It’s less than three months since the international digital agency Dept brought Manchester-based creative agency e3Creative into its fold. Since the merger was announced in January 2019, the UK offering of ‘the world’s fastest growing agency’ has gone from strength to strength. Not only has it doubled in size, but its continued hard work for brands such as Sony Playstation, O2, Johnson Matthey and Triumph Motorcycles, has seen it move from 15th in The Prolific North Top 50 Digital agencies, to 5th place.
The Prolific North Top 50 is the definitive listing of the North’s leading digital agencies spanning web, e-commerce, mobile, content, SEO and PPC. Compiled through extensive research, the list anchors on financials including balance sheet/shareholder funds, turnover, pre-tax profit, headcount and growth, with the information and data sourced from the agencies themselves and confirmed with the financial reporting company Bureau van Dijk and data at Companies House. This ensures that the process is rigorous and the results are entirely independent.
One prime example of the longevity and upscaling of Dept’s clients is their relationship with UK holiday company, Bourne Leisure (Butlin’s, Haven Holidays and Warner Leisure Hotels). Since winning the contract to re-platform Butlin’s and Warner Leisure Hotels’ websites back in 2008, Dept UK has provided further services over the past decade, including digital operations support and the delivery of hundreds of projects. In 2018, Bourne Leisure added Haven as a client. This means that Dept UK now works with all Bourne brands. The agency provides a retained team that delivers ongoing product development and online platforms. This long-standing relationship is built on trust, Dept’s ability to provide retained support, their technical expertise and their ability to be fast and qualitative in their turnaround.
April also sees Dept receiving three honourees and one nomination for The Webby Awards, the world’s leading international award in the digital sector. For the 23rd edition of the award show, Dept is in the running for their work “Unravel van Gogh” and has been honoured for cases with clients including Samsung and Philips Hue. In the category ‘Apps, Mobile and Voice: Culture & Events’, Dept has been nominated for their work on “Unravel Van Gogh”. Commissioned by the Van Gogh Museum, the digital agency developed an application together with Studio Dumbar (part of Dept), in which the user-friendly design illustrates the story of the historical artist.
As expansion continues for this international digital agency within Manchester, so also does the company’s commitment to the city it’s creating its UK base within and the people who work for it there. Dept has invested in the 9th floor of the recently converted Bridgewater House. With over a century of Mancunian heritage, Bridgewater House has recently undergone a £1 million refurbishment, offering a new, modern reception space along with café and business lounge. The recent development works have also provided brand new meeting pods, cycle storage, shower and changing facilities.
Located on Whitworth Street, Bridgewater House, a former packing and shipping warehouse, is one of the cities main landmarks, and is just two minutes from Manchester’s Oxford Road station. The new office will be the agency’s main UK hub; the interior design of the space at Bridgewater House will emulate Dept’s flagship European offices in the Netherlands and Germany.
“As well as having offices in capital cities, Dept has, unconsciously, found talent outside of the capital’s to build our presence. For example, In the Netherlands, we have a large office Rotterdam, in the US we’re in Boston and in Germany, we have a large office in Hamburg. We haven’t done this on purpose, rather it’s been a natural progression born out of the similarities that we’ve found in the people we’ve chosen to work with and bring into the Dept family,” said CEO Dimi Albers. “Maybe there is something in the work ethic and moral code of the people we’ve met, that’s defined by these post-industrial cities, but a pattern is definitely forming and for us in the UK, our home is Manchester.”
Managing director UK, Jasper van de Luijtgaarden, adds, “It was important to us that we found a property that is loved and appreciated by the city, and somewhere where our teams could be proud to work within. Manchester is working for us; the listing of us as the 5th leading digital agency in the North of England recognises that. We’re very proud to be one of the driving forces in the city’s growth and development as a leading digital hub in the UK.”
Dept will move into Bridgewater House in July, with a launch event planned for September. Dept is renowned for its impressive events; its annual Dept Festival, celebrated in Amsterdam, was recently awarded Best Brand Event by Golden Giraffe, with attendee numbers expected to exceed 3000 this year.