Senior Team Shakeup

February 9th, 2018 by Darcie Hewitt-Dudding

welcome to Boutique light up sign

We’re very excited to announce the promotion of two of our staff, expanding our senior leadership team.

Adam Bell, who joined the digital team at Boutique in summer 2017, has stepped up to head the digital offering, leading on department strategy and wider business growth. A digital native, Adam is building on our data-driven core; adding a flair of creativity to core competencies in search, social, content and email marketing.


Alex Price, previously Client Services Director, has been promoted to Agency Director and will broaden her remit from client-facing activity to the wider business landscape. Alex has been with us since early 2015 and will be leading on the day-to-day integration of departments whilst retaining a focus on people and clients.

They’ve both gone beyond the call of duty and helped to drive the business forward, and so we’re delighted to announce their progression within the business.

The promotions will set the scene for further growth as we continue to develop our full-service offering. We can’t wait!

Why it’s important to recognise different personalities. What makes you, you?

June 5th, 2017 by Charley Downey

Lego heads

It can sometimes seem too obvious.

You may have a friend who you naturally get along with, but when it comes to certain situations, you struggle to get on their wavelength. Or perhaps you and your partner can never see eye to eye on certain subjects, because you wouldn’t handle something in the same way as they would. It’s normal for people to have completely different traits, just because we get on it doesn’t mean we must agree all the time, right?

We recently had our Boutique Away Day and one of the exercises focused on Colour Energies. This is the theory that, as humans, our dominant personality traits fall within one of four groups. Once we determine which group ‘leads’ our personality, we can identify our strengths, weaknesses, and how we would work with or against other personalities in other groups.

According to the theory, your personality will mostly be made up of traits/characteristics from two of the colour groups. You may have characteristics from all four, but you will have two colours that are the most dominant. Here are the colour splits…

colour personality wheel

Your two most dominant colours are likely to be next to each other in the pie. For example, you may be more aligned with red and yellow, or blue and red – but it’s unlikely that you’ll be red and green, or blue and yellow.

So, let’s have a look at the actual traits of each group.

Reds: Competitive, demanding, strong-willed, purposeful, determined.

Yellows: Sociable, dynamic, demonstrative, enthusiastic, persuasive.

Greens: Caring, encouraging, sharing, relaxed, patient.

Blues: Cautious, precise, deliberate, questioning, formal.

If you’re still unsure about which groups you might fall into, there are tonnes of quick quizzes online such as this one.

Have you worked out your most dominant colour? If so, let’s look at the pie for the colour that’s opposite – as this is the most different personality to you. For example, if you’re mainly a red, look at green. This bit it the most important, as it enables you to understand how to work with other personalities.

When working with reds:

Do – be direct, to the point, focus on results and objectives. Be brief, be bright, be gone.

Don’t – hesitate or waffle, focus too much on feeling, try and take control of the situation.

When working with yellows:

Do – involve them in decision making, be open and flexible, be entertaining and fun in your approach.

Don’t- bore them with details, tie them down to a routine, leave them out of the picture.

When working with greens:

Do – be patient and supportive, slow down and work at their pace, ask their opinion and give them plenty of time to answer.

Don’t – take advantage of their good nature, push them to make quick decisions, throw them into an unexpected situation.

When working with blues:

Do – be very well prepared and thorough, put things into writing, let them consider the details of what you are saying.

Don’t – go off on a tangent, invade their personal space, ignore important details.


Interesting stuff, isn’t it? You can find out more on the official Colour Works website.

The exercise really highlighted how different we are as a group, and it was funny to see how accurate some of the findings were. Humans are the most complex and advance species on the planet – yet sometimes we can forget the obvious and assume we’re all the same.

The away day was great. We reflected on our progression and more importantly our goals. We focused on culture, our clients, the team and everything and anything we can do to ensure we’re always thriving to be better. We also laughed, drank, had plenty of fun and worked out our colour energy. And as a little take away, we’ve each popped a Lego creation on our desks to represent our colour traits in descending order. So that if ever we feel like someone just doesn’t understand our vibe, it’ll remind us that ‘hey – they’re not out to get us, their brain just works a little differently’.

