As 2022 draws to a close we’ve been reflecting on the past year for Blend.
We start every year with a list of goals, but 2022 was the most ambitious yet.
We know that to remain an effective partner for our customers, we must continuously develop our capabilities. That means building on what we do well whilst thinking about where we can improve – an honest assessment of weaknesses is an essential part of long-term improvement and we’re committed to that.
Our partnership with HubSpot remained crucial throughout 2022 and their commitment to ongoing investment in the platform continues to inspire us. The level of support they provide to our team has been second to none and we’re so grateful to Lisa Kelly, our Channel Consultant, and Olivia Kirwan, our Channel Account Manager, for everything this year.
It is an absolute joy to work alongside the Blend team. They deliver exceptional work at the highest quality on a consistent basis. Their commitment to their clients is remarkable. They are extremely reliable and their work ethic is unmatched. Despite being one of the top partners in the HubSpot ecosystem, their humility is evident and their continued focus on customer success is always their biggest priority.
They are extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of HubSpot, with particular expertise in website development and design. They were successful in achieving our advanced CMS accreditation which has been awarded to less than 1% of HubSpot partners globally. This demonstrates their commitment to building premium websites, many of which we showcase as best in class HubSpot design examples.
At HubSpot, our values are centred around HEART – Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, and Transparent. The Blend team truly embodies each of these skills, and so much more!
Lisa Kelly, Channel Consultant – HubSpot
Highlights from our growing team
In 2022 we identified four key areas we needed to strengthen.
We elevated our digital design capabilities in 2022 to cater to the needs of the increasingly larger businesses we work with. We also saw a growing need for branding support, which was beyond our capabilities at the time. We recognised that improving design capability and gaining branding expertise was an essential requirement if we were to deliver on our promise to customers.
After a long search for the right person, we persuaded Paul Tapping to join us as Creative Director. Paul brings 30 years’ experience to the team and has worked for several high-profile agencies, helping them produce award-winning work for many recognised global brands. He shared our ambition for Blend and recognised the part he could play in our growth. We knew right away that his contribution could take us to the next level.
We also gained new branding capabilities with the appointment of Wayne Harris, who joined us as an Art Director. Wayne has an impressive portfolio of brand work and has proven capabilities. We’re now involved in complete rebrand exercises, brand refresh projects, and are crucially able to hit the ground running ahead of website design engagements that rely on web-ready brand assets.
Paul and Wayne were joined by Ally Perry (Senior Designer), Andrea Tallett (Senior Designer), and Lucy Newsham (Junior Designer) who together, with our already established design team, are now a real force to be reckoned with.
We are and have always been big believers in the need for a well-defined marketing strategy to inform marketing plans. But, it’s easy to talk about strategy and harder to do it well. We’re committed to delivering exceptional marketing, and in the ever-evolving B2B landscape, we had to find someone who could head up our strategy department and help our team achieve the best results.
Kristiana Briede joined us in 2022 to refine our strategic offering as Head of Strategy. Krissy has gained several years’ experience in the marketing field but was also undertaking an MBA at Warwick which we felt would be a significant advantage when we support our B2B customers.
Krissy was also joined by Jasmine Ojbro (Senior Strategist) who has vast experience in HubSpot onboarding, implementation, and even holds accreditations in UX design.
As an Elite HubSpot partner agency, it’s essential that we know how to integrate this fantastic CRM with other technology when required. Integrations often require a unique skill set, so we decided to split this out from our strategy team. This year, our Technical Director, Mike Thomas, decided to make a big hire by recruiting Zach Klein, an integrations specialist with proven experience in combining complex software. This has been a game-changer for our technology department, and gives Blend and its customers greater confidence in this crucial area.
Protecting our customers and their data against costly breaches is paramount. In 2022, we began the journey to ISO 27001 accreditation and we’re aiming to complete this big undertaking early next year.
Growth in all areas
Beyond our key initiatives, we grew our team across every department. The post-pandemic, hybrid world we’ve inherited has been a huge advantage when expanding our capabilities. We’re now an international team with fully remote people spread scross the UK, the USA, Lithuania, and Australia. Plus our longest-serving team member (11 years and counting) based in Ukraine – who is a complete rock star.
Aside from growth in the workplace, there was lots of growth for people outside of work too. We’ve welcomed four Blend babies! Hopefully, they’ll be helping us to create award-winning marketing strategies in no time.
September saw the return of the in-person HubSpot conference in Boston and a chance for old friends (and competitors) to reconnect and learn together. Our superstar Account Director Cloe Loynes joined Phil Vallender and me after receiving the annual Star Award – voted for by her colleagues. We all thoroughly enjoyed hearing from keynote speaker Barack Obama who was interviewed by Brian Halligan on the final day.
2022 Blendies Awards
Each year we have the Blendies where everyone in the company votes for their colleagues in categories arranged around our values.
Congrats to the following:
What does 2023 have in store?
With our strengthened capabilities, our mission in 2023 is to produce award-winning marketing output for our customers and laser-focus our attention on generating demand for their products and services. We can’t avoid the turbulent times that everyone finds themselves in, but we can work smarter to minimise the impact.
With a recession imminent, rising costs on all fronts, and unemployment likely to rise, we’re alive to the needs of customers to outperform competitors and clearly communicate their advantage. Being conscious of the commercial needs of those we market for is an important step in providing reliable and bankable services.
2023 is likely to benefit those who understand the importance of digital marketing to influence purchasing decisions at a time when some will stop investing and disappear from view. We’re ready for the fight.