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Russell Hales, Creative Director, Ape:

mentoringTaking part concurrently

After briefly discussing the pros and cons, Paul and I came to the conclusion that us both taking part concurrently in Twenty/Twenty might be an interesting exercise and hopefully a beneficial one. Having a mentor each at the same time gave us a lot of points of views and avenues to explore, it had the potential to be disruptive, but more often than not it provided interesting points of cross reference, deeper insights and validation.

We wanted to scrutinise ourselves individually and as a business, improve our leadership skills and build a better studio. Our mentors came from very different backgrounds and experience, but ideally matched to Paul and my differing roles. They both were very generous with their time and keen to share their knowledge. Over the course of the year, as the conversations became more involved it was really evident just how invested they’d become in their mentoring role and their desire to see Ape make real progress.

Visible shift in energy and intent

The impact on the business has been profound and significant. We’ve recruited proactively so we had the skills already in place for our projected growth. Operationally we gave everything an overhaul, in particular we introduced some new time management software that completely changed how we quoted and planned projects, which in turn means our reporting is now vastly improved. We also introduced better staff reviewing practices and incentives. Our business planning now has a sharper long and short term focus, that is reviewed more regularly and as a result I believe there is a very visible shift both internally and externally in terms of energy and intent that Ape now projects.

Growing confidence and resolve

The process helped shine a light on our individual roles and helped us refocus, I like to think I’ve improved my approach and with that comes more confidence and resolve. Part of the process has meant that I’m consciously looking at how and where I invest my efforts best during the day.

Powerful and rewarding

The prospect of Twenty/Twenty felt a little daunting, but the reality was a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience. You can’t overstate how powerful it can be to have the support and encouragement of a mentor, whatever stage of your career. The lasting impression was just how much invaluable information was shared by my mentor, so willingly and just how much of that we have instilled into our day to day.

Paul Spirou, MD, Ape Creative:

MentoringWe’ve been members of the DBA since the early days of Ape, largely driven by the training and workshops so from that perspective, I’d been aware of the Twenty/Twenty programme since its inception. But putting myself out there for external scrutiny was another thing entirely and a very challenging step.

Taking the plunge

It was the second year I’d thought about it seriously when we decided to take the plunge and complete the application. By now the business was about nine years old and I had the confidence to know what I was good at and where some of the gaps lay, and crucially, was ok about exploring that.

Different mentoring needs 

Ape’s Creative Director and myself as MD, are equal partners in the business. We share similar ambitions but different skill sets so our responsibilities have always been naturally defined but we lead the business together, albeit in different areas. Nonetheless we still had some nervousness about allowing third parties into our partnership, not knowing what they would say, how we’d feel and react and what that could lead to.

We did know though that we had different mentoring needs we wanted to explore and that if we kept our regular and honest dialogue going, we had the potential to really learn and grow. Essentially, if one of us was going to do it, we both had to.

A ‘spot on’ matching process

I had a little anxiety at the beginning in as much as Russell’s mentor was relatively quickly identified and mine took a while. I needn’t have worried, the matching process was spot on. I can happily say that whatever the process, both of our mentors were very well suited to us individually and as a business. I felt that my application had been read carefully and understood and matched me with a mentor whose rich and deep experience included much of what I hadn’t experienced and more. His interest in me and our business and his questioning was revealing, insightful and sometimes uncomfortable. His advice and support was at times practical, other times thought provoking and occasionally guided me to the retrospectively bleedin’ obvious! It was always delivered with skill, kindness and purpose. And I only really scratched the surface in 12 months.

mentoringA profound impact

The impact on our business has been marked and profound. Firstly, we have both grown in confidence: we put ourselves out there for scrutiny and found it as validating as it was insightful. We got practical advice that led to us evaluating and bedding in new processes and systems. We planned for and committed to growth, hiring people before we truly needed them. We started reporting on and analysing the business in a way we had never done before. We began to focus our attention and prioritise our management efforts; and we put plans and targets in place that we’d previously never committed to. In short, we’ve become much better managers and directors of our business.

