Amazingly, it’s Serendipity2’s (S2’s) 15th anniversary this month! Where on earth have all the years gone and what, if anything, has the company achieved in those 15 years?
My early career was spent in sales, marketing and operations in the pub, restaurant and leisure industry before moving on to become Managing Director of 2 industry leading subsidiary companies of a major direct and digital marketing organisation, Dudley Jenkins Group plc., where I was also on the executive plc board until we sold the plc in 2000.
Being involved with sales and marketing for most of my career and, having managed a number of large marketing agencies in the 90’s, it felt like a a natural step for me to do my own thing. Coming from a big company background, starting S2 in 2001 was always going to be a step into the unknown especially after having previously enjoyed the support of large numbers of talented individuals.
But we got lucky. Our first customer was Jordan F1 who were launching a range of drinks and, with my experience in this industry, we fortunately landed the deal. S2 designed, developed and launched 2 new drinks namely V10, a vodka based energy drink (named after Eddie Jordan and the F1 V10 engine) and EJ10, a lime based energy drink. Via promotion on the F1 circuit and through multiple international and UK licensing agreements, the Jordan Drinks brands sold very well. We also got involved in team sponsorship and ran major stunts like fixing an actual Jordan F1 car and driver on the Pepsi Max Big One rollercoaster at Blackpool Pleasure beach, resulting in major SKY and BBC TV coverage.
At this time, we also started to work with a number of pub and restaurant chains such as Jongleurs comedy, bar and night club chains, Spirit Group, YO Sushi and Mitchells & Butler’s working on a variety of brand and trade marketing activities ranging from customer segmentation and pub location strategy to creative design, brand strategy and production of promotional activity. We were also very fortunate to get involved with Coca-Cola at this time and they remain our largest and most important single customer.
The philosophy in the early years at S2 wasn’t particularly very well defined. Like most small start ups, we were grateful for what we could get, but we did have one overriding mission which centred on the principle that the more a company knows about its customers and prospects, the more effective it will be in communicating with them. This fundamental principle still holds true today no matter how much the world has changed with the massive increases in data availability, technology, multiple on and offline media channels and the constant bombardment of consumers with content.
S2 has evolved considerably especially in recent times to keep up with this rate of change. Brands and retailers are now tailoring their business models to the constantly evolving shopping habits of a more demanding customer and they’re increasingly focused on ensuring that activity across all media channels reaches the right target audience.
S2 is well positioned to take advantage of this shift in emphasis to a more intelligent led approach. We believe that data really is the engine which drives all forms of sales and marketing activity. You can have the best advertising, social media or promotional campaign in the world but, if it’s not reaching the right people at the right time and via the right channel, you’re stuffed. Waste of time. Waste of money. Nice designs though!
Even our Creative Director, who’s a bit precious on this sort of thing, admits that the smart money is in using customer insight to deliver improved customer retention and acquisition, giving brands and retailers a better return on their marketing spend. There are lots of agencies out there who can deliver great creative and design. And so can we for that matter, but what really matters is that we’re doing this in a more robust and scientific fashion.
Serendipity’s primary focus now is in helping major consumer brands and retailers to acquire and retain customers with the overriding objective of driving customer engagement, sales and life time brand loyalty.
Our omnichannel approach brings together in store, geodemographic, mobile, online data and technology to create a single customer view. It doesn’t matter if our clients are manufacturing chocolate bars or running a major leisure attraction or high street retailing operation, customer data is at the heart of their business.
Whether they’re a major consumer brand or retailer, the same questions apply: Who are their best customers and how do they find more like them? What media do they use to communicate with them? What range and pricing should they adopt? Where should they open new stores? Who are their competitors? How shall they structure the sales team? How do they segment their estate and customer base?
The answers to these questions stem from a deeper understanding of customer’s behaviours, lifestyles, needs and aspirations. Our actionable insight helps brands and retailers to target investment on the elements of the marketing mix that will lead to brand growth and enhanced relationships with consumers. Happy customers are, after all, a company’s best customers.
Our work provides deep level analytical insight and unrivalled expertise in helping to shape, plan and execute strategies for major consumer brands and retailers in a rapidly evolving on and offline marketplace.
And being fully integrated, S2 is uniquely placed to work with clients throughout the total customer journey by integrating insight and strategy with industry leading creative design and digital execution.
We’re proud to be working with many of the world’s leading brands and retailers. Our award winning reputation stems primarily from our work in the Food, Drink, Leisure, Hospitality, Travel, Retail, Grocery and Fashion sectors where our on the job experience, in both client and agency environments, sets us apart from other agencies who tend to stick to theory.
Our current client work is extremely varied and wide ranging covering many areas of the sales, marketing and operational mix. And we like it that way.
2016 has been a busy one to date. Amongst our many projects, we’re currently working very closely with Coca-Cola on their UK sales and marketing strategy. We’re also designing an online website to show off Coke’s new, state of the art, Freestyle dispense machine which dispenses over 160 different drink flavours. For Mens Health, we’re designing new packaging for 4 new food categories which will be in the major grocery superstores very shortly. For Liverpool John Moores University, we’re designing a new corporate brochure targeted at students and key businesses in the area. For TUI travel, we’re continuing our work on customer profiling and category planning. We’re working with World of Wedgwood’s fabulous venue in Stoke on Trent using radio, outdoor media and online communications targeted at specific target groups. Green King work involves customer segmentation and alignment of their brands to the right pubs in the right location. And we’ve just finished a major strategic insight project with Blenheim Palace on driving new visitor attraction traffic to the venue.
Thankfully, S2 has grown steadily over the years and we now have some fantastic people working across our 3 key divisions of insight, strategy and creative execution, but we still retain that small company culture which, hopefully, will always keeps us sharp and attentive to our client’s needs.
Here’s to the next 15 years!
Founder & CEO