Timebased: Our Year in Review

What an incredible year! Marks and Spencer’s very first Suit Panel Discussion, hosted by David Gandy, featured a group of dapper male influencers with tens of millions of Instagram followers. Kylie Minogue headlined in our Christmas lights switch on show in Covent Garden alongside the entire cast of 42nd Street. And we produced the GQ Men of the Year Awards, an event we’ve proudly delivered every year for twenty years!


On any given night we might be stopping traffic in central London, steering helicopters down the Thames or keeping Liam Gallagher out of trouble. We’ve produced festivals in Trafalgar Square, run red carpets in Leicester Square and announced celebrity awards in Berkeley Square. We’ve even hosted David Beckham in his pants!


And 2017 marked an even bigger landmark - 21 years in business. This year saw our team grow. Three Timebased babies. Jane Baker joining as COO to work alongside founder Richard Dodgson to drive strategy and growth. Flexible working hours. We even squeezed in a team trip to Iceland.


Every day, we’re thinking about what’s next for events. We’re proud of the long-term client relationships we’ve built but we know that every event needs to be better than the last. Looking back over the past 12 months and reflecting on the last 21 years, it’s been a blast!


Read more from Richard and Jane as they discuss the Timebased story…


You turned 21 this year. Looking back over all the incredible projects you’ve led, is there a standout project that showcases what makes Timebased unique?


Richard: David Beckham in his pants. It was for the launch of Emporio Armani in 2009.
Westminster Council allowed us to stop the traffic on Oxford Street, which was the last time it’s ever been done. We had an image of David Beckham rigged across the whole façade of Selfridges, which was covered with a reveal poster. When David walked out on stage, we dropped the poster for the grand reveal. It certainly attracted the attention of the crowd and press!


How has the events industry evolved since you started 21 years ago?


Jane: They’ve gone from being one-off, stand-alone events to being the central focus of an ongoing campaign across multiple channels. It’s especially rewarding when the event content or creative drives the rest of the campaign. It used to be the job of the ad agency to come up with that idea – now events agencies can take that lead.


Location, location, location. What venue trends have you seen this year?


Richard: We’ve always worked in unusual locations, so not in hotels or standard events spaces. I think that’s still the thing- trying to find those spaces central enough that they can be used just for a short window of time. There are a huge number of events that we’ve done where we’d be the first event company ever in the building. Right now, we’re still the only agency able to deliver corporate events in Berkeley Square Gardens. This gives our clients exclusive venue options that their competitors don’t have access to.


What are some of the major challenges you’ve faced this year and how have you pivoted to overcome them?


Richard: It’s often security considerations that are the biggest thing. I mean if you’ve got John Galliano on stage, what are the safety implications? You don’t really have to think about that sort of thing every day, but we do. Sometimes these things are serious. We ran a prestigious awards ceremony, three days after the London Bridge attacks and needed to work closely with the Metropolitan Police to discuss security planning. Sometimes it’s about how to keep the peace when Jeremy Clarkson and Piers Morgan are in the same room together…


How has social media changed what clients are asking for now?


Jane: Most of the events we deliver now have a social aspect. I think the rise of the influencer is probably one of the biggest developments of the last few years. We produced a pop-up shop for Feelunique to launch their Christmas range in October this year. The first two influencers that arrived had 15-20 million followers between them. Creating Instagrammable, shareable moments is vital for many of our clients.


What are some of the unexpected things you’ve learnt along the way?


Richard: On the events side, we’ve built valuable knowledge. Not everybody knows how to suspend a bus stop, or close roads, or fly a helicopter down the Thames. Things like that you learn along the way, and they are quite extraordinary.

And from the business side, when you launch, the priority is just to survive. When you get to where we are now, I think it should be more about the people who are in the company, and how to create a work lifestyle that is enjoyable, inspiring, and interesting. We win exciting projects that allow us to develop our people.


What do you do at Timebased to look after your team?


Jane: We’ve tested alternative working hours within the last year. It’s been really popular with everybody. It allows everybody to work their 10-day fortnight in 9 days, so you work compressed hours and get every other Friday off. In other agencies I’ve worked at, you just work the long hours and here it’s given back. It’s allowed the team to get out to galleries, museums and other events to get creative inspiration – or just to take a day off.


What do you love about what you do?


Richard: I think the interesting thing for us is that a lot of our clients are retained, and we work with them year-on-year. GQ is the best example – we’ve worked together for over 20 years. That’s when you get the best events, when the client is collaborating with you rather than seeing you just as the delivery mechanism. We’re always involved in the delivery, but with many clients, we’re engaged to work on the strategic side too. And I think that makes what we do really exciting.


Finally, what’s next for Timebased in 2018?


Jane: There are ambitious plans to grow in the coming years. We’re delighted to have secured five major new clients in the last twelve months with some really exciting projects delivered or soon to be announced. Plus, our retained clients continue to choose us as their events partner. Events are now a must-have fixture in marketing plans and budgets so we’re confident that the industry will continue to flourish.






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