Mark Gair, Guy Redwood And Fergus Bailie

SimpleUsability, a Yorkshire-headquartered behavioural research company which helps brands to understand the needs of their customers, has been acquired by CDS for an undisclosed sum.

The joining of the two firms will broaden CDS’s client proposition by strengthening its in-house behavioural insight offering, thus delivering a joined-up communications solution to its digital and print customers – with audience needs, inclusivity and accessibility at the heart.

As a leading figure within the Yorkshire tech community, SimpleUsability founder Guy Redwood will remain within the business supporting the development of the firms’ joint capabilities – while assisting future growth.

Under the terms of the sale, CDS will welcome SimpleUsability’s 15-strong team of digital specialists, a roster of 35 active clients and its purpose-built research lab and office space within Marshalls Mill, Leeds – which will remain the brand’s head office.

Mark Gair, managing director of CDS said: “The acquisition of SimpleUsability forms a crucial part of an ambitious investment programme for CDS – allowing us to add further value to existing and new clients. This acquisition builds upon the core strength we have across insight and content services which extends the capability of our in-house teams. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for user experience and research as critical to the success of communication projects, thus accelerating digital adoption.

“Until now, we had to utilise our partner network to oversee large elements of behavioural research and experience testing in order to offer an end-to-end solution to our clients – which include the Metropolitan Police, National Policing, Social Work England and recently-won Yorkshire Water.

“We had been searching for the right acquisition within this space for two years before we entered into discussions with SimpleUsability earlier this year. Having worked alongside Guy [Redwood] since 2017, we had already been wowed by the team and knew it was an ideal fit – both commercially and culturally.

“Guy is well-respected by everyone at CDS, as well as being a real evangelist for behavioural research and user experience in the North. We’re looking forward to a bright future together.”

Guy Redwood, founder of SimpleUsability added: “The best customer experiences start with a deep understanding of audience needs, and our clients place enormous value on the insight we deliver. In recent years, SimpleUsability has been broadening its range of services by partnering with CDS – something which has proven to be highly successful.

“Both companies share a passion for the diligent exploration of customer needs and delivery which delights. With this deal, we can offer our clients a complete range of services centred around their end customers’ needs.”

SimpleUsability – which turns over £850,000 per annum and counts ASDA, Coca Cola and EE among its client roster – has successfully worked with CDS on several projects over the past three years.

Kate Buckle
Article by Kate Buckle
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