Here’s to being different!




The integrated agency might be for you

May 19th, 2017 by Simon Bollon


Looking for a media agency? Let’s talk digital. Or PR. Or social. Actually, let’s just start at the beginning and talk about all of them. Actually, let’s just talk about your business, needs, objectives, proposition, vision. Then we’ll decide collectively where to go next.

That’s a cut down version of most of the pitch and new business opportunities we come across.

Our inbound enquiries are mostly from people looking for niche services, believing that the channel in discussion is the natural environment for them. Or because they are already doing one or some of the broader services within the communications mix.

Around half the time, the services potential clients enquire about are not the work we ultimate undertake for the client in the first stages of our relationship.

We are a strategy and implementation agency. We believe that strategy comes first and only once a solid, purposeful strategy is developed should the implementation take place. Too often clients are ‘doing’ social, PR, media buying or search without one cohesive strategy of what, when and why – they lack cohesive long-term views and fail to marry short term actions with the bigger picture. The allocation of resources and budgets therefore lacks strategy and justification.

I’m not one for bashing agencies but we believe that the smaller, siloed specialisms will find the coming years tough. The very biggest clients will continue to utilise the specialists as strategy sits internally with large marketing teams led by strategically minded CMOs (or similar titles) meaning the agency role is one of implementation with ownership sitting within the marketing departments. It makes sense. But I think those services are then often commoditized.

However, in smaller, mid-market, privately owned, growth or challenger businesses (broad brush, not 100% accurate and yes, the core of our client base) the reliance on agencies is growing. The shifting digital landscape has made it more challenging to navigate and importantly, to know what to expect as a return. It is the responsibility of the agencies to use knowledge, data and experience to drive budget allocation, determine likely returns and guide clients through phases of activation by channel.

It is not appropriate for a media agency to guide on share of budget as their expertise is in one area. The same applies to a digital agency. They have no data, knowledge or experience that can guide them on how offline media might be best used to acquire customers. Nor can they justify their services versus another channel.

For that reason, we work across paid, owned and earned, with core disciplines in media, digital and PR. Finding, engaging, converting and retaining customers. We blend services and allocate budget and activity appropriate to a client’s vision, objectives and KPIs.

Hey, it’s not right for everyone, but its critical to many.

Further, this approach allows for real client intimacy. We can provide completely unbiased direction, deliver a much stronger consultative approach and ultimately work on a PRF model where everyone wins.

For us, working across all of the services means we are able to focus on our strengths as a strategically focused agency, relying less on a focus of monetising at the point of implementation.

There is a better way. An integrated way. A strategic way.

It’s why we just won Best Small Integrated Agency.

A week in the life of Sarah G

April 10th, 2017 by Sarah Gough

on air radio sign

Buckle up, I’m going to take you on a whistle stop tour of my week last week.

To set the scene, here’s a quick summary of me and my role at Boutique:

  • 27-year-old country bumpkin with a penchant for baking and bunting
  • Head of Earned Media (PR and content)
  • Strategy, implementation and client services
  • Brand ninja, teetering on the edge of OCD

monday script font

Our working weeks begin with a team meeting so we can get an idea of how everybody’s week is going to shape up. We talk everything from important client projects and event attendance to new business pitches and agency updates, all intertwined with quips about our weird and wonderful weekends (we’re an eclectic bunch).

This week followed suit but with one noticeable and welcome addition; our exec Darcie who has joined us to boost the SEO and content division! Digital whizz Louise and I were on hand to get Darcie up to speed with agency happenings and processes, and give her an initial overview of our client portfolio. We’re excited to have her on board.

For Louise and me, the afternoon was spent pitching our digital and PR services to a prospective new client in a rather picturesque location (lucky devils). Naturally I can’t divulge anything about the prospect, but we had a really enjoyable afternoon with them and a splendid, sunny drive ‘home’.

tuesday script font

Day two for Darcie and it was time to do some more client overviews. Unlike most SEO agencies, our PR team is heavily involved on digital content clients so we take a much more brand-friendly view on anything produced. If we’re going to earn our clients space online for link building, it makes sense to ensure it’s also a brand building piece! Two birds; one stone, for more relevant and engaging output that not only pleases Google, but also the client and its audience.

