Ex-political comms advisers set up The Story Network

Former political advisers Alex Bigham, Jo Gibbons and Ed Owen have established an initiative for comms freelancers that aims to put together bespoke teams to deliver projects and campaigns.

(L-R) Ed Owen, Jo Gibbons and Alex Bigham

The Story Network offers services including strategic counsel, media relations, crisis comms, and stakeholder engagement.

By providing ad hoc or secondment comms support to clients “without the overheads of an agency”, the network’s founding trio hopes it will “meet client demand for greater flexibility and efficiency in a more financially restrained market”.

Co-founder Jo Gibbons, who worked in 10 Downing Street as Tony Blair’s head of events and visits, said: “We have developed specialist skills to support clients through crises and change programmes, with a focus on managing communications and stakeholder risk.

“Operating across all sectors, we have honed our experience shaping political campaigns and leading communications activity for high-profile government programmes under huge media and public scrutiny. We bring the best of each of us to the partners we work with.”

Gibbons was also special adviser to former secretary of state for health and social care Alan Milburn, and most recently ran the marketing function for the Health Industries business at PwC.

Fellow Story Network co-founder Alex Bigham was a political adviser to Stephen Twigg as shadow education secretary, and was a Lambeth councillor for eight years. He was also seconded to the Department of Health and Social Care as a deputy director for strategic comms during the pandemic, and is an associate with Deloitte, where he develops crisis communications protocols for clients.

Co-founder Ed Owen acted as special adviser to Jack Straw as Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary between 1997 and 2005, and has subsequently delivered comms for organisations such as EMI, Channel 4 and the British Beer & Pub Association. Owen has also been director of communications at HM Courts & Tribunals Service.

He said: “The Story Network’s name reflects the belief that effective storytelling is the best way to engage with audiences and deliver impact.”

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