Written by Christos Karakanna | UK
on April 01, 2024

Recently we took over thirty client service and account leaders to sunny Palma, Mallorca to finesse our client-facing skills and build our internal culture. And, wow! Having done these in the past, myself and Kate Adams (our COO), knew how useful it would be but, the input, reaction and results we saw over just a few days was truly outstanding. 

We had a clear agenda centered around our value proposition of ‘Expect More’, and we absolutely delivered on that and more - not just by the great content many created, whether they were present or not, but the enthusiasm to be better for our clients, to improve our culture, our processes and our outputs. To me that’s the mark of a great agency. Never stop learning, be brave, but put what’s right for your clients at the centre of it.

Because of all the great content and lessons from Palma I’m going to write a few blogs that talk about some of the specific offerings and changes we are going to implement for the benefit of our clients, like ScaleUP and UP Motion, but I think it’s also good to talk about the overall theme and how we’re looking to build our internal culture for everyones benefit.

So here’s a whistle-stop tour of what we covered:

MINDSET - as a client service team, we should always be working on building relationships with our clients; that means understanding them inside out, their market, audience, products and services and most importantly, their business problems. This, coupled with nurturing personal relationships, makes for great agency / client work (and more fun!). 

APPROACH - UP THERE, EVERYWHERE are global, integrated problem solvers. We aren’t a yes agency. We are a thinking agency. We aren’t passive. We are active. We have a unique model that offers our clients and our internal teams, massive advantages, so we have to make sure we utilise it to the best of our abilities.

DELIVERY - as an agency, and particularly as a client services team, we should never forget or undervalue the importance of service and delivery. That’s why we continually work to ensure the team delivers on time, on budget, and to an exceptional level.

TEAM - UP’s team and agency set-up is unique. This means we can build a team completely around our clients needs (something most agencies claim, but can’t deliver) so building our internal team culture, familiarity and general awareness of our immense talent pool, is key.

INTEGRATION - one of my favourite areas! As a result of our growth and acquisition strategy, we have both SWC Partnership & UP for Digital as part of the UP group. Both teams bring expertise and specialists where we need them, so like any global, multi-agency group, working on integration is a must. It helps when your teams are awesome, and we have some real collective agency power at UP Group that massively benefits our clients, so bringing everyone together was both beneficial and will be key to our future success. 

SELLING OUR BRAINS - we are brief makers, not brief takers here at UP. That doesn’t mean we aren’t interested in the small projects, in fact the complete opposite, we believe a small job gives us an opportunity to show our clients what we can do. Instead, it means that our client service team will add value to every brief that comes across their desk, continually working to make briefs work harder for better outcomes

CREATIVE - the importance of client service in the creative product can not be underplayed. The collective heads of these areas came together to lay out our aspirations and plans going forward, led by Eric Dowell & Cordell Burke who introduced the creative cadre and creative aspirations for the agency over the coming 24 months.

All of this was supplemented by some guest spots from key areas and offerings we have across UP, which were presented in more detail by the smart brains behind them. We covered AI and our #AlwaysAddHuman approach as an agency. We introduced ScaleUP, our new offer for the organisations in the Scale-UP phase, providing them with the marketing expertise that grows with them. We reiterated the prowess of UP Lab and our research offering and laid out plans for UP Motion that bring all our moving image skills under one pretty impressive umbrella. And not to forget our global media strategy, planning and buying offering with our partners The Hybrid House.

It was a packed agenda, crammed with opportunities to discuss, learn and absorb, but sometimes it’s the unplanned things that help to bring the teams together. Through our universal love of food, wine and talking - breakfasts, lunches, dinners, walks, swims, and late-night bar visits meant that a truly global team spent some invaluable time in each other's company.

Being the world’s first cloud-based agency is a great and disruptive part model and we are very good at making it work, but sometimes spending time together provides a spark that cannot be replicated. 

And that is exactly our job in client services - picking the right approach for the challenges ahead. I’m sure all we learnt in Palma 2024 will support us and our clients going forward.

“Initiating time for your team to take a beat and focus solely on the challenge in front of them, is an exercise that not only injects energy back into the heart of the organisation but it will have a direct impact on your bottom line. A team aligned to the core goals and objectives of the organisation, is a united one, and we all know a united team wins big.” - Kate Adams, COO



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