Reaping the benefits

If anything surprised me about the Twenty/Twenty scheme, it’s just how much I got out of it, in such little time, armed with little more than a few questions and an open mind. Its value since the scheme ended is hard to quantify but we know it’s been significant. Long term, it could be transformational, but that’s up to us.

DBA Twenty/Twenty Mentoring

DBA Twenty/Twenty pairs rising industry leaders with established design pioneers for a 12-month one-to-one mentoring relationship. Applications for the 2018 programme are open until 15 November 2017 so why not think about what you need right now, or what you can give. Find out more and apply.

Apply today

About: Ape Creative

Ape creates brilliant and beautiful design, branding, strategy and packaging for food and retail. We deliver meaningful brands, insightful communication and delightful results time and again. 

Image credit: Jungwoo Hong | Unsplash

Image credit: Sawyer Bengtson | Unsplash

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Main Content

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2018 | shortlist

Business Agency Project title
Maplin 20.20 Maplin: Store of the future
Bergen International Festival ANTI Bergen Bergen International Festival rebrand
Pip & Nut B&B Studio It’s the nuts
Diageo India Bloom Royal Challenge: Engaging a new generation
Maxxium España Brandhouse Larios: The mediterranean gin
McCain UK BrandOpus McCain Shake Shake Fries
Dairy Crest BrandOpus Vitalite
PizzaExpress Bulletproof PizzaExpress retail range redesign
Ernest Jackson & Co / Mondelēz International Bulletproof Bassetts Vitamins redesign
Marston’s Butcher & Gundersen Wainwright: The golden beer
Unilever Comfort Coley Porter Bell Comfort Summer Limited Edition
USP Zdrowie Creative Leap Inovox Express
RB DCA  Air Wick Scented Oil Warmer
The Travelling Bee Company DECIDE. The Travelling Bee Company
Four Winds Denomination Four Winds Vineyard
Unilever Design Bridge Matcha Green Tea: Reinventing a classic
Essity Design Bridge Tena Men: Tackling a taboo
Danone Dragon Rouge Light & Free Yoghurt
Homeward Bound Elmwood Our planet in our hands
Day One Elmwood Signposting the journey back to life
London Beer Lab Elmwood Raising the bar for London Beer Lab
Mars Elmwood Golden Eggs
Procter & Gamble Elmwood Fairy cleans up for P&G
Dubai Airports Engine Service Design The Dubai Airports Hospitality Programme
The Dell Good Branding The Dell
Advanced Graymatter FairITales
Zumtobel Group GW+Co THORNeco: Meet the family
Java Republic  Honey Java Republic: Something’s been brewing
GSK Interbrand Sensodyne True White
AB InBev Jones Knowles Ritchie  Budweiser: Taking back the ‘AmeriCan’ summer
Buttermilk Confections Kingdom & Sparrow Buttermilk rebrand
Raspberry Pi Kinneir Dufort Raspberry Pi Official Case
Lund Halsey LA Design Kontrol Command – Control Room Consoles
Tata Global Beverages Landor Brewing warmth and growth for Tetley
Hagkaup M Worldwide Hagkaup Smaralind: Happy Shopping!
Imperial College Business School OPX Imperial College Business School visual identity
Cornerstone Path Cornerstone: Delivering a smooth shave
Interflora Denmark Pearlfisher ASK: Beer from Interflora Denmark
Seedlip Pearlfisher Seedlip: The art of nature
Nestlé USA Pearlfisher Putting the love back into Lean Cuisine 
Sadler’s Wells Red&White Sadler’s Wells
Glasgow Prestwick Airport Stand Repositioning Glasgow Prestwick Airport
The Tofoo Company StormBrands The Tofoo Company
Carlsberg UK Taxi Studio Carlsberg: a story of brand reinvigoration
AEG Powertools The Canopy Studio AEG POWERTOOLS warranty campaign
London’s Air Ambulance The Clearing London’s Air Ambulance
One Feeds Two The Clearing One Feeds Two
James Heal Thompson Brand Partners James Heal: Setting the standard
YPO Thompson Brand Partners YPO: Public Value Champions
Brew York Craft Brewery United by Design Brew York Craft Brewery brand packaging
Waitrose Waitrose Graphic Design Waitrose 1
HI-Mark International – Body Sculpture WPA Pinfold Body Sculpture: Getting a classic brand back in shape
Bulwark WPA Pinfold Bulwark: The new world cider

SPONSORED BY

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For full information about the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards, including winning case studies from 2017 please click here.

