Alexander Advertising International

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Alexander Advertising International's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Alexander Advertising International is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

www.alexander-advertising.co.uk

BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
40 | IMAGINEEAR
The importance of an
outstanding team
With 30 office staff today, and growing
at 30 per cent every year, recruitment
and development are important skills
for us. We have had success recruiting
in often overlapping pools, with subject
matter experts, local talent returning
to work after a break or when children
become self-sufficient, and colleagues
from previous companies, to name just
a few examples.
A chance conversation in Munich five
years ago led us to add apprentices to
the recruitment mix, with whom we
have had notable success, and to one
half of whom we have since offered
full-time contracts. Confident that we
can fill gaps in their knowledge, what
we prize most highly when recruiting is
a collaborative and positive attitude.
Owner-managed businesses often
reflect their leaders’ personalities. We
believe no one is indispensable, that all
of us can be creative and that everyone
is a volunteer. Two out of five of our
leadership team are women, roughly
a third of Imagineear staff are non-UK
nationals and we proudly recruit from
all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Around this mix of people, we aim to
build a safe, supportive and learning
environment, offering members of
staff flexible working and free access to
online training, with allocated training
time off. We also stay away from
directing employees’ learning; we let
staff identify the subjects that interest
them, in no doubt that Imagineear
will reap the reward. This will in turn
benefit Croke Park in Dublin, or The
Royal Castle in Warsaw or BOZAR in
Brussels and, in turn, their visitors.
Looking forward with
confidence
Every business has opportunities
and faces risks. We are in a growth
phase, so ours involve developing new
technology platforms and new services
to offer on them while creating new
channels to market and manage
projects. All the while, we continue
to design robust internal processes to
keep up with changes in the scope and
size of Imagineear.
While multinational enterprises
legitimately worry about international
supply chains and tariff-free trade, we
look forward with confidence, and not
least towards the US. We are proud to
be only the third UK company ever to
have been chosen to take part in the
22-year old Global Access Program at
UCLA’s Anderson School of Business,
which helps non-US businesses build
a detailed investment-ready plan for
entry into the American market.
The media world is changing fast, with
legitimate concerns about sur veillance
and privacy, stress, work conditions
and flexibility, and we navigate these
challenges. Throughout it all, however,
our goal is clear: to anticipate our
clients’ needs and to deliver consistent,
innovative, high-value media services
to meet them. All the while, ideally,
enjoying ourselves.
We all
respond to an
engaging
narrative – as
humans, we
remember
stories
Imagineear at Heineken
Experience
41ALEXANDER ADVERTISING INTERNATIONAL |
DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA & SPORT
Managing Director
JamesAlexander
The AAI team reviewing a
campaign concept
Alexander Advertising, based in the riverside town of
Wallingford in Oxfordshire, was founded in 1968 by the
father of current Managing Director James Alexander,
Byron Alexander. During the ensuing 50 years, it has survived
numerous recessions and continues to survive where others,
both large and small, have fallen by the wayside. James tells
TheParliamentary Review
more about the trajectory of the
business before discussing how it has overcome difficulties and
built on the lessons learned for the future.
We are a family-orientated business and treat every employee as such. We are not
just a team and we feel that supportive, open dialogue and relationships between
everybody lead to more productivity and a workforce that knows its contribution
is valued. This is hugely important to the organisation as increased collaboration
encourages a sense of ownership and belonging; if employees are invested in their
work, the resulting performances will be higher.
On a day-to-day basis our activities are purely focused on servicing the immediate
needs of our clients, be that via creative designs, content writing, buying media
space, researching the most effective routes to market, campaign planning or
simply offering unbiased media recommendations.
The recently deceased Byron Alexander always said to me, “It’s better to have a
million clients and make a £1 profit from each than it is try to make a £1 million
from a single client.” This has always been the driving force behind our core
values; we do not charge for anything we don’t have to, and we take immense
FACTS ABOUT
ALEXANDER ADVERTISING
INTERNATIONAL
»Managing Director:
JamesAlexander
»Established in 1968
»Based in Wallingford,
Oxfordshire
»Services: Advertising and
marketing services
»No. of employees: 9
»No. of clients: Over 150
»We celebrated 50 years in
business in June 2018
