It’s Official… We’ve been crowned ‘Northern Marketing Business of the Year’!

November 25th, 2016 by Simon Bollon

team photo of We Are Boutique staff

Shameless announcement… Boutique has been named ‘North – Marketing Business of the Year’ in the 2016 Drum Network Awards!

In a tough category filled with marketing talent, we were honoured to have been praised for our insistence on challenging briefs and our approach to paid, owned and earned media exposure, championing our people-centric culture.

Tom and I travelled down to London for the award ceremony at the Marriott Grosvenor Square, suited and booted for the occasion. I couldn’t be more proud of the team and we’re chuffed to silly bits to have been recognised as industry leaders in the North. Since Steve and I bought Boutique we’ve morphed from a media agency to a full-service agency to facilitate marketing communications strategies without bias. I’m immensely proud of how far we’ve come and we are excited that our approach and focus on our people has received this recognition.

We want to extend a massive thank you to all the clients, suppliers, media owners, journalists and agency friends and partners for being part of our growth, and we look forward to sharing continued collaborative success.

So there you have it! You’re looking at the North’s Marketing Business of the Year. Fancy chatting to us about it? We’d love to hear from you!

Drum Network Award - Northern Marketing Agency of the Year

Drum Network Award

And we’ll just leave a list of our other awards and commendations, here…

‘North – Marketing Business of the Year’, Drum Network Awards 2016. Winner.

‘Media Agency of the Year’, Drum Network Awards 2016. Finalist.

‘Media Buying, Under 40 Staff’, RAR Awards 2016. Finalist.

RAR Top 100 Agency 2016

‘Online Media Buying’, RAR Digital Awards 2015. Winner.

Lessons of growing up

November 21st, 2016 by James Skellington

boy playing with aeroplane in field

Before I lambast you with some of my musings, I thought I’d cast my opinions over the latest Christmas ads…

Last week saw the real start of the ‘Best Christmas Ad’ contest. As usual everyone waited with baited breath for John Lewis, who showed kids that it’s DAD that delivers your presents and that all woodland creatures are fun-loving trampoline lovers, much to the great joy of those who love to write complaint letters. Personally, I thought the ad was good, but didn’t live up to the hype.

M&S showed us that women keep secrets but when it really counts, they are the go-to people to get things done at Christmas. A great ad about a young boy who wanted to show his sister he loves her even though it’s funny for him to make her life difficult. Proving that Christmas is truly a time for family to pull together.

My personal favourite has been the heart-warming Heathrow Airport advert which depicts an elderly teddy bear couple who are travelling to see their family. Click the links and make your own mind up about your own personal favourite. If you think I missed a better one, then please link in the comments.

Lessons of growing up

My Dad taught me a lot of things growing up, most of which came from me having done the opposite first time around. The end goal as a parent is to make sure your kids are socially functioning, educated and most of all to keep them out of trouble! This week I’ve been thinking about the lessons that have travelled with me to the business world.

If you are the smartest person in the room you’re in the wrong room

This was something I fought hard as a child when I believed I was the best player at my football club, but when I finally moved to a bigger pond I was forced to learn more skills and eventually became a significantly better player. The same has been true of my business life, I have always wanted to contribute but whenever I saw an opportunity to learn more somewhere else I jumped at the chance.

Coming to We Are Boutique from Google, I thought I would be holding most of the cards, but in agency life my PPC views were only part of the answer. I am embracing the opportunity to learn from the people around me in SEO, PR and Traditional Media – knowledge that’s vital to be able to offer holistic strategies.

Take a look at where you are, have you plateaued or are you still growing? Where are your opportunities?

Never be the guest who arrives empty handed

Working in Business Development, chances are when approaching people, they didn’t invite you, so you should go with a gift to show you are in the right place. I believe it’s important to show an offering of knowledge or insight that proves you turned up at their door prepared and fully aware of the event at hand. It’s clear that not everyone does this by the reactions I get when offering insight or research to potential clients but, spoiler, they like it.

Take pride in your appearance

Your appearance says a lot about you, but I don’t mean wear a suit every day. Sure, look nice if you can, everybody looks great in a tailored suit, but be careful of your mannerisms. Look interested and listen, speak WITH people, not at them, for a start. But most of all, be confident about who you are. Here’s a great video from Amy Cuddy which I highly recommend watching:

Always say please and thank you

This is just a basic. If you are a conscientious person you should have manners. Hold doors open, say “thank you” if you’re the recipient, help the old lady off the train with her bag. Little things go a long way. In our office we are bombarded by calls on a daily basis. In an environment where 20 people sit within earshot of one another, if you are rude, brash or try to bully your way to a decision maker, you are burning bridges at a phenomenal rate!  Which brings me on to my next lesson…

Be polite to people, you don’t know who they are or when you might meet them next

The person who answers the phone may well be a decision maker, the person you didn’t hold the door for or didn’t say thank you to in the morning might be the person with the final say in the boardroom or over a deal in the future. You never know where or who someone will be in 5 years’ time. My dad was always remembered by people wherever we went, people were always wanting to say hello, shake his hand – it’s because he treated them the right way every time he met them.