The afternoon was spent on a train to London with fellow earned media bod Sarah Bartlett. We rejoiced the lightning fast wi-fi (whilst lightly lamenting what we’ve become) and whipped through our tasks for the remainder of the day. From video briefs for digital and social content for the agency, to interview cues for broadcast and press releases for traditional, we had a remarkably efficient couple of hours. It wouldn’t be the ‘PR’ people like to imagine if the journey didn’t culminate in a celebratory glass of something lovely before catching some Zs.

wednesday script font

After an 8am pep talk and caffeine stop, Sarah and I headed to a broadcast studio in London for our client’s radio day. Joining us and the client was Head of Psychology at City University London, Professor Martin Conway to support the latest instalment of our Treasured Memories campaign. As you’d expect, Martin was insanely clever and interesting, and within a few short hours had us all questioning what we knew about our childhood memories. Lots of fascinating interviews later, we emerged from the studio far more enlightened and with plenty of conversations for our journey back up to Leeds. Thanks as always to our broadcast collaborators – a great day spent with a lovely bunch, and an exciting start to this year’s consumer PR campaign.

thursday script font

Thursday was a real mixed bag of work. PR is no longer about column inches; our role in earned media is to create relevant content that earns us exposure, so we work across every channel as an agency. Channel (and hence activity) is bespoke to each client, so no two days are the same and we work hard to keep informed and remain insight-driven. Better to be busy than bored!

Thursday started with influencer engagement; liaising with a journalist about our client’s products for a national online piece she’s writing. The feature she’s working on looks both perfect for the client and extremely fun in general, so I’m personally looking forward to seeing how it pans out.

Being a content creator means not only doing so for clients, but for our agency as well. A catch up with Steph in the TV team about infographic creation, and a short brainstorm later, we had a starting point to brief in to creative; keep your eyes peeled for the resulting content.

Briefly so as not to give too much away, next up was video content planning for one of our newer clients. Needless to say, we’re really excited about the video so keep an eye on our social feeds over the next few months for that!

Mid-afternoon and London was calling. Our hybrid SEO/PR team hopped aboard the train in Leeds to begin the four-and-a-bit hour journey to the south coast. Destination: Brighton SEO. Before our much-needed sleep we topped up our tummies in local Thai restaurant, Siam Siam. Words rarely escape wordsmiths, but we’d struggle to communicate just how delicious the food was. A must-visit if you’re ever in Brighton.

friday script font

As the sun shone on Brighton beach, so did it on Brighton SEO. Other than a quick pit stop (to check emails, review a CV and proof read an infographic brief), Friday was all about getting my geek on and expanding my SEO knowledge. In a few short years they’ve gone from meeting in a room above a pub to hosting one of the biggest events of its kind in the UK. Such is their reputation that we were able to enjoy talks by some of the industry’s leading professionals, as well as some serious emerging talent.

As the SEO team made their way back up North, the PR team settled in to a weekend in London ahead of training at the Guardian on Monday. We wouldn’t work in PR if we didn’t have mild organisational prowess, so instead of using the train to London as downtime like the cool kids, we used it to plan our week ahead. As a wise man once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

week in the life of PR

That’s it from me for now. If you have any questions about what we do or what we could do for you, drop me and the rest of the team a note on or call us on 0113 394 8990.


Want to tweet us? @WeAreBoutiqueUK

Launching herdy®sleep mattresses to market

March 24th, 2017 by Louise Trent

herdysleep mattress

We’re excited to announce our latest client project, the launch of British luxury mattress company herdy®sleep.

We’re known for being ambitious, and we’re big on working with clients that have personality, care about the customer journey and offer a good cultural fit with our team. A brand-new venture by Lake District’s much loved The Herdy Company, herdy®sleep were looking for a digital marketing agency to support their industry launch. With refreshing brand values and opportunities for industry stand-out, it’s an opportunity that had us hooked from the off!

