Review: Five Agencies to Watch in 2016 - Ashfield Meetings and Events

C&IT caught up with global managing director of Ashfield Meetings and Events, Nicola Burns, to find out about the expansion of the agency through both the Ashfield and SPARK THINKING brands.

Nicola Burns, global managing director of Ashfield Meetings and Events
Nicola Burns, global managing director of Ashfield Meetings and Events

How was 2016 for Ashfield?

We reviewed and invested in our core service offerings to position the agency for growth, which included the introduction of a hub strategy to align with our clients and their meeting requirements.

As a result we moved our US office in Pennsylvania into new premises. We are also relocating our Indianapolis office into larger space.

We also launched our ‘Science of Meetings’ approach which offers insight-led personalised healthcare professional experiences. It resonated very well with our clients and has resulted in an increase in the multi-channel communication activity we are now providing.

What were your goals for 2016 and did you achieve them?

We wanted to develop SPARK THINKING as a consultancy and communications brand. In addition to utilising the brand to offer our existing clients a blended team approach, we have diversified by winning financial, automotive, technology and public sector business. Together Ashfield and SPARK THINKING provide a broader, more diverse skill set to our clients and a more powerful communications offering.

We also used the strength of the Ashfield brand in the healthcare sector to expand outside of pharmaceuticals. By adopting a health first and sector second mindset we have opened doors into health beauty, health foods, and nutraceuticals. These represent a significant growth opportunity in 2017.  

What have the biggest highlights and successes of 2016 been?

We were particularly proud that we won a prestigious UK Employee Experience Award for our learning and development programme. This is because everyone in the business contributed towards it and it demonstrates that we put our employees first. We invest a lot of time and resource into providing our employees with the opportunity to have a long and successful career with us.

What are your plans and focus for next year?

We will be investing in new and innovative ways of servicing our existing clients as well as focusing on our new business pipeline. To help drive this innovation, we recently held a future technologies advisory board and are currently exploring how we can strengthen our technological offering with strategic partnerships. Our content team are involved in these discussions to ensure it is aligned with our approach to personalising audience learning preferences - as we reach a tilting point with digital native audiences this is critical.

There is lots of talk about the uncertainty surrounding BREXIT and the recent US election. Whilst this hasn’t impacted us to date we will be keeping avery close eye on all the external influences that can impact our industry and our clients’ event activity.


See more:

Review: Five Agencies to Watch in 2016- The Appointment Group

Five Agencies to Watch in 2016: How did they fare?

• For more breaking news, as well as in-depth features and case studies, sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker here

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
Freeman hires new creative director amid 'significant' growth

Freeman hires new creative director amid 'significant' growth

Brand experience company makes appointment to lead its experiential creative team from the Soho office in London.

Event planners' top picks for Singapore revealed

Event planners' top picks for Singapore revealed

We asked two experts who have organised events in the country to share their experiences of the sovereign state.

How planners can prepare for a terror attack

How planners can prepare for a terror attack

Counter-terrorism expert Richard Pendry has advice for event organisers on how to respond to critical incidents.

Defying convention: 6 brand new global venues

Defying convention: 6 brand new global venues

New and upcoming international convention centres across Asia, the Americas and Europe.

Our view: Event planners aren’t security guards for drunk guests

Our view: Event planners aren’t security guards for drunk guests

Event organisers should not be placed in vulnerable or compromising positions, says C&IT’s senior reporter Ellie Kahn.

Pure Events appoints business development director

Pure Events appoints business development director

New hire will focus on broadening the agency's client base as it aims to work with more global companies.

16 ways to make conferences less wasteful

16 ways to make conferences less wasteful

Carbon-neutral events may not be possible yet, but there are big changes planners can make to help protect the planet.

Case study: Deviate Innovation Summit 2019

Case study: Deviate Innovation Summit 2019

The one-day summit in an unusual London location addressed the future of media consumption.

‘I’m sick of being asked why I’m charging’, says DMC manager

‘I’m sick of being asked why I’m charging’, says DMC manager

Event agencies and DMCs debate issues around cost and creativity during a panel discussion at C&IT’s Incentives Retreat.

New global MD for Ashfield Meetings & Events

New global MD for Ashfield Meetings & Events

Agency makes three appointments to its global leadership team, include HR and finance directors.

LATEST JOBS