Matt Jones, CEO of S3 Advertising, originally started his career as one of the youngest Lance Corporals in the Welsh Guards, undertaking tours in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. His Sargeant once said “you don’t need qualifications to succeed in life but you do need determination”. On leaving the Army, Matt recalled the British Army TV advert that first inspired him to join up and so knew he wanted to get into the advertising industry. He worked his way through the ranks of Civvy Street, from Account Manager, to Account Director and finally, on realising Wales needed a truly creative agency to shake things up, he founded S3 Advertising.

Our main challenges when starting the business

The primary challenge for the business was breaking into an already competitive industry and making a name for ourselves. As with any new business speed of growth was (and continues to be) a challenge; knowing when to recruit, finding the very best talent to recruit and most recently when to move premises to accommodate growth.

Success Factor

The firm’s culture is probably the most important, single factor to its ongoing success. The team worsk hard and play hard and S3 Advertising’s new office, The Lion’s Den, in One Central Square could be seen as an adult’s playground with 18 hole golf course, pool table, 18,200 ball ball-pit, giant hammock, sandpit, cinema room and integrated Sonos sound system. However, all these features were carefully and thoughtfully designed to improve and encourage collaboration, maintain energy levels and facilitate creativity. S3 Advertising also works and continues to work hard to recruit the very best talent not only from its own industry but also the very best talent from other industries in order to complement its existing skillset and to facilitate rapid growth. When recruiting, not only does S3 Advertising look for experienced, talented individuals but also those who will easily fit into and adapt to the firm’s culture. To that end, it has strong relationships with local education establishments with whom it runs internships and ultimately seeks to employ the very best talent whilst at the same time seeking experienced industry talent to manage a growing national client base. Finally, (and led by their inspiring CEO, Matt Jones), everyone in the business has the same hunger for success and dedicates the same level of commitment to every piece of work no matter the size of the client. Matt has a determination for success that permeates throughout the entire agency.

The Future

S3 Advertising has aggressive growth plans to grow the size of its agency in terms of its national (UK) client base and therefore in financial turnover and staff numbers. This year’s target is to double last year’s turnover and over the next three years it plans to double the number of staff at the agency. Whilst the overwhelming majority of those additional staff will be based here in Wales, it is intended that much of the new business will come from outside of Wales, particularly London. To that end, earlier this year, the firm moved into its first London-based premises with a small team to generate new business, supported by the majority of staff here in Wales. As a proud Welsh agency, Wales will always be the firm’s headquarters with the majority of staff based here.