Yes& is focused on project-based strategic planning

The company, founded by Trent Fulton in partnership with Mark Tomblin, envisions itself as a "collaboration platform" for freelancers.

Yes&

When Trent Fulton turned to the freelance service provider Fiverr to have a logo made, he got to thinking about how the site’s model could be adapted to address what he perceived to be a talent gap in strategic planning.

“It was one of those trigger moments when I saw a platform that has been built for how people want to work now and the speed at which they want to work,” he says. “The future of work is project-based and it is about making it easy to find the right resources when you need them.”

That was the impetus for creating Yes&, which Fulton – who had left The Hive after 12 years in March 2021 – describes as a collaboration platform.

Fulton believes that, over the years, a talent gap has been growing on both the agency and client side. At agencies, he says, procurement and lower rates made it difficult to keep full-time strategic planners on staff. “Clients didn’t often want to pay for them on an ongoing basis, but wanted them when they wanted them.”

Meanwhile, on the client side, a move toward a more centralized structure in lieu of the previously “robust” marketing departments meant that “in many cases, they were left with a few senior people who are really over-run and a bunch of junior people who are executing.”

The model for Yes& addresses concerns of both freelance talent and their clients, Fulton says. While freelancers deal with a number of pain points including business development, pricing and the sense of community and collaboration they likely had in past jobs working at agencies, clients struggled to find the right talent and understand what they were getting for the price they were paying.

IMG_5914Yes& aims to demystify client concerns through what Fulton calls a “curated” experience. He and partner Mark Tomblin – chair of the Account Planning Group of Canada and founder of Thinking Unstuck – have a conversation with each client to understand what their needs are, and then reach out to the appropriate strategic planner in their network with the deliverables and decide on rates. If the price and product are agreeable to the client, a meeting between the collaborator and client is set up and a contract is signed through Yes&.

To provide additional support, Yes& has relationships with other companies, including creative collective Been There Done That, which boasts a network of 200 creative directors from across the world who work on ideation projects anonymously; the French Shop, which provides French localization; Ignite, which provides insight work if needed by the client; Jacknife Design, “a partner that we pull in if we need to turn the brand story into a brand identity,” says Fulton; and Makers, who can help create content.

Ultimately, the goal for Yes& is to connect the dots between client and freelancer and help them collaborate.

“The idea of the name comes from improv and building together and improving on ideas together by bouncing them off of each other,” explains Fulton. “I love the notion of collaboration, and of trying to create something at the centre of all of it.”