I am absolutely thrilled that Jellybean is a Top 60 B2B agency (59) and a Top 40 Integrated B2B agency (38) according to the recently released 2021 UK B2B Marketing Agencies Benchmarking Report.

The report covers agency financial results from Dec 2019 to Mar 2020, so pre-Covid, and includes UK only businesses with turnovers ranging from £51m to just £200,000 per annum.  Many of those featured a specialism in high tech, finance and digital platforms, all of which enjoy sizeable budgets in the B2B world, so it makes our standing even more impressive as a specialist food and drink agency working with a wide range of established and challenger brands with budgets of all sizes.

Jellybean has been an integrated agency for over 25 years, long before this multi-discipline approach was adopted, as it is now, by most agencies.  We always recognised the importance of joined up communications in a fast changing and digital world where buyers and customers were increasingly more savvy, challenging and demanding. Today we recognise how important content creation and distribution is to amplify campaigns and as ever we know which channels are most effective to achieve our clients’ goals.  We know one size does not fit all and that media whether owned, earned or paid needs a co-ordinated approach that reaches a specific audience with targeted content that will deliver long term growth for the business or brand.  What sets us apart is not only our integrated approach and expertise in the food and drink industry, but also our agility, our focus on insight driven strategy, our ability to produce ideas that cut through and our approach to joined up communications.

Interestingly, the B2B report showed that 89% of agencies featured expect growth in 2021, which is heartening after the pressures of the last year and it found that the 2 biggest challenges for agency CEOs are pressure on client budgets and measuring campaign effectiveness.  These issues are very familiar to us at Jellybean where we work with a wide range of budgets and measure our campaigns against pre-set KPIs using our bespoke “Sweet spot” model.

The past year has been a challenging one to say the least, with the uncertainty of Brexit on the horizon and the mayhem of Covid-19.  The report highlights how B2B marketing has remained resilient and shown imagination and flair in pivoting campaigns for clients to meet changing needs and priorities.  Certainly, this has been the case at Jellybean for the past 12 months when we have had to be an agile, flexible, creative and of course a strategic partner to many of our clients facing a fast-paced and unprecedented changing world.

Just some examples of how we have helped clients over the past year include:

  • Sarson’s in the fish & chip sector – with our Stay Safe with Sarson’s POS & Proud to Serve our Community competition & Sachet launch
  • Mizkan Honteri (a versatile and authentic Japanese mirin-style sweet seasoning) Chef’s Secret Weapon Campaign – A digital & social sampling campaign to reach chefs experimenting at home during lockdown.
  • Tilda Tool Kit – Offering an online resource to help chefs and caterers with helpful hints, tips & recipe inspiration.
  • Olam Cocoa’s deZaan Sampling Launch – A digital and social campaign created to get this new premium cocoa range into chefs’ and bakers’ hands, to experiment with during lockdown.
  • Wrapmaster – Our Wrap Safe campaign helping caterers ensure their kitchens are Covid safe.
  • McCormick – For whom we launched a series of exclusive digital masterclasses/awareness drivers to reach their chef audience.
  • McCormick & Mondelez – Where we helped them create bespoke video collateral for the advent of online trade events.

In these ways and many more we have worked closely with clients to ensure they continued to communicate sensitively and effectively during the pandemic.

Of course, the impact of Covid-19 on hospitality is well documented and as a specialist agency where this represents over 60% of our business it has been a tough gig.  Every month that the lights are turned off in the out of home market it costs the industry £0.5bn per month and in 2020 the sector saw a 50% decline in market value vs 2019.  Furthermore, there are 500,000 jobs at risk in the pub/restaurant sector alone in 2021.  With this backdrop it makes me really proud of the team at Jellybean who have been positive and motivated throughout the pandemic and have embraced a new way of working to achieve our clients’ goals in a whole new world.

There is still much uncertainty in 2021 and the next 6 months will be a challenging time in foodservice and hospitality, as operators, suppliers and distributors adjust to the red, amber and green light of opening up the industry.  Budgets will need to be judiciously deployed to achieve tough objectives in a market where there is uber-fragmentation of channels.

Thankfully there is now light at the end of the tunnel as we navigate our way out of the pandemic with a 4-step road map to freedom in England and a tiered return for Scotland (although with less clarity for those North of the border).  So, I take this opportunity to thank all the team at Jellybean for their resilience and determination to survive and thrive during the past year and I know that as a business we are more than ready to re-charge our campaigns and accelerate our activity when the foodservice industry is back in business full time.  We are in this together with our clients and we will emerge all the stronger and I look forward to seeing where we are in the 2022 B2B Agency Benchmark report.