand, to 12,000 colleagues. We’ve also embarked on a new journey with British Airways, supporting them at an incredibly important time in their transformation.

The power of our network is phenomenal. We don’t just influence that brand; we influence their customers, their supply chain and their stakeholders. We can reach millions of people through our network of clients, whilst some brands may employ over 80,000 people, influence is not all about size, it’s about the potential of your reach.

Winning the award has also bolstered a shared sense of purpose within We are Vista, and engagement is up as a result. There is a sense of pride in the knowledge that we are setting a standard, and shaping what responsible business looks like across industries. We’re all working towards a common goal, and receiving recognition for our purpose-led business is a friendly reminder of the lasting impact that we really do have.

Realising potential

We set out in 2015 with a clear 5-year plan of what we wanted to achieve; with ambitious targets for our environmental impact, empowering our people with our purpose, driving cultural change with our clients, and strengthening the bond with our community partners.

Since winning the small company Responsible Business of the Year 2017, we’ve been working more closely with West Yorkshire Combined Authority to reduce our commuting carbon footprint and City Connect awarded us Bronze for our commitment towards being a bike friendly business.

Our employee-led initiative has evolved from the environmentally specific “Green Team”, becoming broader. “The Difference” meet up regularly to discuss how they can support not only our environmental objectives, but also to engage our charity and community partners, and to look internally at our wellbeing. They provide valuable insight into the motivations of our people, offering a fresh perspective on the goals of our business plan. This ownership boosts each colleague’s investment as a stakeholder in the business, and means our initiatives are not all led from the top down.

We’ve reflected on our internal communications as a whole, and have seen an opportunity to innovate. We recently launched Facebook Workplace, a collaborative platform offering social network features in a corporate environment. We successfully beat targets set by Facebook, gaining incredible engagement scores:

  • 100% signed up (20% above target)
  • 78% mobile app users (3% above target)
  • 88% weekly users

Since launching Workplace, collaboration across our full service agency is even more vibrant and reactive. We believe it is important to be able to adopt new technologies, adapting to the vision of an increasingly diverse workforce.

Creating a lasting impact
It’s important to get the balance between strategy and culture right. Having a good strategy, mixed with a poor culture will fail. Aligning strategy and culture, allows these key elements of the business to work in harmony.

Managing your goals with a realistic timeframe is key. Make the theory tangible, be ambitious and hold the ambition. Hold it for as long as you can, believe in the opportunity, believe in your purpose – and be a true advocate.

External benchmarking is very important. Hence for us, winning the award mattered. Winning gave us a new lease of life to go again, go bigger and be more ambitious for the future. Ask yourself some really honest questions… are the questions you’re asking yourself good enough? Because if they’re not, you won’t be getting a good enough answer back.

Find out more about We are Vista