Born in the Lake District, The Herdy Company was dreamed up and made a reality by husband and wife duo Spencer & Diane Hannah, who envisioned creating design-focused lifestyle pieces inspired by the Lake’s own Herdwick sheep. Fast forward to ten years on, The Herdy Company has now become a hugely successful brand recognised for quirky but practical homewares featuring the adorable mascot, Herdy himself. Having developed their offering into gifts, babyware and kitchenware, it was only a matter of time before The Herdy Company took on a new adventure altogether. Cue herdy®sleep, a collaboration made in heaven with luxury mattress manufacturers Harrison Spinks. Together they create luxury mattresses made from ethically sourced Herdwick sheep wool, all manufactured in Yorkshire.

Herdwick sheep fleece

We’re working with the team to guide customers through the mattress journey, to communicate the importance of sustainable farming that keeps waste to a minimum, and to drive sales of the company’s artisan quality mattress with unrivalled craftsmanship. Some of us were lucky enough to test out the traditionally tufted mattresses ourselves and it’s safe to say that we were ready to snooze off with ease.

After months of planning, we’re excited for the campaign to be underway and we look forward to helping the team dominate the luxury mattress market.

Boutique gets arty!

March 23rd, 2017 by Simon Bollon

wall mural painting

We’ve been busy, creative bees over the past couple of months, teaming up with the Leeds College of Art on an office wall mural brief for their third-year Illustration students.

As we’ve recently moved into a five-star office space in Saw Mill Yard, we wanted something unique and personal that was characteristic not just of us as an agency, but of Holbeck’s saw mill industrial past. Our main meeting room, named ‘The Fell’ (there’s a theme here…) was in need of some personality on its bare grey wall, and instead of hiring a professional artist, we thought it’d be much more ‘Boutique’ to get some of Leeds’ young, creative talent involved!

So, we sent a professional brief over to the Leeds College of Art and we received some fantastic submissions – we were blown away by the level of artwork we received, and impressed by the students’ attention to detail and justification behind their designs.

After some careful deliberation, we chose our design and got in touch with Ian Fulcher to let him know the great news! He was incredibly modest but excited to get cracking on the live brief, which counted towards one of his third-year modules.

wall mural graphic design

Ian’s proposed design

Ian spent the day at Boutique on 15th March to bring his concept to life:

After receiving the brief I was keen to come up with a design that not only represented the local mill history, but one that I could also successfully replicate by hand onto the grey wall. As someone who predominantly produces digital artwork it was a great challenge for me to create a striking, graphical design whilst retaining the hand-drawn element. I used a projector to transfer the design onto the given space in ‘The Fell’, then outlined in white pencil so I knew exactly where to fill in. I chose white Posca acrylic paint pens of varying thickness to paint with because the mural space was a nice manageable size, making the ‘Projector & Posca’ approach favourable over ‘gridding’ and re-drawing it out by hand, and giving a much cleaner result than brushes.

I’ve followed artist Tom J. Newell for a long time and am inspired by his single colour mural work using Poscas. I’ve also had some pointers from pro-muralist and sign painter Pete Barber, who I assisted with some large-scale painting at the Lyon Works, Templar Lane in Leeds last summer. I still can’t quite believe my design was chosen – it’s been a great experience working with the guys at We Are Boutique and it has given me a whole load of confidence to pursue further large-scale, ‘live’ drawing projects in the future.”

collage of wall mural

Ian Fulcher and MD Simon Bollon

Ian Fulcher and Boutique’s Simon Bollon

Here’s a time-lapse video of Ian in action:

Check out Ian’s work on Instagram – @IanFDesigns.

Tom’s Social Takeover Roundup

January 23rd, 2017 by Thomas Selby


Here is my roundup of the last working week. It was a real rollercoaster…

Monday 16th was Blue Monday, supposedly the most depressing day of the year. I can’t really agree though as it was also ‘Appreciate a Dragon’ day and let’s be honest, dragons are awesome.

