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A Week in My Life: Brett Jacob, Founder, Present Works

Brett Jacobs

Leeds-based marketing agency Present Works was founded in 2018.

Brett Jacobs, founder and managing director at the agency, previously held senior roles working as sales and marketing director at Jaywing and director of media, leisure and retail at Experian.

He shared how a recent week in his life went…



I have always admired the daily routine of literary giant Hunter S Thompson:

15:00: Rise

15:05: Chivas Regal with the morning papers, Dunhills

15:45: Cocaine

15:50: Another glass of Chivas, Dunhill

16:05: First cup of coffee, Dunhill

I cannot profess that my routine is that extreme, and I do rise earlier than Hunter, nevertheless, unlike many people in business, I must confess to not being a morning person. Two cups of coffee – Peter, my business partner, caps my intake – and I am ready to start the day properly.

At Present Works, we start our week with a full team meeting at our Leeds office, with everyone in our London, Bristol and Madrid offices dialling in. This is quite a structured structured session, run by our client services team, and ensures we all know where we are across our entire client base, what the priorities are, where there may be strains or further requirements, and provides the opportunity to update the whole business on the work pipeline.

It is important to me that the whole team is aware of the work being undertaken across the full client base, regardless of whether they are working on this client or not. It sets the tone for the week and ensures the full team is pulling together to meet requirements. This is followed by a weekly commercial session, run by myself, with a view to confirming revenue, costs, additional requirements and opportunities across the agency. My years in business have helped define a thorough commercial process as I hate unpleasant surprises. We have a good handle on our revenue and cost base, and this session also enables us to agree on additional resource spend for various jobs.


Tuesday Yin Yoga has become something of a routine. I am not an adrenaline junky, never really have been and my running days are behind me. I have, however, become something of a yoga advocate over the years. It has genuinely helped me with both my physical and mental health. I’m a bit of a hippy, and my spiritual side certainly influenced our business mantra and belief; being Present Works. 

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” ~ Buddha

Being present is an age-old concept in Buddhism and the secret to a happy life and contentment. Being present in business means being there, being seen in the now, being available, open for business, visible. Anticipating the future can be problematic. But if we are present, future business opportunities become possible. They present themselves as we are at the forefront of mind. Our work is evident. Our skills are present. We are at that moment, the answer to our client’s problems. This is a principle that underpins our client work – we aim to make them present, demonstrate their capabilities to the right audience and attract new clients. We do this through a combination of great design and content and campaigns that engage with our client’s audience. 


I am pretty old school when it comes to scheduling my day – I start every day with a list and when I have crossed off all tasks on that list, I can head home.

I spend most of my time catching up with clients, working on new opportunities, helping shape the work programmes and priorities across our client base. I like to stay close to our work. Clients rightly expect it.

On midweek evenings, I like to meet friends for a pint after work, chew the cud and leave the day behind me. I’ve always been more into radio and music than TV, and if I am at home, cooking a meal, it will be accompanied by the radio. If I am out, it’s a gig in town. I have been heavily involved in music promotion over the years, but it is nice to be a paying punter these days.


We always have a pitch on the go and I still get a kick out of this. I’ve naturally gravitated towards sales over the course of my career. 

Sales for me needs to harness truth and understanding. It is our belief at Present Works that we should shape a marketing programme that is right for the client and their objectives. Sounds obvious, but I have seen too many occasions where sales people are simply pushing what they have to sell rather than what the client needs. We pride ourselves on our approach. If we believe someone else can do a better job, as they have the right skills or solutions, we will recommend them. Where we can help, our aim is to develop a truly tailored programme.

People buy from people. This is a firm belief of mine. Relationships are important. Chemistry is important. We work with our clients as a true marketing partner and we like to enjoy our work and time together. I am genuinely proud of the long term relationships we have fostered and how these have developed into genuine friendships.

Good client relationships lead to genuinely enjoyable social occasions. Dinner and drinks with clients, or evenings at Hillsborough to watch the mighty Owls with Trinity McQueen co-founder, Robin Horsfield, has become something of a tradition. When my youngest daughter was about eight years old, someone once asked her what I did for a living. Her response ‘he’s on the phone all the time and he takes people out to dinner’. She wasn’t wrong.


I like Fridays. Who doesn’t? I also like the fact that our team runs a ‘scores on the doors’ meeting to start the day at the end the week. Many of our team are based in Leeds, but we do have satellite offices in London, Bristol and Madrid, so it’s genuinely great to get all the team together to review, discuss what went well (and what didn’t) over the past week – ideal for finishing the week and teeing up the next. I try not to play the Bruce Forsyth role in these meetings, and like to add my contribution in the same way as the rest of the team.

Rianna (Client Services Lead and Official Social Secretary) persuaded me some time back to invest in a beer pump. Always a nice way to end the week, handing out the beers to the team before the weekend.

Didn’t they do well?

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