Rachel Bristow, Sky Media director of partnerships
Rachel Bristow, Sky Media director of partnerships
A view from Rachel Bristow

Rewarding the bold: the power of partnership

As the deadline for our inaugural Marketing New Thinking Awards draws near - this Friday 24 July - our judge, Rachel Bristow, Sky Media's director of partnerships, explores the importance of one of the categories - the Power of Partnership.

Find out more about the Marketing New Thinking Awards - deadline 24 July

The UK enjoys a prominent position in the advertising and marketing world, though we tend not to shout about it too much (not British!). We might be smaller than the US, Japan, China and a lot of other countries but we’re doing world-leading work and other countries look to us and learn from our experiences.

The rewards await for those imaginative and bold enough to stray beyond conventions and into the realms of partnerships

We are blessed with a vibrant media sector. Perfect it isn’t, but the UK’s media is free from political control, well-regulated and competitive. The result is that we have an internationally renowned press, our TV is loved here and throughout the world, and our digital credentials are world class.

Although the media market is healthy, it is also growing increasingly complex and sophisticated. I feel - and observe - that we are at a pivotal stage when new commercial models are taking us beyond the straightforward buying and selling of media, and into the realms of deeper and more multi-faceted partnerships. Check my job title and say, "Well she would say that, wouldn’t she". But then also think about what is happening, and why.

Everything is awesome.. except it’s not

To expand on my theme, the UK has some fantastic organisations which help to further our knowledge and understanding of advertising effectiveness. To pick a few, the IPA runs the peerless Advertising Effectiveness Awards; Thinkbox invests millions in original research; BARB is renowned for its audience research prowess; and WPP is a UK company which not only runs some of the world’s most successful creative and media-buying agencies, but many research companies, too.

When agencies or advertisers try new approaches, there is this underlying ecosystem observing what works and what doesn’t, measuring and recording the effects accurately. We know for definite that using more than one medium is more effective.

With complexity comes time, trouble, expense, and difficulties galore - but there is a route through the maze

We know for sure that TV brings out the best in other media, and so on. The result is an ever-increasing number of highly complicated multi-media, multi-platform, integrated activities. There are some great examples we all know, whether they are award-winners or not: Volvo, John Lewis, Lego…

Talking of Lego I’m about to break into song: "Everything is Awesome!" Except it’s not. With complexity comes time, trouble, expense, and difficulties galore.

In our experience, there is a route through the maze. There is a model that is sufficiently flexible, yet retains shape and focus. It’s called partnership.

I would use the term partnership to describe any arrangement which goes beyond buying and selling. Working together side by side in pursuit of better outcomes is a sound basis for achieving better outcomes, with one key caveat: it only applies to those circumstances where objectives are in alignment.

For those who are adept at dealing with multiple stakeholders, grey areas, multi-faceted arrangements and layers of complexity, the rewards await whether in the form of commercial success, or at an awards ceremony designed to recognise the efforts of those who were imaginative and bold enough to stray beyond media trading conventions and into the realms of partnerships.

Find out more about the Marketing New Thinking Awards - deadline 24 July


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