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Monday 01 October 2018
by Jackie Emson

Meet the Member - Gary Jenkins of No Brainer Agency

Name of Business No Brainer

Who are you? I’m Gary Jenkins, co-founder and director of No Brainer, an award-winning PR, social media and content marketing agency based in Stockton Heath.

What sets you apart from the competition? What sets us apart is our approach to the way we work, the commitment we show to our clients and all we do and the quality of our people. In our opinion, the very best communications campaigns embrace an integrated approach. That’s why as an agency we live and breathe Bought, Owned, Shared and Earned (BOSE) principals, choosing the right channels to help our clients connect with the right people to drive genuine results. For too long, PR companies have focused on vanity profile (delivering outputs) and not on real, tangible results. We wanted to change that. When we decided to pursue No Brainer, we felt that our understanding of the convergence of PR into SEO/online – and the lack of traditional agencies delivering it – meant that there was also a gap to be filled. This, paired with our team’s unrivalled skillset and a genuine passion for creating quality campaigns and delivering results, are what stand us out from the crowd.

How did the business come about? I met agency co-founder Lee in 2010 when we both worked in the Corporate Communications team at Bank of America. Lee and I worked closely together for two years before he left the company to work for an agency. We stayed in touch and, after working both in-house and agency side, we always chatted about how we'd do things differently if we ever ran our own business. The thought of starting my own company had always been one I’d considered but I always thought it would be something I’d do in the future. Two years later - in 2014 - I decided to take the plunge and looked into setting up my own consultancy. The opportunity also came to work with Lee on a few projects and so he quit his job and came to work with me. Lee had a three month old baby at the time and so took a huge gamble! For the first year, we worked from my study at home and, around a year later, we employed our first member of staff and moved into our new office. Three years later, we’ve upscaled our office twice and are now a team of eight. We’ve never had a penny of investment – and bootstrapped ourselves to where we are today – and during that time we’ve discovered that every decision in a small business is an important one. We’ve made mistakes, but learned from them. But, by working hard, doing great work and employing the best possible people, we’ve been able to earn the right to make our own decisions on the future of our business. And we intend to keep it that way.

What are your main target markets? We’re not an industry-specific agency at the moment, and so we don’t have specific target markets - I think that’s what keeps our jobs so interesting. We work across such a huge range of sectors from legal, beauty and energy to manufacturing, IT and lifestyle, we’ve become experts in a host of industries!

• How long has your business been in existence? We celebrated our third birthday in April 2018.

How many staff do you employ? There are currently eight of us in the team. We have myself and Lee as Directors, our News and Content Manager Steve, Office Manager, Mel, Account Managers, Lauren and Michelle and Account Executives, Hannah and Emily. Each and every one of them are rockstars in their own right.

What job or achievement makes you most proud? Am I allowed two?! One of our great early achievements was winning our first ever award. At the time it was just myself, Lee, Steve and Hannah in the team and we bagged New Agency of the Year at the 2017 PRmoment awards. I couldn’t have felt more proud. That small gold plaque meant so much to us and really reminded us that we must have been doing a pretty decent job! More recently, the team has been celebrating moving into our new offices in Stockton Heath. During our first week in the new place, all the team were together and we had a few toasts and some nibbles and it was that moment when I sat back and took it all in. It was crazy to compare where Lee and I had started – a small room in my house in Great Sankey - to where we are now. It reminded me how far we’d come and I was beaming with pride. But, there’s still a lot to do for us to achieve all we want to achieve professionally.

• Where do you see the business being in five years? When we set up the business in early 2015, we set ourselves a five year strategy. We’ve already exceeded that and we constantly review our business, our strategy and our planning. We have a long term vision, but only ever work to 90-day plans. There’s no point looking beyond that. But they always have to point to the long term goal. Our first aim as a business was to position ourselves as Cheshire’s first choice and most respected agency when it comes to communications, social, marketing and PR. If the last three years are anything to go by, then I definitely think we’re well on our way to achieving that.

Why Warrington? Warrington is known nationally as a real hot bed for start-ups and since the early days of setting up our business, Warrington has always had our back. I always talk about the ‘Warrington Welcome’ and how supportive the town’s business community can be. And it’s that type of support network in Warrington that’s helping businesses to grow. The Business Exchange has given people a ‘go to’ destination for everyone thinking about starting or growing a businesses through a single funnel. I still think there’s work to do in positioning Warrington around niche specialisms. We’re obviously strong on logistics because of our location but I think it’s important to think about what sort of sectors we want to own. For example Manchester is saturated with marketing agencies and digital companies. What does Warrington want to be known for? In terms of support its been fantastic. For example, the team at Warrington & Co have helped us with location scouting. There’s businesses here that want to support each other. People want you to succeed.

• Tell us one interesting thing about the business that might surprise us? More often than not people love our agency’s name. And something that people tend to be surprised about is that neither myself or Lee came up with the name No Brainer! The inspiration for our name was born from the concept of left brain/right brain thinking. Intelligence-led communications paired with creative solutions is the basis of our work, but it was actually an old friend of ours from MBNA, Gemma, who threw the agency name into the hat. And we’re glad it stuck!

Tell us one interesting thing about you that people might not know? (i.e.., hobbies, amusing fact, etc) I don’t know what’s going on right now, but while I was on holiday this summer, eight separate people – that’s eight complete strangers – came up to me during the two weeks to say they think I look like Danny Dyer. I even had to pose for pictures twice! I don’t see it!

• Brexit – good, bad, opportunity? It’s an unknown quantity and, to a large degree, whether it’s good or bad depends on what business you’re in and how you adapt to it. I love change, but only when it’s change for the better. I’m not convinced it is.

Fantasy dinner party – which six people alive or dead would you invite? I’d invite Danny Dyer, just to see if it’s true in real life! I’d also invite Jimi Hendrix, Brian Clough, Donald Trump, Megan Fox and George RR Martin, just to hear a sneak preview on how Games of Thrones Season 8 will end!