5 Minutes with….. The Loop

1. Can you tell us a bit about The Loop Manchester and what you do?
The Loop is Manchester’s dedicated high speed fibre network. Part of Gamma, The Loop has one of Manchester’s largest fibre footprints, stretching for more than 150 kilometres with a presence in many local media hubs including The Sharp Project, The Space Project and MediaCityUK. The Loop offers dedicated internet connectivity, designed to meet the high capacity, mission critical needs of today’s media, creative and digital businesses.

2. What made you sign up as an exhibitor at Prolific North Live?
The media, creative and digital sector is a perfect match for us and we want to tell the creative community about The Loop. Companies in this sector demand masses of bandwidth to upload and transfer very large files quickly and efficiently. Because we can bring fibre directly into a building and not just to a cabinet shared by many, we don’t offer ‘up to’ speeds that vary depending on the number of users. We can guarantee unlimited capacity from 50Mb/s to 1Gb/s of connectivity which makes our proposition to these internet hungry companies very attractive.

3. What are you looking forward to bringing to the event?
We have experts in this field that can share their knowledge and help educate attendees on the most innovative way to connect to the internet. If bandwidth is critical to your business we can explain how best to access it. Faster internet speeds give companies the edge in a connected market. We understand how the creative sector works and can advise people on what is best for their business.

4. What excites you most about the North’s media and creative sectors?
The size of the opportunity is massive for us. This sector is growing so fast, and because everyone wants more and more bandwidth, we are in a great place to service this. Manchester has a unique proposition. Very few cities have fibre embedded into the city’s infrastructure like we do and the fact companies can tap into it is great for all concerned. The Loop can help give Manchester’s media and creative sector the edge over other cities. It’s a huge asset and one that is yet to be fully realised.

5. Why is the North such an exciting place to be right now for creative and digital businesses?
You only need to attend an event like Prolific North to see the vast range of ages and thinkers, where creativity meets experience. The sector is growing at a rapid rate and the city’s ambitions to be a global digital city by 2020 means there is a great deal of investment from Manchester City Council and other public sector organisations to ensure this happens.

6. Where do you see The Loop in five years time?
Our ambition is to be the go-to provider of connectivity for the media, creative and digital sector. We are a small team but supported by a large parent company so you get the personal touch and the flexibility associated with a SME but the reassurance and support services that a company employing 1.750 people brings. We do things to a very high standard and our customers appreciate this and we find that they are our greatest ambassadors when they endorse our work.

7. If the Loop could have a dinner party with three people, dead or alive, who would they be?
Sir Alex Ferguson, Alan Turing and Tony Wilson. I don’t think I need to explain why.

5 minutes with CTI Digital

1.  Can you tell us a bit about CTI Digital and what you do?
We’re one of the UK’s leading full service digital agencies with offices in Manchester and London. In addition to our unrivalled reputation for providing bespoke web solutions using open source technologies such as Drupal, Magento, iOS and Android, we also have a dedicated marketing team offering a full range of services to drive customer engagement and retention, and increase sales. We have grown rapidly since we were established in 2003, now with a team of over 60 staff servicing a client roster which includes the British Council, London Gatwick and the Greater London Authority.
2.  What made you sign up as an exhibitor at ProlificNorthLive?
We’re incredibly excited about ProlificNorthLive. We’re always keen to get involved with any new events and the prospect of an exhibition to support the booming digital sector in the north is something that we wholeheartedly support. We’re sure that the event will be a great opportunity to network and learn, as well as to discuss the range of innovative web and marketing solutions that we can provide.
3.  What are you looking forward to bringing to the event? 
Over the past 12 months we have worked on some incredible projects, such as launching a global ecommerce store for McGraw-Hill Education, delivering a groundbreaking new site to serve the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority, as well as providing numerous solutions to dramatically improve the British Council’s online presence. We’re really keen to show how we can develop innovative solutions to deliver great results for all types of businesses.
4.  What excites you most about the North’s media and creative sectors? 
As an agency that was born in Manchester back in 2003, we have witnessed the remarkable growth of the digital sector in the region, with CTI a perfect example of one of the many success stories. Manchester in particular now has a digital sector to rival that of London and the exciting thing is that it shows no signs of slowing any time soon. Although we have now expanded to London and beyond, being based in the creative hub that is Manchester’s Northern Quarter means we are surrounded by other innovative and forward thinking companies that just helps to keep driving us forward.
5.  Where do you see CTI Digital in five years’ time?
We’ve grown so much over the past decade and following our recent acquisition by the Paperhat Group, we’re set to grow even further in the next few years. We’ve got an ambitious expansion plan to open offices in America and Australia to service our existing clients and attract new business, whilst we’re also in the process of expanding our reach in the UK too, but I can’t say too much more about that just now! Being part of a global group means there are so many opportunities for us to grow –  it’s just a case of doing it at a pace that is sustainable so that we are able to ensure we continue to provide the exceptional solutions that we are so well known for.
6.  If CTI Digital could have a dinner party with three people, dead or alive, who would they be?
Alan Turing
What more do we need to say? As the father of computer science and inventor of the computer, we’d be honoured to spend time with someone who played such a key role in shaping the industry in which we work today.
Richard Branson
Not only does he own his own island, he also seems a genuinely nice guy still and willing to share his knowledge. It would be great to meet him and understand how he manages to continually re-motivate himself to take risks and successfully disrupt industries.
Larry Page
As an agency that uses Google’s products on a daily basis, meeting Larry, co-founder of the internet giant that is Google would give us the perfect opportunity to find out about their latest product launches – and (try to) get the inside information on their ever-changing algorithm!

