Norman Tebbit’s “on your bike” speech to the Conservative Party conference in 1981 set Mike Adams thinking about his life. He was only in his 20s, but had already been made redundant, been through a company buy-out, merger and receivership. He took the plunge and decided to go it alone.
Thirty-five years after forming a small marketing agency in Kent in 1984, Mike is still in the driving seat of a successful company that has just won a major national award. And he couldn’t be more proud.
He points to the certificate on the wall of his office in Maidstone. It proclaims Adams Group as winner of the “Best Integrated Marketing Campaign, less than £500,000 media spend” category at the Travel Marketing Awards of March, 2019. “This was such a great achievement for the whole team,” he says, beaming. “I’m delighted we were nominated. It’s a great feeling to sit among the great and the good in your industry and especially to win a prize at this prestige event.”
Competing against Mike’s small team on the shortlist were many household name agencies, including adam&eveDDB, BBDO and Publicis. Mike beams again as he recalls the “crazy” eight weeks delivering the entire national campaign to promote a new brand, Coachfinder, part of National Express. Working with Brendan Sheerin, host of the TV programme Coach Trip, was a master stroke. He proved the perfect focus for the campaign and a very good sport.
The successful campaign demonstrated what can be achieved when an agency fully understands how to use all the potential marketing channels available, both on and offline, says Mike. Adams Group has several decades’ worth of experience to call on, as well as the technical expertise to deliver complex multi-channel messages with measureable results.
Winning the award is a highlight of more than 30 years’ hard work building a brand within the very competitive marketing industry. Adams Group has continued to grow and attract business from some very big names, including multinationals – despite operating from a regional office in Kent.
One of Mike’s passions outside the marketing world is motorsport. He was a semi-professional racing driving for many years and trained as an instructor, but stopped active involvement in 2011. However, he has been able to combine the two parts of his life by helping to promote businesses in the automotive and engineering sector.
With his background in racing, Mike sees great similarities between the sport and running a successful business. “Both rely on team work and analysis,” he says.
Despite passing a watershed birthday this summer, Mike is not ready to hand over control of the company just yet. “I’ll keep going until I feel I’m not relevant, or can’t do it any more,” he tells me.
In the meantime, life remains full-on, both in his business and private life. He is a proud father of four daughters ranging in age from 30 to eight and keeps active by walking the dog, gardening and restoring an old property in France.