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Main Content

Andy Gray, Founder & MD, StudioLR
Andy Gray, Founder & MD, StudioLR

The DBA Twenty/Twenty programme has helped me learn fast from someone who really understands the design industry.

This is my second time on the programme. The first time I worked with Andrew Eyles (CEO / Co-Founder of Bluemarlin). It was transformative and helped me understand how to move StudioLR from a design studio to a design business (which just so happens to be called a studio).  

This time round I’ve been fortunate to be paired with Myles Pinfold (Founder and MD of WPA Pinfold). Myles has been sharing with me his experiences of how he built a successful design business. Having Myles as a sounding board has boosted my confidence to make changes (and in some cases the confidence not to), which keep me focused on moving forward.

We also asked our Design Director, Dave King to join the programme. Dave is developing himself to take the step up to Creative Director and is working with a London based CD. He tells us the confidence he’s gaining is invaluable and he’ll soon have all the tools in his kit to make that step.

Be prepared … for blood, sweat and tears because a good mentor will challenge you. It’s not easy, but that’s what gets results.

The bottom line. Yes, financially we’ve had our best years since we started the programme, but the real value is in how we approach our business now. There’s a confidence and understanding in who we are and where we’re heading.

If you’re thinking about it, get your head up from the day-to-day and go for it.

DBA Twenty/Twenty Mentoring

DBA Twenty/Twenty pairs rising industry leaders with established design pioneers for a 12-month one-to-one mentoring relationship. Applications for the 2018 programme are open until 15 November 2017 so why not think about what you need right now, or what you can give. Find out more and apply.

Apply today

Image credit: Francesco Gallarotti | Unsplash

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Main Content

thoughtsMark van Iterson, Director Global Heineken Design, Heineken International

“What’s really special about Heineken, is that design innovation is in the DNA of the company.”

“For a beer brand that never changes its recipe, since over a century that’s always been the same, then design, designing the brand, innovating around the brand, creating the experience around it is of huge importance to keep it engaging and interesting and develop added value.”

“I think creative people will lead the concepts of the future, they will develop the propositions of the future, so I think more and more companies will see the value [of design].”

thoughtsMark Curtis, Founder and Chief Client Officer, Fjord

“Design thinking on its own is not enough. We call it the rule of three: Design thinking, design doing and design culture.”

“A rise in the number of clients in the last few years, asking us ‘please can you help us set up a design outfit?’”

“I’ve had numerous conversations with CIOs and CMOs, who are saying ‘I don’t actually understand where design should sit in the organisation. Who owns design?… all terribly important questions.”

“If it isn’t attached to the mother ship, it isn’t going to succeed.”

“If you’re going to embed a design culture in an organisation, you actually need to get the hearts and minds of the back office people as well.”

“Design thinking is really about a number of things – at its core I think its about putting the end user at the centre of a process for thinking about how to make sense of things.”

thoughtsRon Burrage, Sr. Director, Head of Global Design, The Hershey Company

“If design is embedded early on, I think you’re going to end up with a better consumer experience in retail and at home.”

“Design culture is everybody working together to get to the best result.”

 

Design: driving transformation in business will take place in London on Thursday 12 October. View the full line-up of inimitable design leaders speaking and book your ticket.

  • Ron Burrage, Sr. Director, Head of Global Design, The Hershey Company
  • Mark van Iterson, Director Global Heineken Design, Heineken International
  • Louise Smith, Head of Design and Transformation, Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Mark Curtis, Founder and Chief Client Officer, Fjord
  • Jon Denham, Vice President Disruptive Innovation & Design, ConAgra Foods
  • François Lenfant, General Manager Healthcare Experience, Global Design at GE Healthcare
  • Judith Stracey, Chairman, White LogisticsTestimonials Panel
  • Oliver King, Director/Founder, Engine Service Design
  • Jeremy Bassinder, Exec Partner – Consumer Products & UKI iX Leader for Consumer Products, Retail and Travel & Transport, IBM
  • Luke Mansfield, Vice President, Innovation, Global Beverage Group, PepsiCo

Credits: IDE TU Delft  via Youtube, Inspirefest HQ via Youtube, Adobe Creative Cloud via Youtube

Image credit: © Rawpixelimages | Dreamstime

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Creative and Commercial


Watch the rousing opening addresses made by DBA CEO Deborah Dawton and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock MP, at the 2018 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards ceremony in London.

