• Georgia Hatton

Down & Dirty with: Carrie Rose, Rise at Seven

Rise at Seven was founded in the summer of 2019 by Carrie Rose and Stephen Kenwright. Made up of a team of 20, Rise at Seven is an inspirational example of a start-up creative SEO agency hitting the ground running. We chat to Carrie Rose, to find out more about the kick-ass Sheffield based agency.

Rise at Seven on voracious growth...

Marketing Island: In less than a year your agency, Rise at Seven, has seen magnificent growth. Founded in 2019, Rise at Seven boasts a proud client roster including Missguided, Matalan and Halfords. What would you say the key ingredient is to growing an agency so voraciously?

Carrie: I think the key ingredient is personal brand. Make sure that everyone in your field knows you as an individual are an expert at what you do by sharing advice, tips, learnings, case studies and being involved in industry discussions or conferences. Focus on building your personal brand and the growth will come. A lot of people focus on marketing the agency - when actually you need to market yourself, and that will in turn market the agency.

Rise at Seven on co-founding...

Marketing Island: Together with Stephen, you co-founded Rise at Seven. What inspired you to start an agency and what would be your one piece of advice to someone thinking about joining forces with somebody else in business?

Carrie: I spotted a gap in the market which I thought I could fill. We have leading agencies in advertising, TV, social media, design and although there are leading SEO agencies - there wasn't one that I thought was just as good at technical as they were at the creative side of SEO including digital PR. I saw a change in the market with large integrated agencies being less of a demand, and more specialist agencies being the focus and winning accounts. SEO was becoming more creative with search being at the heart of channels like YouTube, Pinterest and even Giphy and I didn’t see anyone owning it. I was inspired by agencies like Social Chain started by young founder Steven Bartlett and how he created an agency that did not brag about working with brands, brands bragged about working with them.

If you are considering starting an agency with someone else - absolutely do. Running an agency is hard, so it would be even harder doing it alone. Choose someone with the complete opposite skill sets and personality to you. Write down things you are good at and skills you're not. Choose that person that is good at the things you aren't. It helps when you can lean each other and own certain aspects of your business in terms of responsibility. Also prevents clash!

Rise at Seven on the importance of your environment...

Marketing Island: Rise at Seven is home to trendy offices based in Sheffield. As a founder of a new business, how important was it to ensure you got the surroundings right? What impact does this have on your agency team and on clients?

Carrie: For me the surroundings and office space is very important. It’s a huge part of your brand and culture and making sure it’s a place that your staff love to come to work at, feel creative in and showcase your values. This helped show new potential clients that we were a real agency, with the vision to grow so having this office helped paint that picture. We partnered with a local agency to rent desks from them and share the space. This was a great set up for a new business like ours and helped us with clients along the way by building relationships with others in other industries.

Now that we have become more established, we have actually just signed for a new office which we will be moving into in summer. It’s in the city centre of Sheffield and we are investing in making this the most fun and awesome office there is. You spend more time at work than you do your home and we want people to feel proud of being there. It also helps with brand image and showing clients you are who you say you are. It will feature a lot of pink, a matte black boardroom, a vlogging corner, a roll top bath in the centre of the room , a wall of fame, and a bar!

Rise at Seven on the meaning behind the name...

Marketing Island: Where did the name ‘Rise at Seven’ come from?

Carrie: The name Rise at Seven came purely from loving my job. Myself and Stephen worked at an agency called Branded3 together and we truly loved where we worked. We wanted to take that same feeling and inject it into our own agency, that passion to be the first, that drive to love Mondays just as much as Fridays, and the ability to spread positive energy. Rise at Seven does that.

Rise at Seven on marketing yourself throughout the pandemic...

Marketing Island: We’ve seen lots of reports of clients pulling spend, and consequently agencies holding back on self promo during the current pandemic. What’s your view on continuing to market yourself as an agency during this period?

Carrie: KEEP THE LIGHTS ON! Continue marketing yourself but think strategically of how to do that. Focus on people, culture, and what really is at the heart of the business. Show behind the scenes shots of people at home, what does it look like to see inside the CEO’s home and what does she/he do to keep their team motivated. People and brands are looking for advice, inspiration and tips more than ever so this is where you can really become a helpful agency showcase your knowledge and get your team members to be supportive in this too. The worst thing you can do right now is go quiet. Brands will soon come back fighting and you need to show them that you are still there and more ready than ever to get them back on the road.

Check out Rise at Seven on IG here.

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Marketing Island is an award-winning online marketing magazine set to inspire those in the digital industry.