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New beginnings

Sam King recently joined the Access client management team as an Account Manager, here are his thoughts after one week at Access…

Settling in

In just one week at Access I’ve met an amazing energetic team of people, written a proposal document to work with a children’s charity on their digital fund raising, drafted a marketing strategy for an exciting national app launch, written a set of best practice analytics guidelines and most importantly not got a round of teas horrifically wrong. I’ve certainly been given ample opportunity to demonstrate what I sold the agency on in my interview!

Getting up-to speed

The entire agency have been immensely welcoming and knowledgeable, there is a great collaborative attitude here with open frank conversations and all inputs given attention and acknowledgement, the kind of atmosphere you dream of working in and ensures a great standard of innovative work gets produced.

Being brought into projects in progress is always a challenge, you don’t want to step on any toes or bring up areas already agreed upon but every new starter wants to feel immediately useful. The control and clarity of projects combined with the openness of staff have made the transitions seamless so far. I don’t think I’ll be the ‘new guy’ for long.

Just the beginning

When I started my search for a new agency I didn’t know it, but Access was exactly what I was looking for. An ambitious agency with a pragmatic view to the work and exciting marketing on the mind. Access has a great approach to encouraging and facilitating professional growth to get the most out of their people and I’m looking forward to finding out how far I’ll come and contribute to the agency.

My time here has only just begun but the signs are very promising...

Top 10 skills you need to be a (super) Digital Project Manager

What is Digital Project Management?

Dark art, witchcraft, science? I would like to say it’s a culmination of all those things (well, maybe a little less of the witchcraft).

Project Management is a broad field. Everyone has their own style and areas of specialism, which is why it can be difficult to define the role. Fortunately, we’ve been interviewing for an apprentice project manager so we’ve been thinking about this a lot!

Want to know what makes the ideal digital project manager?

Our 15th Birthday in Pictures

“We’ve just got our photos back from the developers!”

No smart phones. Few had even seen a digital camera. People went to shops to get their photos developed. Can you imagine?

Records indicate this was a very different time. Computers only had two digits to record the year. Everyone was worried about this.

Not Simon Landi and John Neate. This was 1999 and they’d just celebrated the launch of their new advertising business. In just seven more years they’d be able to post pictures of their celebrations to Facebook.

One Millennium bug and a Mayan apocalypse later…

Access, we are fondly told, started as a conversation in the back of a taxi. No one can quite agree where this taxi came from or where it was going to, but the last 15 years have left plenty of landmarks for us to trace the evolution of the agency.

The 15 years of Access timeline tells the story of the agency – the work, the people, the clients, and era defining events that influenced us all.

Unlike our esteemed founders, we don’t have to wait five years to share a picture. Today, Access has all the developers it needs in-house. Here’s a selection of images from our 15th Birthday celebrations.

Here’s to the next 15!


Access celebrating 15 years in integrated marketing

Agency supporting continued growth of Manchester digital sector

I founded Access with John Neate back in 1999. 15 years on and we're thrilled to say the business is recognised as one of the North West’s premier full service digital marketing and advertising agencies.

Together with Sarah Parker, Creative Director and Mark Hope, Digital Director, we've grown a diverse roster comprising multinational B2B engineering and manufacturing companies, consumer brands, public sector departments and charities.

Access set out to provide ‘big’ agency quality with a personal touch. We’re proud to have stayed true to our original goals while contributing to Manchester’s elevation to Europe’s ‘second digital city’ after London.

A member of the Government backed GrowthAccelerator initiative, we're currently enjoying double digit growth year on year with clients such as BAFTA among our recent high profile wins.

Our work clearly shows we love this city, but we’re not exclusive. Becoming the lead agency partner to the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 was an early highlight, but half of our recent client wins have come from London and the South East. It’s an exciting time for us and we’ve been busy recruiting some of the brightest talent in the North West.

Among several appointments this year, we recently announced the launch of a new Content department to enhance our digital offer and provide clients with a seamless inbound marketing service. Meanwhile, our development team is multiplying in line with several new contract wins.

