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Monday December 10, 2018 at 4:37pm

In this regular item we catch up with one of our members...

Stewart Hilton and Robert White, founders of ZEAL Creative in Manchester tell us what they’ve been up to over the past few months, their thoughts on the IPM Awards and what they’d say to a senior new business target if they had 30 seconds with them in a lift.

IPM: Hi Stew and Rob, thanks for talking to us. How are things going at ZEAL Creative at the moment? 
SHThe biggest thing for us at the moment is the launch of our London office.  We’ve set up in Farringdon by building a team under the leadership of former ‘IPM 30 Under 30’ member Andrew Thatcher.  Andrew’s team have moved fast and they are already working with Nescafé, SMA, Florette and Barr Soft Drinks.  It’s a big challenge for ZEAL but it’s a lot of fun and the constant trips to London definitely makes the Christmas shopping easier. 

IPM: How is your business developing and evolving – any interesting plans for 2019 you can share with us?!
RW: We’re five years old in April and we are currently in the process of creating our strategic plan for the next 5 years.  In truth, we’ve grown much faster than we ever thought possible; thanks largely to recommendations and referrals from amazing clients like Nestlé, Pringles, Kellogg’s, PZ Cussons and Quorn. 

We have 40 people now across 2 offices but as we continue to grow we need to evolve our business to best serve our clients.  We are looking at bringing in some more senior talent across the agency to help us manage growth and to further increase our expertise in key areas that matter most to our clients such as insight, digital and shopper strategy.

We are also very proud to be launching the ZEAL Academy in 2019. A unique long-term programme that will be run by our new Talent Development Director, John Saxon.  This initiative ‘bakes’ training into our business and will super-charge the professional development and day-to-day coaching of all staff. 

One key part of this is a ZEAL only intake of the IPM Diploma in January which will see 11 of our team take on the Diploma all at once.  It’s a big investment for ZEAL but it’s one that we are sure will deliver many benefits in the years ahead.

IPM: How important are Awards to Zeal Creative, and what value do they add to the business?
There seem to be an endless list of awards that marketing agencies can enter these days but we have always prioritised the IPM Awards as they focus so heavily on results and effectiveness as well as creative brilliance.   

We think they are very important as they allow you to show clients that your campaigns actually work. In practice it’s up to you to then turn your award wins into strong case studies that you can then use to get the attention of potential clients looking for the same end results or to attract other superstar talent that wants to come on board.   

The fact that our KitKat Personalised Pack campaign from last year won more IPM Golds than any other campaign and then went on to triumph in Europe has definitely opened doors for us with other big fmcg companies.  

It’s also great for the team to enjoy an important moment of well-deserved recognition for all their hard work.  For us the IPM event is just the start for the celebrations and by the time we finish everyone feels part of the success.

IPM: You find yourself in a lift with a new business target, you've got 30 seconds to make an impression on behalf of ZEAL Creative - what would you say and do?
That’s actually happened to Stew and I quite a few times.  We  always use the chance to ask some burning question we have about their business or to pass comment on something great that we’d seen them do recently.  They’d instantly get a feel for our ZEAL but we’d have no interest in trying to ‘sell’ to them. 

IPM: Thanks so much for your time guys – have a great day! 
You too!

If you’d like to get in touch with Zeal Creative, drop them a note at robert@zealcreative.com or stewart@zealcreative.com

» Categories: General, Opinion