By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

April 4, 2023 | 6 min read

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As part of The Drum’s Award Winning Stories, we hear about the human and AI superpowers behind the UK’s leading conversion agency Unlimited and how it’s driving real-world results for clients.

Unlimited won ‘Best Performing Agency Group of the Year’ at The Drum Agency Business Awards 2022.

Unlimited won ‘Best Performing Agency Group of the Year’ at The Drum Agency Business Awards 2022.

With double digit revenue growth, outstanding client satisfaction scores and high-performing campaign metrics across the board, it’s no wonder conversion agency Unlimited won ‘Best Performing Agency Group of the Year’ at The Drum Agency Business Awards 2022.

Following an “intense” transformation journey over the past few years, Unlimited has been through a bold organizational restructure which stemmed from an intent to “identify what really differentiated us and what we could be uniquely great at”, explains Tim Hassett, the group chief exec of Unlimited who was also awarded ‘CEO of the Year’ at The Drum Awards.

By streamlining agency models and aggregating its capability sets, Unlimited has been able to better meet the needs of clients – and that’s reflected by validation in the marketplace from clients who have been able to drive value from the agency’s USP. Client engagement scores over the last three years have been top quartile in the industry, with an average tenure of its top 10 clients of 13 years. Watch the video above to learn more about what it took to win this Agency Business Award.

Human understanding at the heart

What really sets Unlimited apart is a unique horizontal AI-powered capability it calls The Human Understanding Lab (HUL) – which puts the human at the heart of the business problem to “create genuine business advantage rooted in insight” giving clients “a competitive edge from building strong connections and triggering engagements to shifting perceptions and ultimately driving sales,” explains Jane Rudling, managing director, insights & analytics division at Unlimited.

HUL brings together over 120 experts in neuroscience, behavioral science, data science, social media analysts, market researchers, qualitative experts, data planners and strategic planners to create a “highly collaborative model using cutting-edge tools to deliver unique insights to inform strategy and drive performance for our clients across increasingly complex customer journeys,” says Rudling.

By utilizing every aspect of HUL expertise, the success of this approach is evident in recent work with clients including ABBA Voyage, The Flower Council of Holland, BMW and Freesat – all of which have benefited from driving sales, performance and ROI at speed and at scale.

Removing agency barriers

The key for Unlimited to be able to undergo this external transformation journey to benefit clients, was significant internal changes. As Hassett explains: “I can tell you from being on the client side for decades that there are things that agencies do in how they’re organized, often with competing internal agendas. They can’t get out of their own way and it prohibits them from providing the best solutions for clients.”

By organizing the agency structure by capability not agency, under a single bottom line, Unlimited “removed a ton of barriers to create a collaborative culture that allowed people to work together and just consistently offer clients the best of what we have to offer. Utilizing HUL as our engine unleashed a set of powerful solutions that we’re now able to provide and offer to clients seamlessly,” adds Hassett.

As for where ‘Best Performing Agency Group of the Year’ goes next, Hassett is confident that these new capabilities, models and processes allow the agency group to have “a very repeatable offer”.

“If you think about the journey we’ve been on, we’ve spent a lot of time really optimizing our organizational model, digitizing products and building tech to underpin all of our capabilities, so we’re poised to travel,” says Hassett.

“We feel good about where we are but we’re creating new tools, for example Luca – a digital platform that democratizes insights from the HUL, not only internally but to our clients – so we’ll get better at what we do. And we’re also poised to take this show on the road, and start expanding into other geographies.”

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