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Looking back at 2016

Christmas is upon us, which means it is time for me to reflect upon another year at PRG.

What a year 2016 has been! The British people decided it was time to “Brexit”, although it was both a close run thing and a surprise to most. Followed closely on its heels was the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Some say the best of a bad bunch, but we will see how the next four years plays out and judge it then.

We have seen uncertainty in the market in 2016, as people waited to see which way votes would go, then delaying decision making whilst they waited to see how things would unfold. As it transpires, not a lot has changed and it is going to take some time for real change to kick in, so we’ve now seen firms adopt a “business as usual” approach. But, in uncertain times, you need to be stepping up your marketing and putting your business in the strongest possible position.

Much like the rest of the world, PRG has seen change this year. Laura reached the end of her maternity leave in the spring and decided she was not going to return to work and became a full-time Mum to her beautiful daughter. We used this opportunity to grow and develop our digital marketing strength, recruiting Jess Brunt to join our team as Digital Marketing Executive. She’s quickly added to our digital capabilities, allowing us to further market our skills to both existing and new clients.

Our Account Director Kathryn and her partner Matt also welcomed their daughter Phoebe into the world and I am happy to report they are loving family life, although Kathryn has kept in close contact with the team so she can hit the ground running upon her return to work in 2017. As I write this, Becky is also at home awaiting the arrival of her little one, who is now a week late! So we all wait on the edge of our seats for news.

Our newest recruit, Martyn Leek, joined us at the beginning of November, bringing with him a strong journalistic and magazine editor background, which he has already put to good use with his raft of clients. He has settled in to the team well and has also taken over the editing of our LPGas Today website, driving it forward both from a content and commercial point of view and the results are already showing, thanks as well to the hard work on the sales side by Yasmin. She has had a busy year with selling hospitality for the Aegon Eastbourne tennis tournament back in the summer. This year was the largest ever in terms of seats to sell, and Yasmin as good as sold it out which is a huge achievement. Next year promises to be even better with the return of the men to the tournament, so book your seats now!

Amy has also had a busy year, as she married her partner Bruce back in September, becoming Mrs Henkel, and they jetted off to Texas for their honeymoon a few weeks later. Amy’s role and spread of clients has increased over the course of the year as she has helped to settle in some of the new business that we have won.

Our web team of Ian, Jack and Chris have been really busy this year, working on some increasingly complex and exciting websites, some of which are in the final stages of development so watch our newsletters in the New Year. We have just recently completed the building of the new Let’s Do Business Exhibitions website, ready for the launch of the shows for 2017. For the first time this year, PRG exhibited at all three, which we found to be hugely useful in gaining leads and increasing awareness of the PRG brand, especially in Hastings and Brighton.

Our longest-serving member of the team, Matt, continues to grow his own group of clients, whilst supporting the team with design work for their clients. Pantomime season is always particularly busy for Matt, as he has been working on promotional artwork for multiple pantos in England over the past few months. Earlier in the year he also completed the design work for the hugely successful Eastbourne recycling campaign, which appeared for months in prominent positions throughout the town.

Avril and Jo have had their hands full this year, with the introduction of the new pension scheme (with help from our friends at LawlerDavis) as well as looking at a new accounting system for the business.

As with every year, we have won and lost some clients and pitches along the way, but we have become involved with some really exciting new clients and projects. In the summer, we started working with CountyClean, helping them with all aspects of their marketing and promotion, including a rebrand to CountyClean Group. We’ve been able to achieve some strong results, in a relatively short space of time, with the plans for 2017 taking shape for an aggressive push in some new directions.

Local high-end furniture business David Salmon appointed PRG to handle advertising and creative work, which has already grown into redevelopment of one of their websites. We are very proud of our strong local connections, as well as our national network.

We won a competitive pitch to Neva Consultants earlier in the year and are also handling their marketing across the board, with some great feedback being received from some of their customers on our outputs. We love getting stuck into new sectors and helping our clients to grow their businesses.

Our role working with Johnson Controls in the UK has expanded over the course of this year and we’ve had enormous fun undertaking marketing out in Oman with our client Muna Noor. Anyone who attended the Big 5 Exhibition in Dubai last month will have seen their bold stand with the T-Rex trying to crush a pipe in its jaws!

One of the highlights of the year for me was meeting Levi Roots, of Dragon’s Den fame, at both the Brighton and Hastings Let’s Do Business Exhibitions. What a fantastic and engaging chap, and he obviously liked PRG’s creativity as he awarded us “Best Stand” at the Brighton show.

On a personal note, the Groves family have celebrated the 70th birthday of both of our founders as Ray and Denny reached that milestone in May and November respectively. Jo and I have loved watching our kids grow, as we both have got heavily involved at Jenson’s school as Parent Governors and on the Friends Committee. Lara turned three in September and continues to develop into a grumpy teenager!

PRG closes for Christmas at midday on 23rd December and reopens on Tuesday 3rd January. I’d like to take this opportunity to thanks all of our clients, suppliers, friends and the fantastic team at PRG, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2017.

Simon


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