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McCann Leeds chalks up another year of growth as it approaches fifth anniversary

McCann Leeds has celebrated another year of growth as it approaches its fifth birthday since launching “from a standing start”.

The agency started in 2019 after its multinational parent group decided to expand into Yorkshire for the first time.

Launching with no clients and a start-up team of four, the new agency was only six months old when the first Covid lockdown arrived, a potentially fatal threat for the fledgling team.

But thanks to a couple of early client wins, the agency – led by managing director Olly Sowden, client services director Zoe Sinclair and executive creative director Gavin Shore – has established itself and now numbers 25 staff, with more joining soon.

Its latest accounts showed another substantial jump in revenue, the fourth successive year it has managed to do so.

And the newly expanded team has recently taken over a 4,000 sq ft office on Boar Lane in Leeds city centre.

“When we take a step back we are very proud of what we have achieved so far,” Sowden told Prolific North.

“Our growth has been achieved against a backdrop of Covid and an economic downturn. You could never say we have had advantageous conditions.”

One of McCann Leeds’ recent campaigns for Benenden Health

McCann Leeds currently works with over 20 clients, including private healthcare company Benenden Health, for whom the agency has created all of its recent campaigns on Channel 4.

Other clients include John Cotton, Entain Group, Howdens, Yorkshire Water and Husqvarna, owner of the Flymo lawnmower brand.

Sowden said he felt the agency had now emerged from its “startup phase”.

“We now really understand who we are and what we are really good at, and most importantly what McCann stands for in the minds of our clients,” he added.

“We have a better understanding of the types of clients and type of work that is right for us and where we can make a real impact.

“I anticipate that our growth in revenue will come as a result of really knowing who we are and knowing what to go for and what not. Which in turn, will be more profitable.’

After starting out offering just creative and branding services, the agency has now diversified into PR and social – now the fastest growing part of the agency – and has also launched media planning and buying services under the Universal McCann umbrella.

The McCann Leeds team now numbers 25, with PR Business Director Emma Jones and Senior Account Executive Holly Harper recently joining the agency  

Sowden said his team were now “united behind a vision and a set of values”.

“One of our values is a growth mindset which we’re trying to inject into everyone in the agency,” he said.

“We want everyone in the agency to have a level of understanding across all our services offerings in order to naturally encourage channel agnostic creativity and ideas, and ultimately integration.” 

Training and development has become even more important as the agency has matured, Sowden added, through formal IPA training and the launch of ‘Lunch & Learn’ sessions with guest speakers to aid personal as well as professional development.

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