The year was 2007. Gordon Brown became Britain’s new prime minister, as Tony Blair stepped down. There was the run on Northern Rock, after the Bank of England offered unlimited support following the ‘credit crunch’ squeeze. John Darwin, a man believed to have died five years earlier in a canoeing accident, walked into a police station in London. And from a small bedroom in Cheshire, Boomerang was launched.
We were small back then. Our first clients included a number of national property developers and housing associations, plus an interior designer or two. We got off to a flying start. Then the global economic meltdown happened and we had to find new sectors to target. I'll admit. It was a tough time. But we lived to fight another day.
In 2009, to help with our survival, we came up with the idea of creating an online magazine – one that would celebrate, inspire and support the creative industries, as well as raise our own reputation. To our pleasant surprise, Creative Boom quickly built a loyal audience, and in 2011 became part of The Guardian newspaper's Culture Professionals Network.
In the years that followed, our audience grew to half a million monthly readers and we attracted advertisers such as BBC, Yahoo and Jaguar. In 2013 we were invited to 10 Downing Street to help advise the Government on small business, and in the same year attended The Queen's Coronation Festival Gala at Buckingham Palace.
Over the last 12 months, we've enjoyed the biggest social engagement compared to 10 other leading art and design blogs – just one of our articles generated over 261,000 shares.
And because of Creative Boom's huge success, Boomerang naturally evolved to specialise in the creative, cultural and innovation sectors, winning clients such as BBC, Manchester City Football Club, Johnson Tiles (the UK's leading tile manufacturer) and TATA Group ( including Tata Steel and Jaguar).
Another great milestone of the last decade was our move to Manchester. We've been here for nearly five years, and have built a valuable network in the city. It's a very friendly place, full of amazing talent and plenty of opportunities for all. We're proud to call Manchester home.
But if there's one overriding theme of the last decade it's the exciting disruption of the digital revolution, and how it has changed PR and marketing forever. It's something we've witnessed first-hand and has transformed our own careers (many of us come from journalism backgrounds). Boomerang was one of the first agencies to offer digital PR as a key service, and we soon became a specialist in content marketing. I suppose it helped having our own magazine to fully understand the changing media landscape. It was certainly helpful witnessing how things evolved from both ends.
After 10 years of Boomerang, how is 2017 shaping up?
We're currently working on a new website for our client Material Lab – a materials resource studio on London's Great Titchfield Street. We've been their PR agency since they hired us in 2010. This year will be our seventh together. We're also celebrating our re-appointment with Johnson Tiles – the UK's leading tile manufacturer – who appointed us over seven years ago, and have been with Boomerang ever since.
It's flattering to know we're bucking the trend of the PR industry, where clients tend to find alternative support after several years. How do we do it? I suppose we always work hard to impress and provide great value for money. When you call yourself Boomerang and promise "return on investment", it acts as a great incentive to keep clients happy.
Elsewhere for Boomerang, there are talks of another potential project for Manchester City Football Club. And the BBC continues to work with us thanks to our internal communications support. With Creative Boom, recent advertisers have included Squarespace, Freshbooks and Adobe, with more exciting campaigns and partnerships to follow.
In terms of new enquiries, there's definitely a shift in what people want. Recent clients have asked for support that spreads across both Boomerang and Creative Boom, bringing our PR services and publishing platform together, all under one roof. How that will evolve is anyone's guess. But we'll continue to adapt to suit client needs.
Overall, it's amazing to think our agency started in a recession with just a laptop, a few helpful contacts and a healthy dose of fighting spirit. Today, our independent consultancy is enjoying further success with a growing team of experts in both PR and digital communications, and an impressive range of clients who entrust us with their reputations. While Creative Boom continues to cement its place as a leading resource for the creative community. Long may it continue.