We’ve just completed a landmark event for one of our clients. A two-day hackathon that involved 12 teams of 6 engineers from all disciplines all working to create something from scratch.

The idea was for them to build a working installation that physically visualised data in some way.

It was a big ask.

The whole idea from beginning to end took around eight months to plan and execute. Eight months of planning the kit, writing the collateral, advertising the event, talking to creative technologists, establishing feasibility, selling into stakeholders and flexing within a budget to deliver something that not only hit the brief but was a shining example of what we could do.

And the results? More than we could have hoped for really. The creations were incredible. The feedback was great. The client was happy.

As an agency (and a creative team), we loved it.

The whole experience brought to mind something I heard at the RADS. One of our team here was on the judging panel and, obviously got chatting to other agencies. One of the common themes for many of the projects up for nomination was that, they ended up being pet projects for the people involved. Essentially, the team went above and beyond to deliver on the idea. Working extra hours. Thinking about it in their spare time. Giving up weekends.

But why?

I can only talk about it from the creative perspective and in my experience, I think people put in the hard yards when they believe in an idea.

As an agency brought up on awards and big ideas, we aim for these on a regular basis. But budgets don’t often allow for their execution. So when we do get the green light to make something happen, we’re terrified of disappointing anyone, doing everything in our power to make it great.

But that’s not all. When an idea feels special, something special happens with the client as well. It’s as if they can sense the work going on…so they go the extra mile too. In our case it manifested itself in our client being at the hackathon long into the night, giving up their weekends as well, to be part of the event; investing their time in something they could see had value.

The whole thing ended up feeling less like an agency/client relationship and more like a partnership. Because that’s what happens when there’s a good idea. People come together to make it happen; they want to be a part of it.

Now I know that this isn’t the norm. Not everything can be a big splash event that costs thousands. And not every idea we can deliver can have that special quality.

But my advice is, when you spot it, when you get that feeling that it’s the one that could make the difference, this is the one that your agency is excited about, try hard to make it happen. Because you could get a lot more than you bargained for. 

Creative Director

Will is a writer. Having worked for AIA Worldwide for 11 years, he reckons he knows a thing or two about recruitment advertising, communications and employer branding. Employerbrand.com is where he chooses to spout off about it.