A little more than five years ago, BlueFrog Media didn’t even exist. Fast forward four-and-a-half years, and the Bideford-based business now hires more than 50 employees, curates and creates the digital presence for companies across the globe, and is one of North Devon’s only Google Partners. But these things don’t happen overnight or with the click of a finger and a thumb – here’s the BlueFrog Media story; from tadpoles to kings and queens of the pond.
How did it all start?
Throughout the 21st century, digital and social media has become a bigger and more important part of not just everyday, personal lives, but the potential well-being and success of businesses.
Martin Giles and Rich Evans could see this.
The duo had worked together previously at Applegate Marketplace – the UK’s largest B2B directory – in Barnstaple, where they formed a formidable partnership.
In 2012, having gained a wealth of experience in marketing and business development at Applegate, coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit, Martin decided to use his knowledge and experience to go it alone and set up his own agency.
BlueFrog Media was born.
After successfully developing a passion for digital media and reputation management while working leisure, retail and catering industries, Rich joined Martin to head up our operational side as Operations Director.
We started off in a Hartland shed and an Ilfracombe basement, Martin and Rich’s respective homes, but soon needed to hop onto a bigger lily pad…
What happened next?
Our first employee, Jack Cunningham, soon hopped into the pond, offering expertise and management skills he had accrued while also working at Applegate, alongside Martin and Rich.
Jack joined in January 2014, initially on a part time basis, but moved to a full time role after three months in the business.
Jack’s initial duties were the day-to-day operations of BlueFrog, including maintaining our clients social media accounts, making updates to clients websites and liaising with our clients.
After securing a couple of impressive contracts, including the development of Europe’s first fully functioning Valve Automation website, we quickly grew.
Some of our first clients included The Beaver Inn pub in Appledore, Colorseum hair and beauty salon in Bideford, Cube Precision Engineering and Artec Engineering – all of whom remain with us four years on.
In February 2014, we moved premises into Bideford, starting in one small room before expanding into an entire floor over the course of two years.
The steady growth of the company also meant we needed more hands on deck, Maire Beer and Rosie Wade soon joined us as apprentices, becoming valuable parts of the team.
To this day, Jack remains an integral part of the colony as Client Services Manager, while Maire is now a part of our three-strong, in-house graphic design team.
Our hard work was undoubtedly paying off, and, two years ago, we were overjoyed to be named Best New Business at the North Devon Journal Business Awards 2015 – our first in an ever-growing list of awards.
More recently, through his thorough understanding of the food and beverage industry, Rich has helped create a unique and innovative multi-location social media service for major UK pub chain Greene King’s retail pub and restaurant brands.
This became BlueFrog Social, which has also been rolled out across a range of multi-site retail brands and sectors.
Where are we now?
We at BlueFrog have always prided ourselves on the happiness in our pond, and we now have more than 50 smiling employees working from our Bideford office.
Compare this to just four a little more than 18 months ago, and we think you’ll agree that’s quite the feat.
Just last year (2016) we were awarded Digital Business of the Year at the North Devon Journal Business Awards, building on our previous, aforementioned New Business of the Year win, while we were also awarded silver in the Best Medium Business and Apprentice of the Year categories.
We also had to up-sticks (again!), moving into a larger Bideford office in February 2016, before taking over the entire floor in June of that year.
We now manage an extremely diverse portfolio, ranging from small and medium sized local businesses in North Devon to businesses of all shapes and sizes around the globe, including some major brands.
We work with them across a diverse range of sectors to create the correct digital presence for their brand and deliver measurable results through social media marketing.
Rich also now shares his expertise and knowledge through the BlueFrog Academy, training marketing teams and business owners on everything digital.
What’s next for us?
We aim to keep growing, creating more jobs within the area by introducing our BlueFrog Social service to other major brands in the UK.
Our exciting Search team are constantly fine-tuning their skills to enable us to offer a quality Google AdWords service, of which we are looking to increase our customer base throughout 2017.
We also recently launched BlueFrog Academy, a series of workshops, seminars and training within the digital marketing world.
After becoming tired of seeing so-called “experts” preaching social media and giving poor advice to inexperienced business owners, we launched the academy to help teach our “no rubbish” approach and offer advice to the local businesses of North Devon.
As of March 3rd, we have already run three informal and friendly seminars, covering the importance of social media and how to utilise Google Analytics to local businesses.
Simply put, our ambition is to become the most trusted and reliable digital media management company in the UK.