The Next Generation programme, now in its third year, was set up to give participants a better understanding of the different Creston Unlimited companies, as well as get to know people from across the Group. This is especially important as the number of agencies in the Group expands (24 at last count!), and knowing one another’s area of expertise gives us the ability to offer our clients a truly ‘Unlimited’ approach.
This year ‘Next Gen’ started with 45 people from 13 different Creston-owned companies, including four of us from Marketing Sciences Unlimited: Abi, Greg, Megan and myself. We were then mixed up into 8 teams of five or six people, which were representative of the different agencies with their different areas of expertise: from advertising and PR, through social and digital marketing to research, insight and tech innovation.
This year’s brief was for Cow & Gate, part of Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, and an important client across the Creston Group. The brief, which we would ultimately have to answer by way of a pitch presentation to a cross agency ‘jury’ of agency MDs, covered Insight, Communications and Health: the three core areas of Creston Unlimited.
So it was with trepidation and excitement that the four of us from Marketing Sciences arrived at Creston House for the introductory day back in April. This day was very much as it says on the tin: we were introduced to Creston Unlimited as a whole by the Group CEO, Barrie Brien, and broadly to the agencies within Creston. We also had the introductory spotlight turned to us, with some activities based on the psychometric test we had completed before the big day, which identified our personality profiles (should you visit the Marketing Sciences offices, you might notice the Lego pieces atop our computer screens: these identify our profiles so we know how to most effectively communicate with each other).
However the most crucial introduction of the day was to the brief. We were told about the mysterious world of babies and formula milk; not something that it seemed many of us had much knowledge of. Then, with our new-found understanding and the challenges we faced still ringing in our ears, we got to work.
Across May and into June, we were further acquainted with the worlds of Insight, Comms and Health, with a day focused on each. The Insight day showed us the ways in which research methodologies could help us to provide the insight we would need to create the best pitches possible.
The Comms and Health days were also very interesting, introducing us our sister companies – including some of the fantastic projects they have delivered. They were also crucial to understanding some parts of the brief; and helped us shape our ideas into deliverables.
All too soon the big day – pitch day – arrived. After a few last tweaks and several practise run-throughs, we were ready, and team by team we presented our pitches to a judging panel of Managing Directors from across Creston. After a tense wait, the two finalists were announced: and we were delighted to hear that Greg from Marketing Sciences Unlimited had made it through as part of team 8.
Though the rest of us were naturally a little disappointed not to make it through to the final, my team were extremely proud of what we had achieved, with a lot of hard work and a really strong team effort. This seemed to be the case across the board – the judges commented on how high the standard of presentations were, and that there had been a strong debate to decide who to put through.
The two final teams had a daunting new panel of judges to present to, which included Emmanuelle Grimbert, the UK Marketing Director of Danone Nutricia, as well as Barrie and several other Creston Board Directors. After two impressive pitches in the final, the winning team was announced – congratulations to team 7! With the twist that one of the great ideas from the runners up is to be taken forward, Emmanuelle nicely summed up the day by saying ‘we should be confident with our future with talent like that coming through the organisation’.
And so Next Gen 2015 came to a happy conclusion; with all of us having gained a little more knowledge about Creston, as well as some new friends. Bring on the alumni event!
Next Generation 2015 (thanks to Creston Unlimited for the photo)
Becky McGee is a Senior Research Executive in the financial, B2B and technology team at Marketing Sciences Unlimited.Subscribe