In 1998, we broke away from Saatchi & Saatchi’s regional network – HHC in Bristol, where Robert and Giles were Directors. There was a specific reason for doing so. Half the Board thought agencies should simply accept a client’s brief and do the creative work, whilst Robert and Giles championed working strategically with clients to help them with their marketing, even writing the brief for some! They believed in really making a difference to clients’ businesses – our core purpose ever since. “It’s our business to grow yours” has been our core message for over 20 years. So HHC Chalk & Ward was born in June 1998, together with a third Director, Lorna Turner, setting up shop in Longbrook Street, Exeter.
In 2001, we rebranded to become Chalk & Ward Advertising, following our full breakaway from HHC. Firmly established in the South West, we eventually outgrew our first home and moved into a new office in Kings Wharf overlooking the beautiful Exeter Quay.
2004 was when the company first broke the £1 million turnover barrier.
As our reputation grew, so did we, and in 2007 we expanded to occupy a second floor of Kings Wharf.
In 2008 we acquired Lionheart Marketing, which further enhanced our growing digital service, confirming our position as a key player in the digital arena.
The missing piece to our full service offer – In 2012 we set up Chalk & Ward Public Relations, becoming a fully integrated marketing agency in the process.
It was time to move into the heart of the City, so in 2013 we moved into Chichester Place in Southernhay, our new home in the thriving business community of Exeter.
We became the UK appointed agency for Taan Worldwide, a global network of agencies process local access and marketing insight around the world.
Responding to the growing needs of our clients, we developed our proprietary Hit Leads package in 2015 – a lead generation tool that has been the cornerstone for many of our clients digital marketing.
In July 2017, we launched our new brand, Chalk + Ward, dropping the word ‘advertising’ to reflect our full service offer. To this day, we continue to make a real difference to the success of our clients, delivering, innovating and most importantly, challenging – the ethos that has delivered more than 20 years of success to our clients and our company. In October 2017 Lisa Prescott joined the Board of Directors with an extensive track record in retail marketing and media planning, and having worked for the company for 12 years.
Chalk + Ward celebrated our 20th anniversary with a charity bike ride raising money for two local charities, Magic Carpet and Living with Aphasia. In April 2018 Director Lisa Prescott was recognised as the Employer of the Year at the Devon and Cornwall Venus Awards. The Award recognises a female friendly boss with up to 50 employees and someone who goes above and beyond, to ensure a happy and welcoming environment in the workplace. In September of the same year, Chalk + Ward won the ‘Well-being’ Space Award, which acknowledges the best work spaces and initiatives in businesses in and around Exeter. Well-being is something that has been, and continues to be, high on the agenda here at Chalk + Ward.
In January, Chalk + Ward’s Creative Director Alister Tickle and Account Director Gemma Boss, joined the Board of Directors alongside Managing Director Robert Chalk and Director Lisa Prescott. The Board’s focus is now on the strategic growth of the business and in driving it forward, while maintaining our high service levels for existing clients.
In May 2019, Chalk + Ward became one of the first businesses in the South West to sign the Time to Change Employer Pledge. Time to Change is run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and supports employers to a create a more open and understanding culture around mental health problems in the workplace. By signing the pledge, Chalk + Ward has committed to changing the way people think and act about mental health in the workplace.