The pandemic has changed the lives of many of us and among those whose professional trajectory has been changed are The Big Issue vendors. They lost their livelihoods and their sense of community. Some of their loyal customers are still working from home, so the connection between them tends to fade. The Big Issue wants its magazine sellers to reconnect with their customers so, in collaboration with LinkedIn, a partnership conceived and managed by FCB Inferno, launched the “Raising Profiles” campaign.

The partnership sees nine Big Issue vendors taking part in a pilot scheme where they are trained, helped in building their digital skills, and find new opportunities, thus using the power of the LinkedIn network at maximum capacity. Based all around the UK and running their own micro-businesses selling the magazines, they have joined the platform to find a new lifeline for their work and also reconnect with their old clients, as the country is currently in lockdown, which poses as an obstacle to vendors to sell magazines.

The nine vendors — trained by LinkedIn volunteers – learned how to set up their profiles, add new connections, build their online presence by creating and sharing content, and engage with a new community that can support them. Moreover, for the sellers to access their LinkedIn profiles and attend online training, Dixons Carphone Warehouse donated tablets. With the necessary equipment and an online presence already outlined, the vendors will be able to reach out to new and existing customers on the platform, letting them know that they can buy a copy of the magazine digitally.

“The partnership with LinkedIn, which we welcome wholeheartedly, will not only help the vendors sell their magazine again, it will ease the feeling of social isolation experienced over the past year, allowing them to reconnect with their customers and community,” says Paul Cheal, Group CEO of The Big Issue Group.

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Josh Graff, UK Country Manager, LinkedIn, adds: “The pandemic has had an enormous impact on the livelihoods of Big Issue vendors and wreaked havoc on their ability to earn an income. We’re delighted that this pilot program will give vendors a new, safe, and much-needed opportunity to reconnect with customers and sell their magazines. We’re really excited about the potential of this scheme and hope that LinkedIn members across the UK also welcome the opportunity to buy from Big Issue vendors once again.”

Through this partnership, The Big Issue plans to take the sellers into a professional space, giving them access to a platform that allows them to keep doing their jobs even during these times. The magazine and the professional network have the ambition to include more vendors into the scheme throughout the year.

“Helping the vendors reconnect with customers on LinkedIn is an unexpected yet totally logical idea and a great way to remind people that the vendors are still out there, even if they can’t see them on their familiar streets,” concludes Owen Lee, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Inferno.

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Client: The Big Issue

CEO: Paul Cheal

Group Executive Director: Lara McCullagh

Group Marketing & Communications Director: Zoe Hayward & Iain Morrison

Head of Communications: Ruth Law

Group Head of Marketing: Nashitha Suren

Marketing and Communications Executive: Vicky Major

Agency: FCB Inferno

Chief Creative Officer: Owen Lee

Senior Account Director: Hannah Thorn

Senior Account Manager: Claire Macalister-Hall

Strategy: Imogen Armstrong

Creative Directors: Jess Giles & Austin Hamilton

Senior Creatives: Francesca Ferracini & Alice Teruzzi

Producer: Livvy Tidd

EVP Communications: CC Clark

Designer: Max Fox

Senior Digital Communications Manager: Laura Greenslade