999 Design targets digital groups in five-year growth plan

Branding consultancy 999 Design is in the process of acquiring a digital group, as part of its ambitious growth plans for the next five years.

The consultancy aims to double its turnover to £7.5m by 2010. Directors Bill Gaughan and Richard Bissland are hoping the expansion plans will position 999 Design alongside groups such as Elmwood, Navyblue and SAS.

The group is currently in talks with two 20-strong digital consultancies, one from Manchester and one from Glasgow, while another two are being considered for an approach. It has secured about £1m to invest in the acquisition.

‘The type of business we’re looking for is a group with digital expertise that can help us offer [our] clients more on the programming and planning side. Typically, they might be finding it difficult to break into a corporate client base, which is what we could help them with,’ says Bissland.

999 Design is currently working on long-term contracts with the National Health Service, BT and the BBC.

Gaughan adds, ‘I don’t think we’d be alone in saying that, although no single discipline is suffering, fees are generally flattening out and competition is getting tighter. Clients are accounting for every penny. We see digital as having the most opportunity for growth, and want to offer a more complete brand experience.’

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