The North East’s creative sector is fast becoming one of the jewels in our economic crown.
And the Best Creative Company accolade at the North East Business Awards seeks to highlight the cream of this ever-expanding sector.
JC Atkinson & Son Ltd, based in Washington, fended off tough competition from two other sub-regional winners to take the top gong last year.
This company is the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of coffins, caskets and other funeral related products - and supplies funeral directors across the UK.
But it was the way the company repositioned itself that really impressed the judges.
It has managed to grow its national appeal by repositioning its marketing material to give it a neutral feel as far as location is concerned. This removed any potential concerns about the distance involved in deliveries from the North-east.
The company says its broad range of products provides customers with an unrivalled one-stop-shop.
Meanwhile, it has established a solid reputation for its green credentials that give it a strong voice on all ethical panels in the funeral industry.
To improve awareness and acceptance of the industry in general, JC Atkinson & Son teamed up with artist Molly Russell - daughter of the late film director Ken Russell - who designed and constructed life-sized coffins of animals, which were displayed at an exhibition in London. This attracted hundreds of visitors and extensive press coverage.
The firm advocates a programme of offering choice and provides training for its customers to increase customer satisfaction levels.
Recognising the need to present its products in a way that made them easy to view, it also organised a significant redesign of brochures, websites and other point of sale material.
The creative sector is playing an ever-increasing role in the economy.
In the North-east, the number of new and developing creative businesses is expanding rapidly. Whether it be fashion or jewellery design, photography, designer-makers, pottery or fine art, a growing number of the region’s entrepreneurs are building business opportunities through their creativity.
To succeed in the industry, businesses need confidence, optimism, persistence, passion and a risk-taking attitude.
This year, the judges for the Best Creative Company category will be looking to recognise and celebrate the achievement of a creative business which has demonstrated the following:
Innovation and business creativity
Good business practice
Determination to succeed
The category is open to North East-based individuals and businesses working within the cultural and creative sector and employing fewer than 100 people.
The Best Creative Company Award is judged regionally and presented at the nebusiness awards Regional Final which will be held on April 23, 2015 at Hardwick Hall.
The closing date for this category is January 16.