Alexander Advertising
International
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
42 | ALEXANDER ADVERTISING INTERNATIONAL
pride in reducing our clients’ spend
while increasing the effectiveness of
the campaigns. Unfortunately for the
industry’s reputation, this is not a
common practice.
For the sectors with whom we work
the most frequently, education and
charities, our transparency and values
add a level of administrative and
fiscal support that is vital in order for
organisations to achieve their goals
with limited budgets.
Like every business, we are
continuously trying to grow our client
base and, as with previous years, the
education sector has been the most
responsive. However, this year we are
also concentrating on increasing our
employee numbers and the services
we can offer in-house. The advertising
and marketing industry continues to
evolve at a rapid pace due to the new
tech and continuous growth of the
possibilities within the digital arena; if
we stand still we risk being left behind
despite our reputation.
Large-scale projects
Our work with education runs far
deeper than the recruitment of
teachers and students. This year, we
as an agency are trying to organise a
national competition among schools
and their students regarding digital
media. We are intending to host the
inaugural national awards ceremony
at the end of the school year in 2020,
with the regionals prior to that.
The education sector, overall, has
not embraced the digital and social
media world effectively enough. In
our opinion they are missing out
on an effective way to reduce their
marketing spend and increase the
return on investment. The main
challenge to progress this project
from concept to actuality is the
restraint on precious school budgets,
therefore finding a major sponsor and
regional sponsors will allow schools to
freeentry.
The competition will have four main
beneficiaries:
»Students – We want to encourage
students to be creative and consider
the power of a strong and engaging
digital presence, one that doesn’t
revolve around apps that give you
bunny ears or big eyes. There is
a whole generation of talented
marketing gurus out there waiting
for an opportunity to be discovered.
»Schools – This initiative will provide
schools with numerous pieces of
personalised, unique content to use
online, all of which will promote
their establishments in a positive
light and assist in attracting teachers,
students and support.
»Community – The school will play
a more prominent role in their daily
social media lives, keeping their
stakeholders informed of activities,
experiences and achievements,
and re-establishing local support
and an overriding sense of pride in
A team-building evening
at a local escape room
venue
Our
transparency
and values
add a level of
administrative
and fiscal
support that is
vital for
organisations
to achieve
their goals
with limited
budgets
43ALEXANDER ADVERTISING INTERNATIONAL |
DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA & SPORT
what should naturally be part of the
foundations of every community.
»Sponsors – whether it is at local
or national level, the participating
sponsors will have a great exposure
to the beneficiaries above.
Challenges faced
Last year, 2018, was a very difficult
one for the company; the passing
of our founder towards the end of
2017 was upsetting for me personally,
and for the long-standing employees
that had previously worked under his
management.
The teacher shortage crisis in the UK
has made the recruitment element
of our services difficult, the increased
competition from overseas schools has
heightened the problem and valuable
teaching resources are being attracted
to higher pay and a new experience.
This situation, in a perverse way, has
also highlighted how our expertise and
assistance can make the difference.
With better content, creation,
processes, visibility and information, we
are finding our schools are suffering
less than the other schools in the
sameregion.
The new GDPR, although it has
obvious benefits, is difficult for SMEs to
adapt to. New processes, equipment,
technology and professional assistance
required for compliance are all
costs that can put additional strain
on the operational capability of an
SME. This generally results in further
responsibilities for a management team
to deal with; unlike big businesses,
the SMEs do not necessarily have the
resources available to simply employ
someone for a newly invented role.
Valuable time and money are spent
in this area, with no financial gain,
instead of on employee development
and client needs.
As I touched upon earlier, our
aspirations lie within the growth
of the company. We have invested
the retained funds that we had
accumulated over the last five years in
new technology, employees, training
and services. This is challenging for
an SME as our options are either to
borrow money, seek investment or
save up profits. This will require work
and innovation, but we are confident
that we can overcome these obstacles
as we move forward.
We have
invested the
retained funds
we had
accumulated
over the last five
years in new
tech, employees,
training and
services
Screenshots from AAI’s
50-year celebration
video
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
