Awards boost for marketing firm

Naked Marketing team: from left, David Lloyd, Laura Garcka, Ben Handford, Don Bradfield, Jodie Cole,

Naked Marketing team: from left, David Lloyd, Laura Garcka, Ben Handford, Don Bradfield, Jodie Cole, Simon Foster - Credit: Archant

It was their big moment in the limelight after a decade of growing quietly and largely relying on word of mouth for new business.

However, almost as soon as they climbed off the stage at last year's EDP Business Awards, clutching the Small Business of the Year trophy, the pace perceptibly quickened for the small team at Naked Marketing.

Managing-director Ben Handford confessed it had not really been in their nature to push themselves forward but had been prodded to enter the awards by their non-executive director Caroline Rust.

He said: 'The telephones started ringing the following week - even banks were phoning us up offering us new finance.'

Since the award success new business had come along 'faster than ever', profits had grown and extra staff had been taken on.

'We took on another full-timer and part-timer and we are currently looking to recruit another account handler,' said Ben.

Despite increasing their turnover steadily from £100,000 in their first year to nearly £600,000, Ben insists that 'the team that like to do things differently' have not changed at heart during their 12 year journey.

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He said: 'I am proud to be a Norfolk boy. For each client we simply do the best job we possibly can and ask them to tell others about us.'

And their enduring humour can be seen in the description of their advertising work for airline giant Qantas: 'The world's largest passenger aircraft, Australia's largest airline, Hingham's largest advertising agency - a match made in heaven'.

Part of 'doing things differently' has involved resisting a move to Norwich, home to a clutch of other agencies.

Starting out in Besthorpe near Attleborough, they bought their own premises in Hingham two and a half years ago.

He said: 'At the beginning, when clients asked us why we were not in Norwich we used to say, 'we will move to the city soon'.

'However, they used to say, 'please don't, we can get to you easily and parking is so convenient.'

Ben, who started out at a large agency in London, formed Naked Marketing with creative director David Lloyd, eying a niche in the market.

'At the time, there were the bigger agencies and a number of one-man bands, we felt we could position ourselves in the middle,' he said.

The team provide a range of services, including marketing, advertising, branding, e-marketing, PR and more, for brands such as Weight Watchers, Hello Kitty, and Mind, the mental health charity – as well as several local businesses including Norfolk Country Cottages and Bryan Turner Kitchens.

Ben said they were proud to have continued to grow during the recession but 'remain as excited about each milestone as we were when we sent out our first ever invoice, and banked our first cheque'.

This year's EDP Busines Awards take place at Norfolk Showground on November 6.