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Face-to-face value

Published Jan 03, 2023 – By Wardour

Modern design. Contemporary art collage of two men, businessmen shaking hands due to successful cooperation deal.

Creative agencies are definitely full of cameras-on types of people. We know we are.

Every digital marketing agency out there can remember an uncomfortable presentation on Teams where nobody had their camera on, hoping that what we said resonated, that the design we presented was visible on a small laptop screen, and the audience having to either cough loudly or interrupt to ask a question. And don’t get us started on the technology issues… Dodgy internet connections, Webex cutting out, Zoom misbehaving and malfunctioning headphones which make you sound like you’re in a wind tunnel (apparently). It doesn't do much for your brand.

When the tech gods allow it and we’re having an actual conversation, we do appreciate that, even as a creative agency, there are certain benefits to virtual calls. It’s lovely to see clients far away and who we wouldn’t necessarily get to meet. And it’s a great reminder that, while we may all work hard, people have lives outside of marketing. We understand that you’re juggling childcare, managing health concerns, family events good and bad, even the odd Amazon or food delivery that your dog makes absolutely sure you don't miss. We see it and hear it. It’s a collective experience.

Nevertheless, when face-to-face meetings are on the cards, we'll do our utmost to make sure they happen. Alternatively, you’ll receive a very warm welcome here at Wardour. We've actually got more meeting rooms in our offices than we did in our pre-pandemic offices, and we're a stone's throw from every coffee shop you can think of if that's more your style. Whatever works for you. 

As a London creative agency a lot of our clients aren't too far so, let's be honest. this is easy for us to say. When we work with brands outside of the United Kingdom we recognise that, often, a virtual meeting is the only option. But, even if a client is based further afield, if we can, we'll make the effort to go to their offices. All it means is we're travelling for hours rather than minutes - either way, we're seeing clients.

The client-agency relationship

So much of what creative agencies do is about building relationships. Video calls kept us going during the pandemic, but now, post-pandemic, it's not uncommon for Teams to be the go-to way of having a meeting. And while we're cameras-on types of people, we're face-to-face people first and foremost. We don't want to slip into a world where video calls completely replace face-to-face meetings. And clients being based in a different city doesn't change anything, in our opinion. If a contact is based further afield, we'll travel to see them, because face-to-face meetings are how client-agency relationships are built.

A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Human Dynamics Lab tracked performance drivers across various industries, tracking things like tone of voice and body language. The results showed unequivocally that the most valuable communication is done in person, reported The Washington Post . And it's not just meetings. The latest information from Statista shows that when it comes to B2B marketing events , there's a 57 per cent preference for these to take place in person, compared with a 33 per cent for virtual events (and 10 per cent with no preference).

We've definitely noticed this at Wardour. Recently, we were due to welcome a client to our office, but as they were particularly busy they didn't want to use up time travelling. We completely understood - so we came to them instead. By being with the client in person, we were able to present some really exciting ideas for their brand and showcase our creativity in a way that creative agencies simply can't do as effectively virtually. Not only that, but body language meant that we could instantly tell which ideas didn't quite resonate and when to move on to the next, and which ideas really excited the client.

What's the benefit to the client?

That's the benefit to us, but from a client's point of view, getting your agency involved in any marketing strategy meetings - in person - will make that meeting much more effective for you, too. Whether you're building a marketing, brand, social media or content strategy, developing web design or simply brainstorming an individual campaign - face-to-face conversations go a long way. And let's not forget getting to grip's with a business's brand identity and brand strategy- a crucial factor in any marketing campaign and something that's much more easily done in person.

Put simply, if you want you agency to really become embedded in what you're all about, in-person collaboration is much more likely to make that a reality.

Rest assured, when the meeting has to be on Teams, we're all in and will make it as valuable as we possibly can - and we're using lots of new tools and technology that allow us to showcase our creative services from a distance. But, every time we possibly can, our agency will be there in person. And we'll bring the coffee - we couldn't offer that on a Teams call, could we?

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