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OggaDoon – An Ethical Guerrilla Comms Business
Athena was born from Zeus’ head after he suffered a severe headache. How was your company born?
After many years of rumination! I didn’t take a straight line to being an entrepreneur because I am, at heart, a storyteller and it’s those skills that have taken me on this interesting adventure and who knows where next.
After turning around a wine bar from loss to profit in less than a year at the age of twenty-five, I knew I wanted to make a difference through my entrepreneurial skills. After being a partner in an environmental comms firm, I recognized two things: that there needed to be more focus on the world we lived on and how we could save it, and that I wanted to do comms differently.
OggaDoon was born: an ethical guerrilla comms business dedicated to working with brands with passion and purpose. I have built the business to deliver globally to clients of all sizes.
How would you describe OggaDoon to a 3 year old?
OggaDoon tells the stories of companies and people in them that are doing good in the world. Some of those companies are building sustainable houses, some are helping cities to save the planet, and some are helping us to understand our bodies more. No matter who we work with, they need to love what they do.
Why is OggaDoon different from the rest?
The phrase ‘ethical marketing company’ can make people raise their eyebrows, but I don’t see any conflict in accelerating a brand’s growth through sharing impact, and holding to strong ethical values.
It’s why we work with businesses with passion and purpose, and why we keep to very strong environmental actions: working in an office that uses renewable energy and rainwater in plumbing, going paperless over 8 years ago, and rewarding team members with extra holiday days if they don’t fly.
We’re also underestimated at times. Whether you meet us in our London or Bristol offices, we punch well above our weight for the team size, because I have outstanding people in the business.
OggaDoon is given $1 million, how would you spend/invest?
Ohhh, great question! The natural bon viveur in me would say celebration.
The business Caroline says the first stage is to give 10% to one of my favourite green charities – it wouldn’t feel right hanging onto all of that when the world is burning, flooding, and literally being destroyed by human actions.
Then I think I’d reward the team with a little something. We work hard and a work/life balance is critical to me, and so I’d like to thank them directly.
Lastly, if the business doesn’t need investment, it would be becoming a comms/marketing partner and investor to a number of startups that just have the edge.
Where is OggaDoon headed now? What’s the next big thing you’re striving to achieve?
We’re in the middle of a big growth spurt, with our reach spread across the UK and further afield. We’re working with some seriously interesting brands in cybersecurity, healthtech, and edtech, green tech and prop tech five areas of ‘tech for good’ that I’m really passionate about as well as exciting businesses in the green space and those led by social value
I think the next big thing I’m striving to achieve is maintaining the happiness in the team, and using new technologies to measure the successful impact to our clients. It’s all to contribute to becoming a recognised leading business in guerrilla marketing and PR.
With today’s experience, what advice would you give to yourself on your first day as a business owner?
“Caroline: you were right. Sustainability and clever technologies that empower sustainable changes are absolutely the future. You may have spotted this earlier than everyone else, and you may feel a little on your own right now, but you are going to see such changes in the world. Soon there will be more businesses than you can count trying to make a positive difference, and you’re going to be in the heart of it all. Also, just do it.”
[Read More: Can a Sustainable Business Be Profitable?]
How would your employees describe you?
It’s a strange position, being an entrepreneur: you work so closely with your team, seeing them more hours in the day than your significant other!
I think my employees would describe me as passionate, driven, detailed, an observer of life with social witticisms and a food-lover. And dog-lover as well, of course – Bonnie the dog is our intern.
Caroline Macdonald, CEO and Founder of OggaDoon
It’s Women’s History Month – name 3 ladies who inspire you to be a better leader and tell us how and why?
Clearly number one is my Mum. She achieved so much and without a fuss or fanfare. She taught me to simply go on about my business, that anything is achievable.
Queen Elizabeth II. I’m not particularly a royalist nor a republican but this woman has shown tremendous leadership, not always getting it right, but she is progressive and cool. You have to admire her qualities of a steady hand on a ship that is rocky at times.
Jasmin Paris. Breastfeeding whilst winning a tough terrain race shows you what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.
You’re the only woman entrepreneur in a room full of men talking business – how does that unfold?
Just like any other meeting; it’s pretty commonplace for me. Actually, running a wine bar set me up. Frequently, the customers would become merry, shall we say, and at times, some of the men became belligerent. Using the feminine guile, I diffused many situations that could have escalated. Now in a room full of men talking business, it’s good fun. You engage with a few light touch questions, then go in for the killer inquisition. Then they know you know your stuff.
I think I’ve been fortunate. In the almost ten years of running my own business, I’ve never been treated badly simply based on my gender – but then, I think that’s because our results speak for themselves.
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