Digital Marketing Company for Small Business

Building brands that change the world: Manifest, independent agency of the year (1-49)

Building brands that change the world: Manifest, independent agency of the year (1-49)
Written by publishing team

Manifest was named Independent Agency of the Year (1-49 employees) at the Drum Awards for Agency Business in 2021. Here, the agency takes a look at this fast-growing company that has not only been a successful brand agency since its inception, but also one a task.

Starting from scratch eleven years ago with no clients, no investment and no reputation, the business has grown on the back of exceptional creative work and customer service innovation.

Featured, driven and often candid, Manifest consists of 5 offices across 4 time zones and 3 continents. Two of these offices, and their CPD platform INCITE, have been launched amid the COVID pandemic, as Manifest has worked its way through the shutdown. It also became the first agency in the country to achieve the full diversity and inclusion planning toolkit outline.

Although the world has changed, they have remained laser-focused on their mission to build brands that change the world, resulting in its most successful year to date.

In September 2009, no one would have said that this was a good idea. A relatively unknown account manager works from the kitchen table in the midst of an economic crisis, with nothing but an idea for a new kind of agency designed to build world-changing brands.

There are no clients. no office. No investment. “No chance” would have been a fair assumption.

After 11 years, Manifest now has five offices on three continents and a global reputation for great creative work. Instead of introducing us to an industry, channel, customer, or market like everyone else, we’ve shifted our goal to our proposal.

From sparking the craft beer revolution with BrewDog over a decade, to tackling the stigma around breastfeeding with Tommee Tippee, we’ve transformed entire industries.

It is this obsession with change that shapes our unique channelless strategic framework. And that’s why we’ve been so resilient in a year like no other.

That’s why we invest so much time and creativity in how we run the business as well as the work we do. This is why changing our industry – especially in terms of diversity and inclusion – is so important to us. This is what attracted the army of talented misfits that are now called Manifests.

It’s a home we all believe in. And a home that we not only protected this year, but enhanced and expanded in a time of global crisis like no other.

Bit Agency Objectives –

We’ve increased our number to 40 people in the UK from 30, added an international office, and built our entire CPD program from scratch. We’ve won countless prizes, nine out of ten pitches, and 23 new customers. The whole time and customer retention rate is impressive.

On top of that, we believe it’s the year we went from building brands that change the world, to becoming one. Here’s the story of how we did it…

We far exceeded our goals for fiscal 2020, ushering in the new fiscal year at an all-time high. This was for:

  • Increase fee income by 15%

  • Increase net margin by 15%

  • Achieving a climate positive workforce

  • New CPD platform launched

  • Start an office in Manchester

  • Drink a lot of tea

  • Maintain our team and our credibility in the face of the pandemic (+33% team growth)

our year

Year-on-year fee growth in the UK

– UK profit growth year on year

– She won almost all of our UK matches

– New customers: 20+

Net highly positive promotion points from customers and employees

– Opening of new offices: 2

UK team growth in 2020: 33%

Great staff retention in the UK

Increase per capita investment in CPD

Small wage gaps between gender and race

BME representation in the team: 23%

– Trees planted through our joint venture 10 m

– Trees planted in our maniforest: 6497

Tons of CO2 equivalent to achieve a positive climate action force: 599 trillion tons

A sample of our campaigns

“#TheBoobLife” by Tommee Tippee

#TheBoobLife is designed and developed by Manifest to give the Tommee Tippee brand a better connection to moms around the world. To address the stigma around infant feeding, we created a brand film and six-part digital content series that aims to bring a more honest conversation about nutrition and highlight all kinds of moms from diverse and representative backgrounds. The longer ‘Spill the Milk’ content series has been honed around the still-shrouded elements of nutrition, from ‘latching’ to ‘milk supply’ and ‘handling judgment’.

He has started a global women’s dialogue about nutrition and media oversight for mothers. This important campaign has measurably changed Tommee Tippee’s reputation, winning select week prizes from Campaign, Adweek, Ad Age, PR Week and more, while smashing sales targets.

Show stigma fingering hot octopus

To support the launch of a new “Finger vibe” sex toy, we’ve shown the world how powerful one finger can be. Starring six brave activists wearing only the middle finger, this was the integrated campaign that would go on to be banned by advertising authorities, achieving global press coverage, generating global support on social media, gathering thousands of support groups and breaking the prejudices and phobias that stand in the way of Achieving a healthy and happy sex life for women. They are also sold out of finger feelings.

“Cookstarter” by Gousto

Gousto Manifest was commissioned to create a campaign that would promote brand love and showcase “diversity and choice”. Crucially, however, our goal was to launch a campaign sensitively amid a culturally turbulent climate that has heavily documented huge losses across the hospitality industry, including 90% of independent restaurants at risk of closure.

With an integrated approach, we’ve created a ‘Cookstarter’ – a data-driven campaign to showcase the diversity and diversity of Britain’s food scene, and most importantly mobilize support for the country’s favorite independent restaurants on the verge of closing.

With hospitality industry champions, iconic chefs, and good food fanatics Jesse Erskine, Katherine Ryan and Joe Weeks on board, we invited the nation to vote for their favorite high street food haven, in an effort to support them through lockdown and move their business forward with a much-needed grant in the process. Submitting over 1500 nominations (2000% + target KPI), with a multi-channel campaign and passionate appeals from food fanatics across the land, Cookstarter has not only bolstered an industry in dire need when policymakers have turned their backs, it’s a whole new lease on life.

Our recent achievements

Conquer the effects of Covid

Covid-19 has wiped out more than 50% of UK fee income – it hasn’t been a good thing. But we quickly set a set of strategic priorities that guided us through:

  1. Protect everyone’s jobs. Nobody’s fault.

  2. Labor protection. Let’s not get confused.

  3. Maximizing growth after the crisis. Think long term.

By September 2020, the hard work, determination and determination of the entire team meant that bills were above pre-closing levels as a result of the diversification, growth strategies and conversion rates outlined in the plan. We haven’t done any hairdos, and our squad has already grown by 33% in the past 12 months.

Diversity and inclusion

As part of our ongoing strategy to further develop our D&I, Julian Obubo, Head of D&I for our group, has become an industry-leading light not only in delivering policies and programs at the Manifest but inspiring them across the industry. As a result, Manifest was the world’s first agency to achieve full Blueprint status, the independent kite labeling scheme that sets D&I standards across 23 commitments.

In addition, we provided free support to the Network of Black Women in Global Leadership and sponsored the BME PR Pros Conference for the second year in a row.

24 Hours (Creative) People’s Party

We have always dreamed of becoming a 24 hour operation, and with the launch of Manifest Melbourne we have achieved it. The 24-hour creative workflow is called No Sleep ’til Brooklyn and is truly key to generating big customer wins.

man (ifest) down

It turns out that building a new company on the other side of the world during a global pandemic is a bit tricky — but with some creative thinking and a lot of early morning, it’s eminently possible. Manifest Melbourne’s clients include Tommee Tippee, Hot Octopus and Pirate Life Brewing. It has been profitable from day one.

Manchester calling

Manifest Manchest has aggressively helped to burst the London bubble surrounding the UK marketing scene, recruiting talent and exciting clients from the north of England. Our MCR team generated a net profit margin of 25% in the first year.

Leave a positive impact

MAKE is leading the way in agency project plans. We co-founded social enterprises designed to change the world for the better, “investing” by offering our services to support success. The highlight of the year was Ecologi (a joint venture Manifest), which planted 15 million trees through its innovative reforestation engagement.


About the author

publishing team