Not one, but two Drum Network Award nominations!

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We’re delighted to hear our work for The Tesco Eat Happy Project has been nominated for two Drum Network Awards! One for Food & Drink Campaign/Strategy of the Year, and one for Retail Campaign/Strategy of the Year. Fingers crossed for 24th November!

Author

Sean Dwyer

Inside Apple’s new flagship Regent Street store

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The wrapping has finally come off Apple’s Regent Street store after a four month closure for a revamp. It’s bigger, brighter, more spacious and has the inevitable ‘just hang out’ atmosphere that comes with being (arguably) the coolest tech brand in the world.

If footfall is anything to go by, the new store is already wowing shoppers. We visited on a Thursday afternoon and it was packed to the rafters. No small thing for such a huge space.

There are several obvious changes – a larger, open and more airy ground floor, flooded in natural light and – presumably to offset any carbon footprint – lined with real (yes, real) trees.

Towards the back, a vast video wall provides an animated backdrop and focal point to the store, in front of which is a cubed seating area for daily expert talks and workshops, while the mezzanine floor is where you’ll find the Geniuses. When it comes to the products, they’re untethered, an open invitation to pick them up and try them for real.

But it’s the lack of product information that’s the interesting thing here. Want to read up on the features of the Apple Watch Series 2? You can’t. Need to know the screen size of the iPad Pro? Sorry, that neither. Instead, the extremely high staff-to-customer ratio ensures you get human to human contact at every turn (we loved playing ‘spot the Apple associate’, a kind of ‘Where’s Wally’ in reverse). It’s a positive far cry from many retailers it has to be said.

Overall, while product displays are imaginative, and third party brands like Bose and Beats seem somewhat unusually comfortable alongside Apple’s own products, the store could be said to lack a little warmth. But when you’re Apple, your store could be an igloo and it’d still attract thousands of customers a day. It’s the brand experience they come for, whether that’s a store in China, America, or the UK. And when it comes to consistency, Apple’s crown shows no sign of being toppled… yet.

Author

Sean Dwyer

What do clients look for when selecting an agency?

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‘96% of clients believe the design agency market to be ‘crowded and highly competitive’* according to a recent report by Up to the Light. This led me to ponder the eternal question we constantly ask ourselves as an agency, ‘what prompts a client to chose one agency over another?’ And is it the same set of criteria for an agency when choosing to work with a client?

The best design comes from the best relationships. Whether that’s communication, understanding, common sense of purpose or a sense of loyalty. But what constitutes a good relationship is a complex question and is reliant on several factors. Do clients and agencies prioritise these factors based on individual circumstances or is there a special formula that can yield the best results for both sides?

What isn’t in doubt is how crucial it is for Marketeers to ‘get it right’. The right choice of agency can help make the vital difference to a client who wants to meet their goals. So what factors are involved? I think a lot of us in ‘Agency Land’ assume it’s all about the people and the ideas with a large dollop of budget consideration thrown in for good measure. But what’s most important? It led me to ‘ask the experts’, seeking the opinions of some of our clients to see if there was any commonality or clear priorities.

Let’s start with the work. After all, it’s the product itself, the ‘thing’, the stuff at the heart of the matter, and in the creative world that means ideas. Sharry Cramond (EVP, Marketing & Communications, Southeastern Grocers) summed this up brilliantly saying that the “most important thing when choosing an agency is the ideas. The creativity. If nearly 90% of all Marketing is ignored by consumers, then you need disruptive ideas which cut through. Fancy multimedia presentations which cost a fortune don’t matter if there isn’t a brilliant idea in there. An agency could present their creative work on toilet paper for all I care. A brilliant idea is the most important thing”.

Tony Holdway (Sales & Marketing Director, Domino’s Pizza Group) also believes that the quality of the work is crucial – “it’s that eternal conundrum of ‘quality of work & experience’ vs ‘the people and their culture’ when choosing an agency to take you forwards. And of course you definitely want both, but where should the main focus be? It’s got to start with the work hasn’t it? Great people producing average work anyone?! No thanks.” However he then goes on to point out the benefits of great chemistry. After all, true understanding and the ability to communicate clearly form the basis of every relationship. He says “on the other hand, will you ever get to great, effective work if you don’t click with the people? Beyond all that, you’ll need to find an agency that thinks you’re important to them (and vice-versa). Being a small fish in some agency’s large pond is never going to get you the results you require. You’ll need a mutual admiration of each other, that will make you spend more time on the work together – and that will get you the best output & outcome”.

Interestingly, the Up to the Light report states that the primary client expectation from their agency is that they are ‘on time and on budget’. With ‘high quality creative work’ coming in as a secondary factor. So how do clients balance the two? Andy Hill (Insight Director, Samworth Brothers) points out that it’s all around communication, saying “it’s about great creative thinking, real consumer understanding, fabulous people, and value for money… But ultimately, the choice of an agency for a given project comes down to whether or not they’ll help me meet and exceed my goals. And for me that means having a small portfolio of agencies I work with regularly, really knowing their strengths, and great communication to make sure they always know what success looks like on any piece of work”.

So, it seems clients consider many factors when selecting an agency including the work itself, chemistry, budgets, skillset and experience. But what about the other side of the fence? As an agency, we carefully select our clients. Again lots of factors play a part in the selection, but in essence we want to work with great Marketeers who are open to working together to bring about positive change and deliver a real difference.

Ultimately, surely it comes down to brilliant client/agency collaboration to deliver the strongest return? The best results always come from great teamwork. It is after all, a symbiotic relationship. It’s surely the holy grail that every agency is chasing – a relationship based on a collaborative partnership rather than a client/supplier set up – a much more fulfilling and positive experience both financially and creatively for both parties.

* ‘What Clients Think 2016’ report by ‘Up to the Light’

As published on The Drum – 24th October http://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2016/10/24/what-do-clients-look-when-selecting-agency

Author

Sean Dwyer

Iceland’s exciting new store opens in Clapham

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We’re thrilled to see all our hard work for Iceland come to fruition this week with the grand (re)opening of the Clapham refitted and modernised store.

The project’s been a labour of love for the Whippet team since July. It’s seen us completely overhaul the store from the fascia to the flooring and the freezers to the fixtures, as well as create all outdoor media and a completely new kit of comms including value, promotion, brand and service communication.

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The design treatment displays a new, brighter colour palette and lifestyle photography, as well as a friendlier, more human tone of voice. Integral to the messaging throughout is Iceland’s brand proposition, Power of Frozen, which communicates the many benefits of buying frozen food, including nutritional value, quality, convenience and the positive impact on wastage and household budgets. A bigger, bolder fascia and an impactful run of digital screens appear at the front of the store – a first for Iceland – and for the kids (ok, and the adults too) a musical ice cream freezer; open the door and it’s just like when the ice cream van comes!

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We’ve already heard that customers love the new store so if you live in London, or are just passing through, pop in, grab a Lavazza coffee and be amazed at the transformation!

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Author

Sean Dwyer

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