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Where We Work: N21 Group, Newcastle

N21 Group

N21 Group is a global performance marketing group headquartered in Newcastle.

N21 was founded in 2002 by CEO Neil Robbins in his back bedroom in London. When Robbins met his wife, he moved to the North East and rented an office space in Hoults yard on the edge of Ouseburn. In 2020, the business moved to a new HQ on Brinkburn street in Newcastle to ensure there was enough space for the group’s growth.

Since 2020, the group has grown to 115 employees and has three specialist agencies operating under the N21 banner including Silverbean, the group’s affiliate marketing agency, NORTH, the group’s digital PR and content agency, and Ortus, the group’s paid marketing agency and shared services team overseeing people and finance.

We take a look behind the scenes to see what happens at the new HQ…

N21 Group is a global performance marketing group headquartered in Newcastle.

Damian Hall, Chief Operating Officer at N21 Group, explains the decision to move into the HQ on Brinkburn Street…

“When we moved to our HQ on Brinkburn Street, it was perfect for us as we wanted to create a new workplace where our team enjoyed spending time working and being together. We wanted an environment that offered inspiration, accommodating our people to work collaboratively but also on their own when they needed some thinking time to break away from the hustle and bustle of a busy agency office.

“It was important that our space was a true reflection of us as an agency – incorporating our relaxed working culture and stacks of our personality as N21 Group. Ultimately we wanted a place that our people genuinely enjoyed spending time in.”

Where is it?

166 Brinkburn Street, Byker, Newcastle, NE6 2AR.

How big is it? 

Our Newcastle headquarters on Brinkburn Street stands just shy of 5,000 sq ft with a modern industrial feel throughout. Spread across two floors, the ground floor occupies our client facing space, equipped with glass meeting rooms of varying sizes depending on whether the team requires a larger conference style set up, a room suitable for internal training and presentations or a smaller huddle space for personal development reviews and one-on-one catch-ups.

Our communal kitchen area is also found on the ground floor and houses free breakfast foods and healthy snacks that are replenished daily, coffee machines and pods for employee use and large bench style kitchen seating. The rear of the ground floor holds our ‘Den’ area. This large space has a variety of seating areas and a pool table, and regularly holds All Hands sessions, training, team meetings, agency lunches and socials and offers break out space for eating lunch and taking calls.

To the back of the Den we have access to our sunny outdoor seating area that is used for our Summer BBQs and dining in the sunshine (when the North East gets any!). Upstairs on the first floor of Brinkburn Street is where you’ll find our team hard at work. The open plan first floor houses banks of desks equipped with everything our team needs to work for the day, with lots of green indoor plants, standing desks for those that need to stretch their legs and an additional breakout area with sofas to the back of the room.

What happens there?

Our HQ is home to every event, no matter the season. It’s a place where memories are made alongside the working day to day running of a busy digital agency. We’re an agency passionate doing our bit to make a difference to our external environment and in doing so, our space has been home to charity events from a pottery workshop, to stalls being set up in the Den to raise money for Ukraine, to hosting over 60 school students to inspire them into a career in digital marketing.

We also know it’s important to create connections for our employees and have held countless social events in our office from our Christmas Party, where our ground floor was transformed into an ‘N21 Bistro’ and employees were treated to a private dining experience, to an employee company Hen Do to celebrate the upcoming wedding of one of our senior team members, to our regular ‘Pot Luck All Agency Lunches’ and pizza and film events for all employees.

Despite the hybrid nature of the digital industry, we make extra effort to encourage employees to come together in our office once a quarter for our agency All hands, including remote workers, to run through our financial performance as a business and share any key updates (and also to have lunch together!).

We’re huge on creating learning and development opportunities for our employees and have used our Den space to host some really powerful keynote speakers from Brad Waldron, Richard Quine and Kirsty Hulse as well as our own internal accredited Affiliate training.

Our outside space is perfect for working or having lunch outside and also holds the occasional fitness class for our team and of course our annual potluck BBQ in summer. A big highlight of working at N21 for our team is that our working spaces are dog friendly – research has proven that dogs have a calming effect in the workplace so well behaved pets are welcomed with open arms at Brinkburn Street and are much loved additions to our team.

What sort of work goes on?

We’re a performance marketing group with three specialist performance marketing agencies (Silverbean, Ortus and NORTH) and employ some of the most talented marketers in the industry. Our agencies work both individually and collaboratively to activate next level results for brands across affiliate marketing, paid docial, PPC, digital PR and SEO. Our clients are mainly consumer brands that are looking for specific expertise in performance marketing channels to help them drive stronger results.

We work with a mix of global brands, major national businesses and specialist independents across sectors in retail, ecommerce, travel, financial services and more. We have a global footprint and our offices across the UK, Australia and the USA serve clients using sales growth-focused, digital marketing strategies across EMEA, North America and APAC.

Why is the workplace appropriate?

We operate a fully flexible hybrid working environment so it was important to us that the office was a place that people want to and choose to work from. The open plan area, meeting rooms and communal kitchen of the ground floor, combined with the working spaces of the first floor, mean our teams can easily collaborate and get together whether it’s for joint project work or simply to enjoy lunch together.

Our shared services team utililses the kitchen area to take it in turns once a month to cook lunch for each other, too which is a lovely use of the space. The meeting rooms themselves are bright, airy spaces that enable people to come together face to face to discuss how to build world class experiences for our clients.

Who works there?

We have 115 employees across the N21 Group, of which 100 are based from the Newcastle office. Working across our three different Agencies; Silverbean, Ortus and NORTH, we have structured our agency to ensure there is career growth in all areas of the business, no matter what your role.

From our fully paid Internship programme where university students take a year out of their studies to experience working in a digital marketing agency, to executive roles in content, digital PR, affiliate marketing and client experience, we support the career progression of every individual.

Our executives can then move into manager or senior roles in their area of specialism. We also have a sales and marketing team to sell and market our own individual agencies, and a shared services team who specialise in finance and HR for the full group.

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