A Tyneside brand consultancy is using a £350,000 investment to drive forward development plans devised to steer the business to the top of the nationwide list of such firms.
With headquarters in Newcastle and offices in London and Geneva, DECIDE. is the UK’s longest-standing independent brand consultancy, specialising in shopper marketing and packaging design for the fast moving consumer good (FMCG) sector.
Originally founded in 1953, the Gosforth-based firm – which has recently rebranded from its previous name of The Design Group – counts leading names already Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Walkers, Dr Oetker and Boots among its clients and sits comfortably in the top 20 of UK independent agencies.
However, after completing a strategic review of its services and capabilities, DECIDE. is aiming to challenge firms at the top of the list by building on digital opportunities to increase its activity across Europe.
DECIDE.’s management team worked with regional fund management firm, NEL Fund Managers, which administers the Growth Fund, to secure a £350,000 investment, and was advised on the deal by Newcastle-based Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance, alongside Square One Law LLP.
The agency will use the investment to use new tools and methods for its client campaigns, which have been developed as part of a strategic planning and research partnership with Durham University Business School (DUBS).
The firm aims to recruit staff with specific skills in digital strategy and content development and it will also continue investment in its education and training programme, which has already sponsored employees undertaking Masters programmes at DUBS, Northumbria and London South Bank.
Managing director Jerry Hall said: “The North East marketing sector is unrecognisable from how it was five years ago, with many of the best-known names now much diminished or gone completely, but by maintaining a national focus during these difficult times, we’ve been able to remain successful.
“Our recent rebrand was a function of a comprehensive review into our whole way of working and the methods we use to meet our clients’ creative and commercial objectives, and it has given us a sound business plan which is capable of adapting what we do to the ever-changing needs of the digital landscape.
“While the vast majority of our work comes from outside the region, we’re still very much headquartered in the North East, as we have been for almost six decades, and we’ll be continuing to tap into the region’s very strong digital capabilities as a way of sustaining and enhancing our operations here.
“The Growth Fund provided the right investment option for us, and the NEL, Ryecroft Glenton and Square One Law teams have all been great right through the application process – they understand our business inside out, and I can’t praise them highly enough.”
Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, said: “The vast experience and enviable client list that DECIDE. enjoys provides a fantastic base from which the business can move into its next stage of development, and reinforce its position in the vanguard of the digital marketing industry.”
Carl Swansbury, director at Ryecroft Glenton corporate finance, and Abu Ali, corporate finance senior led the team advising DECIDE.
Abu Ali added: “This is a great result for an outstanding regional business.
“It’s great news that such a well-established company is now in a position to be able to invest and grow further after almost six decades of trading from the North East.”