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Winning the Creative Industries Award after a year of exceptional growth

We reflect on a year of growth, change and bold decisions after winning the Creative Industries category at the 2021 Sussex Business Awards.
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14 December 21
  • News

We were delighted to take the top spot in the ‘Creative Industries’ category at the 2021 Sussex Business Awards. The award recognises outstanding businesses which operate in the local creative and digital sectors.

A year of extraordinary growth 

Despite the challenges of the last 2 years, they offered a unique opportunity for us and the sector we operate in. The pandemic provided a catalyst for rapid change across the health and pharmaceutical industry, forcing many to adopt digital technology and abandon old ways of working.

We were there to partner with our clients on a huge range of digital projects and initiatives, helping them to grow, evolve and embrace change. As an agency, we also decided to use this transformative momentum to implement positive change across all areas of our business. 

Subsequently, we experienced a period of expeditious growth, almost doubling in size in both headcount and revenue. After a whirlwind 18 months, we’re delighted that the business decisions paid off and are more excited than ever about what lies ahead.

We are looking forward to continuing our growth as outside interest continues, clients and team members continue to remain engaged and enthusiastic about our ways of working, and as we bring on more talented people to further enhance our capability. 

Our unique offering 

In the crowded digital agency space, it can be difficult to stand out. We’ve found that by refining our offering and narrowing our remit, we’ve been able to cut through the noise and clearly convey who we are and what we do. 

In early 2021, we pivoted to work solely with clients within the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector.  This has reassured our clients of our level of expertise and ability to work successfully within a highly regulated and complex industry. 

We also streamlined our services to only focus on those that we truly excel in — customer experience strategy, user research, and design

Exciting new internal initiatives 

We’re heavily invested in creating an employee experience for our teams that we are proud of. We owe all our success to them, after all. In 2021 we’ve introduced a number of initiatives in this area. 

We conducted the b-Heard Employee Engagement Survey for the first time to gather honest, insightful and confidential feedback from our entire team on a wide range of areas. We came out with a strong score which was further improved upon when we conducted the second survey 6 months later. 

We’ve also revamped the agency’s CSR strategy this year, with the creation of 4 new focus areas that allow people to work specifically on initiatives that are most important to them — environmental; diversion and inclusion; future talent; health and wellbeing. In addition to this, we joined the ‘1% pledge’ and have been donating 1% of both profits and time to charitable initiatives for the last 12 months. 

Winning at the Sussex Business Awards

The winners of the 2021 awards were announced at a sell-out event at The Grand Brighton on 2 December. This year saw a record-breaking number of nominations for each category, with hundreds of applicants whittled down to just 75 finalists. Winners included individuals and companies from across a wide range of sectors who have managed to succeed despite a year like no other.

Being located in such a creative city, we had tremendous competition from very worthy agencies in our category, for which we have utmost respect.

The awards were judged by an independent panel of business experts who possess a wealth of knowledge and experience. The Creative Industries category was judged by representatives from Sussex University Business School. 

On presenting the Creative Industries Award, Marcus Atkinson, Engagement Manager at the Business School said:

“In this exceptionally challenging time Graphite Digital has shown outstanding creative digital innovation to ensure that their healthcare and pharmaceutical clients can create products that reach their target audiences, through digital experiences that meet their needs.” 

Rob Verheul, our Managing Director here at Graphite added: 

“We experienced this success thanks to the incredible talent we have in the agency, who showed adaptability and resilience to changing business and life circumstances. We pride ourselves on being at the heart of the healthcare and pharma sector. It takes a lot of work, which is why we believe in a learning culture where our team can continually grow in knowledge, capability, confidence and influence so we can offer the very best service to our clients.” 


We are incredibly excited to continue our growth in 2022, working with new clients and bringing on more talented people to further enhance our capability. The future looks bright from where we’re standing.  

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