We mark our 25th anniversary with new MD and ambitious plans for the future

We're celebrating 25 years in business, and are looking to the future with ownership passing to an established management team, and the appointment of a new MD.

14 June 2024
Richard Hatfield Managing Director

Conceived in 1999, around the time Google was born, Applied (then known as ‘Smart Arts’) has been designing and developing websites, business applications and marketing strategies for local, national, and global businesses ever since. Over that time it has grown and branched out into all aspects of digital and offline marketing, pulling together a team of experts in the field of strategy, branding, design, development and marketing to service the needs of clients from a wide range of business sectors.

Technical Excellence

Founded by Steve Sykes, whose background was in industrial automation rather than the more traditional routes to a creative digital career, Applied has built a deserved reputation for technical excellence and is trusted by businesses of all sizes to help them achieve their marketing goals.

The company’s initial projects included websites for international motorbike racer James Whitham and the Virgin Mobile British Superbike race team, along with high-end pushchair manufacturer iCandy. Today the company’s portfolio of local, national and international work covers property, legal, entertainment, security, apparel, recruitment, industrial science and steel stockholding to name a few.

Recent client gains include global dispersions company Aquaspersions and Huddersfield-based apparel and textiles company Glenbrae.

Recent major projects include a re-brand and new website for Preston-based heritage reclamation specialists Martin Edwards, multiple websites and ongoing marketing for global brand implementation specialist Pearce Group, and a huge website for Leeds-based global entertainment technologies provider AC Entertainment Technologies.

Next Generation at Applied Digital

Given the strength of the company, and its recent acquisition of new clients, Steve felt it was the right time to step back from day to day operations, and pass control to the already established management team led by its new Managing Director Richard Hatfield, Account Director Jenny Green and Creative Director Mike McGowan. The trio are very much focused on the next 25 years and the next generation of digital marketing opportunities, including the untapped potential of AI.

We have the strongest team we’ve ever had; three of us in the management team have known each other and worked together at some point since the business was established, and when Richard joined a few years ago the last piece of the puzzle dropped into place. I’m looking forward to watching both the management and the rest of the company take our clients - and Applied’s reputation - to the next level. From “new media to AI - we’ve always championed innovation - both with the technologies we deploy and the creative ideas that we apply to them.

Steve Sykes, Founder
25 years is a fantastic achievement for any business and a significant milestone for a digital company given the pace of change in our sector. It represents how we’ve successfully embraced the latest technologies, pushed creative possibilities and opened up marketing channels to deliver value and results for our clients. Building on trusted relationships with our clients, we’re motivated by a drive to challenge our limits, exceed expectations and to achieve even more together in the next 25 years.

Richard Hatfield, Managing Director
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