About Elements PRMC

Firstly let us tell you where we've come from so you can really understand our journey and how that may be relevant and beneficial to you by having us work with your teams.

Registered as a Limited Company in 2014, Elements was originally conceived in 2011 by Darren & Katie Williams, the husband and wife team behind Grants SEAT the multi award winning motor dealership based in Essex and although Katie now works full-time for Marshall Motor Holdings plc, Elements continues to evolve operated by Darren and a team of associates.

From the very first moment that the dealership was opened early in 2008, until it was acquired by the Marshall Motor Group at the end of 2013, it set new standards of performance, brand representation, industry visibility and customer engagement and was widely recognised as the benchmark by which the SEAT network (and in some respects others) were measured. As a result in 2009, its first full year of trading, Grants SEAT was announced as the SEAT Dealer of the Year.

Further accolades followed as people recognised the "unique" approach the husband and wife team had to operating a business that was both commercially focused & socially responsible and early in 2010 Grants SEAT were Highly Commended as the UK's Best New Dealer at the prestigious annual Motor Trader Awards held in the beautiful Great Room at the Grosvenor in London.

2011 came and Grants SEAT were again a finalist firstly at the Automotive Management awards this time for Marketing Initiative and secondly the Motor Trader Awards for Best Dealer.

On a more local level at the Essex Business Awards that year Grants SEAT won the award for Marketing, were a finalist in the Best Business category and Darren was runner up in the years Outstanding Business Person Category.

The wish to be supportive of the local community as well as take a commercial stance in the area saw them get involved in a local initiative in Braintree and win the UK's Keep Britain Tidy Award which was featured widely in the National Press and the news.

2012 continued in much the same vein with them winning the inaugural Digital Initiative Award at the Automotive Management awards presented by the lovely Susanna Reid and beating two of the AM100 Top Dealer Groups both of whom were turning over well in excess of £100m each.

Later that same same year at the Motor Trader Awards they were finalists in a total of four categories including Marketing, Most Improved Dealer and Darren for Dealer Principal of the Year but most importantly they did win the Digital Initiative Award here too.The significance of this is not to be underestimated. Grants SEAT secured both of theses accolades in 2012 the first year that this area of business excellence had been recognised.

Darren hadn't finished either as again he was nominated, but sadly runner up, at the Essex Business Awards for Outstanding Business Person of the Year.

2013 was no different with two nominations at the Automotive Management awards in February for Marketing and also Dealer Principal of the Year and later in July at the Motor Trader Awards a further two for Most Improved Dealership and Dealer Principal of the Year. In December of that year only a few days before the sale of the dealership to Marshall Motor Group they were Highly Commended at the Car Dealer Magazine awards for Used Car Website of the Year.

The one award that we haven't mentioned yet was the Golden Garages Award or as it came to be known the Garage of the Year Award from Motor Codes, the Government backed regulatory body. This award is in recognition of both franchised and non-franchised outlets across the UK and is by nomination of the customers that use the dealership. Whilst they never made the grand finals Grants SEAT were the franchised dealer regional finalist in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 demonstrating a real consistency in delivering an excellent customer experience as voted for by the customers, the people that really count.

Business is not just about trophies and certificates even if they do recognise and demonstrate a degree of operational excellence. There is also the moral stance that Darren, Katie and the business took. From the moment it started in 2008 there was a unyielding commitment to put back into the community in one way or another some of what it took out by way of its sales. The staff and owners of Grants regularly supported community initiatives such as the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign (as already referred to), a Lands End to John O'Groats Cycle ride by a couple of local people to raise money for charity where they provided the (at the time) brand New SEAT Exeo estate fully liveried as a support car, fund raising events for Comic and Sport relief, the donation of a number of touch screens to a care centre for people with autistic spectrum disorders, the staff supporting a charity 10K fun run to raise money for Autism Anglia (11 out of 23 staff voluntarily took part) and a fixed donation for every new car sold by the dealership....oh and then there was the mountain trek!

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for the husband & wife duo was the decision to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in aid of charity. The world’s highest free standing mounting sits slap bang in the middle of Tanzania, Africa and stands an enormous 20,000ft above sea level. With temperatures at the bottom of around 30 degrees Celsius and at the top at minus 15 degrees there are actually glaciers at the top…yes in Africa!

The trip, which took 5 days in ascent and 2 days to descend, was completely funded by Katie & Darren with all of the £11,500 in donations pledged going to the two charities which were Autism Anglia and BEN (the Motor Benevolent Fund). They reached Uhuru ("Freedom") Peak at 7am on the 7th of the 7th 2013 for this emotional picture.

Undertaking such commendable actions is one thing but leveraging them in respect of creating great PR is an all together different skill but Katie and Darren were pretty good at that too. Following their return from Africa, Katie was asked to be a guest on the drive time show for BBC Radio Essex to talk for nearly half an hour about the trip and the charities they supported which gave a nice little boost to their fund raising efforts.

To enhance the profile of their business even further when Darren was asked to present at two National Conferences for Automotive Management he, of course, agreed with the first being the "Hit for Six" conference in 2012 and the second the AM Digital Conference in 2013 both to large audiences. The subject matter of both of these presentations was the use of Social Media, Digital Marketing and Alternative Customer Engagement Strategies and the result from the first conference was "one of the best feedback scores we've ever had on a single speaker...everyone remembered Banana Dog!" according to the organiser of the conference.

The profile of this business was clearly greater than its actual size and market representation but clearly many thought that these two had some interesting and valuable things to contribute and as a result Darren was invited to sit on the AM Executive Breakfast Club. An invitation only event for "Senior Franchised Dealer Group Executives" that meets only four times a year at the famous Simpsons in the Strand, this high profile forum is used to discuss the burning issues facing the industry at that moment in time. Whilst the content is not minuted the tone and specifics of the conversation form both a quarterly editorial and prompts feature articles in the much respected publication.

Clearly a great privilege to sit with people such as Sir Trevor Finn, Chris Sturgess and Ray Sommerville, Darren embraced the opportunity and took his reputation for operational excellence and valid opinion to a new level. Darren continued to be invited until the end of 2013 and the sale of Grants SEAT.

So let's pause for a moment and put this into context a little. This was a small, privately owned dealership funded on a shoestring representing a sub two percent market share brand in a town most people have never heard of. Out of that Darren & Katie were nominated for or won nineteen regional and national awards, were asked to feature on the BBC twice, present at two National Conferences and sit on the most exclusive gathering of Franchised Motor Retailer Executives to discuss the current state of the nation. I think you'll agree these people clearly know what they are talking about and others wanted to hear and learn from them but...

Ingatestone Forge, 3a High Street, Ingatestone, Essex. CM4 9ED.
Email: info@elements-prmc.co.uk | Phone: 0330 019 5026

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