We have been doing a lot of thinking recently at Platform. With the move to our new offices in the heart of the South Lanes in Brighton has come the opportunity to think differently, to do differently and to draw the lines around how we want to work, what works for us and what good looks like for us.
As part of the move, we have had to drill down into what makes our brand, our team and our work successful; in other words, our point of difference from our competitors and how we give our talent the right environment to help them create and deliver successful projects. It is a process we go through time and time again with our clients but like most agencies is often pushed lower on the internal priority list.
So what has come out from all this thinking? That collaboration is at the key to any brand success.
We all know how much the world has changed with the power of the brand now lying with many individuals rather than one person within an organisation. Social media has driven power to the people, with advocacy being the brand guardian’s favourite tool in the marketing arsenal and customer feedback shaping new product development like never before. Real time data allows us to track and test campaigns and then tailor accordingly to meet customer expectation and change customers’ minds throughout the customer journey.
Yet, what we have realised is how collaboration is not just instrumental to generating market feedback but a tool that can be harnessed from the beginning to the end of the product lifespan.
Building a place for collaboration
This is why we have built a place for collaboration within our offices. A place not only for our team to get together to brainstorm, unpick ideas and challenge and create, but a place where we can take clients to dismantle thoughts and rebuild ideas and one where clients can come, sometimes with their own teams, and use as their own. We have been working with brands like Vodafone, British Gas and others for a while to create co-creative spaces – sometimes called Customer Experience Centres or Innovation Centres – and know the benefits and return on investment of such a space.
So we created our own. Yes it has interactive touch screens, yes it has great furniture, and yes it is quiet and away from the madding crowd. But its real benefit is that it is dedicated to thinking differently, to doing things differently. And the crux to why it is different is the who – the collaboration with others.
It comes as no surprise that a survey conducted by Deskmag found that people who work collaboratively are more creative (71%), productive (62%) and 90% feel more confident.
In an office space this means inviting in your suppliers, clients and influencers. Sharing the working of your brand, warts and all with those you are asking to be part of it. It means listening to your customer, but not only listening, really taking on board their point of view and developing long term partnerships with those customers so that you ultimately build jointly created products or services.
Out of the office, collaboration is just as key. For those clients who can’t come to us, we need a flexible space to take to them so we can still listen and evolve. In many industries, the meeting points are often at trade shows, events and exhibitions, which traditionally have embodied showcase spaces or at the most innovative, a level of interaction within a stand. We believe creating a true collaborative space – in the format of a mobile of digital Customer Experience Centre that can be physically dismantled and rehatched in different geographical locations – is the key to real engagement with your clients. It means flexibility, it means agility and it means being open to different ways of working.
Using machine-to-machine technology, interactive screens and cloud based technologies that allow remote dashboarding, collaborative spaces allow brands to understand their customers’ unique challenge and find solutions to them.
As an agency that is paid for its forward thinking, its best practices and its innovative approach to solving solutions, we realise that to be able to do this we need to take on board our client’s opinions and their customers’ thoughts. We need to understand that by listening we can hear the answer more clearly and that by accepting that we can’t do our job in a vacuum creates an opportunity to work with others.