Try to include everyone

I know from personal experience that speaking the most isn’t indicative of knowing the most. It’s often the person who listens to everything before speaking that has the best understanding. Don’t be afraid to play your role, just don’t be a dick – allow everyone to feel important and get involved. The greater the diversity of the team the greater the diversity of your brand.

There’s no point holding a grudge     

Bitter people only ever attract poisonous opportunities; if you missed out on something, be that business, commission, a penalty in the U14 cup quarter final, accept it, own it and learn from your mistakes – make it the reason you improve. The time you spend complaining about it or blaming others will only hinder your own progression. The luckiest people are the ones who keep moving forward leaving their baggage behind them.


Without failure, success wouldn’t be an achievement


These are my musings, I hope they help you as they have helped me.

Take care!

6 Saw Mill Yard

November 16th, 2016 by Sarah Bartlett

welcome to Boutique light up sign

We’re in! It’s been a long-time coming but the dust has settled on the renovations for our swish new pad in Saw Mill Yard. A stone’s throw from our old room in Marshall’s Mill, we’ve gone and banked ourselves a swanky two-storey building that has been gutted and fully re-furbished to channel 5* luxury and our ever-growing brood of employees.

We’ve worked hard to get the look right, with four meeting rooms, a chill out room and open-plan working office space. It’s the next phase of an exciting journey and it provides us with a solid platform to continue our growth. It’s a wonderful, modern working space and we’re proud to call it home! Intrigued by the room names? Get in touch and we’ll tell all…

We Are Boutique new office

The downstairs office space

We Are Boutique boardroom meeting room

The Fell Room

Boardroom meeting room with fancy rug

The Buck Sawyer Room

Of course, then followed the office-warming party… We celebrated with a good old Boutique Bash – fun was had by all and Boutique beer pong proved to be exceptionally popular! Check out some of the snaps below…

outdoor pizza oven

Delicious stone baked pizzas by The Pizza Pod

Barbershop Quartet

The Northern Comfort Singers performed a selection of Barbershop hits

team photo

Team Boutique!

Emily and Phil in the Boutique photobooth with instagram frame

Emily and beau Phil in the Boutique Booth

people chatting at the party

Party people enjoying a tipple

Fancy a snoop around? Let us know, we’ve got posh coffees too!

Social Takover Roundup & AdWords’ click-to-message ads

November 15th, 2016 by Rory Dunlop

woman using mobile phone to shop

Hey all. Hope you enjoyed my social takeover last week. For those of you that were unaware of the goings on in the We Are Boutique social world, here is a quick recap:

Monday morning was made that little bit easier after we realised the office was still full of goodies from the previous week’s Boutique Bash. The jelly boobs were one of the many highlights…

We got involved in the Mannequin Challenge. After some ‘stiff’ competition we managed to come up with our own Boutique version of the latest craze that’s taken the country by storm. If you haven’t seen it take a look:


Trump got elected!! I know, tough news to take. But at least it ended up snowing that day! So every cloud has a silver lining. Or in this case, has snow coming out of it!

Sesame Street celebrated its 45th So as a small gesture, the team at Boutique attempted to draw their favourite Sesame Street characters. Emily and magic Mike’s drawings were then taken to the public to pick a winner.

twitter screenshot

With so much going on in the world it wasn’t a bad week for a social takeover! But while we’re on the subject of communicating with people through our different social channels, I thought it’d be interesting to talk about another form of communication that’s been on team digital’s radar recently – this time through Google AdWords.

Click-to-message ads

This is a relatively new form of advertising that does exactly what it says on the tin – giving customers the opportunity to communicate with a business through an SMS app, to initiate a conversation about their product or services. According to Google, ‘nearly two thirds of smartphone owners use messaging more than five times a day to communicate with others’ so it’s no surprise that Google has introduced click-to-message ads to bring the efficiency and effectiveness of messaging to search ads.

Google click-to-message ads

It’s a great opportunity for a business to capitalise on ‘warm leads’ that might be a little more impulsive than your average online shopper, spending a couple of early commutes to work researching their next online purchase. Or in general, to cater to customers that prefer that personal/informative approach to selling, rather than having to do all of the research themselves. Either way, Google has cleverly offered the ‘message extension’ to appeal to the ever increasing online mobile shopper, that prefers to use SMS to learn more about a product or service.

