Simon Hambley: Specialists in Brand Engagement and Our Mission Is To Create Repeated Positive Captivating Brand Experiences That Deliver Superior Returns for Our Clients

August 5, 2022

Strata are specialists in brand engagement and our mission is to create repeated positive captivating brand experiences that deliver superior returns for our clients.

Tell us about yourself?

I have always been interested in creativity in live performance. I started work in the theatre at a young age. Learing all about lighting, sound, set design and how to bring a performance to live.

I moved into what was then the fledgling live events industry in teh late 80’s and have developed and broadened my skills and career as the industry has gone from it’s early days of ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘imagination’ to the highly developed strategic brand building industry its become.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Brace yourself. The first three years have been a roller coaster. We took a huge risk in forming the business the way we did. We were committted to buying two businesses and to pay for it our strategy had to work and make a profit. I’m pleased to say it did and at the end of year one we hit all our targets.

But no one forsaw the pandemic, which hit us at the start of second year and wiped 50% of our predicted business for that year when expected to be generating growth and profits. We had to adapt our plans quickly, keep a very close eye on cash and continue to think long term.

We knew that our strategy was still good and it was just a case of being disciplined and patient. And the old adage that cash is king is absolutely right. It is very very easy to spend money. It is much harder to generate and keep cash.

That was always our focus and we’ve worked very hard on developing our processes so that we know exactly where we are financially on any given day.

What problem does your business solve?

We help big brands communicate and engage with audiences. This could be consumers, staff or stakeholders.

Our expertise is in translating the brand essence and campaign objectives into a memorable experience. Through repeated positive experiences we build brand loyalty and ultimately captivation.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

We are are inspired by creating change, motivation or communication to an audience that then acts in a positive way.

Face to face engagement is a special part of the marketing and communication activity for any brand and a great piece of activation or communication can create instant change in the motivation of a consumer or staff member and create lasting loyalty and motivation.

What is your magic sauce?

What makes us unique is our layered offering. Our Strata. We offer clients one touchpoint. We develop the strategy, the creative ideas and then we own and manage all of the delivery through one touchpoint. Whether that be to consumers, business or staff.

The benefit to our clients is brand consistency, quality across all channels and business efficiencies that can be reinvested to deliver future gains.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Our goal is to become the leading integrated brand engagement agency. We will do that through a combination of organic and non-oraganic growth and continuing to champion our unique offering to more brands who can benefit from our approach.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The pandemic was a huge challenge. We had to ‘hold back’ when we wall wanted to keep pushing forward. It was like being in a time warp as we waiting for the restrictions to lift and business activity to return.

We also had to quiclly invest new digital offerings. In terms of issues the main one would be raising capital. Banks or other investors dont neccessarily understand what we do. They dont see it as a ‘resilient’ business.

They see it as discretionary and too fragmented to generate scale. We dont see it that way of course. We understand that this is a growing and powerful industry that now sits alongside digital marketing as a crucial activity for any brand that wants to differentiate and create advantage.

And the fragmented nature of the industry is a big opportunity for any business that wants to grow as the indutry matures.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

One thing we’ve done successfully is collaborate with similar businesses for mutual success. Working with PR companies to win bigger contracts where collective skills are neeed.

Sharing ideas with competitors etc. So many people shy away from collaboration. We’d love to hear from othe businesses that might help us enhance our broader offering. Digital, design etc.

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