What do you do when you find someone who you know will add huge value to your business but you don’t really want to employ them? I found myself in this very position a little over a year ago whilst out on a bike ride with Rob Jefferson, a chap I’d known for five years and admired from afar. What did Louise and I decide? Let’s see if he fancies coming on board as a partner, of course!
“What?” I hear you cry, “Why would you dilute your ownership in your business by inviting in someone who you wouldn’t employ?”
It’s simple. We wouldn’t employ this chap because he’s got to the point in his life where the most value he will add is when he’s invested in a business and tasked with helping to drive it forwards. He’s full of ideas, has vast experience from working on and leading some nationally recognised campaigns (more of that below) and his values firmly match mine and Louise’s and therefore Knapton Wright’s. Plus he’s mad keen on putting Brigg firmly on the business map. And he loves sport!
The past couple of years in particular have been great for our business as we focus on becoming Northern Lincolnshire’s leading marketing agency (step one on the path to global domination, of course): we’ve worked with some fantastic clients; we now have a Head of Client Strategy (Jonathan) and a Head of Content (Ollie), and need a Studio Manager to keep us all in line whilst providing some fabulous client service (Rachel); we’ve had a handful of work experience heroes from friends’ offspring to neighbours to North Lindsey College students; we’ve had the guiding hand of Jonathan Leafe who’s been a patient, inspirational and experienced mentor; we’ve established ourselves as an important part of the Brigg and northern Lincolnshire ecosystem; and we’ve painted our front door bright orange! With all that in mind, the timing feels right to bring in someone who, in Louise’s words, “just gets it”.
Over the past five years, we’ve stepped up from social media consultancy to creative marketing agency, sinking our teeth into the full range of our clients’ marketing and brand requirements, and, when you read what Rob adds to the team, I think you’ll agree he’s a great fit for us, for our clients and for the future growth of Knapton Wright, not to mention our side project of turning Brigg into a creative hub of northern Lincolnshire.
Rob brings analytical creativity to Knapton Wright – not traits that you often hear go hand in hand but ones that prove vital in creating effective marketing campaigns and sit very nicely with the way KW operates. Whilst at Doncaster Council, he headed up a creative team to transform the fortunes of their social media content. Recognising that Twitter wasn’t really working for them, he fostered a culture of creative and calculated risk-taking to produce content not commonly witnessed in the public sector. You may well have seen some of their award-winning campaigns such as #Binvasion, viral content such as raising a waistcoat on the corporate flagpole in honour of Gareth Southgate’s World Cup success and TFW you get a bit of love from a member of the public.
The work of Rob and his colleagues brought national recognition to Doncaster Council and he regularly evangelised about their approach in podcasts, publications and presentations at conferences. We’re really excited about how his creative juices can not only help our clients “pour more customers down their sales funnel”, but also how he can work with me, Louise and our team to take the agency forwards.
On the technical side of things, as a Google Certified professional, one of his first ambitions is to get KW converted to Google Partner status to formalise the quality and expertise within the agency, with a plan to reach Google Premier Partner status in the near future. This builds on the numerous successes on paid search and display campaigns that KW has achieved in partnership with existing clients – something we haven’t really shouted about enough. Rob also plans to expand the use of Google Analytics, Tag Manager and Optimize within KW to improve lead generation for all our clients. If you’ve not got this set up already, expect to hear from him in the coming months about the benefits A/B testing can bring to your business. In case you missed it, actual Google themselves shared our recent insights about this highly effective tool with their countless followers!
Rob’s technical background of web design, development, accessibility, user experience and SEO, will help enhance the portfolio of services Knapton Wright can offer too. He has led many projects to develop websites from scratch, such as the implementation of a new site for Ongo, North Lincolnshire’s leading housing association, as well as refining existing ones such as doncaster.gov.uk to encourage visitor growth and a better quality of converting traffic.
The council site has enjoyed three years of continued traffic growth, servicing the needs of over 2 million visitors last year, so he’s happy that he’s leaving it in a strong position. As a self-confessed geek and tinkerer of “all things tech and online”, Rob will lead and develop the team in more of the technical marketing aspects of the agency. This will, no doubt, help us to better help our clients with their objectives and work with an ever increasing number of businesses locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
To put it simply, I’m proud that Rob feels this agency is where he wants to be and I’m excited for what the future holds. Never be afraid to take a bigger step than you thought possible; be brave and take a leap, you never know where you’ll land.
If you’d like to find out more about Rob, you can read all about him here on KnapChat!