2016: Key Highlights from Building Blocks' Year

Against the backdrop of what’s been an ‘interesting’ year across the world, 2016 has been triumphant for Building Blocks. We've continued to grow at an impressive pace, achieving a 34% increase in global revenue. Accelerated growth in North America saw our US operations performing particularly strongly. 

For the team, the months have flown by in a whirlwind of exciting opportunities, welcoming new clients, delivering large-scale projects and, of course, meeting our 400 new colleagues…


In May 2016, Building Blocks announced its acquisition by Dept – parent company to an international network of leading digital agencies.

At the time, Building Blocks joined four sister agencies in the group – TamTam (top three agency in the Netherlands), Expand Online (specialist digital marketing agency), Second Degree (the first LinkedIn marketing agency in Europe), and a friend of mine (a leading Dutch social agency).

Offering services complementary to Building Blocks’ core portfolio, the agencies operate side-by-side whilst retaining their own identity.

 Since May, a further two agencies have joined the network – iconic visual identity agency, Studio Dumbar, and eCommerce specialists, BE EXCELLENT, expanding the network to 435 employees with a collective turnover of over €50 million, and offices in the Netherlands, UK, US, Germany and Spain.

Looking ahead to 2017, Dept is continuing to drive its ambitious buy and build strategy, and has plans to double its turnover to over €100 million in the next four years.

Awards & Recognition

Building Blocks climbed nine places in this year’s Econsultancy Top 100 Digital Agencies report and three places in Prolific North’s Top 50 Agencies. We’ve also been placed in the B2B Marketing Top 75 agencies and are eagerly awaiting confirmation of our ranking.

It’s been a hugely busy year for Dept since it officially launched in May, what with bringing on board so many new agencies and opening its headquarters in Amsterdam and a new office in Rotterdam, all whilst continuing to deliver award-winning work for its clients. 2016 has been a hugely successful year across the network for awards, with five Lovies, two Digital Communication Awards, four Dutch Interactive Awards, two SAN Accenten awards, to name but a few. 

Dept was also invited to join the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) – the network of the top one hundred most innovative and award-winning digital agencies in the world. 

Partner & Client Events

Building Blocks supported its technology partners during the year by sponsoring and participating in the Sitecore Summit, Experience Day, Summer School and SUGCON. We were gold sponsors of SDL Connect in Palo Alto and the Tridion Developer Summit in Amsterdam. We also hosted the Umbraco Roadshow back in March.

BB’s VP of Technology Chris Morgan was selected as an SDL Most Valued Professional for the third year running, and BB’s team of Sitecore Certified developers increased by four when David Mills, James Simm, Jordan Robinson and Javier Gonzalez all passed the required exam to become certified in Sitecore XP 8 Website Development for .Net developers. 

In September, the Building Blocks team from Manchester, Boston and Zaragoza  joined their new colleagues and clients at the first ever Dept Festival. Over 1,200 of the most creative and technical minds in the digital industry teamed together in celebration of digital innovation and included talks by industry speakers and leaders from across the Dept network, including Building Blocks' CTO Jonathan Whiteside. 

New Team Members

We welcomed 33 new team members to the company during the year, including Brian Robinson who has returned to Building Blocks as Commercial Director, Jessica Hills who joined us in December to head up our Digital Operations Team, and Harriet Sanders who is managing all of our internal recruitment, to help support our growth plans.

During the year, team members Mel, Billy, Helle and Mike shared their experience of working at Building Blocks - how they felt on their first day, what they like about working here, and what they enjoy most about the company culture. 

Clients and Projects

Here’s a small selection of projects that we’ve delivered this year.

SDL Web 8 Implementation

In November, we were proud to launch our first SDL Web 8 implementation for CIPD. Building Blocks delivered the UX and design, front and back end development, analytics support and Digital Operations Services.

The implementation included DXA 1.3 and Experience Manager, and is the start of a programme of work with continuous optimisation and further country sites planned.

Content Hub to REINFORCE thought leadership
Element Materials Technology

Element Materials Technology wanted to create a Content Hub to showcase rich, informative content in a searchable hub, confirming confidence in the Element brand as being the market and thought leaders in their select industries. 

Building Blocks developed ‘Nucleus’ - a responsive, adaptable and easy-to-update Content Hub. Nucleus acts as a hub for content articles, case studies, infographics, whitepapers and technical guides, to help increase lead generation and support sales nurturing.


High value content is gated with some elements of basic data capture. Articles in the content hub are searchable and include the ability to show related content. A taxonomy has been designed, agreed and implemented, and the onward journey and brand substantiation has been considered.

The solution we delivered has helped to establish Element as the go-to place for information on materials testing and establish them as the industry leader.

Read the full case study

Scalable CMS to manage multi-brands
Imperial Brands

Imperial needed a centralised content management solution that was scalable and offered an efficient platform to enable regular updates by multiple users across many countries, whilst addressing the legal boundaries which differ from country to country.

Sitecore was selected at the technology platform, and the build was exclusively implemented by Building Blocks, including UX consultancy, technical architecture, front end development, back end development, testing and deployment.

The project exceeded all targets set by the business, many by a considerable margin, within the first month of launch. By successfully delivering and exceeding its KPIs, the solution Building Blocks implemented has helped to demonstrate the power of digital to the wider business, and secured further investment into this solution in the future.

Read the full case study

Welcome to our new clients

As well as continuing to work closely with our existing clients, we welcomed many new clients in 2016, including Triumph Motorcycles Ltd, AstraZeneca, Wolf Greenfield and EIPC.  We look forward to working with you all throughout next year and beyond. 

The Building Blocks team wish you all a happy and prosperous 2017.

Any questions?

If you need more information or have any questions just get in touch and we'd be happy to answer them for you.