You never know what the year has in store for you - and 2021 has proved to be quite an adventure. Despite the challenges of Covid, we’ve had some great experiences and plenty to shout about.
We’ve embraced new clients, new team members, new ways of working and despite lots of hard work, we’ve had some laughs along the way.
As ever, we would like to thank our clients, suppliers and partners for their continuing support and wish everyone a great 2022.
We started the year on great form as we launched celebrations to mark the retirement of our Commercial Director and Joint Managing Director, Peter Cobley.
Anyone who knows Peter also knows he’s never short of a story but with Covid restrictions limiting face to face meetings, we didn’t want to miss out on sharing them.
We decided to bring Peter’s stories to life and pen a dedication called Peter’s Lap of Honour.
From being a mischievous Yorkshire lad to his early career in catering, his love of horse racing to his years at ICG, there’s never been a dull moment.
For some funny stories that will make you smile and some nuggets of wisdom, read Peter’s Lap of Honour for yourself!
Following a series of client wins, it was time to expand the ever growing ICG team.
In an ICG first, we welcomed back a familiar face - Rebecca Oliver in a new role as Digital Marketing Manager. Rebecca had originally been with ICG back in 2017 and it was great to welcome her back to the barn in 2021.
We were also delighted to welcome Simon Mynott as a Junior Web Developer after he decided on an exciting career change. He supports the digital team with our diverse range of clients.
Chloe Foddering joined the social team in Spring and has become another friendly member of the ICG family.
Getting on the career ladder is never easy; throw in a global pandemic and the job becomes even harder.
That’s why earlier this year ICG was happy to chat to students from Blackpool and The Fylde College during National Careers Week.
ICG hosted a virtual workshop with computing and digital technologies students to give insights into ‘agency life’ explaining what we do, how we do it and what it’s like.
We talked about how the pandemic has accelerated digital communications, the importance of meeting clients’ changing needs and the value new members of staff bring to the wider team.
We were delighted to launch ICG’s SpringLoaded campaign - helping businesses bounce back better in 2021.
The campaign contained bespoke insights into all areas of marketing using ICG's expertise and personalities to bring it to life.
It was created after the results of a client survey revealed in detail how businesses were being impacted by the pandemic with many looking for new ways to target key audiences.
It also revealed how some business sectors were harder hit than others.
SpringLoaded included useful information on many areas including content, digital transformation, social media and customer retention.
With a global pandemic turning most client interactions into a Teams call or Google Hangout, we were thrilled to get back to doing some normal stuff.
So, when the opportunity came to get out and about taking pictures and capturing great narratives on film, we were only too glad to get stuck in!
This year we filmed Ramblings of a Radio Forester at Blackpool Zoo - working with sealions, elephants, lions, giraffes and orangutans, there was no shortage of bloopers!
We also travelled to Livingston Designer Outlet in Scotland to capture content for their website and then we were off to Kendal in Cumbria for a showroom photoshoot on behalf of client Luxaflex.
It was also great to support Sunbelt Rentals for the exciting launch of a new rail training centre as well as check in with Howorth Air Tech at the Healthcare Estates Conference in Manchester.
ICG has a bit of a reputation for loving sport - so in 2021, we decided it was game on.
Account Director Julie Hackett joined hundreds of others eager to get back to competitive events for the St Annes Sprint Triathlon. Her lasting memory? A fierce seafront wind on the 25km bike ride that felt like she was scaling a mountain.
Joint Managing Director Simon Couchman, who has no shortage of marathons to his name, took part in the Windermere and Chester marathons.
Designer Sam Sharples quietly competed in the exceptionally challenging Fairfield Horseshoe Fell Race in the Lake District.
And, SEO & PPC Specialist Iain Wood was on the starting lines for the Blackpool Half Marathon.
Looking ahead to next year - plans are already underway!
Celebrate good times, come on...in the words of Kool and the Gang, we had lots to celebrate in 2021 - not least, seeing folk back in the office!
In April, Social Media Executive, Gemma celebrated the birth of Baby Jack. Three more ICG babies are on the way and will be making their debuts next year.
Office Manager, Bekki finally tied the knot after cancelling and rearranging the wedding because of Covid. She looked beautiful as she walked down the aisle with her husband, Simon.
And, we were delighted to treat our Head of Design, Sarah, to some birthday goodies to celebrate the big 40!
ICG’s strength comes from its diverse client base and this year we drew on those experiences to play an important role in supporting Covid communications for Fylde Council.
In line with the Government roadmap and the vaccination programme, we helped create a strategy to bring the local community together.
Across multiple channels, we shared inspirational stories and encouraged people to adhere to the restrictions, follow advice and make the most of financial support available for businesses and vulnerable groups.
And, with more and more people holidaying in the UK, we even commissioned some impressive sand art on St Annes beach.
A total of 15 giant footprints were etched into the sand close to the waterline to encourage visitors and residents to dispose of their litter responsibly - in the words of the campaign ‘leave nothing but your footprints’.
Our Creative Director and Joint MD, Simon Couchman, joined the Lancashire Innovation Festival to share his 'views from the digital coalface'.
Along with fellow panellists including Laurie Smith from the Lancashire Creative Forum, they discussed the digital 'near future' and what it might hold for the county's businesses.
The Lancashire Innovation Festival was a week-long event of seminars, talks and networking to attract companies from outside the region to invest in Lancashire.
In association with Creative Lancashire, Simon was also a judge at Blackpool School of Arts' graduate exhibition - it was great to meet such talented students!
We were delighted to welcome our very first apprentice to ICG.
Lucy Wignall joined the team as a Digital Marketing Apprentice studying for a Level 3 qualification in Digital Marketing delivered by education provider QA.
Based within our social and digital teams, Lucy has already helped organise a blogger event, created and implemented monthly social media calendars and supported digital PR activities.
Lucy, a former pupil from Lytham St Annes High School, has her sights set on progressing her studies to degree level.
Good luck Lucy - great to have you with us!
ICG has welcomed 16 new clients to its roster this year.
The new wins include Fylde Council, Howorth Air Tech, Hamilton (Building Contractors), WJF Technical, Hy Hotel, JUTA UK and Alben Landscapes.
The team have really rallied round to ensure we stay committed to our clients, old and new, and the wins are testament to ICG’s hard work.
We look forward to welcoming even more new clients in 2022.
We love a good Christmas tradition - and ICG’s Give Back Fridays are definitely becoming one!
For the second year in a row, we are taking the last four working Fridays of the year to make a donation to charities close to our hearts.
Once again we supported Operation Christmas Child - the Samaritan’s Purse thanks to the unwavering dedication of our Senior Account Manager, Hayley Butler.
We made a donation to Wesley’s Community Kitchen and Larder in St Annes and were delighted to meet an army of dedicated volunteers who support vulnerable groups.
Senior Account Manager, Jenny Clark, joined pupils at Staining CE Primary School to support their fundraising campaign for a new minibus after the last one was stolen.
And finally, because the environment and mental wellbeing have been global themes of 2021, we have supported the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and its commitment to climate change and nature.
The end of 2021 marks the end of an era at ICG.
We bid a very fond farewell to our Commercial Director Peter Cobley. Peter and Simon have been joint managing directors of the business for the last nine years and the business has gone from strength to strength.
There were great celebrations at a surprise retirement party for Peter with friends, suppliers and former ICG staff - yet more happy memories!
As we look to 2022, Simon becomes the sole Managing Director supported by a great team and the start of a new, exciting chapter.