‘It’s a really exciting time for boutique agencies’: Sonia Clarke launches her own comms agency

Former Sefiani, Kite Communications and PwC talent, Sonia Clarke, has launched her own communications agency this month.

Clarke told Mumbrella that while it was “nerve-wracking to take the plunge”, 2024 felt like the right year to launch her own business, ‘Clever Manka’.

“It just felt like the right time for me personally and professionally in terms of what I’ve learnt and what I have to offer,” she said.

“I also think its a really exciting time for boutique agencies – it feels like there’s a lot of great new ones that are serving specific niches, and it’s really cool to see. We’re obviously living in very uncertain times, and there’s value for clients when their agencies are able to be more agile and nimble when they might have to react to things quickly and be more adaptive.”

Described as being “founded on the strong belief that strategy rarely succeeds without a story, and that the best stories are co-designed with the people they will impact”, the agency draws on Clarke’s experience across communications, workshop design and facilitation, and Big 4 consulting.

Clever Manka can act as a standalone offering or as an extension to a business, bringing senior insight and thinking to complex business challenges.

“It’s born from the insight that when organisations think they have a strategy problem, they actually have a communications and engagement problem,” Clarke told Mumbrella. “So they haven’t engaged the right people in the right way when developing the strategy.

“So our offer is twofold – creative facilitation to help leaders have the right conversations for compelling storytelling, and strategy communications.”

The name comes from Clarke’s Czech heritage, and is based off a old Czech fairytale, which she grew up with.

“I grew up with Czech fairytales that are really funny, creative and charming, ones that always had an important message, and Clever Manka is one. It’s a story of a girl who always knew the right words, and it’s really beautiful,” she explained.

“I wanted it to feel like me.”

Her goals short-term are to establish the agency, and in the first 12 months, do some work that she’d “be really proud of”.

“I’d hope the work I’ve done had made a really big difference to that client’s business, and that’s my main goal for the next year or so. Making a difference to people’s businesses, doing great work, and having the opportunity to collaborate with people across the industry are the goals,” she said.

“I don’t have a really set 12 month strategy though, because I think it’s impossible to do that – things change so much, and the first year is very much about testing and learning and seeing what works.”


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