It’s safe to say that we’ve certainly delivered our fair share of last-minute miracles. Stared the most challenging deadlines straight in the eye, and pulled entire warrens of rabbits out of top-hats. From brand environments & interiors, to event management and exhibition stands, we’ve helped our clients achieve the impossible. And yet, it’s no coincidence that our finest work has one thing in common: lead time. You see, we’re not a “form and function” agency. There are many exhibition contractors that will build you a nice-looking stand, but is that what you really need?

Our goal is to help you tell the right story to the right people at the right time. We’re here to help you craft rewarding customer journeys and engaging brand environments. To create great experiences that demonstrate original thinking and, what we like to call, ‘appropriate creativity’.

However, one of the key ingredients in our recipe is lead time. Not too long, but just enough. And here are seven reasons why.

#1. Asking probing questions Original thinking is essentially an inspirational response to a very well-defined client need. In other words, we can’t put on our creative hats until we have a clear idea of what the client’s challenges are. The brief can be a good starting point, but to truly understand the playing field we must go back to the client with our own questions. Sometimes the answers are not easily available – the client may never have considered these aspects – and the process can take longer than expected.

#2. Building a deep understanding The great experiences that we create and the original thinking that spawns them are all derived from a deep understanding of the client’s needs, brands and audiences. Asking the right questions is certainly the start, but there’s still a lot of analysis and research to be done before we’re in a position to start thinking about strategies and solutions.

#3. Assembling the best team We’re a busy agency and assembling the best team for an ambitious project takes a little time. We first need to see whose experience and expertise is ideally suited to the task at hand. Then, we start checking availability. Our specialists are rarely unassigned and getting the perfect team together is no easy undertaking!

#4. Brainstorming There’s no doubt that brainstorming still delivers the best results. But rushing it never works. If brainstorming is to generate valuable insights and original thinking, then it requires time and freedom to explore all the possibilities. A single session is rarely enough, and multiple sessions must be sensibly spaced apart to allow a healthy gestation of ideas.

#5. Collaboration Raw ideas need a lot of careful consideration, thoughtful processing and preliminary experimentation. Different people approach creativity differently, and of course everyone works at their own pace. Collaboration between talented specialists can’t be rushed. And it is this very deliberate process that sometimes reveals exciting new dimensions that no one has considered before.

#6. Risk assessment It’s not a precondition for great experiences or original thinking to be bold and daring, but sometimes we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. It’s exhilarating to be pushing the boundaries, but we must always conduct a thorough risk assessment. Is it legal, is it safe, and is it culturally acceptable? Perhaps more importantly, what will be its social and environmental impact?

#7. Designing, building, developing and testing All great experiences are brought to life in physical settings (such as exhibition stands or brand environments & interiors), and they are enhanced by rich content (such as original film, narration, music and live performances). Physical structures need to be designed, built and tested – especially those that involve intricate engineering. Similarly original film, artwork and talent needs to be commissioned, produced and edited. All these endeavours require a certain amount of time if they are to deliver outstanding results.