Matthew Hayes: Champions (UK) plc

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Matthew Hayes, 34
Company: Champions (UK) plc

Founded in a small Leicestershire village with the aid of his parents, one might have expected Matthew Hayes’ brand agency Champions to have struggled to compete with the London-based big boys of the industry – but its enormously impressive growth has defied all the odds. Unlike other marketing agencies which focus on just one aspect of branding, Champions offers a uniquely holistic solution to its clients, with services spanning the five areas of creative, PR, marketing, events and celebrity.

This full-service approach has paid dividends – Hayes’ company has grown by a hugely impressive 700% over the last six years, bucking downward trends in the markets in which it operates (some individual markets have contracted by as much as 70%). Along the way, it has amassed a star-studded client list, with leading brands including Rolex, Santander, Sky Sports, ITV and The Telegraph on board as well as some of the UK’s most well-known celebrities, including Sir Alex Ferguson and Ronan Keating. Combing brands and clients to great effect, most recently the company increased Farmfoods’ Christmas sales by 42% after arranging a partnership with Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman. The firm turned over £15m in 2013, and expects to increase this to a staggering £20m this year.


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