Five minutes with PR Agency One

1. Can you tell us a bit about PR Agency One and what you do?

We build and nurture reputations for businesses, as well as boosting their visibility online. As a fully integrated public relations business, delivering both B2B PR and consumer PR, we’ve got an expert team trained in both traditional and digital practices. As one of the first to combine PR and SEO, we’ve cracked the age old dilemma of how to measure results via our proprietary evaluation system OneEval. We’ve won awards for our evaluation which is what we’re proud of and why we’ve grown so rapidly over the last four years or so.


2.    What made you sign up as an exhibitor at ProlificNorthLive?

It’s a brilliant platform to get our clients from across the North important messages about the digital sector out there, and as champions of digital ourselves, we’ve been keen readers of Prolific North since it emerged in 2013. When we found out about ProlificNorthLive, it made sense for us to get involved and join the thriving digital community in our brilliant region. We want to show our support for the industry and to meet other, like-minded people, that are as excited about it as us.


3. What are you looking forward to bringing to the event? 

Mostly, we’re excited to network with the people that are building this brilliant community with us to see how we can work together to make it even more successful. Manchester wants to be the tech hub of the UK, and to do so we all need to come together at events like this to make it happen. We’re also excited to discuss with delegates the ways in which we can all individually bring something to the table.


4. What excites you most about the North’s media and creative sectors? 

The North is a great place to be because it makes the fast-paced nature of the industry feel a bit more manageable than some of the other regions within the UK. We attract world class businesses and talent from all over the world, but we still have a tight community, which is unusual.
5. Why is the North such an exciting place to be right now for creative and digital businesses?

There’s so much happening and heaps of opportunity for businesses to work together. And although there is healthy competition, there is a real feeling that we all want each other to succeed. With plans like TechNorth, there really is no better time for businesses to be here. Innovations like graphene that came out of University of Manchester, prove there is a strong academic profile in the region.
6. Where do you see PR Agency One in five years’ time?

We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and building on what we already know, to stay ahead of the game in terms of PR and the digital space. As one of the first to adopt the digital first approach to PR, we’re committed to make sure that we remain ahead of our competition and build new innovations into the business to do so.
7. If PR Agency One could have a dinner party with three people, dead or alive, who would they be?

Eric Cantona because he’s the King. Also, being French probably means he eats well and knows a good bottle of wine when he sees it.

The mercurial Mark E Smith from The Fall.

And Kate Moss.  Definitely Kate Moss.


Website: www.pragencyone.co.uk/

Twitter: @pragencyone

Five minutes with Seconds That Count

1.    Can you tell us a bit about Seconds That Count and what you do?

Seconds That Count works hand in hand with agencies, production companies, and direct with clients to create shareable animated content that gets people talking, raises profiles, and feeds consumers’ thirst for content. We specialise in stop motion wizardry and trickery. As the animator / director, I have 12 years of experience that started within the delights of children’s animation. I then broadened out to work with brands to build their business seven years ago. This offers a greater variety of projects, challenges, and clients – which is really exciting for us.

