A message to corporate Britain: “Your marketing is boring and wrong”

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Three consultants have quit their jobs to form a behaviour change business – with the message “everything you think you know about communications is wrong”.

Foco aims to revolutionise the way organisations all over the world engage with their audiences – including customers, clients and their own staff – by teaching them to be storytellers.

The co-founders, Michael Taggart, John Shewell and Nick Sturman claim 95% of corporate communications leave people cold and fail to inspire action – because they don’t arouse emotions, like love, excitement, fear and happiness.

Taggart, Foco’s director of storytelling, said: “The corporate language of facts and figures isn’t inspiring anyone. If you want to plant an idea in someone’s head – an idea that will inspire action – you have to wrap it up in a story.

“This is not a new idea, we were huddled around campfires regaling our rapt kinfolk with scary and amusing tales at least 100,000 years ago. But storytelling has somehow been smothered in the dead hand of turgid press releases, dull websites, jargon-loaded social media updates and self-obsessed blog posts.”

Foco will work with public, private and third sector organisations in health, the environment, finance, education and civil society to produce all sorts of outcomes – from increasing recycling and improving financial literacy to tackling crime and encouraging healthy lifestyles.

It will only work with organisations on projects that create social good and will rule out clients who are not obsessed with understanding the people they aim to reach.

Shewell, Foco’s director of business strategy, said: “We’ll tell our clients they must grasp the core beliefs, hopes and fears of their audiences because that’s the way they will tell stories that matter. 

“Our foundational idea is so resonant, we’re confident we’ll be working with some of the biggest names in business, the charity sector and the public realm within a year.”

Sturman, Foco’s director of change, added: “Henry Ford said you can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do and that might be true. But if you want to know what we’re going to do – we plan to change the way every organisation in Britain communicates.

“That will sometimes involve an entire rethink on the way they’re structured and the systems they use. That’s why Foco is set up to provide services that are half way between communications strategy and management consultancy.”

For more information, visit www.foco-global.com.



For media enquiries, please contact Michael Taggart on 07780 008939 or mtaggart@foco-global.com.

Pics of Michael Taggart, John Shewell and Nick Sturman are available

Biographies of Foco’s co-founders:

Nick Sturman, director of change

Nick is a passionate manager of change, specialising in financial services. He brings to Foco huge experience in risk management, regulatory change, strategic change, transformation and driving target operating models through to completion. Nick has worked with a number of FTSE 250 organisations and several consultancies, including Accenture, Capco and Xchanging. He believes in changing the value of employees in organisations, ensuring organisations achieve their change mandate, and aiding companies to reduce their spend, understand their costs, ROI and capital - and achieve better results.

When he's not at his desk, Nick needs to be moving on one kind of vehicle or another. He enjoys cycling, kitesurfing, stand up paddling, wakeboarding and snowboarding.  Nick has two young daughters and tries to involve them into as many of those sports as possible.

John Shewell, director of business strategy

John has 17 years’ experience in strategic communications and behaviour change. He has worked in the private and public sector in the UK, Europe and Australia with clients such as the European Commission, the European Council and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), as well as a number of local government and public health organisations in the UK. He has led on a number of award-winning programmes to influence behaviours ranging from tackling obesity and reducing self-harming, right through to improving recycling rates. John is also credited with pioneering the use of social media in local government and commissioned the first-ever online mapping of a local community for a council in the UK.  

Like any self-respecting Australian, there's nothing John likes better at the end of a long  day than cracking open a coldie on his beloved Brighton Beach and watching the sun set.

Michael Taggart, director of storytelling

Michael has journalism and digital content running through him like the word 'Brighton' in a stick of rock.  Having enjoyed a successful career as a national newspaper correspondent, he worked in senior PR roles in two councils before heading up the media and digital communications unit at a third - Brighton & Hove City Council. In 2010, he joined PR consultancy MRM as head of digital and worked with an array of financial services clients, including Nationwide, John Lewis and Scottish Friendly.

Outside of the day job, Michael has co-hosted and produced the Beer & Bytes marketing podcast. He is also co-founder of the Mouthy Money digital magazine, which helps young adults tackle the financial challenges ahead. Michael is married and lives in Brighton with his beloved cat, Tilksy, who has just had her 10th birthday.





Michael Taggart

Co-founder of Foco, the fintech content marketing agency