My first three months as Business Development Manager

The first time the name “Banana Kick” came up in my career I was working for The Yorkshire Post and it was early in 2013 when planning an ad campaign for Yorkshire County Cricket Club. My contact there was Danny Rueben who mentioned that the artwork for the multi media campaign would be coming from Banana Kick…. My first thoughts were that’s a very memorable name for a business and the name stuck with me ever since.

Fast forward 6 years and I’m one of the newest Banana’s and responsible for overseeing all new business in my role as Business Development Manager….

After contacting Gary McCall to speak about various clients under BK’s roster I managed to secure a campaign in my role at Leeds Bradford Airport for the Magical Lantern Festival in 2017.  

I still hadn’t met Gary, Richard or any of the team until March 2018 when I was invited to the Bradford Sports Awards. Being an avid sports fan, I was really grateful for the invitation and it gave me a great insight in to some of the work Banana Kick undertake.  

There was also some press coverage in the Yorkshire Evening Post about how Banana Kick were getting in to the football world cup fever. I think this was the point I thought, what a great company that looks to work for. Towards the end of 2018 I had a couple of meetings with Gary as he had introduced me to a new BK client, Leeds Cares, with the view of them looking to build a presence and relationship with Leeds Bradford Airport.  

It was truly compelling to see all the work that had been done by Banana Kick for Leeds Cares from creating the identity to securing a partnership with the UCI world cycling championship 2019. 

I’d been craving some variety in my work and had been starting to think about my next move.

I suddenly thought that all the things I was looking for in a job could become a reality after meeting with the MD, Richard Flaherty and Jamie Ferguson, Client Services Director to discuss the idea of joining Banana Kick. As BDM, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity and I started my Banana Kick career on the 14th January.

As with any new job, it can be a little daunting in your first days and weeks not least when you have 40 new names to remember, a whole raft of services to learn and the general processes of a company. That’s without the pressure of wanting to hit the ground running in a revenue generating role.

One of the first tasks was for me to look at selling sponsorship for the Leeds & Bradford Sports Awards. There was just under 8 weeks to go so I had to work fast in gaining an understanding of everything a sponsor would receive from point of agreement to the events themselves. After chatting with some of the team and getting familiar with the categories and awards available to sponsor I managed to bring 7 new sponsors on board. 

It was great to see their names in lights on the awards evenings though they weren’t overshadowing the brilliant individual and team achievements that we were showcasing. 

Other projects I have been involved in have ranged from coordinating a “technology in sport” conference which will be taking place in May at this years’ Leeds International Festival to winning some creative design projects within the hospitality and education sectors. It’s been really useful spending time immersing myself in different areas of the business, learning about what we have done in the past for existing clients and looking to see what makes our offering unique in such a competitive industry. 

I have learned something from every team member ranging from how to operate the coffee machine to how we execute our experiential concepts in flagship shopping centres. I’ve been blown away by the expertise within the creative team and have utilised their knowledge by bringing them to different business meetings where appropriate.

In recent weeks I have implemented a new CRM system to help ensure I am doing myself justice in the role of overseeing all new potential opportunities. This is going to be crucial in making sure no opportunities are missed in the near and far distant future.

Another aspect of my role has been reaching out to business networking groups and attending exhibitions by way of growing my own network and making Banana Kick be top of mind when businesses have any marketing requirements.

The adjustment to the culture in place at Banana Kick has been a really pleasant one. If I’m not client facing, it’s acceptable to be in a pair of jeans. It’s not uncommon to see a dog hopping around the office and free breakfast Fridays is a lovely way to end the week.

So far I’ve managed to bring on board a small selection of clients and generated many opportunities that could result in new business over the coming months. I’m lucky to work with such a talented group of people who are constantly collaborating to achieve greatness in their work. Everyone has had time for my questions and have always been happy to put their work on pause to help me when needed.

So, there’s a whirlwind, whistle stop tour of the first three months in to life at Banana Kick as Business Development Manager.


Written by our Business Development Manager, Duncan.