2.    What made you sign up as an exhibitor at ProlificNorthLive?

It’s a great opportunity to be involved in something that hasn’t been done before. And I know Prolific North can deliver, so it seemed a no brainer.

3.    What are you looking forward to bringing to the event? 

Entertainment with stop motion trickery! But mostly, we’re looking forward to inspiring and leading people with our creativity. And sweets, we’ll be bringing sweets!

4.    What excites you most about the North’s media and creative sectors? 

Quite simply, we are the best. The best ideas, the best execution – in the North it’s organic without trying too hard to be cool. The region is also great for employers who want the best candidates in their teams, as Manchester especially has a big attraction for new talent.

5.    Why is the North such an exciting place to be right now for creative and digital businesses?

It’s exciting because of the opportunities for all business to grow together. The community is friendly, and we all understand that we need each other in order to grow our own businesses.

6.    Where do you see Seconds That Count in five years’ time?

Seconds That Count has a sister company, and both are part of plans that form a big jigsaw. The plan is to create various content channels for different target markets and to grow the team and client base, and part of that is establishing us as the “go to” for stop motion in Manchester. The end goal is to create the best content for the best brands in Manchester and beyond.

7.    If Seconds That Count could have a dinner party with three people, dead or alive, who would they be?

Firstly Walt Disney – he lead the team that developed the techniques that all animators use, and also had a lot of difficult times in business before he became a success.

Secondly, Steve Jobs. It’s an obvious one, but it wouldn’t be to talk to him about Apple. I’d want to talk to him about him seeing the potential in Pixar when Disney were firing John Lassiter and looking elsewhere.

And finally, Kermit the Frog! Because he has a tough time leading the Muppets, and he was until recently dating Miss Piggy, who’s personally my favourite character… (I would invite her, but I think the conversation would solely be about her!).
Website: www.secondsthatcountstudios.com

Five minutes with theEword

1.   Can you tell us a bit about theEword and what you do?

theEword is a digital marketing agency that specialises in using content marketing to positively influence buying decisions and drive measurable business results. We use our blend of technical and creative skills, including content marketing, SEO, PPC, copywriting, web development and social, in order to meet a business’ goals.

Founded in 2006, theEword has grown from two people to a team of more than 40. From our home in Trafford Park we have worked with some of the biggest brands and most exciting start-ups in the UK and overseas, cultivating a proven track record of increasing traffic, conversions and brand awareness.

2.   What made you sign up as an exhibitor at ProlificNorthLive?

We are a big supporter of Prolific North, and have worked with the publisher on several initiatives, including our sponsorship of the Top 50 PR Agencies list for the past three years. We have always seen value in our relationship with Prolific North so were naturally very interested to be involved with the launch of this brand new event. As a content-driven digital marketing agency in Manchester, we pride ourselves on sharing knowledge and positioning ourselves as a trusted source of information in the North West. ProlificNorthLive will attract some of the biggest businesses in the UK and provide an opportunity for us to do this in the live, exciting environment of a conference.

3.   What are you looking forward to bringing to the event? 

We’ll be presenting, in an engaging and interactive way, how businesses can use content to better define their value proposition and market themselves to customers at all stages of the buying journey. Visitors to our stand will be challenged to reflect on what it is they want to say about their businesses and to whom. We’ll also have our team of experts on hand to provide advice and answer any questions throughout the day.

4.   What excites you most about the North’s media and creative sectors? 

You only need to look at the Prolific North newsletter every day to see the volume of exciting goings-on in the region’s media and creative sectors. The North is increasingly standing up in its own right and not just being seen as a scaled-down alternative to London. In all of the creative and media disciplines, there are unique offerings in the North, which is why the industry is in such good health.

5.   Why is the North such an exciting place to be right now for creative and digital businesses?

Generally speaking, there is a spirit of innovation that permeates the Northern way of being, which is why some of the most exciting and original start-ups are sprouting out of places such as Manchester and Leeds. With the idea of the Northern Powerhouse, we could be on the cusp of a new era of collaboration that could see the region take a big step up on the global stage. The benefits of running a business in the North make it a very attractive proposition, which is why there are so many brands, media and creative businesses with bases here – not least the BBC, who, in choosing Salford as the location of their Northern operation, sent out a very strong message to the industry.

