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20 December 2021

2021 Round Up

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I ended last year’s round up by saying I was in no doubt that 2021 would bring its own share of challenges. And after the winter lockdown and what seems like countless new covid variants, there have been plenty. But despite the continued upheaval, this year turned out to be our biggest and our best yet in many ways.

After being forced to develop a new way of working, flexible working is here to stay. Not only has it proven beneficial for balancing work and family life but it makes the times we meet to work and socialise together more special.

Our biggest strength, and point of difference as an agency, is our storytelling, building brands across all touchpoints from a core creative idea. This year we’ve built on that strength and sunk our teeth into some bigger, more extensive and global branding projects that include full brand world creation and communications.

We’ve rebranded three different breweries in three different countries. One close to home and to our hearts, our third brand iteration for Vocation Brewery, and two international household names. Both of which we’ll be revealing in the New Year.

We’ve created more than our fair share of category disruptors. Replacing Freaks of Nature’s polarising name and outdated ‘free-from’ label with Over The Spoon. And reimagining food-to-go with a ballsy identity for Urban Eat that’s anything but bland.

As well as these new clients, we’ve also strengthened our relationships with long-standing ones. This year we’ve continued our work with Co-op with an identity for their new on-the-go coffee offering, Ever Ground, which is being rolled out across over 180 stores as I write this. Plus, we’ve watched Yorkshire-based gin brand, Masons, expand into vodka and grow revenue by £4million since their relaunch last year. Our ongoing work with tuna giants, John West, has helped double their sales volume of their on-the-go lunch range.

And of course, not forgetting our biggest achievement this year – landing a place on both Carlsberg and Arla’s global design rosters.

With these big wins under our belt we’ve been setting out our UK and global business strategy for the next couple of years. With the aim of expanding our pillar client base and strengthening the agency for growth. Part of that has included promoting three of our integral team members – Dave, Jess and Ben.

As MD, Dave is now responsible for all high-level operations, working to maximise our resources to, not only meet, but exceed our strategic goals. Filling Dave’s shoes as Client Director, Jess is now heading up our account management team to build strong professional partnerships, improve our processes and deliver the best value to our clients. Whilst Ben has taken a step up to join Martin as Creative Director, allowing more projects to run simultaneously through studio.

We’ve also welcomed some new faces to the team. In design and production we’ve introduced Craig, Ollie and Marc, bringing fresh talent and ideas to the table. We’ve bolstered our account handling team, with Emma and Libby. And Pat has joined us as marketing manager to help us shout about our work and make a name for ourselves overseas.

And amongst all the hard work, we’ve still managed to fit some fun in there too. From lunchtime pints in the sun (if you can remember that far back) to rooftop curling and the long-awaited Christmas do. We might have spent 2020 at home but we’ve more than made up for it this year.

Myself and a couple of the team have faced huge challenges and disruption in our personal lives. As I reflect on one of the toughest years I’ve had to deal with, I do so with gratitude and optimism. I know I couldn’t have got through 2021 without the support of my team. Robot Food is a group of hugely talented, committed and passionate people, but I think the biggest common strengths we share are empathy, comradery and a willingness to look out for each other when it matters most. Long may this continue.