Jenny Quigley-Jones tells Business Matters what the motivation was to found Digital Voices and what advice she would give to others
What do you currently do?
At Digital Voices, we build powerful YouTube creator campaigns with world leading, courageous brands. By creatively pairing these companies with YouTube channels, we facilitate compelling storytelling at scale and help brands access young – or more disparate audiences – groups of people who don’t often engage with adverts. Our YouTube-obsessed team and data-driven mindset enables us to create highly-engaging, long-form, branded video, that audiences love to watch.
When working with Rolls-Royce and the Royal Air Force, for example, we listened to their concerns and spent a lot of time hand-picking the right creators and overseeing all video ideas and production, to make sure they get the best from our campaigns.
We’re a very honest agency and guarantee a minimum number of organic views on YouTube for every campaign. Normally outperforming the guarantee by between 4-10 times. We also tend to outperform traditional agency partners, so once our clients have worked with us and trust us, they tend to come back.
Our relationships with creators mean that our campaigns excel. We spend a lot of time liaising with both content creators and clients, to find brilliant ideas that work for both parties and perform exceptionally well. With YouTube, creativity wins. Digital Voices strives to balance a creative and data-driven approach.
We are the only neutral Influencer Marketing agency in the UK specialising in YouTube. Being neutral means we do not manage talent – but source the best creators for every campaign using data.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
To be completely honest, I wanted the opportunity to define my own path, away from the shelter of large organisations. It often feels like you can’t really fail in these environments, so I wanted to test myself as an entrepreneur.
In terms of the vision of Digital Voices, I was driven by the passion of building and empowering a new industry of creators and helping them see their own value as entrepreneurs.
When I worked at YouTube, my role was to help YouTube creators grow organically – without spending money on ads. I worked with over 500 YouTube channels in two years. Brands didn’t know how to grow organically on the platform or access these creators.
We want to change that by helping brands understand YouTube and run bespoke campaigns with the best creators out there. Our platform-first approach, specialist data and exceptional team, means we can help brands get the best return on investment,
Finally, I recognise the power of influencer marketing. We specialise in campaigns that actually say something – which is one of the reasons we want to shift the discussion on influencer marketing from Instagram to YouTube. YouTube is the platform where people watch content for the longest – it has the deepest engagement of any social platform.
Who do you admire?
I admire people who marry innovation and deep resilience, to make the world a better place. One exemplary is Muhammad Yunus – who moved beyond his academic career to build a business around giving some of the poorest people in the world tools to escape poverty and build businesses.
We work with some inspiring YouTube creators, who are shaping a nascent industry and transforming the aspirations of young people across the world to become content creators and entrepreneurs. They work incredibly hard and produce high-value and long-form content, that consistently engages and educates viewers. This admiration of content creators drives the team at Digital Voices to help them become fairly-valued entrepreneurs.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Looking back, I wouldn’t have stressed so much or taken failure so personally. Something that feels like the end of the world as it goes wrong, is often only a short-term setback. You’re also likely to learn more from an experience that doesn’t go the way you’ve envisioned; it teaches you to adapt and innovate in response to challenges.
What defines your way of doing business?
There is a great quote from Maya Angelou: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it”. I fundamentally believe in running a business where everyone on the team continues to learn – especially from each other – and works hard to make something they’re proud of.
I don’t believe success or winning is a zero-sum game. If we can’t do business in a way that makes us proud or lets us sleep at night, we don’t need the money. We’ve turned down a lot of campaigns from industries we are not willing to support and it’s made the team stronger and happier, and our growth more sustainable.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
When starting Digital Voices, I wasn’t bold enough in the beginning and tried to spread myself and our product offering too thinly. My advice is to start a business by choosing a problem you want to solve or product you want to build; then go for it whole-heartedly.
I like to say that people should “run at walls”. Set yourself an ambitious target and run – literally sprint – straight at it. The worst that can happen is you smack into the wall, fall on your arse, then pick yourself up and pivot onto the next problem.
Failure shouldn’t be something that embarrasses or scares you. Believe me, the only people sad enough to watch and point if you fail, are sitting at home, too scared to take risks themselves. You’ve only got yourself to be accountable to and – yes, it’s cheesy – but the biggest failure is explaining to yourself why you didn’t ever try.
When it comes down to it, you need to be able to look at yourself in the mirror every morning and feel as though you’re trying, learning, growing – doing something. That can be in your personal or professional life. But don’t waste life being scared of what other people might say if you fail.