FIVE MINUTES WITH RICHARD HINGLEY
Starting at communications consultancy drp at the age of 14 for work experience, Richard Hingley has been with the company through thick and thin, eventually climbing to the role of group creative director. Now, he talks to Communicate magazine about his role at drp and the challenges he faces daily.
DRP is expanding rapidly. What has this growth taught you?
It has taught me never to lose focus on what we’re here to do and who are we doing it for. Ultimately, we’re not the audience; so, it is all about understanding who the audience is. I never lose sight that we’re always doing something for someone else, we’re creating experiences for other people.
What have been the biggest challenges you had to face regarding your job and the evolution of the firm?
The biggest challenge for me is the risk of becoming less challenged or of not at all. It is to not become complacent with not only what I’m doing in my creative role, but the business as a whole. Often challenges come from many different places, including clients, and they are great to have them; they are what make me leave my bed in the morning and get me excited about what I’m going to do.
‘Always asking why’ is the tagline on your website. What does that mean for the creative team at drp?
It stems from our five values. We have five values in our business: trust, passion, effective, belief and understanding, with the key one being understanding. The tagline is about being able to understand why you’re doing something. You’ve got to have value, you’ve got to understand why you’re doing it and what you’re trying to achieve. We talk quite often about what we do as investments. We try to make sure that what we do is not an expense, it’s not a cost, it’s a true investment.
How do you make sure you evolve in what you offer to your clients?
We invest in our people. For me, being able to do what we do with our clients is about making sure we have the right team. We are constantly training and upscaling our team, but also, we enhance the team with new skills and experiences. That includes smart acquisitions. We acquire businesses that bring the right skill sets and opportunities for us to grow. Certainly, research and development has been a critical part of what we’ve been doing for the last ten years.
You recently worked with Jaguar Land Rover designing an augmented reality app. How do you incorporate technology in your work with clients?
When we‘re looking to any client’s brief, if we are bringing technology in, there needs to be a good rationale, it’s not just for the sake of technology. Sometimes, when you get to what a client wants to achieve, technology can have the opposite effect and potentially turn people off.
Why do you think drp stands out against its competitors? What differentiates it from the rest of the industry?
If I’m honest, I don’t spend a huge amount of time looking at competitors specifically, although I’m always looking at what other people are doing in the industry generally. The one thing I hear from our clients most, is our team, but also our attitude, our dedication to delivering our promise, which is that ‘anything is possible.’ That is often why clients choose to come back to us and that’s the important thing. Why they come to us in the first place is great, but what’s more important is why the come back. We put our team first and that in turn means that they have all the skills and all the support to put our clients first. That's why we’re different; because we build relationships and we are able to deliver to client what they need, when they need it.
What does drp hope to achieve in the future?
Our vision has always been to become the company of choice. That translates to clients choosing to work with us because they know we can help them with what they want to achieve. This is part of our continued growth, but not just in the UK. I think the future for us is beyond the UK. We want to achieve a much stronger presence on the international stage.
What is your favourite and least favourite part of your job?
My favourite part is taking briefs and turning them into something real. I like for people to look at the project we have worked on and wonder, ‘How did someone make this possible?’ ‘Where did the idea come from?’ and to be inspired. My least favourite part is over-focusing on budget. Budget is part of the mix, but if you make it your all-encompassing focus, you start to lose sight of what you’re trying to achieve.
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