By Dale Parmenter (DRPG)

As agencies we are ever increasingly being expected to be the consultants, not just on our core business of delivering incredible experiences, but on sustainability, behavioural change, change management, research and industry insight.

Maybe a few years ago we would have shied away from such things, leaving the world of consultancy to the consultants. But things have changed and moved on. Our clients expect us to be able to offer so much more than the end result. From an agency point of view, we also welcome the opportunity to be able to sit at the top table and talk strategy, consumer trends and all those great topics which eventually have an impact on the experiences we create.

This means the client gets a more informed and joined up approach and we gain greater insight and interaction with the clients, being embedded for the long term where we can add enormous value and form deeper working relationships.

Around 10 years ago we recognised this was the way things were moving and started to invest in our own thought leadership brand. DRPGtalk was born based on research, insight and sector expertise to inform, share and develop solutions based on data and facts. We created a monster, starting simply with regular blogs, then to white papers, through to client peer groups to share knowledge to our very own conference, BigTalk.

This year will be the 10th BigTalk event. It is the annual event which culminates all the knowledge and insight from the year and puts it in one place for around 150 clients for a day and an evening.

Even through the Covid days the event ran online, now it’s back face to face and in the studios. With a mixture of external and internal speakers and presentations, clients experience a range of topics they can tangibly use in their daily working lives.

Why do we do any of this? It’s a huge investment with a large, dedicated team, however the benefits to our clients and to the agency can be huge. We have better informed clients, who understand the possibilities more and we are more informed about our clients. This means we can ensure the creative solutions we develop and propose are based on facts and data, and therefore will make a sustainable and positive impact for everyone.

Over the last few years, our industry has matured massively and with the shift to being more consultative, it will only strengthen the services we have to offer. I believe this is all part of our industry further maturing and being taken seriously as an essential element of organisational success.

Photo credit: Leo Wilkinson

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