An innovative online marketing system developed as part of its work with one of the world’s best-known and fastest growing sub sandwich brands is set to help establish a Newcastle marketing agency onto a global footing.
Hunter Johnstone has worked with franchised sandwich retailer Subway across the UK and Europe for the last five years, creating and managing an Internet-based tool through which each of its franchisees can identify, create and obtain tailored marketing materials on demand for their individual requirements.
More than 600 Subway stores across the UK already use the system, with that number set to increase to almost 2,000 in the near future as more and more regions sign up to use it.
In addition the system now manages Subway’s Global Image and Graphics Gallery which is accessible to 32,690 franchisees in 91 countries.
With the support of a £120,000 investment from regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers, as well as backing from Business Link and regional development agency One North East, Hunter Johnstone is now establishing a new division – Hunter Johnstone Digital – to help adapt it for use by other major companies with franchises, or national or international chains.
Interest has already been expressed by Subway operations in new overseas territories, such as South America.
Established a decade ago by joint managing directors Neil Hunter and Jay Johnstone, Hunter Johnstone is a marketing services agency providing interactive marketing and advertising campaigns for clients include Nexus, Mill Volvo, Parkdean Holidays, Carlisle Tourism Partnership, The Lanes Shopping Centre in Carlisle and Dickinsons Furnishings.
Jay Johnstone says: “The system we’ve developed for Subway has proved extremely beneficial for them in terms of time and cost savings, but it is also flexible enough to fit the requirements of multiple domestic and overseas marketplaces which we will be targeting through our new division.
“The system assists the franchisee to create a profile for their store, which then recommends a range of bespoke promotions to maximise sales. Automatic notifications are also provided when new marketing material becomes available on the system for stores to review and use.
“Users pay a monthly subscription for accessing the service and can order print materials from us, meaning we have both consistent twin income streams and a clear opportunity for wider development, especially considering the growth we are continuing to see in the number of Subway franchisees using it.
“Establishing a new digital division gives us the resources we need to strengthen and market this proven and highly effective system and gives us great optimism that it can be adopted by other major name firms in both domestic and overseas markets.
“NEL were recommended to us by other regional businesses that had dealt with them, and offered a locally-based, trustworthy investment option that fitted well with our requirements.”
Lindsey Grieves, portfolio executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “The commercial potential of this system is clearly extremely encouraging, and the Hunter Johnstone management team demonstrated to us that they have the strategic vision and tactical know-how to realise it through their new digital division.”
Malcolm Page, Deputy Chief Executive at One North East, said: “Having already demonstrated the potential of this system with a high-profile global client, I am delighted that Hunter Johnstone has decided to establish its new division in the North East.”
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, contact Barrie Hensby on 0845 111 1850.