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Where We Work: I-COM, Manchester

icom Mcr

I-COM is a full-service digital marketing agency, specialising in all aspects of digital marketing and web design with a portfolio of clients across the UK.

The employee-owned business is situated in the heart of Manchester on Portland Street, just a stone’s throw away from some of Manchester’s top lunch spots, bars, pubs, and social events. The agency says its Grade II listed office building boasts plenty of unique character and encourages creativity for the team too.

After recently appointing Ravi Bhalla as managing director, who takes over the role from Mike Blackburn after 18 years, we find out what happens at I-COM’s offices…

Ravi Bhalla, Managing Director at I-COM, introduces us to the office…

“Our open plan office allows our teams to interact seamlessly with each other. We want our teams to be able to collaborate and utilise each other’s expertise to improve our whole operation and our office is a key part of that. The large office space also allows for the team to find quiet spaces where they can concentrate on delivering key pieces of work and fantastic results for our clients.”

Where is it?

131 Portland Street, Manchester, M1 4PY

How big is it?

Our office is a vibrant city centre affair. The open-plan upstairs area allows for easy communication between our teams, and includes the managers’ mezzanine, the accountant’s office and one of our four meeting rooms, as well as the main room in which our brand marketing teams work.

Downstairs are the other three meeting rooms, which can be found down a corridor, past the kitchen (complete with coffee machine, boiling water tap and plenty of supplies) and the common area, featuring a large sofa on which informal meetings are sometimes held.

What happens there?

The main office area is home to the content, PPC, web development and SEO teams. The teams work together closely, easily able to scoot around on wheelie chairs to collaborate.

The Google Home speaker is either tuned to the radio or Spotify recommendations from the teams, and there are always sweet treats available on a nearby shelf. Between tasks, our employees can be found playing ping-pong or chess, setting up Nerf gun targets, and having heated discussions about the latest film, media and culture news.

What sort of work goes on?

I-COM is a full-service digital marketing agency, meaning we specialise in creating organic and paid content, creating and managing websites, analysing SEO data and advertising our clients on Google and across various social media platforms. Our clients range from law firms to ecommerce companies, and each of our teams forms a jigsaw piece in the full package of services we offer to them.

Why is the workplace appropriate?

The I-COM office is located in the centre of Manchester, close to our clients but also close to the city’s many bars, restaurants and shops. This provides ease of access to and for our clients for in-person meetings and our social events, but also allows our employees the same benefits. 

When our team members are not driving, walking or cycling (benefitting from our Cycle To Work scheme) into the office, we work remotely, calling into internal meetings and getting our heads down to finish important tasks.

Over the past 20 years, I-COM has refined its processes and put its people first. We understand how to deliver for our clients without compromising on our team members’ mental health, and our office is the embodiment of those priorities.

Who works there? 

For a leading Manchester marketing agency, I-COM is not a huge business, with approximately 30 employees across all teams. The largest teams include the content and client services teams, closely followed by SEO, web development and PPC.

As of 2019, our employees have become more than simply that – we are business owners, as the ex-director Mike Blackburn and current director Ravi Bhalla make the decision to change the business model to be employee-owned. With each member of I-COM having a vested interest in the business’s success, we are driven and committed to bringing the best results for our clients, and subsequently for ourselves.

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