28/02/2018


Read more >>
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23/02/2018


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The head of sustainability at UPM Raflatac, the leading global supplier of label materials, discusses the need for a sustainable approach to the production of this ubiquitous material.

14/12/2017


Read more >>
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Main Content

Why did you decide to get involved in the Twenty/Twenty menteementoring programme?

My specific business challenge was improving business development. In a more general sense, I also wanted to benefit from the knowledge and experience of someone who’s already gone through what I’ve gone through – who could help me navigate tricky or unknown situations.

How would you sum up the experience?

Brilliant – so glad I signed up. I didn’t just get great advice and insights that helped me to improve key areas of the business, but also the ability to confide in someone who I trusted and who knew my business, but was outside of it – meaning they could offer advice from a rational and unbiased perspective. It also ‘forces’ you to work on the things that are important but not necessarily urgent – because you don’t want to to turn up to a meeting and say ‘sorry I haven’t done my homework’!

What impact have you seen on your business?

Improved sales, improved customer retention, help and advice on people/team issues.

What, if anything, has surprised you about the programme?

How good value for money it is. The fact this is a volunteering position for your mentor also means they’re not in it for any other reason other than they genuinely want to help.

What would you say to someone who was undecided as to whether they should get involved with Twenty/Twenty?

events-mentor-1-1024x331Do it. It will get you working on all the things you know you should be working on, but you keep pushing off due to lack of time, knowledge or confidence. It’s also exceptionally good value. What have you got to lose?

DBA Twenty/Twenty Mentoring

DBA Twenty/Twenty pairs rising industry leaders with established design pioneers for a 12-month one-to-one mentoring relationship. Applications for the 2018 programme are open until 15 November 2017 so why not think about what you need right now, or what you can give. Find out more and apply.

Apply today

About: Helen Fairley, MD, 6-2 design

Helen co-founded 6-2 design with her husband Aaron back in 2010, in the height of the recession, with no experience of the web design industry whatsoever. Having gone from working side by side at home and leading clients down to their ‘office’ (the cellar), they now lead a team of 9 creative problem solvers, engineers, and organisers with one of the strongest development departments in the county, creating bespoke websites that turn visitors into customers.

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Creative and Commercial


Watch the rousing opening addresses made by DBA CEO Deborah Dawton and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock MP, at the 2018 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards ceremony in London.

28/02/2018


Read more >>
2018 winners

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54 examples of design that have had a measurable effect on business success have been recognised at 2018 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards ceremony.

23/02/2018


Read more >>
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Read more >>
mark-rodel-dela-rosa-dreamstime_l_37952104-copy

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The wise Men and Women of our DBA Experts Register make some suggestions on how you can change your business for the better in 2018.

14/12/2017


Read more >>
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We've put on our festive hats at the DBA to bring you our recommendations for all things seasonal - from Christmas markets to edible wreaths, Gong Baths to indoor winter woodland cinemas, you'll be ready to deck the halls come Christmas day!

14/12/2017


Read more >>
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Read more >>
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Read more >>
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Main Content

I have the sweetest job on earth because… Besides the fact that my office literally sits on the corners of Cocoa and Chocolate Avenues, I am privileged to work on brands that consumers have made part of their lives for over 120 years as well as create the new brands that will hopefully be part of the next 120!
Ron Burrage, The Hershey Company
Ron Burrage, The Hershey Company

In my design career I am most proud of… watching students in my classes transform into designers, and designers who worked on my teams transform into the design thought leaders of today.

My time at Disney taught me… the power of story-telling and character motivation. It applies to everything from Mickey Mouse to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It also taught me the importance of relevance. Keeping iconic characters and brands top of mind while maintaining their legacies is a really hard task for designers. You could easily go down the path of a trend and alter a story that has taken decades to build. Sometimes that is a great thing, sometimes it can destroy an icon.

