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Attention to Digital!

19 October 2015
Attention to Digital!
Engage is the fruitful result of a seed planted in 2007 within the fast-paced digital sector by two colleagues Dave Wrightson and Alex Willcocks. Today, Engage has not only been entitled the #1 Elite Digital Agency for 1-25 staff in the 2015 Drum Digital Census, but has also formed an exciting new partnership with The Cambridge University Press: the oldest and the second largest university press in the world. In light of these achievements we spoke to Alex about the past few years and where they’re headed…

Dave Wrightson’s and Alex Willcocks’s efforts started small in Harrogate 8 years ago when they decided to leave their positions as Managing Director and Creative Director respectively in another agency. Having set up Engage in December 2007, and run the business from Harrogate for the next five or so years, the two focused largely on taking the right people on board and maintaining a suitable culture and ethos in order to progress at a steady pace, the result of which they now enjoy and in Alex’s words:

We are currently in a good position with a very strong team and a really good client base from both Yorkshire and beyond. We prefer to build longer term relationships with our existing clients rather than taking on new clients. Rather than doing just one piece of work for a client we work as what’s traditionally known as a ‘full service agency’ providing the whole package for a client over a longer period. We have had many of our existing clients since day one.

Engage has been in Leeds since 2013. Having grown from a team of 8 to 25 in a short span of about two years isn’t the sole reason behind their accomplishment of being crowned #1 Elite Digital Agency for 1-25 staff. The report is produced yearly and takes into account statistics such as turnover and client increases and is in association with the Recommended Agency Register (RAR) which is based on client feedback and ratings.

“I believe the client feedback is underpinned by our culture and the fact that our view has always been to employ people who can pick up the phone and deal with clients directly without the need for a middle management. This has made us more agile. More so, we always make sure that staff are fulfilled and enjoy their work; and that we have a culture of openness and honesty. Dave and I like to make ourselves as accessible as possible to listen to people’s feedback. I think it’s important that everyone feels that we’re all going in the same direction and for that you need to listen to people’s views on the direction as well.”

What’s more, Engage’s remarkable dual account win of The University of Northampton and most recently The Cambridge University Press adds more prestigious feathers in their cap as they increasingly diversify into extended services and clientele. Engage is to facilitate a large website re-platforming exercise for The University of Northampton, helping to make the site and content more accessible to its 14,000+ students, and will be involved through a number of undertakings from strategy through to design, build and UX across a range of projects. As for Cambridge University Press:

"They saw some work we did for ASOS and literally just got in touch with a brief. We went down to see them with a few creative ideas around a new venture they are doing for which they required something a bit more cutting edge compared to their existing traditional scope. We are making a start with this project, something a little different for us too which is quite exciting."

Having initially specialised in hospitality in a country-wide market, Engage’s success is evident in their achievements and recent client wins and they intend to continue their organic growth with the view of expanding their marketing department in the foreseeable future. However, growth does come with other considerations and choices to make, and responding to a question about their longer term plans, Alex concluded:

If you keep doing good work, stick to your principles and keep serving clients well then inevitably more clients would want to work with you. Despite sometimes thinking we’re going to take stock you sometimes can’t turn down some things that come through the door, so we haven’t got a plan that’s set in stone. There are so many parameters that play the part when it comes to planning but these are certainly exciting times for us.

For more details about Engage and their work check them out at: Engage

Kam is a Business Writer for Leeds Living. Having joined in April 2015 she writes for the Strictly Business section and specialises in business editorials.