To remember the last 15 years, we've created an infographic juxtaposing the agency’s milestones alongside major industry developments and era defining events.

Check out the infographic

View of the infographic

South By South West (SXSW): So much greater than the sum of its parts.

Mark Hope trying out Oculus Rift

From its beginnings as a music conference and festival in 1987, attracting 700 registrants to Austin TX, SXSW quickly established itself and grew – fuelled by the growing international interest from the creative community – with Film and Interactive components being added in 1994.

"SXSW's original goal was to create an event that would act as a tool for creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, to bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas. That continues to be the goal today whether it is music, film or interactive technologies.”

The Interactive element (SXSWi) is now a thing in its own right, attracting huge crowds to Austin every year, with official attendance doubling within the past four years to reach 32,000 for 2014. It’s the annual conference where it's expected that ‘the next big thing’ in tech will be revealed - possibly as Twitter ‘launched’ there (or at least gained traction and a lot of buzz) in 2007, and expectations are therefore high.

South By South West - like a skiing holiday only it's in Texas

Last week Mark and I were fortunate enough to head Stateside to Austin, Texas to experience the world famous South by South West (SXSW) festival for the first time and, as it heads into its last few days, I feel I have recovered enough to reflect on my own experience there last week and consider how to proceed with all the things I’ve learned and the people I’ve met.

The 10-day SXSW festival is a series of interactive, film and music conferences and events. We attended the interactive part of the festival, which this year took place between the 7-11 March. The interactive arm of the festival acts is a melting pot of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity which featured bags of compelling presentations and panels along with stimulating networking events (read: parties) hosted by industry leaders all designed to expand delegates’ knowledge and understanding of the world of digital and interactive.

It’s time to upgrade from Internet Explorer 8

Time's up for Internet Explorer 8

On the 8th April 2014 Microsoft will officially drop support for Windows XP, and with it, drop support for the aging Internet Explorer 8 browser.

From this date we’ll also stop offering default support for IE8 in the new websites we produce here at Access.

The reason’s simple: Internet Explorer 8, which was released in 2009, lacks support for a wide range of CSS3 and HTML5 standards we’ve come to rely on for crafting modern web layouts and styles.

Until now, we’ve been forced to write additional code to patch over the cracks in IE8 and include additional JavaScript tools to simulate the behaviour of CSS media queries. Even so, it makes for clunky and faulty responsive websites in IE8 – so it really doesn’t make sense to carry on doing this.

So what can users of Windows XP/Internet Explorer 8 do?

  • Upgrade your operating system (you’re using a museum piece)
  • Do nothing and suffer an ever worsening web experience

Using another web browser?

  • Great news, you’re helping us to use the shiny cool features of the modern web
  • Internet Explorer 9+, Chrome, Firefox and Safari are all designed to automatically keep themselves updated to give you access to the latest web standards

More information

Not sure which browser you're using? www.whatsmybrowser.org

My first guest lecture (and Sophie's too)

While I was at uni, I found that some of the best classes were those where our tutor had invited in a guest speaker. I’m not sure if this was because I knew I wouldn’t be tested on the lecture’s content at the end of the module, or because these lectures were some of the most interesting, giving insight into how I could put my studies and work into practice.

With these thoughts in mind, last month our MD Simon Landi, Account Executive Sophie and I embarked on delivering our own guest lecture to first year Sports Management students at Manchester Metropolitan University, where we offered insight into agency life.

#AccessLove: The Fallout

Last week, love was in the air here at Access Towers. Well, in so much as we ran our first ever Twitter based Valentine’s competition. I’ve never been one of those overly romantic types, especially when it comes to being told when to be romantic. I prefer to be one of those off the cuff romantic types, serenading from the street via a tapedeck a la John Cusack from ‘Say Anything’ or making sure I’ve left the toilet seat down. You know, basic romantic stuff. Knowing that I am in the minority when it comes to Valentine’s Day, I wanted to play cupid for those who would appreciate it. The premise of our competition was simple. Tell us a sad/funny dating story, accompany said story with a sad selfie and use our hash tag #AccessLove.

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