By Alex Blyth, Co-Owner & Editorial Director
If your job involves growing a creative agency then the place to be this evening was West Works at White City where the brilliant Lucy Mann of Gunpowder Consulting was hosting the inaugural Small Spark Theory Live.
For 18 months Lucy has been interviewing experts on various aspects of agency growth and sharing the podcast through her Small Spark Theory channel. This evening, she did it all in front of a live audience. Creative community instigators, YCN, helped pull it all together, and the result was a year’s worth of learning jammed into one evening in West London.
First up were Felix Velarde, a man who has probably forgotten more about agency growth than most of us have ever learnt, and Joanna Brassett from Agency INTO, who has mastered agency new business to the extent that around three-quarters of her work now comes from direct approaches.
It was a conversation brimming over with useful advice. Don’t under-estimate the importance of process – agency growth comes from the consistent application of sound process over the long-term. People are everything – hire the right ones, give them the tools they need, and see failure as a learning not a firing opportunity. Stop trying to be all things to all people – brands hire experts, not generalists, so be bold with your positioning. And if you want stellar growth for your agency you probably want Felix on board.
After a break, Sara Stark, the brave and generous Marketing Manager of Dishoom took to the stage to share with a room full of agency marketers her thoughts on how agencies can get her attention.
Her chat with Lucy delivered a clear and vital message: agencies need to stop boring marketers with what they think is interesting about themselves and instead immerse themselves in the brand and invest in a long-term relationship. Dishoom doesn’t want “creatives” showing them pink arches and elephants, they want to work with people who get as excited as they do by typefaces from 1940s Mumbai.
We left buzzing with new ideas, looking forward to the podcast, and – personally anyway – craving a curry.