Customer Story

Spotlight – Orb Brand Agency

We spoke with Robert Bloxham from ORB Brand Agency; to gain insight into the problems he has dealt with since starting the business, and how it has helped him to grow his business to what it is today.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to start your business?

I’m Rob Bloxham, CEO of ORB. We’re a brand agency based in the heart of Birmingham. From a young age I think I had an issue with authority! So, my pathway was pre-determined that I’d eventually be my own boss. An academic grounding was never going to be a good option, so after college I went straight into my first job within a marketing agency – and loved it. From there I took a common sense approach and quickly started to learn my trade on the job, the best form of learning I believe.

It turned out a real strength of mine was in building great client relationships and I soon splintered off to start up my own agency, alongside two other colleagues. We built a great portfolio of big, high profile clients such as Daimler Chrysler and Pyrex, but I was still driven by running my own ship, and being in control of my own destiny. So, I made the leap and went it alone, starting ORB in 2004.

Ultimately it’s all about helping build a better business that’s equipped for growth.

What products and services do you offer?

Whilst the large global brands are exciting to work for, making change happen can often be slow. There isn’t so much of a challenge, partly because the product almost does the job for you! So, I soon recognised a niche working with small to medium sized companies – those that have started an exciting and already successful journey, and who now need to harness the power of brand strategy if they’re to grow the business to the next level. This is the first agency of its kind in Birmingham.

Our services go far beyond simply creating a logo, involving market research and working with clients to really explore their businesses, challenges and relationships from the inside out. We go on to help create strong, differentiated brands that have meaning for the business, its employees and its external audiences, and develop ways of engaging those audiences with the brand through targeted campaigns.Ultimately it’s all about helping build a better business that’s equipped for growth.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Well, it’s definitely not the 9-5… thank God! No two days are the same, which suits me really well. I love the fluidity of my role and being able to make this work around family life and the hours when I know I’m at my best. I see my job as CEO being about three key tasks:

  1. Steering the agency strategically, which means I’m always looking 6-12 months ahead of our MD
  2. Providing inspiration and guidance to the fantastic team we’ve grown here
  3. Building relationships and affiliations with organisations who ‘fish in the same pool’ that will help us grow. For example, I’ve built partnerships with Natwest and with KPMG Enterprise Team, and am part of the CEO network, helping organise leadership dinners in the city.

As a business owner I think you really have to be able to understand your own strengths.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced and how did you overcome it?

Not being ready for the recession in 2009. The agency sector as a whole took a huge hit and we lost perhaps 65% of our client base within a three-month period. This loss came mainly from clients within the property industry. Of course, this was crushing, but I was determined to take it as a learning and work right through the middle of it, and have never looked back since.

Now, well the challenge is a little different as we are at that tricky adolescent stage of growth! The issue is all about scale and how we plan ahead; how we put processes in place that will serve us well as we get bigger and busier. Now, it gets interesting!

What advice do you have for other business leaders about growth?

As a business owner I think you really have to be able to understand your own strengths, where you can add value, and know when it’s best to bring in the right expertise to deliver on the other areas. For me, those ‘other areas’ are the operational ones and I’m lucky to have a wonderful General Manager who has grown with our business, and prepared us for our next stages of growth – so it really didn’t make my decision to step back a hard one!

How did you hear about Nimvelo? Has it changed the way you communicate?

We actually rebranded Nimvelo last year. They’re a cool company that are set to make a huge impact over the next few years. Our existing phone line didn’t give us all the features we needed to scale and as we knew so much about the business and the value they can add, it was an obvious choice for us.

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