As well as businesses like hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and insurance companies using the handy extension to communicate with customers, interestingly, recruitment agencies are starting to use it too. In fact, one in particular has shaped their entire business model around the idea.

A company called ‘Job Today’ who specialises in using mobile technology to help people find a job in 24 hours by the use of instant communication, has said that ‘they are reducing barriers, by connecting people to employers in minutes and making opportunities available to everyone’ –

Job Today

Job Today homepage

Mobile users have more flexibility than ever to choose how they want to connect with businesses, and companies like Job Today are managing to tap into that flexibility – now operating in four different cities after starting in 2015.

It’s no surprise that the increasing use of mobile phones has changed the way consumers shop and subsequently how advertisers communicate with customers using their mobiles. In a recent report carried out by emarketer, they worked out that the average adult spends 2 hours and 29 minutes a day on their mobile phones (which includes non-voice time with tablets and mobile phones) – a staggering 11.8% increase over the last year.

It’s statistics like this that make the Google mobile extension a tool to help businesses communicate with their customers in a much more modern/effective way. So, get on it!!


November 8th, 2016 by Emily Holgate

sausage dog

EH here. Cometh the end of my social takeover week, which just so happened to be British Sausage Week, in case you missed one of my many meaty updates…

I’m afraid it’s time for me to bid you a fond farewell, alas not before a synopsis of the last week in media, our most-loved ads, and of course, bangers & bash!!

The week in the media

Following the Q3 update from RAJAR (the radio audience measurement body), released on 27th October, we’ve been gleefully gathering key takeouts, which show Q3 was a triumphant quarter for commercial radio.

Commercial radio’s share of listeners has grown to its highest level since 2003, stealing share from BBC and closing the gap between commercial and BBC radio significantly.

New figures from RAJAR, show that commercial radio’s share of listening hit 45.8% in the third quarter of 2016.  While this was a touch less than the BBC’s 51.5% share, it represented the highest commercial radio share of listening in 13 years, which reached a high of 46.2% in Q3 2003.

In Q3, the total number of commercial radio listeners stood at 34.76m and BBC listeners at 34.82m.

Further radio joy – the Radio Centre has last week released a research piece into the cost-effectiveness of radio advertising. Their study shows radio can improve the cost-effectiveness of brand campaigns by over 20%. They claim this is achieved by assisting brands to win ‘share of mind’ with listeners, driving a salient message. I personally can vouch for this, with at least 3 radio jingles stuck in my head at any one time… This week’s top mind menace being the Flash ad with the singing dog…

Yay for traditional media!!

Meanwhile, on-the-line…

Facebook has reported revenues of over $7bn for the first time, for the third quarter of 2016, representing a 59% year-on-year rise.

A further win for Facebook was their win against adblockers, resulting in desktop ad revenue increasing by a hefty 18%.

Ad appreciation

My ad of the week has to be Rustlers’ “What a time to be alive”. Dark humour AND burgers. What’s not to like? The only way to improve it would be to chuck in a puppy or two. The satirical series mocks the sentimental, nostalgia-filled ads our emotions and televisions are perpetually plagued by. Cutting through the Christmas clutter, Rustlers’ new ad-campaign is, in my opinion, just the right amount of sinister. This is my personal favourite of the series:

Advert for Rustlers

Have a gander at more wonderful darkness, here.


I hope you enjoyed the #DailyBangers as much as I enjoyed scouring the web for sausage-based stories.

Here’s a few sizzlers that didn’t make the cut:

Broughton-in-Furness pig farmer, Gary McClure, established a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest Cumberland sausage ring, measuring 3.3m in diameter, smashing the previous record of 1.5m, and weighing in at a monstrous 135KG…  It took six and a half hours to make, and a further 90 minutes to cook the meaty monster!

In other large sausage news… The record for longest sausage ever made was 36.75 MILES long and is held by J.J. Tranfield of Sheffield, UK. Big up Yorkshire!

Boutique Bash

Last, but by no means least…

Last week was WAB’s inaugural Boutique Bash, in our new home @ 6 Saw Mill Yard. To any of you beautiful attendees reading this, thank you so much for coming and helping us warm our new home, and drink the place dry!

Without further ado, let me leave you with a few special snaps from the evening…

The Boutique Team

A Boutique Selfie (Sorry Steve…)


All of the joy


Media gal pals enjoying the Boutique Beach


Boutique Boys enjoying the instaframe!

The Queen of beer pong herself…


I leave you in the very safe hands of the Quality Score King himself, Rory (aka Rustle) Dunlop.

Peace & love,