42 | ALEXANDER ADVERTISING INTERNATIONAL
pride in reducing our clients’ spend
while increasing the effectiveness of
the campaigns. Unfortunately for the
industry’s reputation, this is not a
common practice.
For the sectors with whom we work
the most frequently, education and
charities, our transparency and values
add a level of administrative and
fiscal support that is vital in order for
organisations to achieve their goals
with limited budgets.
Like every business, we are
continuously trying to grow our client
base and, as with previous years, the
education sector has been the most
responsive. However, this year we are
also concentrating on increasing our
employee numbers and the services
we can offer in-house. The advertising
and marketing industry continues to
evolve at a rapid pace due to the new
tech and continuous growth of the
possibilities within the digital arena; if
we stand still we risk being left behind
despite our reputation.
Large-scale projects
Our work with education runs far
deeper than the recruitment of
teachers and students. This year, we
as an agency are trying to organise a
national competition among schools
and their students regarding digital
media. We are intending to host the
inaugural national awards ceremony
at the end of the school year in 2020,
with the regionals prior to that.
The education sector, overall, has
not embraced the digital and social
media world effectively enough. In
our opinion they are missing out
on an effective way to reduce their
marketing spend and increase the
return on investment. The main
challenge to progress this project
from concept to actuality is the
restraint on precious school budgets,
therefore finding a major sponsor and
regional sponsors will allow schools to
freeentry.
The competition will have four main
beneficiaries:
»Students – We want to encourage
students to be creative and consider
the power of a strong and engaging
digital presence, one that doesn’t
revolve around apps that give you
bunny ears or big eyes. There is
a whole generation of talented
marketing gurus out there waiting
for an opportunity to be discovered.
»Schools – This initiative will provide
schools with numerous pieces of
personalised, unique content to use
online, all of which will promote
their establishments in a positive
light and assist in attracting teachers,
students and support.
»Community – The school will play
a more prominent role in their daily
social media lives, keeping their
stakeholders informed of activities,
experiences and achievements,
and re-establishing local support
and an overriding sense of pride in
A team-building evening
at a local escape room
venue
Our
transparency
and values
add a level of
administrative
and fiscal
support that is
vital for
organisations
to achieve
their goals
with limited
budgets
43ALEXANDER ADVERTISING INTERNATIONAL |
DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA & SPORT
what should naturally be part of the
foundations of every community.
»Sponsors – whether it is at local
or national level, the participating
sponsors will have a great exposure
to the beneficiaries above.
Challenges faced
Last year, 2018, was a very difficult
one for the company; the passing
of our founder towards the end of
2017 was upsetting for me personally,
and for the long-standing employees
that had previously worked under his
management.
The teacher shortage crisis in the UK
has made the recruitment element
of our services difficult, the increased
competition from overseas schools has
heightened the problem and valuable
teaching resources are being attracted
to higher pay and a new experience.
This situation, in a perverse way, has
also highlighted how our expertise and
assistance can make the difference.
With better content, creation,
processes, visibility and information, we
are finding our schools are suffering
less than the other schools in the
sameregion.
The new GDPR, although it has
obvious benefits, is difficult for SMEs to
adapt to. New processes, equipment,
technology and professional assistance
required for compliance are all
costs that can put additional strain
on the operational capability of an
SME. This generally results in further
responsibilities for a management team
to deal with; unlike big businesses,
the SMEs do not necessarily have the
resources available to simply employ
someone for a newly invented role.
Valuable time and money are spent
in this area, with no financial gain,
instead of on employee development
and client needs.
As I touched upon earlier, our
aspirations lie within the growth
of the company. We have invested
the retained funds that we had
accumulated over the last five years in
new technology, employees, training
and services. This is challenging for
an SME as our options are either to
borrow money, seek investment or
save up profits. This will require work
and innovation, but we are confident
that we can overcome these obstacles
as we move forward.
We have
invested the
retained funds
we had
accumulated
over the last five
years in new
tech, employees,
training and
services
Screenshots from AAI’s
50-year celebration
video

www.alexander-advertising.co.uk

The Parliamentary Review Publication, in which this article originally appeared, contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster