FROM DIGITAL PIONEER TO GLOBAL PLAYER: 20 AMAZING YEARS
Many thanks to
• Nat Gross, CEO
• Helen Robinson, Marketing Director
• Steve Collins, Finance Director
of Amaze for their input.
Amaze is a leading, full service digital marketing, technology and commerce consultancy.
Amaze have demonstrated strength across the entire digital stack from strategy, insights and communications through to design & build, digital commerce and global implementation.
Their work spans 104 countries in 28 languages.
In 2013 Amaze was acquired by St Ives Group plc to establish a new digital solutions pillar within the Group, accelerate growth and expand into new territories.
Amaze have experienced average growth of 17% pa over the last 3 years.
WHAT MAKES AMAZE DIFFERENT?
NAT GROSS, CEO, TOLD US:
‘There are four things that make Amaze different from the rest of our sector...
1. OUR UNIVERSITY ORIGIN
“We were once a research unit in academia. We were born out of a university, yet we became an agency, one that grew and grew. It’s a unique story, and something of that will always be in our DNA.”
“We were early in digital. We began life in the Learning Methods Unit at Liverpool John Moores University, with a visionary idea to explore how digital will change how people learn and interact. The founders saw the social and technology revolution coming.
“It was bold and far-sighted. Best of all, it turned out to be right. It’s inspiring now to be part of that legacy. To be a pioneer you need not just vision but resilience and clarity of thought. You’re pushing the boundaries all the time.
“We continue to drive that culture today at Amaze. New technologies, new services, new user experiences, all built on the combination of human behaviour and technology.
“Everybody talks about user interfaces and experiences, but many simply copy what others are doing. Progress can only come by someone pushing to create what the next step-change can be, in communicating, collaborating, discovering, buying. Digital is now ubiquitous but its potential has hardly started to be grasped.”
2. RIGOUR AND MAGIC
“As a client, do you want a creative agency with all the branding insights, digital innovation and state-of-the-art user experience that should come with that?
“Or do you want a global consultancy with all the rigour, scale, process, analysis and data intelligence that that implies?
“The answer? Clients want both. They can’t afford to compromise on either. But is it easy to find partners who can serve up both?
“We say not. What’s more, the bigger the client is, the harder it is for them to find such an entity. It’s one of the paradoxes that major international brands face. And simply going to a behemoth service provider for the solution is rarely the answer.
“People come to Amaze because they see the genuine passion here. They see our fascination with human behaviour and technology. It’s in everything we do.”
“What do we mean by magic? To the outsider, a brilliant marketing campaign can look more like alchemy than analysis.
Actually, it’s both, brought together in the same moment.
3. GLOBAL BRAND IMPLICATIONS
“There’s an urgency in the air now. Digital ceased to be a bolt-on discipline a long time ago, yet a lot of major organisations are not completely harnessing digital’s potential. This is starting to give them a serious competitive disadvantage. Some key issues:
• Consistency. Customers expect brands to be equally fluent in digital wherever they operate in the globe.
• Expectations. Clients have rapidly-rising digital demands — speed of delivery, brand authenticity, value, impact, results.
• Governance. Digital governance isn’t a policing concept — it’s an empowering one. Brands want to fix their international website errors, but they also want each territory to gain their return on digital’s promise and investment. It’s not about fixing bad things — it’s enabling great things to happen.
• Skill sets. It’s hard for an international organisation to raise the bar worldwide when each local group is focused on the day-today.
There’s a need for larger contexts to be communicated.
4. NO BOUNDARIES
“The only way that all of the above can be achieved is if new solutions, new types of services, can be created. This means developing answers to questions that clients aren’t necessarily articulating yet. It seems audacious to attempt it.
“But at Amaze we have been audacious since the day we were born, when pioneers and academics set out to visualise how the future would look. Technologies and the human mind, together. Digital was born with no boundaries. That inspires us every day.”
THE FINANCE DIRECTOR’S PERSPECTIVE
Steve Collins, Amaze’s Finance Director, told us of the time before Amaze implemented Synergist...
“In the pre-Synergist years it was difficult to gain the information we needed. The process was limited, time was not linked to revenues and it was very time consuming”.
“Synergist sits at the centre of everything we do, operationally and financially.
“Synergist has provided the backbone / infrastructure to assist with the changes in business process which were implemented to help focus the business in the right areas and make the stepped changes we have taken over the past 8 years.
“Synergist provides one version of the truth, which enables the business to make informed decisions and accordingly make continual changes and improvements.
“It provides the link between day-to-day operational information and key metrics which underpin financial performance, which enables business managers to react or plan more efficiently to achieve desired goals.
“It enables us to keep our fingers on the pulse of the business week to week, tracking both business done and future business.
“I should add that Synergist have been very responsive to our requests. It’s a very positive relationship.”
FINAL COMMENTS FROM THE CEO...
“We have worked together with the Synergist team to develop reports and processes that mean the software sits at the very heart of our business decision making.
“When I look at the MI of our business every Monday, 100% of what I see is driven out of Synergist.”
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Synergist are delighted to join in Amaze’s 20-year celebrations. A distinguished past and an exciting future. Congratulations!
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