Happy Birthday Firefly – 23 years and still going strong!

Happy Birthday Firefly – 23 years and still going strong!

Claire Walker

Claire Walker

As it was our birthday last week, we thought we would take a look back to see how the world of work and PR has changed in the years since Firefly’s launch, on 1st August 1988.

In August 1988, we had our own PCs on our desks with green monitors and a LAN connecting us to the printer! We thought this was sheer luxury. Now everyone at Firefly has a laptop, we have a wireless network and cloud based technology, so we can work from anywhere (even the EAT cafe next door, even in Soho Square). We are free to roam.

The dial-phone and archaic fax machine were our main communication methods, and we posted letters, press releases, monthly reports and sent the occasional telex if it was ‘really’ important. Now we have 42” plasma screens with live Twitter feeds and updates, we have iPads and smartphones with cloud access, and we make individual and group Skype calls in-between offices and with our clients. We choose to use mobile phones and Bluetooth headsets, but even our trusty landlines boast IP telephony, allowing us to re-route calls and all that clever stuff.

In 1988 we used to have fixed desks and almost put down roots in our territory. Now we easily switch places every few days, choosing who we should sit next to on that day when conducting a group sell-in, or collaborating on a special document, pitch or presentation. It can be a land-grab in the morning to see who gets a window seat. Actually on crazier days, when everyone comes to Soho, it can be a land-grab to get a seat at all, otherwise you have to work in the meeting rooms (or EAT or the park) over our wireless network.

In 1988 we were deliberating over how many pages our printed company brochure should be? Now we have an interactive, constantly changing website, a brand new Facebook page (please like us!) and a stream of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn updates and discussions. In 1988 we used to throw huge parties and hang out with the media in the evenings, and we miss those days. We made great friends, people we are still in contact with now. Nowadays too much correspondence is done over email, social networks and the phone. It’s all got a bit serious! We had a swarm of Fireflies going to the UKTJPR event last week to meet up with some old media mates and make some new contacts.

In 1988 dress codes were so formal. One client wouldn't allow the girls on the team to wear trouser suits to meetings at their offices – it was against the rules! Now we still respect our client dress codes, but everything is far more relaxed. Suits and ties are for rare occasions and we are generally much more comfortable in what might have been termed ‘holiday wear’ in 1988.

Some things haven’t changed. We still catch tubes and buses to work. Writing standards are high. It’s quiet in the mornings and the volume goes up as the day goes on. Clients quite rightly expect their PR agency to be perfect wordsmiths, and want clever thinking and unbridled creativity and boundless enthusiasm to deliver results, again and again.

Meanwhile, we’ve got two years to plan a humdinger of a party to celebrate our quarter century in August 2013!!

 

[caption id="attachment_3320" align="alignleft" width="300"] Our first office in August 1998[/caption]

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Discussion

  1. Good Lord when you put it like that Claire!!! Good times 🙂

  2. Happy birthday Fireflies!

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  4. I was there – and they were good times – I am feeling quite nostalgic!  Best love, good luck and happy birthday from an original Firefly – Rhiannon

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