Last night I was lucky to meet with marketing and design professionals for an evening with the Chairman of Elmwood, Jonathan Sands, courtesy of Business Link. For those of you not familiar with Elmwood, they are an international brand design consultancy based in Guiseley, West Yorkshire. Founded in 1989 with only a handful of clients, their days working on small local campaigns from their Yorkshire base now seem a distant memory. The Yorkshire agency has successfully expanded to operate on a global scale, with offices in Melbourne, New York, and Singapore. Their client portfolio boasts successful partnerships with Walmart, Nike, Durex, and Cable and Wireless, to name only a few. The ‘Being Inspired With…’ events organised by Business Link are a valuable opportunity to learn more about key figures within the industry and with Elmwood being one of the agencies we regularly recruit with I was keen to finally meet the man behind the company, who has lead the agency to win over 100 national and international awards and to recently be voted one of The Times UK’s Top 100 Best Companies to Work For.
Here at Network Marketing we regularly attend marketing events to ensure we keep up to date with the industry. Unfortunately, due to the demands of deadlines and last minute campaign changes, it can often be the case that turnout at the events is lower than anticipated. However it was a full house at the Great Victoria Hotel last night. After being welcomed to the event with an impressive array of refreshments (a great selection of Taylors of Harrogate tea and cookies- keeping it local, I was impressed!) and a brief introduction to Business Link, Jonathan Sands led us in to his world of Elmwood. The presentation covered not only the history of the agency but how they have approached the current economic climate to ensure growth, not failure. It was inspiring to hear positive messages about the business world today, as opposed to the doom and gloom presented in the media on a daily basis. Jonathan was passionate about the ‘recession’ being an exciting business opportunity, not an excuse for failure. Brave words but incredibly refreshing and Elmwood’s phenomenal expansion over the past few years is evidence that positivity in these times goes a long way. We were also given the opportunity to experience the ‘culture of Elmwood’. As a recruitment consultant who regularly works alongside the agency, this was a valuable insight. Jonathan injects his belief of growing and retaining talent at Elmwood and it was great to hear that the agency spend more on learning than they do on marketing- an area that I personally feel too many companies fail to embrace. As a young professional myself it was a comfort to hear that fellow graduates and young talent are given a chance to grow and flourish.
One particular point that stuck in my mind was that Jonathan purposely let his junior staff present to judges to be considered for the Yorkshire Post’s ‘Best Company to Work For’ Award in 2008, which they subsequently went on to win. At Elmwood, relationships are placed at the heart of everything. Jonathan stated that he wanted his clients to be their best friends and in times were there is competition in every corner it is these strong relationships that will deliver results. Unfortunately we see so much aggressiveness in business every day- it was refreshing to see good old-fashioned kindness being championed. At the end of the evening we were treated to a light buffet and the chance to network with the other attendees. The place was buzzing and the presentation had clearly been well-received. All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and I did actually come away feeling ‘inspired’. I would truly recommend people take a look at the Business Link website and check out their events programme for autumn- www.businesslinkyorkshire.co.uk/events. And as a final point to all my fellow Network Market-ers, I am proud to say that Jonathan Sands declared his love for Derby County last night- my home team! We may struggle on the football front, but we have inspirational fans By Helena Krzeminski