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  • Writer's pictureGary Burns

1 Year at 1UP

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

On May 9 last year we launched 1UP PR. Well, publicly at least: we were actually registered the previous month, on April 12 (and had been trading for a few weeks even at that point). We didn’t launch to a huge fanfare, it was something of an afterthought amongst a small but busy team to go out on Twitter — and by extension, LinkedIn and Facebook, etc — and, essentially, tell people we were ‘a thing’.

1UP PR birthday cake, a pixelated cake with the 1UP heart logo below the candle

Years ago I would have been mortified by this, i.e. a company set up to publicise stuff being so — apparently — laissez faire about managing its own profile. In further crimes against publicity, we only replaced our ‘website coming soon’ page with the site you’re looking at now a few short weeks ago. Again, nearly 20 years ago when I launched my first comms business, it had a full site from day one. Because in the ‘noughties’ you really couldn’t just not have one!

So, what is the point I am making here: that we’re not bothered about our own brand? Maybe we’re just too cool to care? No. Though that would be a bold first blog post! It’s actually one I’ve been aware of in a range of different roles since I wound that first business up in 2008; it’s just really not about us, is it? We’re here to publicise our client’s work, their products, their achievements. It’s about the work, it’s always about the work.

1UP was fortunate enough to start out life with a small but stirring roster of clients. Our first year has been focussed on ensuring we find the best possible way of working with each one of them. Demonstrating to them that we understand their wants, needs and wishes and that we’re capable of tailoring our approach to accommodate them. After all, they placed a huge amount of faith in us when they came to 1UP as a startup agency and we, rightly, set about repaying that faith to the best of our abilities.

In some way, shape or form, we’d worked with them all before but it didn’t sit right with me, or the team I’d brought in, that we’d simply continue those relationships in the same vein. We owed them more than trading on the fact that they liked us, or the way we’d previously worked together; especially as we now had the remit to find new ways to help.

Too often PR proffers an unhelpful and templated approach to client relationships. Kick-off calls with new clients are barely past the introductions and someone is asking a studio about their first press release. Ironically, it’s usually a question accompanied by one of those stock PR phrases: ‘You never get a second chance to make a good first impression!’ Of course, it’s true, you often don’t. You should, however, get plenty of chances to familiarise your new agency with the nuances of your project before they’re reaching for the brass tacks; pinning you to a premature rehearsal of ‘what you’d like to tell the world about this game that has become your life’.

This is especially true of the video games industry, where those projects are hugely diverse, with different genres (and sub-genres) as well as manifold audiences and fandoms. It’s also one where your monetisation models might need a strategy all of their own; before anyone even starts talking about the game. Understandably then, 1UP’s first year has been about setting the tone for what’s to come from us. Drilling down into what works for the clients we have and engaging them in open and honest conversations about what’s actually useful to them — and, perhaps more importantly, what isn’t.

After approaching 16 years in this industry, arguably, this year has been the most instructive for me. Liberation from the conventions of working the way someone else would have you work is, obviously, great — but you need to know what to do with that freedom when it comes along. You also need a team prepared to work that way when it does. I’m happy that we’ve stayed true to our principles and to our clients. It has been a wonderful grounding for the years of growth we have ahead of us.

Want to get in touch? Have a game you can’t wait to share with media? Drop us an email here.


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