Style or substance?

Two years ago, Faversham House’s Amanda Barnes outlined a bold vision for the future. How’s it gone since…

By James Evelegh

Style or substance?
Amanda Barnes (centre) and the Faversham House team at the AOP Awards.

Chief executives talk a good game. It comes with the territory. They have to be hyper-positive for the sake of their staff, customers and shareholders.

But, often, it’s hard to know where the spin stops and the substance starts. How much is PR puff and how much represents substantive progress?

Two years ago, we interviewed Amanda Barnes, chief executive of B2B publisher Faversham House. She was, of course, very upbeat.

Her ambition, she said, was to “become a thoroughly modern media business.” Whilst “most major websites still look like magazines, we are hoping to move beyond that.”

“Our underlying purpose is to inspire people – our staff and our customers – to make a difference, and to be a beacon of good practice.”

She acknowledged that “the revenue models many publishers like us are currently using … are under threat,” but felt that the company was in a good place: “For all the challenges we face, the good news for our business is that in the light of the changes we have made over the past couple of years, we are on track to take advantage of those opportunities.”

All very inspiring stuff, but fast forward two years and how’s it looking now? Has Amanda’s positive vision and optimism translated into business success? Were these heady words so much fluff, or was there real work going on beneath the surface?

Well … it would seem, the latter! Hooray!

At the recent PPA awards, the company was highly commended in the PPA Campaign of the Year award (for Mission Impossible) and its Utility Week brand won bronze in the PPA Magazine Brand of The Year. A couple of weeks later, at the AOP Awards, it got even better. Faversham House was named ‘Small Digital Publisher of The Year’.

It just goes to show, if you combine a bold customer-centric vision with the all-important follow-through, the sky’s the limit.