Growth spurt for Glasgow agency with a legendary past

A GLASGOW agency originally set up in the 1980s by a late veteran of the city’s advertising industry has almost doubled sales in the last year.

Jemma Robertson took over as director of GRA in 2020 after the tragic death of her father, aged 59, from head injuries sustained in a fall.

The digital marketing agency specialises in website design and build, branding, social media and search engine optimisation.

It has grown its client base across sectors including food manufacturing, hospitality, tourism, construction, storage, property and finance.

GRA’s clients include Coatbridge-based confectionery manufacturer Lees of Scotland, timber specialist Fleming and Glasgow independent school, the High School of Glasgow.

Jemma Robertson
Jemma Robertson was 23 when she started working with the business

Jemma said: “Despite the cost-of-living crisis and signs of unemployment creeping up again, so many businesses are still investing in marketing.

“Many companies reduce advertising budgets during economic downturns, which can create a competitive advantage for those that continue to invest.”

She had only been working full-time in the business for a year, after graduating from the University of Aberdeen with a Master’s honours degree in business.

GRA expects to post a 75% increase in sales this year, alongside a jump in profits of between 25 to 30%.

Jemma says she does a lot of things differently to how she and her father might have done them before, due to advancements in technology and the need to constantly innovate.

She also applies the great wisdom he passed on and the need to provide a high level of client service.

“I only got a year with him in a full-time, professional relationship, but there is so much he taught me that I still use every single day.

In the 1990s, GRA and its successor, Guy Robertson Partnership, grew into one of Scotland’s biggest marketing agencies.

Clients included car maker Toyota and mineral water brand Highland Spring.

Jemma says her ambition for GRA now is to take on more big brand businesses and clients working across Europe and internationally.

Current projects for GRA include a tech start-up launch in Canada and America and a UK-wide retail launch.

Jemma added: “I’m really proud of the calibre of clients we work with and some of the projects we’ve been involved in.

“We’ve also managed to maintain a high quality service while going through a huge growth spurt.”