EP17: Small Spark Theory Live Part One

June 13th, 2018

On a balmy evening in early May, we took to the stage at White City Place to host Small Spark Theory Live along with our friends at YCN. This was an opportunity to bring together some of our previous podcast contributors, some new guests and an invited audience of agency founders, leaders, and new business practitioners.

 

In this, the first of two episodes recorded on the night, we hear from Felix Velarde – back by popular demand following our growth planning discussion in episode 4 last year – together with Joanna Brassett, founder of Studio INTO. Since 2011, Joanna has been building a global design research and innovation business and over the past 5 years has been implementing Gunpowder’s Small Spark Theory philosophy. Felix and Joanna joined me to explore the challenges facing agency leaders at various stages of growth, from prioritising new business and marketing activity, getting to grips with cold outreach, when to delegate and when to hire.

 

Special thanks to our co-hosts YCN, the super team at White City Place, photographer David Townhill and to Ugly Drinks, Propercorn and ABInBev for providing our drinks and snacks on the night.

 

EP16: Pricing Creativity | Blair Enns

May 2nd, 2018

Following the success of the Win Without Pitching Manifesto, Blair Enns’ much anticipated book – Pricing Creativity: A Guide to Profit Beyond the Billable Hour was published earlier this year.

 

I’ll admit, I was worried how this transformative approach to pricing would fit into this series, where we explore how we can implement small changes to our sales and marketing toolkit and processes, but rest assured, as Blair explains in this episode, there are changes you can make today that will reap tangible rewards.

 

I know I say this every time but this is one episode you really won’t want to miss!

 

You can hear more about mastering the value conversation in Blair’s discussion with David C Baker in this episode of 2Bobs.

 

Blair and David will be reprising their new business summit for one time only this summer for the DBA. You can find details of tickets here, but be quick, this is likely to sell out fast!

 

We have a phenomenal prize for one lucky listener, tune in to find out how to win.

 

Also mentioned in this episode Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

 

 

EP:15 Social Media | Alex & Claire Blyth | Red Setter

April 9th, 2018

Anyone who has been to one of my talks, listened to Small Spark Theory or worked with me on increasing new business performance will know my feelings on LinkedIn by now. I stand by my well-worn edict “if you do nothing else, get to grips with LinkedIn” and will continue to do so, until such time as the platform implodes, or is superseded.

 

But what about the rest of the social media maze? Making the connection between social channels and new business results is troublesome for many and even when we think we should get involved, it’s easy to then lose momentum and enthusiasm.

 

Late last year the team at PR & new business agency Red Setter examined the social media presence of 200 agencies and interviewed 50 agency leaders and a range of experts to understand the barriers, benefits and secrets to winning at social media.

 

I invited Red Setter founders Alex and Claire Blyth into the Pod to find out about the results of their study, and get some top tips for our listeners.

 

You can download their report: The Guide to Agency Growth through Social Media here.

 

As always we have a competition! We’re giving away a copy of Alex’s recommended read, The Elements of Style by Strunk & White. Listen in to find out how to win.

EP14: Intellectual Assets | Erica Wolfe-Murray | Lola Media

March 6th, 2018

Let’s be honest. These are uncertain times.

 

Even those agenciy owners who are highly proficient in keeping the new business pipeline bubbling, will probably have had a heart-stopping moment or two over the last 18 months. An unexpected decision by a client, the surprising cancellation of a new project after the green light has already been given, or as one observer recently described to me – client paralysis.

 

So far in the Small Spark Theory we’ve been examining all the parts of the sales and marketing process to understand where we can make marginal gains.

 

But understanding not only how we sell but, what we sell, has never been more important.

 

In this month’s episode, we chat to Erica Wolfe-Murray, of Lola Media. With a unique mix of experiences from finance and the creative sector, Erica is an established thought leader on the subject of business growth through creative use of IP.

 

This is our first eye-opening episode from Erica who’ll be joining us later in the year to discuss revenue models.

 

As always we’ve got a competition and will be giving away a copy of Erica’s recommended read: A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin. Listen in to find out how to win.

 

EP13: Agency positioning | David C Baker

February 13th, 2018

In previous episodes we’ve touched on the importance (or not) of agency positioning and over the last year it’s a subject that’s been popping up more frequently in my discussions with agencies.

 

So I was delighted to meet David C Baker at a Design Business Association event late last year. David is an author, speaker and leading thinker on agency positioning. Over the last 25 years he has advised hundreds of creative businesses across the world to help them make sense of what comes next.

 

I managed to persuade David to join me on Small Spark Theory to chat about his latest book, why positioning matters, and how to get started.

 

We’ve got a signed copy The Business of Expertise: How Entrepreneurial Experts Convert Insight into Impact & Wealth, to give away to a lucky listener, simply join in the conversation at @gunpowdertweets #smallsparktheory.

 

You can hear more from David at 2Bobs, his fortnightly podcast with Blair Enns and read more at www.ReCourses.com

 

Also recommended in this episode are:

 

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott

A Beautiful Mind

 

To find out more about New Business Roundtables at YCN contact Nick Defty.

 

EP12: A client perspective | Katie Pattison | Hammerson plc

December 5th, 2017

In episode 10 we gained some fantastic insight into best pitch practice from Tony Spong at AAR. Tony’s intermediary experience – seeing the process from a client and agency perspective, got us thinking how useful it would be to involve some clients in our future episodes.

 

So, we finish the year with the first of our client perspective episodes. Katie Pattison has been managing marketing budgets at FTSE100 businesses for 25 years, during which time she has hired agencies of all shapes, sizes, and disciplines.

 

In this interview, Katie shares her experience of agency new business approaches, lasting agency relationships, and her top tips or gaining and retaining clients.

