A newly-formed North East full service marketing agency is aiming to take on the biggest in the business with the help of a six-figure investment from the North East Growth Capital Fund Loan Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund.

Newcastle-based communications agencies Different and Narrative Integrated Communications recently merged to form Different Narrative, which is now the region’s largest end-to-end marketing services provider.

And with a growing client base in London and across the UK alongside a substantial regional presence, the Different Narrative management team is now aiming to establish the new business as a truly national brand.

The newly-formed business has worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to secure a £250,000 investment via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which will be used to enhance the range of marketing services it provides and to bring in further skilled people across different disciplines to deliver them.

At least four new recruits are expected to be added to the 30-strong team in the coming months.

As well as building its presence in sectors such as education, retail and residential property, Different Narrative is also working with an increasing number of tech businesses across the North East that have thrived during the pandemic and are now looking to grow quickly themselves.

The Different Narrative management team was advised by accountants RSM Newcastle and UNW, and law firms Womble Bond Dickinson and Jacksons Law Firm during the investment process.

Ben Quigley, Chairman of Different Narrative, says: “We’ve spent most of the pandemic period working on the detail and structure of the new company, which is already much more than the sum of its parts.

“The two firms offered a range of complementary skills, experience and expertise, had strong reputations within their respective markets and a similar ambition to keep growing, so bringing them together made sense all round.

“We’re well ahead of where we’d forecast we would be at this point, we’re ambitious enough to want to be right at the top of our industry and we see a great many opportunities around the UK that will help us achieve these growth ambitions.

“We already work with clients right across the UK, including many in London, and what’s been clearly proven over the last 18 months is that we can look after their diverse and complex marketing and media needs from a North East base.

Kieron Goldsborough, CEO of Different Narrative, adds: “The North East digital sector has attracted a lot of investment over the last 18 months and we’re seeing a range of tech firms beginning to scale up impressively.

“What many of them don’t yet have, however, is the full range of in-house marketing resources that they require to support their continuing growth journey.

“Our team is able to seamlessly fill in any gaps where clients don’t yet have or have lost specific resources, which then allows them to get on with their central objective of realising the business’s potential.

“We’d heard good things about the impact of the North East Fund, and being able to access capital based within our home region was very attractive.  We had a very positive initial discussion with the NEL team and worked well in partnership with them to get the deal done.”

David Thomas, investment director at NEL Fund Managers, says: “Narrative and Different have both performed extremely well over many years, and their joint venture has huge potential for becoming a nationally-recognised leader in their field.

“Supporting the burgeoning North East knowledge economy is an especially exciting part of their joint offering and can help even more tech firms from across the region establish themselves as industry leaders.”

The North East Growth Capital Fund has been designed to create around

790 jobs in more than 70 regional firms over the life of the programme and offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.

The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.