CLC_Case_studyWhen making the leap from hands-on designer, to design leadership I wish I’d known…to not try to jump in to solve problems for the people I hired to do the hands-on work. I found myself in conflict with some amazing creative talent. When I started to look at the work through the lens of “it’s not good work” vs. “it’s not good work because I didn’t do it,” my relationships, and the work, got infinitely stronger. 

Being a fearless creative is… believing in your convictions without being too stubborn, proud or precious to accept that great creative ideas can come from anyone. Being fearless is also having the courage to fight as hard to ensure work you don’t believe in never makes it to your consumer.

A brand’s heritage should… inspire innovation by looking to the past and leave a legacy for those that will come after.

popwellposter21I’m inspired by… music, theatre and running. All take me to places in my head where I find my best ideas.

I wish I’d designed… The Printing Press.

I’d tell my younger self… chill out and enjoy what you’re doing right now.

I’m most looking forward to… the day we no longer have to prove the strategic value of Design. It’s just Design.

The Hershey Company is a member of the DBA. Ron will be speaking at the DBA’s Design: driving transformation in business event on 12 October in London. Find out more and reserve your place.

About: Ron Burrage, Senior Director, Head of Global Design, The Hershey Company

Ron is creative brand story-teller with 25 years experience in consumer products, brand identity and experience design and development. He’s led design teams at Disney creating merchandise collections for Disney’s California Adventure, Disneyland Park and the Walt Disney World Resort. He was brought on as the first creative director at Cranium, Inc., the fastest growing independent toy and game company in the U.S., helping to expand their reach into the world of publishing, toys and licensing. While at Procter & Gamble, he was at the helm of design efforts for many of the Company’s billion dollar brands including Old Spice, Secret, Gillette, Olay, Pantene and Head & Shoulders.

Today, Ron has the sweetest job on earth, leading design for The Hershey Company.

Image credit: © John Cassidy | The Headshot Guy®

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Main Content

The survey found:

  • Non-UK EU nationals make up 15% of the total DBA membership workforce (1,000 staff of 6,500).
  • 50% of DBA members employ at least one non-UK EU national.
  • Most of these are employed on permanent contracts (89%) and are working at a mid to senior level in the agency (73%).
  • 99% were employed because they were ‘the best applicant for the job’, rather than because they had a specific skill set not found in the UK (80% said the skills could be found anywhere).
  • 30% of DBA members employ staff from outside of the EU.
  • Consensus amongst survey respondents is that the current visa system for accessing talent outside of the EU is too complex and lengthy for small businesses (98% of design businesses employ less than 50 people).
  • Investment and support for creative education (cited by 57% of respondents) is seen as a priority, if the skills need from the domestic market is to be met in the future.
  • Through qualitative questions the survey also identified key issues of significant concern to the industry in regards to the movement of talent post-Brexit.

The results of the DBA survey for DCMS demonstrate, that when it comes to immigration policies, design businesses are less concerned about accessing cheaper talent, or specific skills shortages in the UK – their priority is the ability to continue to compete effectively in the global marketplace, which requires access to a culturally diverse workforce of world-class talent at all levels of experience. Ever increasing numbers of international clients are commissioning UK design agencies, and a key factor is their understanding of the complexities and cultural nuances of those businesses’ marketplaces; an understanding which ensures the delivery of high quality creative and commercial results.

For DBA members, the top ‘asks’ of a new immigration system included:

  • Ideally maintaining freedom of movement and work for EU nationals
  • Failing that, preservation of existing EU staff rights
  • Straight-forward and inexpensive processes that allow businesses to employ whom they believe is best for the role in their business.
  • For government to avoid short-sighted quotas aimed at hitting politically motivated targets and to instead consider the country’s business needs (needs that enable access to the best talent to help drive business growth).
  • To make it easier for companies to sponsor existing employees who are on short-term visas so they can extend their stay for set periods.
DBA member Kinneir Dufort articulate the impact Brexit is already having on their business:
Kinneir Dufort’s characteristics of respect, pioneering openness and curiosity are rooted in multi-culturalism.  Over half of our work originates outside of the UK, with a greater proportion targeting international markets. Techniques such as ethnography and contextual analysis kick off our understanding of the opportunities for tomorrow’s products and experiences but our diverse team of 12 nationalities are the cornerstone to unlocking successful delivery and growth in that international arena. 
This isn’t about skill sets, this is about imperative credibility and diversity. Two years ago we were celebrating our global reach through our Queen’s Award for Export, now we are reassuring our international team on their value, whilst not yet understanding the raft of implications to follow.

