Since joining this industry I have met a smorgasbord of characters: from the idle to the frenetic, from the unenthused to the ultra-passionate. Fay Sharpe, vice president at BCD Meetings & Events and founder-shareholder of Zibrant, is very much the latter. Speaking on the phone I can feel her energy overloading the line as she takes me through what makes Zibrant, now an arm of BCD after being bought in 2016, so special.
“Best of both,” she says, “that would be a good headline for you.” And indeed it is. Sharpe explains that since BCD purchased Zibrant, the companies have pooled their best resources in an effort to build both brands. “The results have been positive,” she says. “Zibrant has carried over its core pillars. We spent six months looking at strategies and quickly established that strength and skills were going to be key in the charge ahead.
“The most important aspect is how we work with clients. I’m all about passion for the client, and sometimes in a big agency that important personal connection can be lost. It is so important to us that we maintain that ‘small agency’ feel, and our clients really appreciate that.”
Indeed, but how do they ensure their standards? Sharpe explains: “We take an approach that is somewhat different to other agencies. We don’t take on a project if we don’t think we can do it well. There is no point pursuing something if you don’t believe in it.
“It is so important to understand the client’s brand; we want to know what it is they want to achieve. As such we have invested heavily in bringing in the right creative people. Our in-house creative team stands at 15, a mix of filmmakers [not video makers], technical directors, designers and so on.”
BCD and Zibrant works as one team, and have benefitted from each other’s existing reputations and global footholds, and there is plenty to look forward to over the next year. Sharpe says: “We will continue to build our live events brand with experts, and we are working on a strategic meetings offering. Clients want structured meetings and we are working on putting together an amazing corporate package.
“Also new will be our life sciences offering, a whole new creative twist for which we are currently recruiting. It has already won us two global accounts.
“Then there is a new sports division on the horizon in the UK. Business in sports is something that is a bit under-represented in the UK and we are going to change that.”
How would Sharpe summarise the business ethos? “We care about building relationships. We have partnerships rather than business relationships. It all comes from the inside. If we are doing our jobs, then our partners will be the ones benefitting.”