With strong roots in the North East, and operating on a global scale, Durham-based internal communications consultancy, Inside Out, is celebrating its third year in business with the best performing year so far.
With Founder and Managing Director, Danielle Phillips at the helm, the business, that launched as the country went full throttle into lockdown, has successfully penetrated the tech, HE and cyber security sectors building an esteemed reputation across the field as highly experienced and connected digital transformation and cyber security communications consultants.
Over the last three years, Inside Out has seen a strong and rapid growth trajectory as it has built a portfolio of impressive national and international clients including Durham University, Arriva, British Business Bank, University of Cambridge, Estee Lauder, LearningMate, CyberNorth and Marriott Vacations Worldwide. The last 12 months alone have seen revenues double as the company continues to make its mark on the global arena, working across the UK as well as with clients in the USA, Indian and Australian markets to help organisations effectively communicate their digital transformation and major IT projects.
The company’s success has also been acknowledged by its professional sector body, the Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC), with the business picking up three awards for their work to date, and Danielle being made a Fellow of the IoIC. As the company celebrates continued growth and success, the three-year business anniversary has provided Danielle with a chance to reflect on the time in business so far and consider plans for the future.
Danielle said: “I am absolutely delighted to celebrate three years in business with Inside Out. While the decision to start the business in March 2020 was always the plan; doing it at the time of a global pandemic was not! Despite the tricky time we all experienced back in 2020-21, the pandemic benefited our business in a few ways.
“Firstly, we were able to work with clients around the world very easily and without needing to leave our homes. This enabled us to work with leading global organisations to support them and their teams with major transformation programmes entirely remotely. Secondly, organisations very quickly realised the power of strong internal communications and change communications, and this helped us accelerate our growth. And lastly, this unprecedented period in time changed the way businesses worked, and this really suited us. We’ve been able to develop an entirely remote team who work from their chosen location at times that suit them and our clients.”
For Danielle, it’s not just about the work she and the team do, but it’s the way in which they do it that matters. She added, “As a parent of two young children, I wanted to create a business that provided me with an outlet to use my 20+ years of international communications experience and knowledge with exciting clients and projects, but to do it in a way that works for my family. I knew traditional office hours with a commute wouldn’t suit the lifestyle I wanted to provide for us, so I designed one that did.
“We don’t have a head office or fixed office hours, all members of my team work from their homes or wherever it makes sense for them to do their work, and recently we’ve made a move away from direct employment to working with consultants and contractors on a project basis. This enables us to hand pick the perfect people for any given project who have the precise skills needed, and it enables our team to get involved in other projects that nourish their creative, business and lifestyle passions. It’s a win, win for everyone. Personally, it feels really empowering to run a business in this way, but I understand that this is not the norm and not for everyone. However, I believe the tide is changing and more people are rewriting the way we work, and there is no longer only one way to do it.”
As a proud North East woman, Danielle is also heavily involved in championing the region’s cyber security sector and has recently been appointed a Director of CyberNorth. CyberNorth has bolstered the region’s cyber security ecosystem and has been on a mission to make a lot of noise to develop the cyber security community and raise local, national and international awareness of opportunities and capacity in the North East. This will come to a head in September as #cyberfest takes place – the region’s month long cyber events programme that culminates in a large conference at St James Park.
Danielle added: “The world of cyber is ever changing, and September is a big month for cyber awareness in the region as CyberNorth hosts a month-long campaign of events in the North East. The line-up and events are amazing including Aspire CyberFest 23, CyberFest Schools Debate, a joint event with Women in Tech, and a Cyber Security and a FinTech partnership event with Durham University. I’d encourage anyone working in cyber, or wanting to get into the sector, to come along and learn more.”
Three years in, the time has now come to review the original business plan and consider what’s next for Inside Out, and Danielle and the team have some good plans.
“Being a North-East business, we want to continue to develop our roots here. This includes growing and nurturing local talent, collaborating with regional partners and supporting our thriving tech and cyber sectors to go on and do even more. We’re also working with some fantastic regional clients to support them through their major transformation activities, and we’re proud to be part of their teams. Going forward, we’re looking to further expand our network of other internal and change communications professionals in the region, and look forward to developing more relationships and collaborative opportunities. We’re also currently working on a new service offering to be launched in 2024, and we’re planning to break into new sectors and geographies over the coming 12 months. It looks like the next three years at Inside Out are going to be even busier!”