British design is not only world leading, but is also central to the economy, helping to drive innovation and improve productivity. The design economy alone contributes 7.2 percent to the total UK economy and currently employs more than 1.5million people. Design impacts all sectors of the economy and touches every aspect of our lives through the products and services we use.

For the future prosperity of the UK and on going growth of the design industry, the DBA is focused on securing support and recognition for the sector in the government’s long-term plans so that design is rightly seen as a major contributor to the British economy in its own right, as well as a driver for growth in terms of both commercialising innovation and manufacturing.

Says DBA CEO Deborah Dawton, “UK design has earned a formidable global reputation, built on the depth and quality of talent and expertise found across the sector, which – as the DBA survey for the DCMS clearly shows – benefits from being a culturally diverse workforce. An immigration system that considers the country’s business needs, and encourages future growth and competitiveness is imperative.”

Read the survey report here.

Notes:

The survey was completed by 21% of the 440 DBA member agencies. DBA members employ over 6000 staff in total.

There is a possibility that the survey appealed more to those DBA members who employ EU staff because their business is directly impacted by changes to immigration policy and they wanted their voice to be heard. However, the spread of agencies that responded matches the general demographics of the DBA membership as a whole so this is not deemed to be too statistically important.

Image credit: © Serban Bogdan | Dreamstime

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IdeaThere’s also never been a better time for selling the creative ‘big idea’ which is increasingly being demanded by clients as the key to addressing the new challenges and complexities of an always-on, multi-channel, real-time ‘brandscape’. Big ideas that can help unify, simplify and amplify the overall brand experience at a time when the traditional notions of marketing disciplines, channels, and agencies themselves, are being increasingly tested and challenged.

Not surprising then that I’m seeing more and more emphasis, time and effort being spent by agencies on the pursuit and high-stakes pitch of the ‘big idea’ that will matter most and make the most difference to clients.

Unfortunately, on such occasions there’s also likely to be a very big elephant in the room that all too often creative businesses completely fail to notice, respect or address.

And that is RISK.

For creative businesses RISK is the flip-side of the IDEA coin. One where, the bigger the creative idea, the bigger the client risk in buying it.

For decades, the Creative Industries have been wrestling with how best to sell and promote the business value of their ideas, the value of design, to nail their value propositions and then how to pitch these ideas with passion and confidence.

But value, like beauty, is always in the eyes of the beholder and in my experience clients can usually see the wider value in a creative idea – even if the agency presenting it struggles to fully appreciate or articulate it.

And once the dust settles on the ‘concept’ discussion – and usually once the agency has left the room – the client conversation will quickly shift from excitement around the potential of the creative ‘idea’ towards the consequences of the ‘risk’ it presents to the client company…the financial risk, the market risk, the technology risk, the consumer risk, the cultural risk, the capability risk, the political risk, the reputation risk (to the client as individuals and as a business). These will all be very real risks serving as potential fatal barriers or blockers that will need to be carefully evaluated and mitigated before any ‘big idea’ will be given a green-light to fly.

ideaUnfortunately, all too often the RISK side of the IDEA coin is completely neglected or avoided by creative businesses when selling ‘big-ideas’ instead preferring to channel all their creative energy and persuasive powers into the upsides of their big idea – how it will transform the business, sell more products, engage staff and customers alike.

All too often this unbalanced approach to selling big ideas in itself betrays the ambition and intent of the creative business looking to position itself as a client ‘business partner’ and will all be for nothing if the client regards the risk as too great.

The agency upon rejection, then consoling itself in the misguided view that the client simply “didn’t get it” before embarking on yet another expensive and unbalanced one-sided toss of the coin.

The truth is that the average client understands risk far better than they understand creativity.

