Day 2 at Advertising Week Europe

The second day of Advertising Week Europe and I went along to the Entrepreneurs Unleashed Session on the YouTube stage.

Four agencies (Albion, CP+B, Redscout and 72 & Sunny) were brought together to tell us how they “Dare to Dream” so naturally they began by talking about why they started up their agencies.  A few main reasons emerged: a feeling of frustration at the big agency process, they wanted to focus on what they wanted to deliver rather than delivering what the market felt it needed, they wanted to focus on their core strengths and finally they wanted to push the industry forward despite any mistakes they might make on the way.

The discussion turned to what an agency looks like in today’s world.  They felt that most agencies don’t tolerate standing still, they’re committed to keeping things moving and experimenting is often what helps to push the creative work further forward.  Looking back is clearly not a useful thing to do in this industry and they talked of ‘ignoring the rear view mirror’.  Another tip was to begin each New Year as though you were starting in a new job and to keep your momentum up – it’s key to success.

The panellists were full of advice including:

  • Maintain transparency – it is massively important for a team throughout the business
  • Be open and clear – demand discretion and loyalty
  • Make friends and partners. Don’t do everything on your own.
  • Get rid of disruptive people fast.
  • Don’t “preserve” culture – help build it and let it evolve. Culture should be vibrant. And alive.
  • Not cult!
  • Clients are also part of that. Choose them wisely. They make you or kill your culture.

Despite all the very useful stuff, I felt that it was a shame that they didn’t talk at all about production, media or technology partners who make up their virtual team and could help or hinder success.

I also felt that they all had strategies for selecting and nurturing their own talent but didn’t offer any comment on selecting and nurturing relationships with partner suppliers.  These relationships are too critical to overlook or underestimate and it would have been useful to hear their views on the best way to manage them.

Next up on the YouTube stage was Bridging the Innovation Gap: Partnering Tomorrow’s Tech with Today’s Brands. 

 Sarah Wood, Co-Founder of Unruly told us about the challenge of scaling to multiple markets, especially when, even at 200 people, they see themselves as small.  She said that it was important to give staff autonomy, stay true to the reasons why you started and (the best advice of all) have a kitchen table!  I imagine that many important decisions would get made around it . . . .

Then things got really heated as the “Tech Factor” competition fired up.  There were 3 competitors who were Hashtag’d (a self-service platform that lets brands and agencies run cross-network social campaigns), (a very cool video comment and share tool for all video platforms) and Verticly (a platform for offering actionable brand engagement from advertising via mobile).  They had 4 minutes each to pitch followed by an immediate vote for a winner . . . if you don’t want to know who won look away now and watch the whole session here:

For those who do want to know… Verticly won!

Almost half way through the week and it’s been very interesting so far.

It was thoroughly enjoyable and very nice to hear an agency (Starcom Mediavest) celebrate a culture of needing partners to help service clients.