What is the best way to empower local markets?

I was recently asked to participate in a Creative Sprint for a global client after winning a recent pitch from one of our European offices. It was a great opportunity to come together with different creative teams from around the DDB Network but also for the local markets to collaborate on one central vision. 

We headed out to a mutual location for a two-day working session at a relaxed and extremely foodie hotel. Apparently it was just what was needed to get to some brilliant creative territories for this ambitious client. Taking the early flight with my ECD, we weren't entirely sure what to expect... 

Format for the Creative Sprint: 

Day 1

Introduction to the project prepare creative thought starters and take time with clients to really understand the brand.

Once we'd settled in and had some lunch, we entered a UN-summit style room, with long benches facing a projector ready to take us through a briefing session. The room was filled with creative teams from each European market, clients from each market, two roaming strategists from the pitch team and a creative lead from the pitch team to mediate the different ideas and contributions from the group work.

We were first put into groups of 6 with both creatives and clients from each local market, to talk through the difficulties and commonalities of the global vision. The client was at the heart of the growing space of climate change, so it was naturally topical and interesting for all of us to discuss as well as begin to ideate to. The great thing about this first session was hearing the individual concerns and values the local client(s) had and how we were going to address these points as part of the wider brief. I'm sure the clients all felt listened to throughout the structure of the days.
We presented our findings back to the group and shared discussion points as well as possible solutions (with the planners steering the long-term vision of the brand), the clients being able to feedback at any point. 

After a well-deserved dinner and drinks, we all went off on a walk of the local area. I think this is important to note because too often we work with clients and there's no time to get to know one another or it feels very formal and rushed. This gave us a chance to build strong relationships between agency and client that will remain long into the future. 

Learnings / Key Takeaways

•    Awareness of individual concerns of local markets
•    How thinking can work globally
•    Ensure you build in social time with the clients, get to know them as people

Day 2

Creative sprint to get us to a range of impactful and efficient ideas which can be global collaboratively built on with clients and agency. 

We joined together again for a local breakfast, before having a short briefing on the agenda for the final day. We were split into our creative teams per local market and clients were to join together to discuss opportunities and concerns. 

Creatives were then briefed separately to tackle different briefs all tailored to the campaign proposition. We had a few rounds where creatives would come back together and share their thoughts, with the creative lead noting the best thoughts that would work globally for the client to share later in the afternoon in a coherent and productive way. 

In the late afternoon we were able to share our ideas which we were all excited about. First the client sharing their steer for the things to be mindful of and opportunities to seek then the creatives were called to share their ideas per medium / activations, the big thoughts that could work globally. 

The clients wrapped up feedbacking on the ideas that really stood out, three being chosen by a majority feedback which have gone into development. 

Everyone now has a face to a name, so even if the London office is called up again in 6 months to support the UK market, we'll have a bond stronger than most other clients we work on after such a positive and effective 2 days. The motivation and passion to help is there from the beginning of the pitch win from around the Network offices. 

This was probably a fairly costly trip for the client to pay for but a workshop which has fast tracked a round of shared-vision globally in a matter of 2 days and relationships which will last for months to come. 

With more and more corporate brands becoming centralised, these types of workshop experiences are invaluable within both brand and agency internal businesses. On this occasion we're not the leading European office but I'm still excited to see where the centralised team take the brand in the next few years. 

Learnings / Key Takeaways

•    This can be both enjoyable for clients and creatives when run with care and having clear objectives set 
•    Direct feedback from clients can actively help reshape our thinking
•    We left with a stronger client / agency unity across markets

Jade Tomlin

Creative Director at 

DDB, London