We took advantage of the dragon theme, giving our fellow Boutiquers the chance to channel their artistic juices and compete for a coveted prize in a dragon draw off.

Charley reigned supreme with a sterling reproduction of the dragon from Shrek:

sketch of a dragon

She was clearly chuffed with her prize…

charley holding a photo frame

Our friends at ITV came in to show us what will have the nation on the edge of its sofa in 2017. Warning: Spoilers!

ITV programming session

The Boutique Darts Championship got off to a flying start, although some of our brickwork might disagree! (No pointing fingers, Charley!)

darts board

On Wednesday at 3:25 PM we saw a world-first as Channel 4 broadcast a live operation from inside the human body. This took place during a 90 second ad break to raise awareness for bowel cancer.

And finally, we capped the week off with National Popcorn day (any excuse for some carbs in Jan!)

Tyrrell's popcorn

All in all a crazy week  at Boutique towers… Time for me to sign off and pass the reigns over to our resident Quality Score Cowboy, Nathan Fletcher!

Selby out!

Say Hello to Helen!

January 16th, 2017 by Sarah Bartlett

Helen portrait photo in black and white

The new year has brought a new face to Boutique… Say hello to our new receptionist and admin extraordinaire, Helen!

Since we moved into our new and larger home in Saw Mill Yard with a multitude of meeting rooms and ever-increasing bodies to manage, it was only a matter of time before we welcomed a new Boutique bod to help organise the troops.

Helen will be the first face you see when you enter Boutique HQ (apart from Malcolm the guard dog), and will be taking control of a whole host of Boutiqueness. Helen has been supporting businesses in one way or another for more than 10 years, so knows a thing or two about structure and processes.

Aside from her Harrison Ford obsession, Helen loves her four-legged pals Buddy and Muffin – and isn’t one to shy away from long countryside walks to keep them entertained! Helen’s love of organisation extends well beyond the office walls, with a proud addiction to stationery keeping her in check.

So, don’t be shy – give us a call and have a chat with Helen! She also makes a mean cappuccino…

This week’s Boutique-Up

January 13th, 2017 by Louise Trent


We’ve reached the end of my social takeover week so here’s a bit of a roundup of this week’s goings on with a splash of industry news.

Boutique goes blindfolded

boutique do a blindfolded team building task

Simon kicked the week off with a teambuilding exercise where we had to solve a puzzle whilst blindfolded. Having received a selection of shapes and being told what colour they were, we needed to establish which pieces and which colours were missing. Apparently the aim is to see how we approach new tasks and communicate with each other. Either that or an excuse for Simon to watch and laugh!

N.B. Our team won! ;)


Exciting news guys; our breakout room now has a dartboard. Let the games begin…

dartboard in the boutique office

Ready for our close up

Jim the photographer came to the office to take some more shots of our new pad and they look pretty darn good! Expect to see these dotted around our documents and social feeds.

collage of new office photos


Industry standouts

Facebook begins testing mid-roll advertising

Facebook has released news this week that it is going to start testing ‘mid-roll’ ad formats, which means that advertisers will be able to insert ads into videos that people have been watching for at least 20 seconds. This is a new opportunity for Facebook and its publishers to make extra revenue from advertisers. Facebook publishers include the likes of The Guardian, National Geographic and Buzzfeed.

It will be interesting to see whether this new format works as, after 20 seconds, it’s likely that consumers will be rather engaged with the content they’re watching and these ads may prove to be an annoyance. Watch this space…


Instagram introduces ads to Stories

Instagram has also just released the inclusion of ads within the recently added Stories feature. Instagram Stories was only released in August 2016, but has already received 150 million users per day.

There are already around 30 advertisers testing this new feature including Asos, Nike and Airbnb, with ads initially being measurable by the ad’s reach. Over the next few months, it’s expected this will be extended to measure by site visits and other metrics.


Over-targeted marketing

Liquor-producing French brand, Pernod Ricard released a statement this week that it will be reshaping its luxury ‘mindset’ for future marketing campaigns.

