Experiential Marketing and Event Management: The Reality
Nick Morgan is CEO of The Big Cat Group — made up of event production agency, The Fair and experiential agency, House of Experience. Nick’s agencies have run events and campaigns for the likes of Secret Cinema, Global Gathering and Coca-Cola.
What are the ingredients for an award winning experiential marketing campaign?
Pushing the boundaries of conformity. This often means challenging client briefs and our creative teams. Brands can no longer simply sell to target consumers; consumers have many more influencing factors in making purchasing decisions than a decade ago. They test provenance and are looking for a “brand connection” that is aligned with their own beliefs, this means traditional sampling campaigns are becoming less and less relevant.
What are your favourite kinds of campaigns to manage?
My favourite campaigns challenge conformity and our abilities as an agency. The events industry needs to be ever more creative to gain attention and that DNA is promoted throughout the Group’s agencies.
We were recently involved in the Live Xbox Survival Billboard which was an incredible activation where eight contestants made up a human billboard. It was a 24 hour challenge where the public voted on what elements the contestants had to endure to win the Lara Croft inspired get-away. This activation massively challenged our health and safety team but it was worth it.
What is the best part of your job?
Working with the people I do and it sounds terribly cliché, but without the team we wouldn’t have the success we have been fortunate to experience, especially in the last few years.
What is the worst part of your job?
The numerous invalid pitch requests we get from idea generating agencies who simply want free ideas. We used to invest so much time in responding and found in one year the cost of doing this exceeded £100,000.00. This made us review our inbound process which we feel is far more refined now. I support the PRCA’s campaign to charge to pitch as it would certainly help rule out the above. However I don’t think this will ever come to fruition unfortunately.
What is the best event you’ve been involved in this year?
There too are many to mention as over this year’s summer season alone, we delivered 50 plus events from small corporate festivals to the first ever Garage Nation Festival through to the launch of Grand Central in Birmingham.
What did you five year old self want to be?
I lived in Miami when I was younger and there was a US programme called Chips about motorcycle cops and I thought that was it! Give it a google if you want a laugh, they have some great haircuts.
Who do you admire the most?
People who have built a business of their own and not given up.
Someone who is an industry Leader has mentored me for the past 7 years and still does. I have great admiration for him especially given what he has achieved in the last year. He doesn’t like to be named however he does steer a very large portfolio of venues in Birmingham in the right direction!
What keeps you up at night?
It used to be cash-flow, one year a customer went into admin owing us £900k. This was one of the toughest years but I think experiences like this really do make you stronger — to get over something like that really tests your resilience.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I have been very fortunate to have had advice from many industry leaders. Recently, I was at a conference where Mike Bloomberg said to that in every organisation there are two types of people; Me and I and then We and Us. For me, it’s important to work with and for people with the We and Us mentality.
Connect here with Nick for more content from and news on the work of his agencies.