Our Work

Creating a platform for a business strategy

Client: Friend Partnership

Sector: Professional Services

‘Women in Business – can we truly have it all?’

V Formation helped Friend Partnership to commission a piece of research as part of an integrated strategy to help them stand out from the crowd.

V Formation Ltd

We know professional services is a highly competitive sector, from business development and client engagement, to brand awareness and recruitment. To support V Formation client Friend Partnership Limited’s business strategy and help them to stand out from the crowd, we developed an integrated campaign built on the delivery of a powerful piece of research.

Business strategy

Friend works extensively with SMEs and entrepreneurs in a host of market sectors including technology and manufacturing, and knows the commercial and financial challenges its clients face each day.

One challenge heard from many business owners was how to manage and deliver an evolving workplace, from flexible and agile working, through to supporting employees’ maternity and paternity leave.

Anecdotal evidence is all well and good, but what is the hard truth of the impact of these challenges? V Formation suggested Friend commission a piece of research to find out, which alongside would provide a platform for the firm’s business strategy to engage with a network of business leaders and owners, whilst building its employer brand.

We created a multi-generational research study into the challenges facing women in business, as a way of enabling Friend to effectively reach out to female entrepreneurs, professionals and employers.

Entitled ‘Women in Business – can we truly have it all?,’ the research set out to investigate how the landscape for working women has changed over recent generations and understand the difficulties faced by both women in the workplace and businesses looking to hire skilled female employees.

The research was carefully designed to create a platform for business development, boost Friend’s employer brand, and enable future lobbying on key points affecting SMEs.

Click here to download a PDF of the Women in Business report in full.

Women in Business

Launching the research

V Formation created an online survey which was shared across numerous networks and organisations, including the alumnae group at Birmingham’s King Edward VI High School for Girls (KEHS), PageGroup, NatWest and the Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Group. Support was also provided by former Principal of KEHS, Sarah Evans OBE.

We devised and delivered a social media outreach campaign to connect with MPs, journalists and business networks and ask them to share the survey.


The survey secured over 800 responses from women across a broad spectrum of generations, including business owners, the self-employed, senior executives, middle management employees, and retirees, who shared their experiences.

V Formation led the survey’s analysis, identified the key themes of its findings, wrote a comprehensive report and a suite of press stories reporting on the findings, tailored to different media and their interests.

We also organised and managed an event at Friend’s Birmingham offices to mark the launch of the Women in Business Survey Report. This brought together a group of inspirational, successful women in business from a range of professions, who shared their stories, views and insights into the challenges facing women in business today.

The findings

The research revealed some fascinating insights into the experiences of women in the workplace and of those who employ them, with some of the headline findings including:

  • 90% feel the government should help smaller businesses with the financial cost of maternity provisions
  • 85% of business owners agree that businesses must offer flexible working conditions to attract high-performing women, and 83% of women in each age bracket agree
  • 73% of business owners feel that it is difficult to work part-time in a senior role
  • 75% of working mothers feel the working environment has improved since their careers began, and 55% of women without children agree
  • 1 in 5 women named a teacher as their role model at age 18

The research also identified that working women still battle a number of personal issues such as self-doubt, imposter syndrome and pressure to be ‘perfect.’

The results

The Women in Business PR campaign generated coverage in a number of online media websites, including:

Online readership totalled 900k and the articles received more than 50 social shares.

To find out more about Friend Partnership, click here.

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