In Profile: Collaborative Creations

With signs pointing to a return to some sense of normality in the live events sector, TPi checks in with Collaborative Creations’ Tom Wilkes to discuss what advice he is giving to his clients as we all prepare for mass gatherings to return.

“We moved into our new building two weeks before the first lockdown,” began Wilkes, speaking to TPi over the phone as we went though the usual ‘how has the past 14-months been for you’ conversation. As regulations slowly begin to ease in the UK, Wilkes, Co-Founder and Director of Collaborative Creations, believes that now is the prime time to ease back into working life and start rebuilding the connections that have laid dormant for such a long time.

Having worked in the industry for a number of years for the likes of White Light and CHAUVET, during his time on the road, Wilkes noticed a demand among his clients for an in-house business development manager, but very few had the funds or the time to bring someone in. “This was the spark that would lead to Collaborative Creations,” he explained. 

“We do the jobs that you know are important but not urgent. Feeling like a full-time employee but at a fraction of the cost.” Officially forming in 2019, Collaborative Creations offers event industry-specific PR and content, business development, sales, training, and digital marketing services. “We are not salespeople,” he assured while laying out the company’s USP. 

A world away from cold calling, Wilkes explained how Collaborative Creations’ goal was to develop the company’s network by bringing more people into its circle. “In essence, Collaborative Creations is all about listening to clients and then offering practical solutions and, arguably more importantly, knowing when you might not have a solution,” he stated. “It’s important to know that we won’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole.”

After a year, Wilkes and the team proudly took the keys of their new facility a short walk from Waterloo in the heart of South Bank. The initial idea was to create a space that could be used for hot-desking for clients as well as a meeting or training space. 

“We moved in two weeks before the lockdown and we had to send everyone home,” stated Wilkes, although, ever the optimist, he explained that this had provided the team with the opportunity to fix up the space so it was ready for when the industry returns. “We’re trying to focus our model around this building and create a relaxed atmosphere as well as a location to check out some of our clients’ latest products from the likes of Follow-Me and AED Audio.” Other clients that feature equipment in the Collaborative Creations space include LED Blade, Core Lighting and Briteq.  

Despite the troubling time, Wilkes and the team have continued to connect with people and businesses throughout this forced hiatus. “We have continued to introduce people and act as the go-between to aid in some rather creative collaboration,” he revealed. The team has expanded during this time, with the company bringing on more people on both the Social and PR side of the business.  

With the events industry poised to return, Wilkes gave some of the advice he had already been giving to his clients to ensure they are in the best possible position. “From a marketing point of view, we have been reminding people that this is the prime time to be visible. Your clients need to remember you are still there. After such a long time away, some may not recall everyone they used to work with and sadly there are some clients that may have disappeared during this time. Now is the time to put your head above the parapet.” 

Wilkes also expressed the need to ease back into the fast-paced industry. “This is the time to grab a coffee or lunch with a client and catch up. To go straight into four-week rehearsals after over a year of inactivity is going to be stressful and it’s important to ease yourself back in.” 

To close, Wilkes expressed his excitement in continuing to expand the Collaborative Creations team as well as bringing in more clients. He expressed that the door of Collaborative Creations is always open to the industry, even if it’s just for a brew and a catch up.

This article originally appeared in issue #262 of TPi, which you can read here.

Photos: Collaborative Creations