The SET Guy
Guy Tremlett, creative director at SET Live, set his sights on a career as a product designer… and then caught the events bug.
What drew you to the events industry?
I studied Product Design at university and was all set to become a product designer.
Then I was invited to show my final project (an interactive kiosk for the Design Museum) at an exhibition called New Designers - it was seen by the creative director at a brand experience agency called Park Avenue and I was invited in for an interview.
I initially declined as I knew nothing about it and wasn’t interested - he actually had to call me up and persuade me to come and see him (something I am eternally grateful for).
Once I went in I was blown away - I loved the idea of what he called ‘real multimedia’ the connection of creativity, design and content to produce these wonderful experiences. I started as a research assistant and left ten years later as creative director.
It was the best possible training for what we do today and a brilliant period of my life.
How long have you been in the industry and what is the most significant change you’ve seen in that time?
I’ve been doing this for a rather frightening 24 years and although much has changed with regard to the technology we use to realise and share projects with wider audiences - at the heart our approach hasn’t changed a great deal: appropriate ideas, effectively realised that connect people with brands.
There is and has always been extraordinary power in live experiences (both commercial and personal) and I’m very grateful that more and more companies are understanding how effective it can be as a marketing channel.
Do you think that the events industry has overtaken the ‘traditional’ advertising industry in promoting brands?
I’m not sure it’s a race. I think what we can offer as an experience agency is the opportunity for brands to create a deeper relationship with their customers, but there is still a need to drive awareness and perhaps there are better channels to achieve this.
We love nothing more than working alongside a client's other agencies to create a campaign that unites ATL, Digital and Experience - that’s when (all) our work becomes really powerful and the client gets the very best from us.
Other creative agencies report a growing demand from clients to provide metrics to measure an event’s success; do you do this, how do you do it, and is it enough?
This is the age-old question and it's something that plagues our industry. There’s no consistent metric that can be used to compare our work with others, no magic number or methodology that demonstrates its effectiveness.
But what we can do is work with clients to develop a clear approach to measuring ROI on specific projects across a number of different areas to try and give a clearer picture what’s working and what needs improving. This includes a wide range of measures both in and beyond the experience that we can combine with social monitoring and direct feedback to demonstrate the impact of an activity.
Brexit is on the horizon and the events industry is worth £42bn to the UK annually. Are you confident the creative events sub-sector has a loud enough voice in the ear of government? Are you worried about the next year?
I am afraid that I don't think the events industry is even on the government’s agenda as a stand-alone industry, but hopefully they consider us as part of the marketing and services industries that make up an even bigger portion of GDP.
We are definitely worried, it would be crazy not to be with clients overseas and projects already confirmed for the second half of 2019 across Europe. The hardest part is the not knowing.
Our project and production teams are used to working in challenging circumstances, we pride ourselves on it, we are confident we will make whatever scenario happens work but at the moment the uncertainty makes it very difficult to plan.