The voice of business

April 1, 2021

The North East has a diverse and distinctive business community, which needs a voice more than ever in these unprecedented times. North East Times is firmly committed to being the voice of the region’s business community, and is dedicated to championing our area’s industry, creativity and innovation.

Disruption in our lives has been commonplace for over a year now and has led to tremendous challenges for most business owners, who devote their lives to keeping their companies going.

However, it’s also provided many senior executives with an opportunity to review the effectiveness of their product, service, people and market positioning.

The coronavirus pandemic, following hot on the heels of Brexit and three elections in four years, has been a severe test for the North East region, one that evokes the upheavals of the 1970s when we were dealing with a massive oil crisis, industrial strife and a landmark vote to enter the Common Market.

Those events ultimately led to a complete shift in the UK’s political direction, as the post-war ‘consensus’ politics – where Labour and Conservatives viewed full employment and a mixed economy as desirable – died out leading to the monetarist policies of the Thatcher Governments from 1979 to 1990.

I don’t know where the epic events of our era will lead us politically, but I do know that our business owners, executives and senior people across vital sectors like health and education will continue to provide us with inspirational stories of endeavour and success.

North East Times is committed to the principles of independent journalism and publishes stories with authority and authenticity.

In such uncertain, fast moving times, it’s essential that businesspeople are up to date with relevant news, insight and analysis – be it about Government economic policies, new products and services or technological innovation.

The thirst for such intelligence means a strong B2B platform is essential to support and champion the region. We, like you, want to maximise opportunities to ‘level up’ the North East.

Yet unlike the 70s, when regional press had an established and influential voice, newspaper print has been in decline for many years, as the industry has struggled to adapt to the digital world and the restructuring of regional teams and management.

The need for a strong voice for business was one of many reasons I chose to invest in the all-new North East Times Magazine in 2015, when co-owner and fellow director Pete Mallon pitched the idea to me.

Having been born and raised here, I was saddened to see the decline of the regional media and relished the opportunity to play a small part in the changing landscape.

In our early conversations, we discussed a market opportunity for the delivery of independent journalism delivered across print and digital channels of national quality, underpinned by values of creativity, integrity and transparency.

A high-quality regional publication that would offer a first-class advertising platform too – I was sold.

I was, at that time, in a senior management role with a wealth management firm.

However, publishing was my first love, having joined the regional press as a fresh faced 21-year-old in the 80s, when it ruled the roost.

I was fortunate to have great training in sales, management and marketing with some terrific mentors that enabled me to develop a thorough understanding of how creative and strategic advertising and campaigns could support business growth.

I also witnessed how integral high- quality journalism was to attracting a business readership.

This background helped me understand the business case for investing in the vision.

Six years on, North East Times has a clear strategy to be the voice of regional business, and also a connector for the business community too.

The pandemic has, if anything, accelerated our plans.

You’ve seen the new direction of North East Times, and you’ll see more in the coming months.

As someone who is engaged with North East business, you’ll be interested to hear about the ways our approach to client marketing have become increasingly tailored.

Led by our marketing manager, Chloe Holmes, we have devised advertising packages that deliver value across print and digital channels, bespoke to a client’s particular business objectives.

The power of North East Times in print, mailed directly to business leaders, innovators, and executives across the region, is enhanced by online digital features and news, targeted email marketing campaigns and engaging social media platforms.

This is complemented hugely by our symbiotic relationship with the North East England Chamber of Commerce, and our production of their membership magazine, CONTACT. The quarterly publication reaches every single one of the Chamber’s 3000-plus members.

The popularity of these bespoke advertising packages has led to us welcoming many new clients from growth sectors such as recruitment, cyber security, advanced manufacturing, insurance and education.

These new clients have complemented our existing commercial partners who have supported us from the early days and who we owe a huge debt of gratitude to, particularly for their support over the past year.

We’re now working hard to amplify the voice of the North East business community and have exciting plans for our next chapter. We hope you will join us!

John Duns