that brought us here
Incredible Communications has undergone a huge evolution since Philippa Lowe’s first PR agency Just Go Write in 1999, which served clients including Fuji Xerox, Epson and Adobe. As the internet evolved and content marketing developed with the rise of social media, Phil expanded the brand from content to communications. Before long, Incredible Communications became the new name and goal for the agency.
For over 20 years, Phil has been interviewed on global stages for her communications insights and has won awards from leading media organisations for her radio and print journalism. A journalist for ten years, for the BBC and ABC, Phil was awarded the ABC Radio National Prize, has lectured in News Journalism and Media Writing at Australia's leading journalism school Charles Sturt University, and was ghostwriter and publicist to Naomi Simson, CEO of RedBalloon.
Incredible Communications has always strived to stay ahead of the curve, offering remote working from the start, long before cloud file sharing was a thing. Thanks to this early innovation in workplace flexibility, IC began attracting experienced talent from CBD-based global agencies, talent who relished the opportunity to work from home.
A long-term mentor for young women in business, Phil has been involved in Westpac’s Ruby Connection, and has been a facilitator for the SHE Business Network and NSW Business Enterprise Centres. She met Ruby Bisson in 2016 and, with succession planning insight, spotted an individual capable of leading the agency into its next stage of life.
“No effective business leader is an island,” says Phil. “I’ve been blessed with great teams around me through the stages of Incredible Communications’ growth. Mentoring Ruby, it was easy to spot her drive and talent. Strategically planning the succession from me running the business to her has been seamless.”
But, as Mike Tyson likes to say, everyone has a plan until they get a punch in the face.
For Ruby and Phil, that punch came with the force of a global pandemic.
When a crisis makes a business
At the end of 2019, Phil and Ruby turned all the succession planning into a reality. Agreements were reached. Contracts were signed.
2020 – A year like no other
For the first few months of 2020, Phil was to be working in the background, supporting clients who needed it, and answering Ruby’s questions while she steered the ship. Phil and Ruby wanted to ensure each client was transitioning into the new arrangement as seamlessly as possible before making the official announcement of Ruby’s new ownership. It was working effortlessly.
Then COVID-19 hit.
Many of IC’s clients had to walk away. They were losing business, making staff redundant. They needed to cut costs. We understood. Incredible Communications had survived the GFC and had to initiate many of the same conversations with other service providers before.
As you can imagine, this wasn’t quite the succession plan Ruby and Phil had intended and had been working towards for the last three or so years!
“We admit, we thought about closing the doors. After all, the accountant was waving his arms in concern about cash flow - and that’s the job of a great business accountant. Phil and I had to have a serious conversation about the best way to close the agency if it became necessary,” says Ruby.
Yet sometimes the numbers aren’t the only things you need to listen to. “It would have been easy to give into fear at the time,” said Phil. “After all, it was everywhere: in the media, across the globe... No-one knew what to do. But my job as Ruby’s mentor, as the person who grew this agency for 20 years, was to challenge her, offer advice, and give her a new perspective. When times are dark, people gravitate towards light and energy. Incredible Communications needed to commit to providing that.”
Their commitment paid off. Months on and business is thriving. Jeff, a Creative Director and Senior Designer with over 2 decades of experience in the industry, jumped onto the team. Rhianna, our e-commerce and crowdfunding whizz took on a few projects. We knuckled down and kept producing the best work we could. Our clients saw results and increased our workload. Other businesses heard about what we do and jumped on board. It has never been a better time.
In August, Incredible Communications took on a new face, a new visual identity and, publicly, a new Director. The quality of service is the same, it’s simply an iteration of the strong foundations of what came before. We continue to support global companies and SMEs on their strategic communication and marketing efforts. Ruby and Phil continue to meet over wine. We continue to answer our emails.