CRM director at Pernod Ricard told The Drum that they were going to move to target “consumers of luxury” rather than “luxury customers” and went on to say, “Initially we said we are looking at ultra-high net worth individuals or super wealthy billionaires, which is great but they are very difficult to find and they are not necessarily faithful,” he said. “But what we do know is that many of us are not just luxury consumers but consumers of luxury… even if it’s just once a year for a special birthday or anniversary or even every Saturday night on a romantic date for example. We find those consumers everywhere.”

This new tactic means a shift towards a focus on people’s interests and passion points as opposed to their demographic, creating a story about the brand and linking to memorable experiences rather than product-focused advertisement.

2017 predictions – from live video to avocados & everything in between

January 6th, 2017 by Sarah Bartlett

avocado print

2016 seems like an absolute lifetime ago, doesn’t it? As we ease back into work life and leave our duvets, box sets and mulled wine behind, here’s a look at some initial 2017 predictions…

Live video

We’ve seen Instagram video take off towards the end of 2016 as it takes on Snapchat – and don’t forget that time The LAD Bible live streamed a melting snowman… So, what’s in store for 2017? Digi folk are predicting huge things for live video and customer engagement in 2017, especially as we try to come up with new and innovative ways to engage with younger generations who demand instant, authentic and unedited content. Brands needn’t shy away from the rawness of live video – consumers are looking to engage with ‘real’ brands – let’s embrace it!

Collaborations and use of influencers

The use (and unfortunate abuse) of influencers has been hot topic in the industry in 2016, but brands are now looking to influencers to tell their story for them, as gaining cut-through becomes more difficult in an increasingly saturated market. Brands are looking for influencers who can effectively engage with their target market as consumers get savvier to sales tactics, with an ability to react in real time to consumer feelings and musings in the digital space.

The unstoppable avocado

I can’t lie to you – I bloody love avocado. My best friend bought me an avocado-print makeup bag for Christmas and I’m NOT sorry. I don’t care if that makes me annoying or ‘so 2016’ – avocados are delicious AND nutritious. I’m all over it. So much so that I was upset someone in Amsterdam opened an avo-only café before I did…

I’m predicting that the reign of the avocado will only grow stronger in 2017. Bring it on.

Do the roar for Tiger Nuts

Have you heard? With 2017 already set to be a year of health crazes and HIIT phases, the new health food (vegan, raw, paleo, you get the idea) is the tiger nut – there’s even a company dedicated to them, and a mention on ITV’s recent Save Money Lose Weight with nutritionist Ian Marber confirms it. It’s actually not even a nut, but a small root vegetable that originates from the Mediterranean and Africa, promising a wealth of health benefits including weight control, good digestion and gut health.

Turn off the lights on Hygge?

I recently read that it’s time to shut the book on Hygge; a new Scandinavian trend is in town. ‘Lagom’, originating from Sweden, translates to ‘just the right amount’ and basically means ‘striking the perfect work/play balance’. What do you think? I’m all about striking a balance but can’t deny a love for cosying up with blankets and lighting a few candles during a thunderstorm… Maybe we create a Laggye? Or Hyggom? Thoughts on a postcard…

For bants…

It’s been a year since this absolute wally graced our screens with a one-way ticket to Sore Loserville…

Campaigns that have caught my eye so far…

There have been a couple of campaigns that have resonated with me already this year. Firstly, it’s no secret Maltesers nailed their marketing in 2016, but they’ve already kicked off 2017 by unveiling a braille bus poster as they continue their focus on disability and inclusivity. The poster is part of its ‘look on the light side’ campaign, with model Maltesers, spelling out in braille, the story of a blind woman waiting for a bus and accidentally boarding a fire engine.

I may be late to the party with this one (and forgive me for bringing up the C word) BUT this Christmas ad from Audi Spain needs to be shared far and wide. Feast your eyes on this act of gender stereotype sabotage, and just in time for Epiphany (or Día de los Reyes Magos, if you’re clued up in Spanish!).

P.S. I hope SeaWorld finally dies a death in 2017. Don’t even get me started. #RIPTilikum

Barts x