Search past winners/finalists

Chain Reaction - Fastest-Growing Company of the Year

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 International Business Awards

Company: Chain Reaction DMCC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Company Description: Chain Reaction is the M 1st digital performance marketing agency and the 1st Google Adwords partner in the Middle East region back in 2010. Our data-driven approach to everything we do has helped us in tapping new levels of cooperation between us and our clients and also helped in maintaining many clients for years.
Nomination Category:Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Fastest-Growing Company of the Year - in the Middle East and Africa

Nomination Title: Chain Reaction – exceptional growth for an established marketing agency

Tell the story about the growth of this nominated organization since 1 January 2017 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Begin this section with the following two lines: Year over year revenue growth (%): Year over year employee growth (%):

76% year-on-year growth is impressive for any marketing agency, and most often experienced during the first few years, rather than when long-established. Yet this growth was achieved by the longest established search engine marketing agency in the Middle East thanks to an exceptional year for the retention and growth of both employees and customers.

Chain Reaction was founded in 2010 by one person from the Middle East region. The company became the 1st independent strategic digital marketing agency specializing in search engine optimization (SEO) across the Middle East and the 1st Google AdWords Partner in the region. See Appendix-1.

We have since diversified to work across 10 top level services including PPC, Programmatic media, SEO, Content, Analytics, Social Media and user experience (UX), whilst increasing our headcount and offices (see Appendix 2).

Ambitious Growth objectives

Despite most companies in our situation plateauing, in 2016 we set ambitious objectives for the period under review (July-2017 to June-2018 vs July-2016 to June-2017):

-Turnover growth: 25%
-Profitability growth: 20%
-Maintaining 80% staff retention despite growth in headcount.
-Maintaining 70% customer retention despite growth.

We felt this was justified because our data-driven, ROI-focused approach was helping us tap new levels of cooperation between us and our clients. As clients saw their returns strengthen they remained loyal, grew their spend, and recommended us (see below).

Achievements since January-2017

Growing our client base whilst Earning extraordinary levels of customer loyalty
In the past year we’ve grown the number of clients by 136% (22 to 52). This was achieved primarily because of:

-Extending our geographical reach: By opening dedicated offices to service our clients in Abu Dhabi (2015) and most recently (2018) in Jeddah – KSA.
-Helping raise awareness about the Russian and Chinese markets: By hosting the 1st “Yandex Expert Course” for all Middle East clients and agencies at our Dubai offices in 2017.
-Acquiring large new clients, mostly through word of mouth referrals. See appendix-3 for examples and testimonials.

In parallel to our success in client acquisition, we’ve achieved strong client retention: 95% of clients retained for over a year, exceeding our target of 70%.

Raising ouR game
In the past 12 months we’ve taken on a portfolio of projects with two clear themes:

-The volume of projects is unprecedented – yet we’ve improved our level of service.
-The complexity of project has been exceptional – yet in each case we’ve delivered extraordinary results through ingenuity and our growing in-house experience. See Appendix-6 for examples.

internal growth and Culture achievements

The company has increased headcount by 81% over the past year only from 22 staff to 40. See photos in Appendix-4.

While growing fast recently, our team enjoys working for Chain Reaction, evidenced this year by:

-An impressive employee retention: our yearly attrition doesn’t exceed 4% (1 employee this year) in an industry where talent is difficult to retain.
-Two employees who had previously left the agency re-joined us.
-Leadership remains with our Founder and MD Saif Jarad.
-Key management mainly comprises of employees who joined at entry level and have grown with the agency.
-Gender equality: surpassing our target of increasing our female employees from 10% to at least 30% with 45% of employees now being female.

See more about what we do to keep our employees happy, skilled and loyal in Appendix-5.

Financial growth

Despite being the longest standing agency in our region, we’ve far exceeded our financial targets:

-Our revenue has increased 76% YOY (target: 25%).
-Our profitability is on target to hit more than 800% increase YOY (target: 20%).
-We gained recognition through selection as one of the 500 fastest growing companies in MENA by Arabia500 by “All World Network”.

Rather than through merger, acquisition or external investment, our exceptional growth (far in excess of industry norms for longer-established agencies) has happened organically – through continued service improvement, delivering and measuring ROI, and looking after our team.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) growth-related achievements of the nominated organization since 1 January 2017 (up to 150 words).

-Remaining employee-focused meant that we’ve achieved an exceptional 96% retention rate in an industry where talent is notoriously difficult to retain, whilst increasing headcount by 81%.
-Extending our geographical reach, acting as industry thought-leaders, winning increased and more complex work from loyal clients and acquiring large new clients, mostly through word of mouth referrals, led us to grow the number of our clients by 136%.
-We’ve earned continued client loyalty, retaining an exceptional 95% of clients for over a year, far exceeding our target of 70%.
-We’ve smashed our ambitious financial targets: our revenue has increased by more than 76% YOY (vs. target of 25%) and our profitability is on target to hit more than 800% increase YOY (vs. target of 20%).
-As a result of all these achievements, we’ve strengthened our market leader position as the longest running Google AdWords Partner in the Middle East region.