Because anticipating risk, understanding risk, taking risk, mitigating risk and managing risk – in all its forms – is inherently at the heart of what drives the leadership debate in all client businesses.

Given this, I believe that the creative businesses that will flourish in the future – and those that will have the greatest success in pitching ‘big ideas’ and partnering with clients for mutual benefit and growth – will be those that become as capable and confident in embracing the ‘risk’ side of their ‘idea’ coin.

On the one side setting out ever more compelling creative visions and narratives for what the client’s brand future and brand experience can become…

And on the other having the respect, responsibility and diligence to fully appreciate the risks and consequences implicit in bringing these ideas to life and who can put forward equally compelling proposals for how these risks will be mitigated and overcome.

In short, creative businesses no longer prepared to risk their creative future on the toss of a coin.

Sound like anyone you know?

About: Ralph Ardill

Ralph is an internationally recognised expert consultant on branding and experiential design, with over 20 years experience both client and agency side.

For 10 years he was Marketing and Strategic Planning Director of Imagination, Europe’s No.1 design agency where he worked with many of the world’s biggest brands.

Today, Ralph continues to work with global brands such as Hiscox and Carlsberg, as well as with UK design businesses to help them transform and grow. Ralph’s passion is for harnessing everything he’s learned, to work with smaller and medium sized privately-owned UK businesses – both corporate and creative agencies – to help them deliver accelerated and coherent brand-led, design inspired, transformation and growth across their businesses.

Ralph is a DBA Expert

Image credits: © Anton Skavronskiy | Dreamstime

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Main Content

dreamstime_m_94172742Recovery

This year’s DBA Annual Survey Report tells us that the average recovery rate is 78% – so, in essence, most of you are still working for free on a Friday!

But you shouldn’t have to: you can improve your recovery rate if you have the right systems and processes in place, providing you with reliable, real-time information on which to act.

As the project progresses at each stage there can be time or cost over-runs. You need systems that provide an alert before the cost over-run occurs at a predetermined % of the total – say 80%. Projects that are flagged need to be analysed to understand why, and then, if possible, the reasons should be shared with the client – often these are changes in the brief, additional tasks added or many rounds of revisions. If these issues are raised with the client as they occur it may be possible to convince the client to pay for them. All too often, these issues are left until it is too late.

Sometimes projects are made unprofitable by over-servicing and this too should be flagged and prevented.

kelly-jean-200248Utilisation

This can also be described as Capacity Planning. To improve utilisation you have to know the projects in the pipeline, their deadlines and the resource each project requires vs the resource available. With thorough forward planning, projects can be juggled to better match resource and reduce the need for freelancers.

There must be a single source of truth within your business: running an agency requires real-time data to make informed real-time decisions and knowledge is power.

The most successful agencies will use this knowledge and will focus on the now and the future, not the past.

Partners for the DBA Annual Member Survey Report 2017

pegasus pegasus

Pegasus provides a specialised marketing services software solution focused on exceeding our clients’ expectations, developing the system with our user base and building long term relationships through innovation and exceptional client support. Our clients include all major international groups, plus a growing number in the UK with notable agencies such as JKR and Droga5 amongst them. Supporting over 130 clients with 6,000+ staff globally in London, New York, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan, we are a private staff-owned company with over 30 years experience focused solely on the advertising and communications industry. All directors are previously agency FDs, all client service and product delivery staff have worked in agencies in senior financial roles. Our in-depth understanding of agencies’ processes is our strength!

About: Mike Satterthwaite

For the past 8 years Mike has been Chairman and principal shareholder of Pegasus Systems, a Software as a Service company providing bespoke fully integrated agency management systems to 150+ clients with 6,000+ users in London, New York, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines and Japan.

Prior to joining Pegasus, Mike held various roles at Saatchi & Saatchi for 27 years including 9 years as Asia Pacific CFO. During this time, Mike was a client of Pegasus Systems for 15 years.

Image credit: © Ekaterina Pulbere | Dreamstime

Image credit: © Kelly Jean | Unsplash

 

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Watch the rousing opening addresses made by DBA CEO Deborah Dawton and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock MP, at the 2018 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards ceremony in London.

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Read more >>
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