We are Family – Global Agency Meeting Stuttgart 2021
We are Family is a global network of agencies who primarily deal in the kids and family space. On October 27th and 28th 2021, after a long pandemic-related hiatus, agency bosses from across the globe were once again able to meet up face-to-face. It provided an opportunity to share ideas, discuss current and upcoming developments, as well as have a much needed catch up!
Joining forces as an international agency allows us to develop and learn from one another, no matter the location. At the meet-up in Stuttgart, the various agencies were able to share their international insights and help create a global dialogue where we could all learn from one another. As Filippo Fiocchi of Italy’s Cimiciurri put it, “we are all leading agencies in our respective countries and work with the same approach, but with a special focus on country specific differences”. Understanding these differences can be a vital part of a successful marketing strategy.
Through We are Family, agencies are able to collaborate and learn from another; whether its regional differences or methodological insights. We are Family allows us to develop, adapt and implement campaigns globally. Children, teens, young adults and families all have different needs and interests to cater to in different parts of the world. We are Family allows us to tap into these differences through our international expertise. Maurice Wheel, CEO of We are Family UK, says, “When we integrate all colleagues from around the world: there’s 300 of us. The expertise that is available to us is vast. We have people in the entertainment space, in the social media space, in almost every space you can imagine. It’s great to have access to this wealth of knowledge.”
Aside from local insights, the network also provides creative power. The ideas we develop for our clients pass through the hands of top creatives from all over the world. This creative power was felt at our summit in Stuttgart. The creative energy was palpable, as synergies were created through collaboration. As Richard Verbeek of LVT Group put it, “we can achieve more as a network in terms of marketing, in terms of service [and] in terms of clients”.
The summit began with a leisurely breakfast followed by the conference room. We spoke about the network’s status quo and future visions, forms of cooperation, the expansion of sales channels, the simplification of structures and processes and our expectations of each other for further collaboration. We were able to learn from one another about the new services each agency is able to provide. We can then offer these services internationally. Since there are now so many cross-country campaigns, it was helpful to know what each agency has been up to over the last year.
Jimmi Andersen of Kid:vertising in Denmark, said that he appreciates the benefits from We are Family and looks forward to growing together. For Brehnen Knight, Chief Executive of Engage Youth Co. from San Diego, the summit was about collaboration; “There are a lot of things that we can talk about just based on open conversation. Building something big with this platform is super important”.
There was another benefit of the Stuttgart summit. After a long period of online meetings Borja Lopez-Niclos from We are Family Iberia was looking forward to meeting his colleagues in person. Nothing beats an in-person meeting when it comes to developing different business areas and Stuttgart was the perfect location to do so.
CEO of We are Family GAS, Rebecca Duden, saw the meeting in Stuttgart and the development of the network like this: “For us in the German-speaking market, this meeting is something very special. As the initiator of the network, we have succeeded in pointing out a vision that creates something unique: a global network specializing in a target group with a lot of power. Our goal is to have around 20 agencies on board by the end of 2022 and to grow together over the years. We are already holding interesting talks with heavyweights in the industry. What they all have in common is that they are excited about the idea of the network specializing in the target group and want to be a part of it.”
The first day passed with an afternoon full of input and presentations, with a further exchange over dinner. The next day also began with good conversations, as talks about future business goals and agency expansion were had. At the end of the convention it was once again obvious how important the network is for all partners. Maurice Wheeler summed it up by saying: “If you’re really wanting to talk about delivering genuinely global campaigns, you need to have people from genuinely around the world. So this is one of the biggest advantages being with American colleagues, Italian, German, French, Spanish. So when we are talking to clients we can genuinely offer a service that is actually international”.
Borja Lopez-Niclos put it perfectly at the end of the summit; “Finding other experts in the kids, youth and family space for us is the key. As the world is going global, that’s what our clients do, we need to grow with them and help them grow their businesses. For us the key is joining a firm like We are Family, but also being capable of deploying international brand campaigns aimed at engaging with our local markets”.
We are looking forward to many campaigns together, to sharing knowledge with our partners worldwide and to the next face-to-face meeting next year.
It was great to be able to attend the London Toy Fair 2022 with the team on Wednesday 26th January. I was excited to get a look into the top toy trends for this year and see what toys would soon be dropping to the market, and I wasn’t disappointed!
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