Our Digital Agency Showcase looks at exciting projects being produced by some of the North West's brightest talents. We regularly interview the creative heads of various digital agencies, to bring you examples of their finest work and champion why our region is such a great place for creative types to live and work.
This week we take a look at the innovative digital work being produced by Creative Spark - a highly creative agency based in Manchester's trendy Northern Quarter.
Creative Spark would give any London agency a run for its money - set up in 2003 by Founder and Creative Director, Neil Marra, the agency is young, innovative and highly creative.
With a head office in Manchester and studios in London and Leeds, the team of 20 creative sparks produce cutting edge digital projects across branding, design and motion. They have helped their clients all over the world to create eye-catching and head-turning creative solutions and their impressive client list includes; Peter Kay, Manchester United, Nike and Universal Music.
Founder and Creative Director, Neil Marra.
Neil oversees the creative output from Creative Spark and the strategic direction of the agency, he says "I founded Creative Spark in 2003 as a creative agency in Manchester, but with the skill set of a London agency. Ten years on and we have grown to a team of 20 and moved into our studio - Spark Towers. Our size has meant we have adopted digital projects and talent seamlessly into our creative team."
1. Hello and thank you for letting us interview you for our digital agency showcase. What is your main job role and responsibility within Creative Spark?
I founded Creative Spark in 2003 and I am also Creative Director, so I oversee all of the creative output from the agency, along with the strategic direction we take as a business.
2. Please could you pick a case study and explain why you have chosen it to represent Creative Spark's work?
In June 2013 Creative Spark won a competitive pitch to design and build a new HTML website for one of the leading talent booking agents - International Talent Booking (ITB). Their main objectives were; to have an easy to navigate talent calendar and seamless booking system.
The new website we designed and built now offers; full screen images of the talent represented by ITB - such as huge international stars Adele, Laura Marling, Kasabian and Bob Dylan, and promoters, festival and event organisers plus corporate and private clients can now enjoy a slick online experience when choosing and booking their artists.
I chose this project to represent our work because it is a typical project for the Creative Spark digital team to undertake and it represents our client base.
3. How did you implement the campaign strategy from the brief you were set?
The brief was quite simple - to make the ITB website easy to navigate, make the presentation of the talent central to the website design and ensure the online booking system was seamless.
Here at Creative Spark we have a unique way of working - we work closely with our clients via our client relations' team so that the team can really get to know their clients' brands inside and out, meaning that all the brand attributes are represented when creative digital campaigns are designed for our clients.
The research into the ITB website campaign revealed the following objectives needed to be met;
- The smart new interface would set ITB apart from its competition by the design of a new easy navigation
- The new design allows immediate access to the agency's extensive artist roster, and
- The booking system would be straightforward.
4. Could you tell us what results were derived from the campaign strategy, and any positive feedback that Creative Spark received from the campaign?
Following this strategy, Creative Spark successfully built a fresh website for ITB that ticked all of their boxes.
The ITB website was launched in June 2013 with slick new navigation, talent presented at the centre of the website and an efficient new booking system.
Our client is delighted with the results and we continue to work with them on their digital marketing.
We have a strong background with the music industry, working with both Universal Music and SJM Concerts, so we were thrilled to work with ITB. This website reflects the amazing talent ITB represent and ultimately brings live acts to the people - we were very pleased with the new look ITB website.
ITB Media & Communications Manager Jill Pearson said: "This site is the first step towards revamping ITB's online offering; digital is playing an increasingly important role in the music industry and ITB will be adding new features to our website and social channels over the next few months. It's a really exciting development, and we're really happy with the website Creative Spark has built to bring our vision to life."
5. Could you give a top tip to any perspective digital marketing candidates who would like to work in an agency like Creative Spark?
To work at an agency like ours, I would say first and foremost, it is imperative to gain as much experience as you can within the industry. Get in touch with agencies and see if you can shadow a member of staff or provide some work experience to get your foot in the door.
A varied skills set is also vital, particularly if you wish to work in an agency for creative reasons e.g. if you're an illustrator or designer, ensure that you set up a meeting with the creative director to present a portfolio of your best work. It is also important that you make sure your work is varied - at Creative Spark our designers are skilled in web design, offline design, branding and motion design. So, with this in mind, choose your showcase pieces wisely.
Confidence and the right attitude is key, it may seem obvious, but being friendly and approachable can go a long way. Creative Agencies are usually social, so having an individual personality will stand you in good stead. In addition, agency life is fast paced and energetic so we are always looking for people who are willing to face anything with a smile and a 'can-do' attitude. Be willing to learn new things and be eager to grow creatively!
The Candidate's comment:
Creative Spark is a great example of a forward thinking, creative agency offering a range of skills from a highly talented team. We love their work and look forward to seeing more of their slick, well-crafted digital genius from this friendly bunch of creatives. Good luck for the rest of 2013 from the team at The Candidate.