Belfast Telegraph

Game on for technology firm Rehab Studio

Its major clients include Google and Red Bull. Paul Gosling finds Belfast-based Rehab Studio is making a name in the new world of websites, gaming and apps

Rehab Studio describes itself as a "creative technology company", which builds websites, online games and web apps to support innovative corporate advertising.

It has several major corporate clients including Google and Red Bull.

The company was founded in Belfast in 2005 by Tim Rodgers and Jurgen Prause.

Since then the company has expanded substantially and now its main technical offices are in Belfast's Gasworks, while it also has offices in London and New York.

"Back in 2005 we worked with SMEs, but as the size of our clients grew, we grew on an almost parallel basis," said Peter McConnell, Rehab Studio's technical producer in Belfast. Peter provides technical guidance for projects.

Today, Tim is based in New York, while Jurgen is a technical partner. The London offices are a creative hub, and are also used to enable the business to be closer to many of its major corporate clients.

Similarly, the New York offices double up as another creative hub, while putting the company closer to its US clients and acting as what Peter calls its "executive production hub". "Belfast is very much the technical base," said Peter.

Staff numbers vary according to the projects being worked on at any time – with a core staff topped up by relevant freelancers. At present, the company employs 30 staff in Belfast, 20 in London, a small core in New York and 10 to 15 contractors, on freelance contracts.

"A few years back we branched into London to provide closer contact with the people we work with – the large clients, including Google," said Peter.

"We do a lot of work with Google – we have an ongoing relationship with them.

"We also do a lot of work with Red Bull, with whom we also have an ongoing relationship. They allow us to do fun creative projects with them – which is great.

"With Red Bull a lot of the work is campaign driven; for example we are working with them to advertise new flavours. We helped build a new brand driven website for those new flavours," Peter added.

"We tend to partner with Google on its projects. Back in December we partnered with them and Disney on Disney's new Blank movie."

Rehab is an example of the new technology base that Belfast is keen to promote – and its fast growth trajectory helps to explain why.

The company won the emerging technology award in the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards of 2009.

Being an award-winner could be just the tonic for your business

By Ron Immink

I am sure you are familiar with the 4Ps of the marketing mix. In a world where the number of channels through which you can communicate with your customers (p for promotion) and the number of channels through which you can distribute your product (p for place) have grown vastly, planning your marketing is not an easy thing to do.

But sometimes it is staring you right in the face. You could not have missed the launch of the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards.

One of the longest established business awards on the island of Ireland, they have been launched for 2014.

At Smallbusinesscan, we have always been right behind the awards. Because they are very good for business.

We interviewed a lot of the winners from last year, and here are some of the benefits they said that winning an award had for them:

  • Winning became a significant inflection point at our start-up stage
  • Winning rubber-stamped that we were on the right track
  • Winning changed the business
  • Winning gave us the recognition we needed
  • Winning gave us credibility in the market place
  • Winning gave us a competitive edge
  • Winning gave us the PR we had been looking for.

We keep on having arguments with marketers about the point of marketing — which is selling, not as part of the mix, but as the end result. For a number of companies, winning in the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards has resulted in a rise in sales, made them win tenders, and helped them secure contracts.

I am sure if you ask Rehab Studio or Guardian 24, who are both past winners and featured on these pages, they will confirm that entering the awards is worthwhile. We are always impressed with the quality of businesses in Northern Ireland who enter. You are superb, but you are too understated (shy?).

Despite that, in the past two years, companies from Northern Ireland have won the overall award (TG Eakin and CDE Global). There have also been numerous Northern Ireland category winners in recent years (such as Mash Direct and BubbleBum). It could be you this year.

And we can help. If you need help with your application, feel free to contacts us at Smallbusinesscan.com. We want you to win. And whatever happens, it will benefit your business. Sometimes it is good to step back and have a look at all the good things you are doing.

Maybe it is time you tell others and make the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards part of your marketing mix.

PS A women-led business has not won the overall awards yet. Could this be their year? If you are a women-led business, we particularly urge you to enter.

Belfast Telegraph

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