In this regular item we catch up with one of our members...
Sara Callanan, Managing Director of Elevator in Belfast tells us what they’ve been up to over the past few months, her thoughts on Brexit and doing business in Northern Ireland, and what she’d say to a senior new business target if she had 30 seconds with them in a lift.
IPM: Hi Sara, thanks for talking to us, How are things going at Elevator at the moment? SC: Great thanks! We’ve had lots of fantastic projects on the go, managing a Northern Ireland Road Trip for Tayto Rough Cuts brand, a new on-pack for all-Ireland cat food, Cat Club, and a new flavour launch exclusive to NI for Boost Energy. I would say our clients are keeping us on our toes with briefs being issued a little more last minute than they used to be – but we love a challenge!
IPM:How is your business developing and evolving – any interesting plans for the rest of the year you can share with us?! SC: We celebrate our 25th birthday in November, but definitely feel that we are getting younger not older! While we are still at heart a promotional marketing agency, like a lot of agencies, we find that we’re doing more and more on social and digital platforms. In fact, we’ve just been shortlisted for the Social Media Agency of the year in the Northern Ireland Social Media Awards, so we’re delighted with that recognition. We manage all the NI social media channels for Tayto Crisps and for Boost Energy and it’s interesting how flexible and responsive these platforms allow these brands to be. Boost Energy is actually the No. 1 soft drink brand in NI, so we were brought on board by the Boost Marketing team in Leeds to ensure a local tone of voice, and that brand behaviour here reflects that position. Similarly, we are running a ‘Grab a Grand’ promotion for Tayto which is driven primarily through social media as printing on-pack wasn’t an option on this occasion.
IPM:Elevator is the IPM’s only member in Northern Ireland - how does that impact on the way your agency operates? SC: In some ways, I think we have the best of all worlds – we are in the UK, but only 2 hours from Dublin – and we also get to work on some really strong local brands too. We have a network of clients and suppliers in NI, ROI and GB, and we are members of the APMC as well as of the IPM. We are uniquely placed to work across the physical and legal boundaries and to trade across borders and currencies (whatever Brexit may bring!). Boost is just one UK-wide brand that sees the benefits of adopting a regional marketing strategy for NI but there are others that could follow their example. And this market is also ideal for NPD test marketing, tactical upweights, regional roadshows or activity with local retail groups. We’re happy to work collaboratively with any IPM members who are looking for local insights, or indeed want to avail of our easy access to the Republic of Ireland.
IPM:You find yourself in a lift with a new business target, you've got 30 seconds to make an impression on behalf of Blackjack Promotions - what would you say and do? SC: Well, I’d probably have to start off by pointing out the irony of being stuck in an Elevator with Elevator! But I would then go on to say that we’ve been creating creative and effective promotional campaigns for 25 years. And because we’ve been doing it that long, it means we’re good at it! As the challenges and opportunities have shifted, and as communications platforms and social channels have evolved over the years, so have we. We are digital, we are social, we are engaged, we are experiential, but at our very core, we are experts in promotional marketing. And if we ever get out of this lift, we’ll continue to create innovative campaigns connecting brands and consumers!
IPM:Thanks so much for your time Sara – have a great day! SC: You too!
If you’d like to get in touch with Sara Callanan, drop them a note at Sarac@elevatorpromotions.com