Reflecting on 2021 & What’s Next With Our MD

While the past 12 months have proven challenging across the board, it’s been an extremely adaptive time for us here at H&H Reeds. Our Managing Director Andy Jackson shares his take on the year we’re leaving behind, along with some thoughts on what 2022 may hold.

Agility & new solutions

“It is hard to talk about 2021 without using the word “Covid”. The pandemic has changed the way that our team works, and in turn, it has also prompted clients to reassess their requirements from us. We became more agile in how we operated our business, delivering a project split that we’d never experienced before. As uncertainty lingered from the start of 2021 along with the cost of paper rising 20-30% over the year, many of our clients opted for short term marketing products over large scale print projects. Committing to products with a long shelf life was near enough impossible as guidance continued to change throughout the year. We used this new project split to refine our practices too, installing a new digital print finishing machine at our Penrith workshop”

Entering the digital territory

“After implementing short term measures to reduce our print capacity in-line with demand, we brought forward our ambitious plans to expand into Digital Marketing services. This move was largely triggered by our previous acquisition of another firm native to Cumbria, Dotcom Associates. As we incorporated web development, hosting and design skillsets from the acquisition, we soon realised that there was an extensive range of further digital media services to consider. We began to develop our online presence to reflect this too, launching a brand-new website that better demonstrated our brand”.

Adding new faces to the team

“Consequently, our digital team has grown to accommodate and promote this new offering, specifically through making some new key appointments at our creative hub in Carlisle. Early in the year, Jonathan Nagle joined the team as Head of Sales and Marketing, securing an array of impressive new clients to leverage both our existing and new services.

We also appointed Talisa Irving to the team as Head of Digital Marketing, bringing a breadth of industry expertise into the business to further develop our digital offering. Since starting with us, her team has grown to help fulfil this new demand.

Recently, two new recruits were added to the team, joining the business as Digital Account Managers. Lauren Crosbie provides a wealth of content & social media strategy experience, along with Megan Johnstone, an SEO specialist (search engine optimisation). Building upon the skills acquired through Dotcom, we’re now working towards providing a full-service offering, including services such as pay per click and digital display advertising.

The new digital team have gone from strength to strength, and they’ve been welcomed by both new and existing clients, including several large national contacts. It has been really exciting to be involved in this new venture, and we’ve seen great results for clients already”.

Signage reigns supreme

“Our Signage team have expanded throughout the year, taking over more space in the factory after outgrowing the original space. At the start of the pandemic, we were providing lots of clear Perspex screens for a multitude of clients in close contact services & hospitality, as well as the NHS. The team has made key advances over the past 12 months by securing significant contracts, and they’re on track to have a record-breaking successful year.
To help facilitate this, we’re currently on the lookout for new signage team members, and you’ll find further information on our website”.

Fuelled by creativity

“Back at the Carlisle hub, our creative design team executed a series of seamless new launches for some of our biggest clients. From rebrands to bespoke creative marketing projects, the design team has surpassed client expectation repeatedly. The team was also responsible for creating the identity of the 2021 Agri Expo, from launching the events’ website to designing business stands. All this was supported by a new addition to the team too, with Becca Davidson joining the business in latter half of the year”.

Transforming business culture & values

“This year we have put a lot of time and effort in to training and development — we have had three people trained as mental health first aiders, and we’ve set up a mentoring programme. All of the Directors attended a Transformational Leaders Course, and three managers took part in the Future Leaders course throughout the year. We’ve also ensured that our new starters are encouraged to take these courses up, creating the building blocks for a company culture that supports our dynamic teams. 

We’ve shaped our values as a business this year too, drawing a lot from the recent COP26 Summit. The event heightened public awareness around climate issues, however, this is something we’ve been focused on for a number of years. During 2021 we have added more ‘environmentally friendly’ products to our print and signage material offerings as well as changing to a carbon neutral website hosting provider for our web/digital services. All of the changes that we make will in turn, help our clients to improve their carbon footprint.

So... What’s next?

“At the time of writing, the business is navigating a lot of uncertainty, made more difficult by talks of possible lockdown measures. This lack of clarity effects the uptake of client projects, particularly in sectors such as tourism and hospitality — which have been some of the hardest hit industries that we supply to across the business. 

A key takeaway from 2021 was understanding that the economy can bounce back quickly though, and I think by spring time, confidence will seep back into society. One exciting thing to come from 2021 is new start-up businesses and people relocating their operations away from the city to the Lake District, and as a multi-media business we are well positioned to help these businesses get noticed.

Of course, we’re excited to watch our new digital offering grow, and we’re going to continue to find new ways to innovate with our print, design, and signage services. We’ve got a team of incredibly skilled experts leading the way into 2022 and beyond, and we’re remaining optimistic”. 

Whatever your plans are for 2022, we’re here to help with reliable, expert-led solutions. Discover more about digital marketing, print, and signage with us, and simply get in touch with our team today if you have any queries.