Ashfield's Nicola Burns cites 'clear brand guidelines' as key to global success

Ashfield Meetings & Events took the C&IT Awards trophy for Global Agency of the Year. C&IT caught up with global managing director, Nicola Burns, on the secrets of their success.

Ashfield Meetings & Events scooped the C&IT Global Agency of the Year award
Ashfield Meetings & Events scooped the C&IT Global Agency of the Year award

You've just taken the title for Global Agency of the Year at the C&IT Awards. What does it take to become a successful global agency?

I don’t think it’s necessarily about having lots of offices and presence in different countries. It’s more about an attitude. We encourage our offices not to work in isolation, but to support each other and work under brand guidelines. We have global services to support our different offices and we make our offices look and feel the same everywhere we go. We now have branches in 21 locations, with most of our work done across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific markets.

How do you encourage your employees to get involved on a global level?

We really encourage people to travel and we offer lots of secondment opportunities. It means our staff have the chance to travel and learn about the business in different parts of the world. We have joint meetings and live conferences, with links between offices to connect people together. It gives us all the chance to see what’s going on in other offices, even if we can’t be there. Our staff also have plenty of training opportunities, such as bite-size programmes, which are delivered by our training team and cover a wide range of topics, including learning new technologies. We also have Spark Shorts, which are run by the staff for the staff. These sessions can cover anything from creative thinking to blog writing.

What are you plans for the growth?

We have several offices in the US and we’re expecting our business to grow there in the coming year. There’s been expansion in the Indianapolis office recently and we’re expecting our west coast office, based in San Bruno, to grow next. The US is a very different market to work in but we’re really trying to standardise our product offering and work on the culture of the organisation, to keep everyone in line with brand guidelines. We’ve had a successful year and we’re expecting positive results for 2015. With year end and a busy month, the C&IT Award couldn’t have come at a better time. It was a real boost for the team! 


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