As Serendipity2 marks its 22nd anniversary, we sat down with founder and CEO, Pete Flood, to reflect on the journey of this remarkable consultancy business. From its inception in 2001 to the present day, Pete shares insights into what inspired him, the highlights of the past two decades, and the exciting future that lies ahead.
Q: What inspired you to launch S2 back in 2001?
A: In 2001, I was eager to embark on a new entrepreneurial venture! I had gained a significant amount of valuable operations, sales and marketing experience in the pub trade – working at Mitchells & Butler’s, Chef & Brewer Group, as well as Scottish & Newcastle Retail and had previously served as the Head of Marketing for the UK’s biggest managed chain of 2,300 pubs.
After this, I moved into data and analytics as Managing Director for two of Dudley Jenkins Group Plc’s (DJ’s) 11 data consultancy businesses: Market Location (B2B) and Consumer Surveys (Consumer lifestyle and behavioural data). Post the sale of DJ’s to Wegener Group for £86 million in 2000, I briefly led the new group company as CEO before deciding to ‘cash in’ and move on to something completely new.
Combining my trade marketing, creative, data and digital experience, ignited my passion to launch a unique data-led B2B2C marketing consultancy. My aim was to support major brands and retailers with go-to-market strategies, underpinned by data science and technology.
It felt like a natural step to create a consultancy business focused on driving business growth, yet with data at the very heart. Essentially, the idea was to create an end-to-end proposition by converting data insights into meaningful action, helping to redefine brand engagement through intelligent marketing strategies, linked to highly targeted creative and digital execution.
Q: What does the 22nd anniversary mean to you?
A: The 22nd anniversary of S2 holds special significance to me. Amidst the busy day-to-day operations, it’s an opportunity to reflect on the incredible journey we’ve all been on. S2 remains privately-owned, even after enduring the challenges posed by COVID. Despite the out-of-home sector being one of the hardest-hit industries, we’ve not only survived but thrived! We’ve maintained a loyal roster of clients who have been instrumental in our continued success and our thanks go out to them.
Q: What have been the highlights for you over the years?
A: There have been so many highlights. Landing Coca-Cola as a client after a year in business was a major boost and remains a significant achievement. I’m very proud that we continue to work with prominent clients, such as Diageo, TUI, Carlsberg Marston’s, Unilever, Quorn, Britvic and Royal Caribbean, and work at the most senior levels with MD’s, CEO’s, and senior board directors.
I’m genuinely proud of our trade-marked RISE™ end to end process driven approach, which blends consumer Research, data Insight & brand Strategy with leading creative & digital Execution.
Other highlights include some funny recollections such as a time when I had to present in front of Princess Anne and Margaret Thatcher – not something everyone has had the opportunity to do! Plus I recall having Jordan Formula 1 cars on roller coasters at Blackpool Pleasure Beach for a campaign we were supporting, which was pretty memorable!
Q: What’s been most surprising about S2’s journey so far?
A: Witnessing the evolving importance of data in business operations. Over the years, we’ve seen a shift towards data-driven decision-making, and it still amazes me that some organisations are only just starting to understand its significance. Whether it’s TV ads, direct marketing, new product development, or loyalty schemes, it should all come down to data. Data really is the engine to drive growth and business transformation and we, too, have become increasingly data-centric in our own B2B marketing approach.
Q: What campaigns have you worked on that you are particularly proud of?
A: There are several campaigns that we take immense pride in. Notable achievements include assisting with store openings for Costa, developing online strategies for Carlsberg Marston’s, developing Vue Cinema’s store segmentation, helping Monster Energy expand its product range, building a European customer segmentation for Royal Caribbean and recently leading Diageo’s go to market strategy for total alcohol, spirits and beer in independents. These campaigns have allowed us to showcase our expertise and make a positive impact on our clients’ businesses.
Q: If you could go back 22 years to give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: If I could offer advice to my younger self, I would emphasise the importance of focusing on our core strengths. At times, we’ve been guilty of trying to do too much. I believe it’s essential to stay true to what we’re good at, which, in our case, includes out-of-home, food and beverage, hospitality, leisure and travel sectors.
Q: What’s next for S2?
A: The future holds exciting possibilities – it’s time for us to step up into the spotlight more to receive the recognition we deserve. For a small boutique agency, we really are delivering fantastic results for an enviable client list. I have full confidence in our team’s capabilities, and my aim is for Serendipity2 to become the leading independent data-driven business transformation consultancy. We also plan to expand our team further by recruiting the brightest and best talent.
To add to this, our focus will also be on embracing technology and developing our own sales and marketing software products – and importantly we will all continue to have fun along the way, while pushing boundaries in our field!
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