Recipe CEO Edward Glover talks to LBB about his creative predictions for the year, the rising role of procurement, and why brands need to get serious about web 3.
LBB> Let’s start with what you’re most excited about for 2023 when it comes to creativity and Recipe’s growth
Edward> What a great question to kick off as there’s a lot of things to be excited about as we embark on 2023. In terms of creativity we won some great clients last year, not least New York Bakery Co at the beginning of the year and Auto Trader in September. Our first campaign for Auto Trader was a really quick turnaround and the work launched a few weeks ago.
We’ve got a great relationship with Specialist Works, Auto Trader’s media agency, and I’m really proud of how well the two agencies worked together to produce a truly integrated campaign. It's great to say that it's getting fantastic results.
I’m also really excited about our new campaign for New York Bakery Co, it will be out in a few months and I think it’s going to really shift the dial for them so watch this space.
We also made a number of new appointments to our board at the end of last year. Oya Mustafa, Richard Green and Abeed Janmohammed. All three add diversity to our management team and will bring a fresh energy to help drive us forward.
Oya is our business development director bringing with her a wealth of experience from previous roles across the industry. Having worked at some of the UK’s largest media brands, she has a deep understanding of the full marketing ecosystem which enables her to provide a wider lens to how we approach creative to meet client needs.
Rich is our content director and with social strategy and content development being our fastest growing department last year - with big wins including a global social appointment by Zurich Insurance - it was really important to have his voice on the board.
Abeed has joined as a non-exec and is an experienced growth and M&A advisor. He’ll be helping to shape the direction of the agency over the next three years. I’m really excited about working with the new board to see what we can deliver this year!
LBB> What were some of the lessons and insights you picked up in 2022 that you’re applying to 2023?
Edward> I think 2022 was a really interesting year and one we definitely found challenging. One thing I think we got right was landing on our final flexible working policy. We’ve ended up with something we’ve titled 3+ Core. Essentially it’s three days a week and these aren’t set as we didn’t want to foster a culture of Tues, Weds, Thurs. The ‘Core’ part is we want people to be around in core hours in the middle of the day so we get that interaction with people crossing over while they’re in the office. The + part is that if the business requires it then you’re in up to five days with no questions asked. This might be when we’re pitching or it’s just an intense job and it’s better we’re all together.
I’m actually pretty much back in five days a week but I think the learning from last year is how powerful and rewarding the new flexibility is for people.
It’s great that we’ve lost all the baggage of clock watching and everyone just gets on to deliver great work for our clients be that from the office, in a park or at home. I think some companies are still struggling with this but everyone seems to have bought into our philosophy and enjoying being back in the office the majority of the time.
LBB> How do you predict the ad industry will evolve this year and what trends have you noticed?
Edward> I’m never very good at predictions but I believe greater integration between creative, production and media will continue to play out. We’re seeing more and more briefs for all three services combined, with greater demand from existing clients to diversify their SOW from strategic creative planning through to web development and social activation. I think for mid-sized clients it’s a really powerful and compelling offering. With the continued proliferation of media channels, having one agency to navigate the ever expanding landscape is a really powerful option which can simplify the complex.
This is just following a trend that marketeers are under pressure to deliver more for less. We are all feeling the pinch from the cost of living crisis and I think all businesses are also looking for cost efficiencies so I think the role of procurement is going to be even more important for brands this year. We have seen that marketing and procurement teams are working even more closely together as opposed to being siloed which should have a positive impact in both efficiency in the process but also having more transparent and direct conversations from the onset.
LBB> And what do you expect will be left behind in 2022?
Edward> The competition! No I’m joking, I think there’s a bright future for the independent agencies that are left as there’s not many of us at this size now.
LBB> What’s one thing you think brands really need to get right this year or pay particular attention to?
Edward> It might be a bit early but I think brands need to start thinking about what web 3.0 is going to mean to them. There has been a lot of talk recently of the ‘metaverse’ which I’m not sure many people properly understand but the real game changer in the whole web 3, crypto, metaverse space is the ability to create unique digital assets.
At the moment they’re called NFTs (non fungible tokens) but I much prefer the term unique digital assets. Brands need to think through what possibilities this opens up for them and how they are going to control these assets in this new digital era. Coming from a computer science background my mind explodes when I think of what real world applications are going to come from being able to create unique digital assets that have a real world value and can be transferred instantly from consumer to consumer for very little cost. I’m writing a paper titled “Web 3.0 & The Value Proposition - What is it and why is it important for brands?” You’ll have to come back to me in a month to chat about this in detail once I’ve finished it.
LBB> And what’s in the pipeline for Recipe?
Edward> I’m not sure where to start. We've got so much going on right now! 2023 is going to be a tough year generally but with everything we’re developing it’s going to be really exciting. I hope we continue to get closer and have a deeper relationship with our clients as we now have the ability to be a really high level strategic partner, driving growth and innovation which we simply couldn’t offer a few years ago.
From an internal perspective we’re going to fully integrate our account services team so we can provide a holistic solution regardless of what services clients use us for. By doing this it will really bring together our complete offering and will enable us to deliver even better strategic propositions for our clients, from brand platforms to digital transformations. We will continue to lean on our award winning planning team to fuel our thinking and with further integration of our social team it will lead to more consistent, through-the-line campaigns.
We’ve also spent two years re-building our internal agency management system which I’m really excited to launch next month. It should make working with clients much more efficient and we’re going to roll it out as a SaaS product for other service based companies to use later in the year.
Our award-winning in-house production team have spent a long time sourcing partners in the virtual production world so we have the ability to offer solutions using the Unreal engine and volumetric capture which really helps us and our clients deliver on their ESG responsibilities.
We’ve also partnered with a leading AR / VR firm and a back end web 3 company so we’ll be able to offer clients more cutting edge technology to keep them ahead of their competitors.
LBB> If you had to pick one word to stand for what you hope 2023 will be like, what would it be?