Throughout the recession, I frequently had a wry smile when businessmen and women desperately tried to convince others, or even themselves, that everything was rosy and that business was faring well. To quote ‘The King of Real Estate’ from American Beauty, “one must, at all times, project an image of positive professionalism”. Positivity is, of course, a good thing but I couldn’t help but feel it was a tad false. So, in the interest of being open and honest, 2015 was a year of mixed fortunes at Chalk & Ward.
January 1st saw the merger of our former PR division within C&W Advertising with another local firm run by Sarah Jepson, to form C&W PR Ltd. Giles and I had high hopes, what with Sarah’s enthusiastic selling skills and the strength of our brand and position in the market, and the business grew quickly with the winning of several predominantly project-based clients.
Unfortunately in September Sarah decided she wanted to go back to working on her own. After a pretty painful couple of months a deal was reached and, back to the theme of positivity, we quickly managed to recruit two excellent PR professionals in Katie and Bea – every cloud has a silver lining, as they say! The PR team is better than ever and they’re fitting in superbly with both the team here and with our clients. This has been reflected in the winning of two substantial PR-focused clients in Powderham Estate (with a top secret announcement expected) and another client conceptual launch which is again Top Secret! So watch this space! Exciting times ahead and a great opportunity as this new door opens fully.
On the C&W Advertising side the start to the year was very much heads down working on our valued existing clients, doing some excellent work across all our full-service offerings, not least the digital side. This continues to grow quickly both as a discipline and as a proportion of our business. The number and quality of websites created this year has out-stripped previous years, so well done to all those in the team who have worked hard to deliver them, as well as the clients for your input and trust.
On the new business side we had a quiet first 6 months but wow, did we make up for it in the last 6. Wins include strategic marketing and promotion for Wood & Wood, who are one of the leading signage firms in the country, handling clients such as John Lewis, Heathrow Airport, BBC, House of Fraser, Great Western, The Emirates Stadium, Reiss, Gatwick and many more. We’ve won a substantial pitch for Foot Anstey, and others for Hunter Stoves, Asellus, Richardsons Legal, Hallows Care, Park Home Insulations and Powderham. What’s more there are a further twelve hot leads in the pipeline, hopefully nearing conversion. So again, exciting times ahead.
We’re lucky to work with great clients in such a wide spectrum of markets. It keeps us interested and, I hope, interesting whilst giving us insight into what marketing works in which markets. It also provides a pretty decent barometer to the mood within the business community, which is generally optimistic. So I’ll end there on a final positive note!
I wish you all a fun and prosperous 2016,
Robert Chalk, MD.