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These days, just four in ten new businesses make it through their first five years. So, when you get a firm that has been going from strength to strength for a century, you know it must be doing something right.

One business that’s currently celebrating its 100th anniversary is Southend estate agent and property specialist, Sorrell. Founded by First World War veteran Harold Sorrell in 1919, the firm has weathered the storms of many recessions and seen the average local house price soar from £450 to over £300,000.

As the company’s centenary approached, Steve Knock – Partner and member of the third generation of his family to serve the firm – decided he needed some help to get the news out into the community.

So, he popped out of his office (the very same one opened by Harold Sorrell) and came to talk to the team at Garda. It was a short journey – our studios are on the same street!

Steve was not only keen to let people know about his firm’s anniversary, but also to spread the word about the different services it offers. While very well known locally for its residential sales and lettings, Steve wanted more people to know about its commercial arm, its property management offering and its surveying and professional services.

After sharing his ideas, the Garda team came up with a wide-ranging campaign that has been positioning Sorrell as Southend’s number one property specialist – and winning some exceptional feedback.

First, we designed a special centenary logo to use on all of Sorrell’s materials. Then we used the company’s distinguished and colourful history as the basis for a press campaign. This resulted in a series of full-page articles in the local and trade press, plus a really engaging interview on BBC Essex.

Next we placed eye-catching ads in local magazine, The Oracle, as well as reserving display space at Southend Rail Station. The advertising not only celebrated the company’s anniversary, but also highlighted the different services it offers. We didn’t neglect Sorrell’s existing customers, either. With Steve’s help, we created a fascinating timeline of the company’s history, which was included in a celebratory brochure.

The response to the campaign continues to be very positive indeed, especially to publicity that has kindled interest in the local area. One advert which featured a photograph of scouts in 1921 soon got the emails flowing in!

Steve has been delighted by the way the campaign has got Sorrell’s name on people’s lips, and he’s looking forward to steering the company towards another hundred years of success. When we asked him what it’s like to work with Garda, he said: “The team is so approachable. They come up with really great ideas and, as we move forward, Garda’s involvement in our future is a given.”

We’ll raise a glass to that. Happy centenary to all at Sorrell!