Wilkins: BMW drives Vista's new automotive focus

Vista's managing director, James Wilkins, talks to C&IT about the agency's recent success with automotive giant BMW and developing into new industry sectors.

VISTA's James Wilkins
VISTA's James Wilkins

BMW and MINI Group are your first automotive clients. How did you move into this industry?

It started with relationships. I met BMW’s general manager of events, Yvonne Holden, and we built a rapport. We invested a huge amount of time trying to make sure we fully understood the brand and how we could complement its teams. You can’t walk into any business and just get it right. You have to show a general level of care and understanding if you’re going to work with it. In May we delivered four back-back conferences and gala dinners for the group. It was the first major piece of business we’d won following the VISTA rebrand from Logistik at the start of the year, so we were very happy with that.

What were the challenges of breaking into a new sector?

Moving into a new sector is hugely complicated. It requires everyone on your team to get in line with the client’s values – not just a select few. It’s all about depth of understanding. You need to work out how they like to receive information, how they like to give information and understand the dynamic behind that brand. For example, if you are working with a luxury brand, you need to understand what drives their sales market and ensure your creative focus is completely in line with this. For us with BMW it was about gaining a throughout understanding of the key messages they wanted to put out there. 

What advice would you give to other agencies looking to expand into a new sector?

Take your time and don’t be short-term greedy. We’ve spent two years building our relationship with BMW and it’s really crucial to build that bond and then keep it going. We’re delighted to have such a massive client in this sector but at the moment we’re not looking to expand into other automotive brands. Building trust and showing that you really care is incredibly important and that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re very focused on nurturing and growing our existing relationship. 


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