Why Partners Andrew Aldridge Crossed the Pond After 17 Years
The Big Apple. A place where dreams are made. Where stars are born. It's a hell of a town.
I don't want to be overly indulgent with this piece. But it's personally a very proud moment to see an agency that you started almost two decades ago open its doors across the pond too.
And to do so in a global mega city like New York is even more thrilling. New York is the place you go when you want to prove yourself with the best. To perform at the highest level, in the biggest market. This isn't some old-fangled nostalgia, left over from when John, Paul, George and Ringo tried to make it Stateside. Even today it's still seen as a big thing - being successful in New York is the ultimate challenge.
People aren’t asking why we want to take Partners Andrews Aldridge to the U.S. That's relatively obvious. It's a hugely exciting market, offers scale like never before, and allows you the opportunity to do things both for the world's most populist and well known brands, as well to be innovative and at the heart of more niche brands too.
But people are asking 'why now?' After all, it's not as if many UK-based agencies have upped sticks and made the transition these past few years. Plenty have headed the other way, taking their New York brand of agency to London, but few have returned the compliment. And we’ve had 18 years to do it before now. So what’s changed?
My answer to this question comes not just down to timing, but having the right positioning too. Partners is now in a unique position where we have a product, a set of services, and most importantly a culture, that can travel. Nowadays clients are looking for creativity in all areas. They're not just looking for transformational ideas, but creativity in innovation, creativity in data, knowledge around content, products and distribution.
It's always been important to me, for instance, that the time and day that you speak to someone can be the idea. It may not be as obvious on the face of it, and it may not be the platform that everyone likes to obsess over, but that insight, that understanding of customer targeting, can be just as creative. It's an understanding that clients are embracing more and more as their marketing budgets get more fragmented and they need to look at alternative ways to engage and build relationships.
That requires innovation, but it also requires a shared culture between agency and client. Collaboration has always been in Partners’ DNA, but clients are having to respond to that too. In the UK they like working with us because we understand each other, we can translate their challenges and collaborate to create ideas that truly change behaviour. And in the US, where clients are looking for an added layer of creativity and innovation in their CRM, that’s all the enticing.
So it’s not about creating a bigger ship to sail across stormy shores. It’s about tying the flotilla together. Being part of Engine allows us to do what we do in the UK - deliver for clients, develop new disciplines, new products, new relationships with fellow Engine specialist companies - in a market that’s ripe for it. We’ve now got an offering at Partners that can travel, and we’ve got our wingman by our side. This is a new beginning. The opportunity for UK agencies to evolve in the US is huge. Hopefully you can see why now is time to really take advantage.
Written by Steve Aldridge, Creative Partner and Chairman of Partners Andrews Aldridge