In the first few months of the year, not only has the weather been difficult to predict, so has the daily routine at AAR Towers.

Whilst we’ve been kept busy running pitches for a number of clients, we’ve also been involved in a number of projects in the background, the majority of which are undertaken below the radar.

CREATIVE, PR AND MEDIA PITCHES

On the pitching front we have been fortunate to have been involved in some significant advertising reviews in the first few months of the year including brands such as MoneySupermarket, JustEat, Magnet, Simply Be, Organix and financial services brand Walter Scott.

We have also seen an upturn in the number of PR reviews that we’ve been working on. Whilst the definition of PR is constantly changing, the need for clients to find specialists in the discipline has remained constant. Brand owners who have embarked on reviews with us in the first quarter included Three, Smart Energy, Kopparberg and EDF Energy Solutions.

Media pitches remain a core part of our consultancy, and it is always very gratifying when a client who has previously used us on a creative review returns for a media review, as was the case with Investec. Unusually, however, the reverse happened with Betway with whom we worked on their UK and Germany media reviews before moving onto a creative review.

UPTURN IN BRAND AND STRATEGY REVIEWS

Undoubtedly, the biggest upturn that we have seen in the early months of 2018 has been in brand and strategy where we have worked on briefs for clients who have wanted help in everything from a logo through to tone of voice and the creation of brand assets. Some of the clients who we have assisted in these areas include VSO, International HIV/AIDS Alliance and fintech start up Hodge Bank.

MANAGING RELATIONSHIPS

If helping appoint agencies is the public face of what we do, we have also been heavily involved in a number of areas that never make it into the wider world. The first of these is ensuring that the relationships between brand owners and their agencies remain strong through our Performance Evaluation products, and we have been carrying out a number of these projects (often repeated annually) to ensure that niggles  – on either side – don’t become toxic.

A second aspect of our consultancy led by Vicky Gillan and her team is client training where she has worked with, amongst others, Co-op delivering our marketing excellence training programme, to ensure that the marketing teams are as up to date as possible with techniques to ensure that they get the best out of their agency relationships.

WORKING PRACTICES

The final part of our less publicly facing consultancy is in Working Practices where we have been bought in by a client who does not necessarily want to call a review but needs to undertake due diligence to ensure that they are getting best value (both in terms of commerciality and delivery) from their incumbent agencies. We have already undertaken several projects in this area (all of which need to remain confidential) and we anticipate that it will become a growing trend for the rest of the year and beyond.

INITIATIVES

Behind the scenes we have also been busy in our efforts to support the creation of a better working environment for everyone by helping with initiatives such as Creative Equals and the Real Living Wage Pledge, whilst in April, we were very flattered when our CEO, Kerry Glazer, was invited to become President of NABS, the charity for the communications industry, a role that she will fulfill with her normal degree of enthusiasm and boundless energy.

LOOKING FORWARD

As we head towards the summer months, we look forward to working with both brand owners and agencies to ensure that they get the most from our consultancy and perspectives…and hopefully getting a chance to enjoy some sunshine!