Thought Leadership

Joining the dots – Northern Ireland

Ben Somerset-How

Client Director


Leading our regional push to connect local business to the marketing communications industry, Creativebrief founder and chairman Tom Holmes attended a number of meetings in London and Northern Ireland with organisations responsible for inward investment and the development of new business opportunities for the region.

Invest NI London

Tom Holmes attended the Invest NI get-together for the Northern Ireland Community at Thomson Reuters, London on Tuesday 8th February 2002.

Invest Northern Ireland’s CEO Alastair Hamilton gave the introductory address. Alastair has primary responsibility for delivering the economic development policies of the Northern Ireland Executive through Invest NI supporting the growth plans of local companies and attracting new inward investment. The main speaker for the evening was Ian Paisley now Lord Bannside the veteran former leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.

Tom’s guest for the evening was Trevor Kirkpatrick CEO of KBW LTD and former Marketing Director of Saatchi & Saatchi EMEA. It was also good to bump into other colleagues from the Irish International Business Network (IIBN) like John Matthews, Managing Director at Deutsche Bank.

The next day Tom flew to Northern Ireland for a series of meetings with….


  • Desi Derby and Andrew McAteer at integrated marketing communications agency FireIMC
  • Fiona McMahon, Dr. Diane Hazlett and Dr. Aodheen O’Donnell at The School of Communication, University of Ulster
  • Stephen Roycroft Chair of IPA NI Group and Director of Ardmore Advertising
  • David Elliott, Editor, Business Month
  • Susie McCullough, Director of Marketing & Events, Northern Ireland Tourist Board
  • Richard Williams CEO NI screen

Derry / Londonderry:

  • Matt Peachey, Investment & Enterprise Officer, Derry City Council and Mark Nagurski (Head of Digital)
  • Mary McKenna, Paul McElvaney and their lovely team at Learning Pool

IoD Northern Ireland Annual Dinner

While in Northern Ireland Tom was delighted to be invited to the IoD Annual Dinner by Chair Joanne Stuart at the Europa Hotel – creativebrief had been instrumental in the introduction of Chris Rea OBE the guest speaker.

Chris, a real local boy made good, shared some secrets of his success with some of the leading lights of the Ulster business community. Chris graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 1975 and has spent over 30 years growing his business, AESSEAL, from 8 employees in 1979 to 1268 employees now, operating from 73 locations in 34 countries. AESSEAL is the UK’s last remaining and the world’s 4th largest mechanical seal manufacturer with 2010 sales growth projected at 19.74% with sales of over £100 M Sterling, 80% of which will be exported to 93 countries. The business has an operation in Lisburn, Co Down. The company has won 11 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise including 4 in 2009.

At the dinner Tom had the pleasure of meeting Stephen Kingon, CBE Chairman of Invest Northern Ireland and Brian McAreavey Managing Director Citi Belfast.

To round off the evening there was a great performance by the actor Dan Gordon who is probably best known for his portrayal of lovable, psychopath Red Hand Luke from the BBC NI television programme ‘Give My Head Peace’.


On returning to London Tom hooked up with Alan Anderson of Blue Tube Design and key member of the Digital Circle. Alan is launching an exciting new magazine “Addictive Creatives” and said “Martin Lambie Narin is doing an interview, Saatchis are in contact with us and will be supplying us with content and interviews, not to mention the relationships with other smaller agencies, freelancers and each of the arts councils across the UK”.


Great to see so much happening!