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View From... Black Tomato Agency

28 August 2019   (0 Comments)
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In this regular item we catch up with one of our members...



Andrew Rae, Head of Promotional Marketing at BlackTomato Agency and IPM board director, tells us what they’ve been up to over the past few months, his thoughts on the changing promotional landscape and what he’d say to a senior new business target if he had 30 seconds with them in a lift.

IPM: Hi Andrew, thanks for talking to us, How are things going at Black Tomato Agency at the moment?
AR: Busy as ever and as challenging as ever, but that’s what brings the best out in the team. We’ve just got back from a networking event we ran in Malta, which apart from being uncomfortably hot is a great way for us to spend some quality time with our current iGaming clients and meet our potential new clients in an informal but effective setting. We’ve now set up a dedicated resource in Malta meaning we’re more in touch and proactive than ever before.

IPM: How is your business developing and evolving – any interesting plans for the rest of the year you can share with us?!
AR: Black Tomato continues to grow every week, seemingly! We are now 96 people across three offices as we continue to develop and expand the service we offer our clients, who are from a very broad church.

We’re now 14 years old and the pace of development is astounding. We’ve always been lucky enough to receive incredible recommendations from our existing clients that lead to great collaborative work with new ones, so the challenge to keep the bar raised high is imperative to our success.

We’re in the process of firming up our business plans for the next three years and the collaboration between our different departments is essential to this. The volume of projects that include input from all business areas; Studio Black Tomato (Strategy & Content), Agency Groups (Sales Incentives) Black Tomato (Leisure Travel) is at its highest and, for me at least, is what I get the most satisfaction working on.

We’re in the process of firming up our business plans for the next three years and the collaboration between our different departments is essential to this. The volume of projects that include input from all business areas; Studio Black Tomato (Strategy & Content), Agency Groups (Sales Incentives) Black Tomato (Leisure Travel) is at its highest and, for me at least, is what I get the most satisfaction working on.

This is our key differentiator and where we are investing the most time in developing services for our clients such as Airbnb, William Grant, Rolls Royce and Bellmond.

IPM: How are the traditional modes of promotion changing and what are Black Tomato doing to stay ahead of the game?
AR: The landscape of Promotional Marketing is changing as fast as the political landscape and everyone is doing their best to keep up and anticipate the next moves.

The old mechanic of fitting your product into the solution, regardless of the question posed, is outmoded now. We have to work on a more strategic level with our clients to understand their issues and what their key drivers are, and tailor the solution to that, as opposed to retro fitting a product into the mix. Even if that solution is a bit leftfield! We’re lucky enough to work with Airbnb who are masters at this change of tack. A recent project we managed for them was to breathe life back into the tiny Italian village of Grottole, left decimated by the young, skilled workers departing for the big city. We created the chance for people to win the opportunity to have a 3-month sabbatical in Grottole by demonstrating they had the applicable skills that would support and benefit the community, from carpenters to chefs and English teachers. Bearing in mind Airbnb had no properties in the village, they were just creating a dynamic and engaging piece of activity that didn’t directly affect their bottom line.

However, just by being associated with such a unique and worthwhile project that cut through the chatter and resonated with their audience, they had created true ROI from their involvement (and a whopping 280,000 entries). That kind of ‘out of the box’ thinking is one of the really intriguing directions promotional marketing is taking.

IPM: You find yourself in a lift with a new business target, you've got 30 seconds to make an impression on behalf of Black Tomato Agency - what would you say and do?
AR: People generally like to talk about themselves as opposed to being sold to, so I’d probably mention a project they had worked on that caught our attention and challenged the norm. We love a campaign that stands out for all the right reasons. This would hopefully establish some common ground between our companies.

Either that or I’d show them how I can dislocate my nose, a result of one too many breaks. It’s always guaranteed some type of reaction.

IPM: Thanks so much for your time Andrew – have a great day!
SC: You too!
If you’d like to get in touch with Andrew Rae, drop them a note at andrew@blacktomatoagency.com

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