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Toxic workplaces, menopause podcasters and inside the home of Naked Attraction: Prolific North’s big interviews of 2022

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Uncovering the stories behind the North’s growing digital and creative scene has continued to be a major focus for Prolific North this year.

We’ve secured exclusive interviews with key industry figures from the likes of Booking.com, Roku, N Brown, Boohoo, Yorkshire Tea, Travel Counsellors and many more.

As we approach the end of the year we wanted to round-up some of our favourite moments. 

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Lifting the lid on the ‘toxic’ culture within some PR and marketing workplaces

“I was pulled into a disciplinary because I didn’t answer a WhatsApp message to a client on a Saturday when I was trying to enjoy my weekend and switch off. This all came to a head when I caught Covid and was so ill I lost my voice, only to have my boss ring me and scream down the phone because a campaign hadn’t gone according to plan.”

Sarah*, a PR executive based in Manchester, was one of a number of contributors lifting the lid on how ‘toxic’ bosses, demanding clients and long hours are all having a big impact on the mental health of some of those working across the PR, comms and marketing industries.


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Exclusive: Booking.com reveals plans to make Manchester its UK HQ and “hire in a big way”

“We are waving our flag, planting it in the ground and saying boldly to the world Manchester is our headquarters for Booking.com. This is not just a regional office, a satellite office for us, this is the second biggest location for employees at Booking.com worldwide.”

Austin Sheppard, VP of Engineering at Booking.com, on the online travel giant’s big plans for Manchester.


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How the North East’s fintech boom is helping the cost of living crisis

“There is this assumption sometimes that London is the place to be and if you want the best quality people you have to be in London or the South East,” she said. “That’s not the case. There’s such a rich scene of talent here in the North East.”

Clare Framrose, Head of Marketing at Atom Bank, on why the digital challenger bank continues to base itself in the North East after setting up in Durham eight years ago.


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Behind the scenes at dock10, the home of Eurovision, Naked Attraction, World Cup 2022 and Stephen Fry’s Dinosaur

“All the other party leaders went to their dressing rooms and were quite happy but poor old David Cameron had to stand in the corridor and prep for his interview.”

Andy Waters, Head of Studios at dock10, takes us behind the scenes of the home of Naked Attraction, Match Of The Day and the election leadership debates.


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Interview: N Brown’s Andreas Nicolaides on digital transformation and influencers

“Having a strong influencer strategy and linking it through to everything you do is really, really important. When you get it right from an influencer perspective and you have the right product with the right influencer, talking to the right audience, it can be really, really powerful.”

We dive into N Brown’s marketing startegy with Group Marketing Director Andreas Nicolaides. The Manchester-headquartered listed retailer is behind brands including JD Williams, Simply Be, Home Essentials and Jacamo.


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Menopause Awareness Day: The ex-BBC staff joining the menopause revolution with podcast Effin Hormones

“When I think about how far I’ve come since we started recording just over a year ago, how far I’ve come since I was sat at my girlfriend’s garden just bawling my eyes out. I’m a different person, you know? I’m vaguely sane.”

Emma Goswell, host of the Effin Hormones podcast, which looks to shine a light on the issue of perimenopause.


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Inside Manchester’s 85,000 sq ft Space Studios used by Peaky Blinders, It’s A Sin and Disney

“When we did Intergalactic, they were building the set for like 16 weeks. It was huge! They were filming on it for four or five but they had guys here building it. It’s welding, it’s plastering, it’s plumbing, it’s all kinds of stuff. You need all of those trades and it’s very demanding.”

Dean Sinacola, Space Studios Stage Manager, explained why the 85,000 sq ft facility is so important for the North as a whole.


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“Sue, you’re shouting at tea”: Meet the man causing a social media stir at Yorkshire Tea

“For Yorkshire Tea, we try and imagine ‘what would Yorkshire Tea do as a person? What would they say? How would they react in a certain situation?’ Then try to model it out from that. That’s what allows us to have such creative flex and to really let that personality shine through because ultimately, we do try and be a person, as opposed to a brand that is selling tea.”

Yorkshire Tea’s digital communications specialist Ollie Ratcliffe takes us behind the scenes of some of the Yorkshire brand’s viral successes of recent years.


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Exclusive: American streaming giant Roku on its “ambitious” plans and new Manchester office

“When we looked at Manchester, if you look at the engineering history that’s in the city and the cultural impact that the city has had across the world as well in terms of audio, TV, music, it was just the natural fit for us as an organisation for what we wanted to do.”

Alastair McGeoch, Director of Software Engineering at Roku, on why the American streaming giant has set up in Manchester at Bruntwood SciTech’s No.1 Circle Square.


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