No matter where people are in the world, we are all consumers who long to be treated as relevant and worthy individuals. The selection, training and placement of staff by agencies is, therefore, vital and should never be overlooked, simplified or marginalised.
The right staff
The process should start long before any client even has the opportunity to meet staff. While clients can be involved in staff selection, sitting in front of a client is the culmination of a process that involves the initial application, interview, agency selection day and review by the team, before passing through the agency induction scheme.
On top of this there should be an ongoing formal appraisal scheme led by a training and development professional. This should seek to identify, refine and enhance those skills that will add to the all-round staff offering.
Knowing what motivates staff, identifying and appreciating how they are best-suited to certain projects, while allowing their natural personalities to shine, are inherent to a successful agency staffing solution.
In the past 12 months Purity has been fortunate enough to take this experience and apply it to projects across Europe, Asia and Australia.
We insist on the rigorous application of all our standards, wherever in the world we happen to be operating. Failure to do so would compromise both quality and accountability.
This was recently demonstrated on a project for Samsung which took place throughout December and January in the ski resorts of Cortina, Val d’Isere and St Moritz.
Agency client Ignition USA (part of Havas Sports & Entertainment), which was working into Cheil Worldwide, needed staff with the appropriate level of technical product expertise coupled with language skills to deliver the campaign in each location.
Purity adopted a three-stage process including pre-selection screening, casting and brand immersion sessions. Ignition USA embraced these processes and was heavily involved in the selection and training of the teams working in each resort. The campaign as a whole was deemed a huge success, with the staff integral to the outcome, underpinning that this approach really does work.
The right partners
International brands are increasingly looking for one lead activation agency point of contact for their campaigns. With a large number of brands having European and global headquarters in the UK, particularly in London, there is a growing opportunity for that lead agency to be based in the UK.
The challenge for UK agencies geared up to work internationally is the ability to provide a standard of delivery abroad that mirrors what they offer on home soil.
Clients need to see the benefits through cost savings, consistency in delivery and expert local market intelligence.
So how do we ensure we can deliver effectively on these three key areas?
Fundamentally, getting the right partner in each market is crucial. By undertaking market research based on detailed set criteria, several suitable agencies can be shortlisted in each territory to meet with the UK agency in person. This gives the potential partner the opportunity to outline their offering and also to demonstrate how they run a live campaign.
Seeing the partners in action first-hand allows agencies to understand whether they would be a good fit for each other. A virtual global network can then be created, with dynamic and flexible partners who work together well.
Getting under the skin of the partner agency is crucial in deciding whether the relationship is going to work for both sides, as there needs to be a great deal of trust and understanding when working across international territories.
For last year’s British & Irish Lions Rugby Tour, Purity worked with a New York based agency, Inspira, for a global brand, Microsoft, in Cardiff and Melbourne.
Working with a client in the US and a partner agency in Australia obviously had its challenges. The brief required building two promotional stands creating a ‘Hole in the World’ (activating the Microsoft Lions sponsorship) between Cardiff and Melbourne.
The stands had to be identical and the activations a mirror image of one another.
The stand creative was done by Inspira and the build toolkit was designed by our production house, with our production manager travelling to Melbourne to ensure the build design was followed through in every aspect.
As we knew and trusted the quality of our local agency we were able to successfully bring Inspira’s vision for Microsoft to life in a relatively short turnaround time on the other side of the world.
Working globally through a UK-centralised offering does have its challenges, what with fluctuations in exchange rates, differing cultures and working practices, local taxation, time differences and even the politics that can arise when dealing with local client offices and the global headquarters back in London. But ultimately it can be very rewarding and worthwhile for the client, agency and the partner.
The right processes
To drive effective implementation when working in the UK and internationally we have recently been accredited to ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) 9001, 14001, 20121 and OHSAS (Occupational Health & Safety Advisory Services) 18001. These are best practice international standards covering specific areas of our business – quality management, environmental and sustainable event management, and health and safety management.
The ISO accreditation ensures that we put our best foot forward at all times, approach things in the right way and with streamlined processes, for the benefit of all parties involved in a campaign no matter where in the world.
Mathew Byway, director of ISO management consultants Alphacello, says: “Only a few event and experiential companies have attained ISO accreditation across all areas of their business. ISO led-systems demonstrate quality, good processes and legal compliance and externally promote a positive and trusted image of a very well-run company.”