And so here we are in 2017, celebrating 40 years with a great team that’s firmly facing forward. Target is growing, recording solid profits and embracing a bright future in an ever-changing marketplace.
It’s certainly a very different agency to the one Patrick Wood started back in 1977, now concentrating on strategic communications and public relations, helping our clients communicate with the people that matter to them, inside and outside their organisation.
I couldn’t complete these chronicles without reflecting on the most recent decade, which began with the financial crisis of 2008 and a long recession that hit the worldwide economy and led to many companies going to the wall. The demise of Lehman Brothers was the catalyst for a downward spiral, which saw two major British banks, Lloyds and RBS, bailed out with public money and it’s fair to say that the financial services sector has changed dramatically. I must admit until I watched the film “The Big Short” about the banking crisis in the USA, I had not really appreciated exactly what had happened with virtually no controls over lending money, so it’s no surprise that everything collapsed and maybe it could have been even worse.
As a result of the recession, revenue from the advertising and creative side of the business dropped like a stone and we took the decision in 2011 to restructure, concentrate solely on PR and move to smaller premises at our current location in Bath Road. These were expensive decisions in the short term, during a period when banks were in no position to help. I can remember presenting a plan for the future requesting funding to be told that whilst we had a viable plan, we were in a risky sector so they could not lend! At the time who was not in a risky sector?! Personal funding and alternative lending helped us through a very difficult time; without it we would not be here today.
Hand-in-hand with this personal investment came the drive, commitment, support and belief of each member of the Board; my wife Janet became a director in August 2009 and Sam Kandiyali stepped into the role of director in January 2010, joining myself and Sarah to create a Board of four.
From a personal perspective, the past decade has taken a huge amount of resolve and dogged determination. As a business owner, it’s not only good business practice, the ability to adapt to the market, strong financial planning, quality services and a clear business plan that’s required; the support of friends and especially family, is a crucial ingredient. Many of today’s Target team were with us then, unstintingly loyal and always focused on delivering great work for our clients; I’m very proud of all that we have achieved in riding out the storm.
The last few years have seen us move from survival mode to growth once more. Sarah and Sam have been developing their leadership with the support of our client QuoLux, bringing a sense of confidence and ambition that pervades the team. Target is an exceptional group of people, reflected in the three awards for which we are finalists currently. We hope for some trophies this autumn to crown our anniversary year, but trophy or not, we have plenty to celebrate.
What does the future hold? Well, at the moment Brexit seems to be dominating but businesses will still want to trade and need help selling products and services in the future. The UK economy still seems to be growing at a steady rate, which is much better than the “boom and bust” of the past, so there is every reason to look forward with optimism. We are facing up to fresh challenges, such as cyber security threats, and continue to evolve the business to ensure that we add value and get results for our clients.
Happy Anniversary Target!