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16 January, 2014 - 18:49 By Tony Quested

Business Weekly New Year Honours: Image Makers

Simon Fryer, Kiss Comunications

UK marketing spend is reported to be at its highest since pre-recession days, which may not be so surprising. Companies cutting marketing spend in austerity Britain would have been heading in the same direction as the Invisible Man in a pea souper.

Spending on PR, marketing and design should be a given. Sadly the quality of those activities are extremely variable in the East of England with a few peacocks masking the unattractive gabble of a whole gang of turkeys.

Today we proudly parade the peacocks – the best image makers in the region. They share three essential common factors: 1 - they listen to clients so they understand requirements; 2 – they deliver the message in a straightforward but striking manner; 3 - They communicate with the correct media in an effective manner.

We could paper our walls and carpet our floors with examples of poor and wasted PR, marketing and design. As a B2B publication we don’t really need to know how X rugby club’s under 10 team in Essex got on last Sunday; or how the Suffolk playgroup intends to raise money to fund a new sand pit.

We try to advise advert designers that less is more and to communicate a powerful message simply through a good slogan and smart image.

We endeavour to educate companies about getting decent photographic archives and to make better use of social media; that online coverage isn’t a dark art.

Our chosen image makers share our objectives. They understand why we hold those principles – for their clients’ benefit – and drill that mantra into the end user. As a result their clients have the best Ads in the paper and online; and they have the most relevant news coverage in the most prominent positions. Quality, not quantity is the name of the modern media game.

As Media Managers says in its own promotional material, the consultancy has set the gold standard in advertising PR and digital marketing across national and international markets. It is consistently East Anglia’s number one in all the polls that count. Boss Alistair Wayne added a new PR division last year and this has proved a highly successful move. Media Managers is also shrewd media buyer and is uncompromising in steering clients to exactly the right vehicle for their particular needs.

Much of this nous is delivered by the street wise but sophisticated Wayne who, in terms of sheer marketing experience, is on his second clock and operates with Rolls-Royce smoothness.

We believe that KISS Communications, headed up by CEO Simon Fryer has added an extra gear in the last 12 months. Again it owes much to astute leadership but across the team KISS does what it says and keeps things simple. It delivers easy to read, well proportioned and stimulating material in no-nonsense fashion and gets straight to the heart of communication. 

1     Media Managers 2     KISS Communications 3     Simpsons Creative 4     Mobas 5     Holdsworth Associates 6=   Onespacemedia and Ware Anthony Rust 7     Silk Pearce 8     Limewash Media & Design 9     Crosland Communications 10= Elaine Mitchell PR and Keynote PR

Mobas with Rob Bryant at the helm has had another outstanding year and some of its design work for Taylor Vinters has been quite superb. The agency is a great ideas engine.

For across-the-board specialism it would be hard to beat Simpsons Creative in Bishop’s Stortford. It unerringly injects wit and freshness into its campaigns for a broad variety of clients – whether that’s through eye-catching artwork or straight-to-the point news campaigns. Richard Taylor’s team of brilliant all rounders would have given Australia a sterner Ashes test than England’s.

Silk Pearce literally has the stamp of class and always offers a first class delivery. It produced stunning campaigns last year for Royal Mail and a diverse portfolio of clients ranging from London Sperm Bank to the CB1 property development at the heart of Cambridge. Its Aldeburgh Music Festival ‘Britten Lives Here’ artwork to mark the centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth was a classic and clearly struck a chord.

James Cotton’s Onespacemedia team has emerged in recent times as the new power in the Cambridge design and original thinking pantheon. Cotton and James Dellar are particularly talented and have produced some fabulous website creatives for several university departments in Cambridge.

Designs for the NERC Arctic Research Programme website highlighting the growing threat of global warming set a new high, sensational visually but also capturing the sensitivity of the issue at the heart of the programme.

Looking at the best communications in pure marketing and PR teams we cannot speak highly enough of Rachel Holdsworth and her team. Some of the work for Norwich Research Park in the last year has been different class and proved that there is life beyond the science and research hubs in Cambridge.

Holdsworth Associates also has some excellent technology clients. Whatever sector, client or issue it is briefed to communicate, Holdsworth Associates cuts out the hype and straight to the chase with well-balanced and easy to publish material.

Isogenica’s profile in the life science press has benefited from the sure touch and lovely manner of Sarah Brereton at Limewash Media & Design who has now also been asked to resume communications for Chesterford Research Park whose profile had dipped during her brief release of the helm.

Bouquets too for Crosland Communications whose work for Domino Printing Sciences, Conference Cambridge and others continues to be of the highest standard. Lesley Crosland always prioritises the interests of her clients and eschews the self-promotional puff loved by so many PR & marketing agencies in the region.

Elaine Mitchell, a highly professional Scot with a keen eye for an angle and beautifully judged delivery, continues to keep Carter Jonas around the top of the property pile.

The sector has been further enhanced by the growing stature of Terry Nicklin as a standalone PR and marketer heading his own agency, Keynote PR. He spent many years as marketing chief at Domino and is showing with dbBroadcast, Imperial Innovations and others that he has lost none of his edge and sparkle by going it alone.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Simon Fryer, Kiss Comunications

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