6.   Where do you see theEword in five years’ time?

This can be a tricky question to answer because of the pace with which the digital and online spaces evolve – who is to say what new technologies we will all be working with in five years’ time? As an agency, we have the usual sort of goals relating to things like revenue, headcount and purpose – we know that we want to be seen as one of the country’s best digital marketing agencies – but the really fascinating thing is thinking about what channels, tools and disciplines we will embrace over the next five years. At our core we will continue to help big brands influence their customers’ buying processes, but how we go about that will continue to evolve in line with technology.

7.  If theEword could have a dinner party with three people, dead or alive, who would they be?

Steve Jobs. It would almost be a crime not to. His wonderful stance on marketing, selling dreams and great experiences, not products, is something we could all learn from. He also sported a turtleneck like a true gentleman, so we’d seek some style tips.

Oprah Winfrey. She is an inspiration to many, not least those who admire the way she has built her media empire. We would ask how it feels to be able to influence millions of people, to make or break brands and publishers via the content she puts out. And also whether or not she was even slightly tempted to push Tom Cruise off that couch…

William Shakespeare. As an agency that puts content, often taking the form of the written word, at the heart of everything it does, we would love to spend time with someone whose works have survived for centuries and are still capable of influencing hearts and minds today.

Website: www.theeword.co.uk 

Five minutes with Buffalo7

1.   Can you tell us a bit about Buffalo7 and what you do?
Sure – we’re a Manchester-based presentation design agency dedicated to changing the way companies present. Out with boring slides – in with amazing visuals. In the last few months alone we’ve transformed the way leading brands like Red Bull, PlayStation, UEFA Champions League and Facebook deliver their messages.
Our unique approach has meant multinational clients have sought us out (rather than vice-versa) and they keep coming back to us as repeat business, enabling us to grow rapidly in terms of turnover (1,500% year-on-year) and team size.
2.   What made you sign up as an exhibitor at ProlificNorthLive?
We’re exhibiting at ProlificNorthLive to get out there locally (as ironically we work very little in our back yard, yet have clients all across the globe) and show new faces exactly what it is we do. People are often speechless when they discover that our work is actually built in PowerPoint – and when this happens, we know we’ve done our job right.
3.   What are you looking forward to bringing to the event? 
We want the people who visit us at the event to be shocked by what’s possible in PowerPoint and we’re building a stand that will allow us to give fast-paced demos showing how great our work is in five minutes or less (because we’re all busy… right?).
People who drop by our stand will be able to take a much-needed sit down, have a drink, and chat to us about what they do and whether we can help them; or they can simply check out some examples of our work – we believe that the best way to explain what we do is simply to show people.
4.    What excites you most about the North’s media and creative sectors? 
It has to be the sheer variety and richness of talent based here. The North has a long history of media and creative excellence: The Guardian was founded here, we’re home to some of the longest-operating TV studios in the UK, and we’ve produced the best-loved musicians in the world.
And there’s no signs of slowing down – if you drive into Manchester you might pass a gigantic building-side banner reading ‘Creativity Is Forged on the Anvil of Industry’, which is absolutely true: the region’s legacy of industriousness lives on its creative output.
5.    Why is the North such an exciting place to be right now for creative and digital businesses? 
With developments like MediaCityUK in Salford and the promise of devolution for the North, the region looks set to continue incubating and attracting new kinds of expertise and skillsets – which in turn creates exciting new opportunities for both businesses and employees. We’re delighted that an exhibition of this size is launching to reflect the quality and variety of Northern creative and digital businesses.
6.    Where do you see Buffalo7 in five years’ time?
By doing something new and creating our own niche, our work has attracted attention from the likes of Samsung, Microsoft and HSBC. As a result of repeat business from international clients like these, we’ve experienced exponential growth in a short time period. But our aspirations don’t end here – we want to expand internationally in a way that we can deliver high-quality work to clients across the globe with an even shorter turnaround time. We’re currently headquartered in Manchester with an office in London, but there have been rumblings about LA and Singapore, too…
Simply put, we want to be the authority on all things presentation-related internationally.
7.    If Buffalo7 could have a dinner party with three people, dead or alive, who would they be?
We’d have to say PowerPoint creator Robert Gaskins – for the influence he’s had on what we do and so that we could pick his brain on presentations, designer Dieter Rams – for the impact his 10 Principles of Design have had on our creative team, and Jamie xx – so he can answer for the inordinate amount of airplay he gets in the studio.