The Wonderland

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by The Wonderland's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The Wonderland is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

Directors Inge de Gooijer, Julie Hayes
and Lynsey Cooper
The Wonderland was established in 2009 during the financial
crisis. Currently an all-female marketing and creative agency,
it was formed after its three future directors had been made
redundant. Two large clients followed them and in the same year,
they won an award for marketing effectiveness in retail for their
work with Thorntons Chocolates. With an array of skills, years of
experience and proven results, The Wonderland provides effective,
omnichannel solutions. With client customer journeys at the heart
of all their work, the entire team understands the importance of
adding value, driving sales and challenging the thinking of others.
We are a creative and marketing agency that specialises in a “complete customer
journey”, helping clients with omnichannel branding, from strategy through
to execution. No one day is the same for us; we are creatives and purveyors of
solutions that our clients perhaps don’t know they need. From brainstorming and
client meetings through to art directing and simply making the tea the right colour,
everyone contributes; this philosophy fuels our growing team.
Welcoming change while remaining open and honest
Our ethos is based on treating people fairly, the way we want to be treated
ourselves and choosing the right partners and brands to work with. Empowerment,
autonomy and employing those that have new skills are all key traits for any agile,
creative business. We know that we won’t grow if we don’t embrace change and
recognise emerging trends; our culture is fun and creative, but that’s leveraged
appropriately with grit, determination and a true thirst for knowledge.
»Directors: Julie Hayes, Inge de
Gooijer, Lynsey Cooper
»Established in 2009
»Based in Nottingham
»Services: Marketing and
creative agency
»No. of employees: 7
»Won a recent RAR award for
»Trade internationally and are a
multilingual agency
The Wonderland
Highlighting best practice
Everything is discussed in the office; we
have an open and honest policy, and this
environment supports our team well.
Ten wonderful years of success
Our first year was a runaway success;
we had so much work to do that
defining the type of agency we
wanted to be fell by the wayside. In
year two, we started looking at both
what we were good at and what our
We soon discovered the three key pillars
of what we could deliver for clients:
creativity, strategy and analytics, all
underpinned by outstanding customer
service. In 2010, we started to develop
our social offering – now 25 to 30
per cent of our work – and embarked
on more projects covering content
marketing, an area where we’ve seen
huge growth.
From year two, we only continued
to expand and diversify; in 2011, we
started trading in Europe and the US.
We now have a team that supports our
directors well, and after ten challenging
yet successful years of The Wonderland,
we’re ready for our next growth phase,
all this while maintaining the culture
and values that have been there since
the very beginning.
We have matured, evolved
and are embracing the future
The digital side of marketing is
advancing rapidly, and as a boutique
agency we constantly have to review
and decide which new technologies
to engage with and which skills
to further develop. To expand our
services to clients, we are currently
looking at augmented reality and
further social media development,
as well as increased video and
advertising production. Our size
makes us inherently agile and we have
the motivation and zest to embrace
constant change.
When it comes to business
development, we have found that it
can be easy to get too focused on
client work and subsequently become
distracted from our own growth. We
set up our business to market and
maximise growth of our clients; we
realise we have to achieve a better
balance and look after our own agency
too. Marketing The Wonderland
when busy comes with its challenges,
but most businesses face the same
balancing acts as we do.
Our policy with regard to pitching for
business for example, which is a time-
consuming and costly process not just
for our agency but for potential clients
also, means we won’t always agree
Like many industries, actual
opportunities can be about who
you know and, to a degree. that still
applies; half of our new clients come
through personal recommendation.
The other half, however, is more
attracted to what you know. Knowing
our stuff and communicating it
effectively is the new pitching and this
is where we try to focus our efforts.
We’d like to see more companies
adopt a co-operative agency model,
where the environment for agencies
to work together productively without
and client
through to art
directing and
simply making
the tea the
right colour,
trying to land-grab is fostered. All
agencies should be working toward
what is best for the client, not
themselves. While we can and do work
autonomously, we are not afraid to
work with other agencies; we’ve done it
for ten years and we’re confident about
our ability to produce and execute
effective ideas within thismodel.
Our thriving creative industry
has its challenges
As any other growing business, we’ve
had to face continued challenges along
the way.
One of them is Brexit. We have seen
some effect from it already – we do
have international clients and have
seen the amount of available work in
these areas decrease.
Some clients have restructured to take
more in-house or work with companies
in their own regions. To accommodate
for this shifting global landscape,
we have focused on being proactive
The impact of GDPR has been
substantial, too; we solidified our client
agreements, and put new policies in
place internally and with our suppliers
and partners. Now, a year on, these
policies are ingrained.
Making Tax Digital is another great
example of a challenge – preparing
for that meant spending more time
implementing changes to our finance
processes without an in-house
accountant or bookkeeper.
Luckily, our team of WonderGirls has
pulled together to help us address
these challenges alongside our core
business efficiently.
The journey continues
Since 2009, we have learnt and
developed with every step we’ve taken
and are all the stronger for it. The future
looks bright, and we’re excited for what
it holds; after all, the last ten years have
been pretty mind-blowing at times.
We look forward to delivering more
outstanding creative work for clients
new and old. We’ve always delivered
added value and truly made a difference
for our clients by being agile, innovative
and focused on the right things.
We are determined to do the same for
the next ten years and beyond.
strategy and
analytics, all

This article was sponsored by The Wonderland. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster