60 Seconds with... The fresh Group MD Patrick Howells

The fresh Group picked up UK Agency of the Year at this year's awards so C&IT asked managing director Patrick Howells about the company's success and recent developments.

fresh Group's Patrick Howells
fresh Group's Patrick Howells

You won the accolade for UK Agency of the Year at the C&IT Awards. What do you think has contributed to your success?

The win was fantastic and we really weren’t expecting it. We put our success down to our fantastic team. We’ve really looked after and nurtured our staff members and we feel this is reflected in the work they produce. It’s a thankless task working in the events industry with lots of unsociable hours. We’ve addressed this head on to ensure we keep talented people in the business. For example, we always promote from within where we can and offer a reward-and-recognition scheme. This allows employees to log their late hours and claim time back in lieu. We also offer a benefits system called the F-Word, which offers discounts on everything from holidays to gifts.

What changes has the company witnessed in the past year?

We’ve actually been working towards the same business plan for the past two-and-a-half years. Our big focus has been diversification, which is a two-fold plan. Firstly we’re diversifying our services and have introduced a content division and experiential division. This expansion has led to the second part of diversification, which is to attract clients in completely new sectors of business. Traditionally we’ve done a lot with the retail sector, but in the past year we’ve won new clients in the pharmaceutical and automotive sectors, which we’re really excited about.

Has your Manchester office location boosted business in the north of England?  

We’re based up in Manchester and although the majority of our business has traditionally been in London, we’re seeing an expansion in the North West. Being based here used to be a bit of a hurdle to overcome, but now clients seem much more at ease with the idea that you can deliver from any base. If anything it’s an advantage to be here now, because London’s so expensive.  

What are your plans for the future?

The new divisions we’ve created have helped us get into new sectors and we hope these developments will continue. We don’t see ourselves as an events planner but as a partner. We’re essentially a communications business who really gets to know a brand and deliver on these results. We’re re-launching our website soon to better reflect our brand and values. We want to be bold about our proposition to deliver inspirational communications and ensure that the brands we work with achieve their ambitions.


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