 

As always, we’ll be giving away a copy of Katie’s recommended read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Listen in to find out how to win.

 

We’ve loved producing Small Spark Theory this year and have been overwhelmed by your feedback. We’ll be back in the New Year, chatting with more clients and experts and will be unveiling details of a very special Small Spark Theory event. For more details, sign up for our newsletter here or for more information on improving your agency new businesses effectiveness, please get in touch here.

 

Have a wonderful festive break and see you in 2018.

 

EP11: Negotiation | Hilary Gallo

November 6th, 2017

Whether going into battle with procurement to defend agency day rates, or agreeing the scope of a project for the available client budget – our ability to confidently and effectively negotiate can make a tangible difference to our bottom line.

 

In this episode of Small Spark Theory, I’m joined by ex-corporate lawyer, author and negotiation expert Hilary Gallo. Hilary and I met earlier this year at a Business for Bohemians workshop run by the brilliant team at the Idler.  I realised that his approach, honed over 25 years of solving complex, multi-million pound corporate deals and explored in his book; The Power of Soft, was ideal for the many agency teams I have worked with who continually struggle when faced with the negotiating might of larger client organisations.

 

Luckily, I managed to negotiate my way into Hilary’s busy schedule to find out his top tips. So grab a cuppa and tune in – it’s easier than you think!

 

As always, we’ve got a competition for you and will be giving a lucky listener a copy of The Power of Soft. Listen in to find out how to win.

 

Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation at #smallsparktheory

 

For more information on improving your agency new businesses effectiveness, please get in touch.

 

EP10: The pitch | Tony Spong | AAR

October 7th, 2017

Losing a pitch is just bad news all round. It costs an agency big; in time, money, resource, morale and confidence. So as new business performance improvement goes, there is surely no better place to make tangible impact than in the pitch itself.

 

The good news is that the opportunities for making marginal gains in the way we approach, plan and conduct our pitch activity are not only plentiful but often relatively simple.

 

In this episode of Small Spark Theory I chat to Tony Spong, Managing Partner at the original client-agency intermediary, AAR. Tony’s career has spanned both client and agency roles before settling squarely in the middle, where he has led hundreds of agency pitches. Who better to provide a unique insight on what works, what doesn’t and why?

 

As always, we’ve got a competition for you and will be giving away a copy of Tony’s recommended read ‘The Shallows: How the internet is changing the way we think, read and remember’ by Nicholas Carr.  So listen in to find out how to win.

 

Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation at #smallsparktheory

 

For more information on improving your agency new businesses effectiveness, please get in touch.

 

EP9: Culture | Katz Kiely

September 6th, 2017

 

The people part of our business can so often get overlooked in our efforts to generate new business. Yes, we might think about chemistry once we are faced with a pitch opportunity but beyond that, our thinking tends to get muddled when we consider the power of our people to drive referrals and introductions. There might be an expectation that this will happen, or an unspoken, mild resentment when it doesn’t, but the reality is that only a fully engaged, motivated and inspired workforce will act as true ambassadors for your agency.

 

Your culture is more than the Friday beer trolley, jolly Facebook page or annual karaoke / bowling / pizza night. It’s the glue that binds your people together with guiding principles, a way of working and a desire to succeed for the greater good of the business.

 

It’s the bit that truly makes your agency bigger than the sum of the parts. And for those agencies that really get it right, it’s the bit that will turbo charge new business.

 

In this episode of Small Spark Theory I chat to Katz Kiely. Serial entrepreneur, technologist and organisational change ninja, Katz shares her experience of culture and the way people work together, from agencies to start-ups and the UN.

 

This is one episode you will not want to miss!

 

As always, we’ve got a competition for you and will be giving away a copy of Katz’s recommended book ‘Predictably Irrational’ by Dan Ariely. So listen in to find out how to win.

 

 

Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation at #smallsparktheory

 

This episode was recorded at Cameo Productions.

 

For more information on improving your agency new businesses effectiveness, get in touch with Lucy Mann.

 

EP8: Productivity | Robert Kelsey

August 17th, 2017

 

So far in our Small Spark Theory podcast series we’ve been exploring the ways we can make marginal gains in our agency new business and marketing performance. We’ve discussed the tweaks and improvements, the tips and tricks that can help us perform better, and see a better return on our time and money.

 

So far so good.

 

But even with clear objectives, effective planning, brilliant processes and all the communication skills we have discussed, our best efforts can still be undone by a lack of productivity.

 

How many times do we find ourselves finalising a pitch deck in a cab on the way to a meeting, scrabbling to submit an RFI seconds before the deadline or simply looking at our new business pipeline and knowing we just haven’t implemented enough of the plan to generate sufficient new opportunities?

 

Most of us will be familiar with the feeling. The procrastination, indecision and ultimately – paralysis.

 

So why does it happen? And what can we do about it?

 

In this episode, we talk to best-selling author Robert Kelsey. Founder and CEO of a successful London PR agency, co-founder and deputy chairman of a leading entrepreneurs’ think tank: The Centre for Entrepreneurs, Robert’s books: “What’s Stopping You?“What’s Stopping You Being More Confident?” and Get Things Done” have sold over 100,000 copies and being translated into 10 languages.

 

Spoiler alert: The answer to our lack of productivity is rather more complex that we think and requires some honest self-appraisal. The good news is, a tidy workstation and good stationery are still very important. We’re stocking up on nice notepads and post-its right away…

 

As always, we’ve got a competition for you and will be giving away a copy of Robert’s book “Get Things Done”. So listen in to find out how to win.

 

Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation at #smallsparktheory
For more information on improving your agency new businesses effectiveness, get in touch with Lucy Mann.