The story of Magenta

This week is National Storytelling Week. A week of tales, narratives, and reflections on the past, we thought, why not tell the story of Magenta? And what better way to frame it, than to pull up a metaphorical chair or two for you at the very kitchen table we were founded at.

So, sit back, relax, and read the story of Magenta…

The first chair: our inception

In February 2011, our founder Cathy Hayward was seven years into heading up FM World, now Facilitate. Though her time at the magazine was successful, she needed a fresh challenge.

The need for new-ness extended beyond Cathy’s job. Her three young children struggled in a smaller home in London, which led Cathy and her family to return to the area she grew up in. They moved to Brighton, which allowed for a better home, schools, a healthier lifestyle, and a base for her new business.

When looking for something different, PR seemed like the obvious choice for Cathy. She’d already dealt with many PR firms across 13 years of journalism. It was the larger PR agencies she had struggled to work with, who often lacked both knowledge of niche sectors like facilities management and lacked strong relationships with clients. Despite this, they did have many resources at their disposal.

In contrast, Cathy found freelance PR workers easier to work with, due to their strong understanding of clients, the market, and relevant titles. However, they were limited by a lack of resources, capping their capacity, and lacking the skillset of larger agencies.

Cathy identified a gap in the market for a PR agency that could build strong bonds with facilities management organisations and trades titles that freelancers could offer, as well as the wide skillset and high capacity of larger firms. It was in this gap that Magenta emerged.

The second chair: building our foundations

Cathy wanted to build an organisation that genuinely cared about its people, its wider community, and the work of its clients. That’s how Magenta’s ethos was developed: doing good work for good businesses doing good things. 

We have always strived for a strong work-life balance, and to develop a tight-knit and supportive internal work culture. Keeping people happy and supported is how we ensure our clients remain happy with our work.

We keep our people happy, so you’re happy too!

The third chair: developing our services

Over the last 13 years, we’ve developed strong ties with our clients across the FM sector, beyond cleaning services to security firms, engineering and fit out providers and more.

When we launched, we offered media and public relations, crisis communications, content marketing, design services and event management. This suite has grown and changed as we’ve become a more integrated communications agency, adding strings to our bow.

We now offer in-house design, internal communications, social media support and SEO optimisation help, supporting clients further in an increasingly digital world. We are also conducting research on AI and its impact on the communications sector, so we can always stay ahead of the curb.

Facilities management will of course always be central to the clients’ stories we tell. But the industry itself has changed and transformed over the years. The world of FM it no longer just workplace design and management, it involves managing energy consumption, sustainable building initiatives, real estate development and customer-facing relationships.

As FM has evolved, our work has evolved with it. We want to tell stories across the entire built environment sector.

The fourth chair: from telling our story, to telling yours

Now we’ve told Magenta’s story, what about the stories of our clients?

We have told stories in many different forms over the years. For SBFM, we helped Niall tell his story, of how his criminal history left him struggling to find work and a support network. Through SBFM’s Evolve initiative, he’s been able to not only find a job, but a support network catered to his specific needs.

From stories to fables, we’ve done it all. Namely, The Tale of the Forgotten Building and the Three Engineers for DMA Group uses an ancient storytelling technique to reflect on the failures of traditional approaches in the UK maintenance industries, and why they need to change.

We’ve also helped them document that very transformation elsewhere, including in the Times Enterprise Network. The piece, headlined ‘property maintenance firm strives to haul sector into 21st century, told the reader everything they needed to know regarding DMA Group’s transformative technology.

We’ve also written up experiments. With client Electronic Temperature Instruments (ETI), we helped them find out whether supermarket poultry cooking guidelines are overestimated, and if so, by how much. The study found that the cooking times indicated on the packet instructions from Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, and Lidl can result in severely overcooked chicken and wasted household energy use. We secured ETI two exclusives in the Times (print and online) with further coverage in the Daily Telegraph (print and online), The Week, and the Daily Mail (print and online).

Our communications work lets clients reach far and wide, ensuring that their stories are told.

How do you want your story to be told? Learn more about our business and how we can help you.

Jo Sutherland