Marc Hazelden, Client Services Director at Top Banana, speaks about the event management agency’s recent decision to expand its business into the north, with a new Manchester office.
So what’s the story Marc?
Over the last couple of years, Top Banana has gone from strength to strength and we truly believe the last 12 months have been our best yet. Not just financially, but in terms of strengthening our client relationships, growing our team and launching new services. The decision to open an office in the north of England was always part of our business strategy and after a successful year of growth we felt now was the right time.
What drew you to Manchester?
There were many reasons why Manchester was selected, not only because it has been named the most creative city outside of London, but most importantly because it will allow us to strengthen our relationships with existing clients. We’re obviously aiming on growing our client base in the north and Manchester is home to some amazing brands which we’d love to work with – so watch this space!
How do you see the city’s venues and events landscape?
Our clients regularly use Manchester as a destination for their events, not just because of its location and accessibility, but because of the choice of venue spaces it has to offer. It has everything from modern hotels and purpose-built venues to more unusual spaces that offer something out of the ordinary. A big favourite of ours is Victoria Warehouse; a refurbished industrial warehouse in the heart of Manchester that provides a flexible blank canvas for all types of events. We love it so much that we’ve held five client events there in the past six months.
What’s the biggest challenge in establishing a new office?
Manchester is already home to many creative agencies, so for us the challenge will be raising our profile in the north and making sure we stand out from the crowd. A key part of our business strategy is to grow our northern client base and therefore the team too. We’ve faced some challenges in the past recruiting for our head office in the Midlands due to its rural location, however Manchester will help us widen the search and open up a whole new pool of talent to add to our growing team.
“Manchester will help us open a whole new pool of talent”
How will this decision impact your clients?
A huge part of our decision was fuelled by winning a competitive pitch in 2018 for DFS, to lead a transformational internal communications project and manage its annual conference. After building a strong working relationship with the team at DFS, we’ve now been awarded its annual conference for the second year running, which we are really excited about.
Top Banana is all about creating long-lasting partnerships with our clients and to do this we need to make sure we’re able to provide them with the high levels of service we are so well known for. Opening the Manchester office will help us achieve this for all our north-based clients which include Home Instead, Thorntons, Wilko and Experian.
Are you expecting your northern talent to outperform their southern counterparts?
I’ve lived and worked in Manchester most of my life and therefore can definitely say us northerners have a no-nonsense approach to many things. While at Top Banana, we always work as a team and have one common goal, it is only natural to build some friendly competition within the business. All I can say is Midlands and London teams… Bring it on!