FIVE MINUTES WITH JEREMY SHAKERLEY
Exhibiting at last month’s Communication Directors Forum, UKSV has over 20 years of experience in the communication sector. It currently works with a number of high-profile clients on national and international campaigns, including the AA, IBM, Nationwide Building Society, Experian, Vodafone and Coca-Cola Enterprises.
Jeremy Shakerley, managing director of UKSV, discusses his insights into the communications industry, including how to sustain engagement with brands, customers and employees and the challenges and benefits of delivering large-scale events.
How do you sustain engagement with brand, customers and employees?
By talking to them. As a company, start with the staff. Our business is a people business, so it’s all about engaging we them. I like to engage with them and our leadership team does too. We talk to them as much as we possibly can. Face-to-face interaction is very important. We are a communications business, communicating is what we do. The same goes with for customers. We’ve got an account management team to look after relationships. We build personal relationships in term of getting to know the customer and understanding their needs.
What is the biggest change in the communications industry you’ve seen in recent years?
I would say the biggest change is the introduction of digital, in the sense that everyone is looking for something new, everyone is looking for the next thing round the corner. Also, I think it has become more challenging. People want more bang for their buck. There is a lot of noise out there, so everything can sound the same and as an agency, our role is to figure out things that are perhaps different, to get through all that noise and to make sure that the communication we’re doing is clear. What is quite interesting, is that it feels like face-to-face communication is becoming more important again. It is important that we create environments and events that allow people to come back together and talk and communicate.
What are the challenges in delivering large scale events?
Time, budgets, money. There are so many venues as well, and the challenge is to ensure you’re not delivering the same as before. The challenge on the customers is we think differently about what they’re trying to do. This can be challenging because you expect it to come up with the latest, the newest ideas. However, it is about the approach, really. We have achieved to have a great understanding of what the brief is, really getting inside of the client’s head, knowing what they want to spend and how they want to spend it, what the messages are, what they try to communicate. Another challenge is taking up a big space, while making it feel personal. We try to look at things like what is the experience of every individual and what is the collective experience people get in our events.
How do you incorporate technology in your projects without loosing the human touch?
Technology is the enabler, the tool. Every time we talk to a client it is all about understanding what it is they want to get across, and then creating the right technology to fit that. We deliver a high level of technology and we’ve got a lot of technology, but that’s just the enabler. Technology plays a part in the relationships we built with our clients, but it’s not the basis of them.
What is the one project you’re most proud of and why?
The one that immediately comes to mind is the one I did for three years for Vodafone, that was bringing all the enterprise, the business and the customers, together. It was a full integration. Technology was evolved and we provided the seamless experience of delegate registration. We did it for three years, until they stopped doing it because their business changed. We were getting over 90% satisfaction from the customer, which is pretty good if you think that the project involved everything from registration and delegate management to customer experience.
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