Enterprise & Innovation

Sleeping Giant Media – Where Giants do not sleep

Luke Quilter and Ant Klokkou were sent on a training course.  Their employer wanted them to develop their marketing skills, and part of the coursework was to come up with a business case – fictional or non-fictional.  The year was 2008; Luke came up with the idea of the award-winning digital marketing agency – Sleeping Giant Media.  Ant liked the idea, they liked working together, and this is starting to sound like the beginnings of a beautiful thing…  It is, it’s a story of mutual respect for a work ethos and business idea. The rest, as they say…. Well, let Folkelife delve into the working lives of Luke and Ant to find out …

Ant: “We were working for Holiday Extras at the time, another company based in Folkestone, and they are really good employers.  What they do is employ quite junior people and give them loads of opportunity to learn and grow.  As a result, people  tend to go on to be quite successful, because of those opportunities with Holiday Extras.  We get on really well with them, and they’re still clients of ours now!”

what’s in a name?

Luke: “The name, Sleeping Giant Media, came from a book by Anthony Robbins called Awaken The Giant Within.  It’s a self-motivation book about finding the power within you to do your best.  The giant we’re referring to is the Internet, and how we can awaken that power for small business.  We’ve moved on from that now, but all of our work focuses on how we can build that giant; it’s definitely embedded in our culture.”

Ant: “The internet is the world we live in now, and offering what we do for people to access online part of that. It gives us a chance to share our passions for what we do; Giant Wednesdays for example, is offering a free service, but why not share what we know?”

Luke Quilter Sleeping Giant Media
Ant Klokkou Sleeping Giant Media
Sleeping Giant Media Ibiza
Sleeping Giant Media Harbour Arm Screen

Folkestone is great for business

Luke: “We naïvely thought that we’d need to move to London to have a successful business. We started SGM off in our dining room, but soon realised that Folkestone is a great place to do business.  We can use the high-speed link to get to the rest of the country if we need to, but we have a great work-life balance here.  There’s great community development here too.”

Ant: “Yes, so much so that our clients are moving to Folkestone to be close to us and everything on offer here.  It’s also true that there’s a lot of potential in Folkestone for new recruits to work with us too.  Everything you learn in the digital world can go out of date so quickly, so the candidate we look to employ are people who are interested and excited by that prospect.  We want people who understand marketing and the psychology of how people think.  If you put those two together, you can deliver a service to the customer.”

good work-life balance a priority

Luke: “Making sure our employees (now over 50 of them!) get a good work life balance is all built in to the structure of our business.  Which sounds a bit boring when you put it like that.  You need to factor in the moment when you’re going to have fun, or else you find they don’t happen. So we plan events, training, days out and so on, and it means that we all look forward to those moments.  That’s not to say the impulsive sessions don’t happen, of course they do, and they’re fun too.  However, having play-dates in the plan means that they happen frequently, and then become more natural for people to enjoy themselves.”

Ant: “Having opportunities when we go off and play computer games on the Harbour Arm’s Big Screen are great, but if that wasn’t part of our culture, then people might think it’s not appropriate to do it.  We work hard, and we play too, and we know when we should be working, and when we should be playing!”

Luke: “We fundamentally see it as a business priority, and it shows itself in how low our recruitment costs are; our staff retention is really good.  It helps build our brand too, as people want to work for us, not just for a certain salary, but for all the other things we offer too.  We are passionate about offering a place where people think ‘That’s an awesome place to work!’”

fun to work in folkestone

Luke: “It’s not just about the shiny fun things though.  We also make sure people who work for us know what’s expected of them, and where they should be aiming for next, and support them in getting there. That’s what helps build the culture of our business, yes, we have fun, but we also know our value and where we are going, and how we’re going to get there.”

Ant: “We try to make the boring bits about work fun too.  If you’ve ever rung us up and been put on hold, you find that out.  It’s tedious being on hold, but why does it have to be?  So we’ve had a little fun there.  Every touchpoint has an element of that too.  Look at the grey writing under our email signatures; if one person notices it and enjoys it, then that’s good for us.  That’s how we like to work with our clients too, and it helps us interact in different ways.”

Luke: “We’re two years into our 10 year plan of where we want to be. We’ve got a quite aggressive growth plan but we reflect on it and on what’s going on in the world so that our focus is directed in the right way.  We’re always going to stay here in Folkestone.  It’s a fantastic place to be, we can get to anywhere we want to be in really good time, and it suits us and our business.”

Discover more enterprising and innovative business in Folkestone:

Sleeping Giant Media Giant Professors
The Workshop – Inspiring Creative Business
Holiday Extras – Changing the Future of Travel
Just Off The Mainline To Paris – Folkestone’s Connections
Moo Like A Monkey – Bespoke Boutique Shopping Experience

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