After a quick train ride from London to Manchester and an hour-long adventure down beautifully winding English countryside roads in a coach bus, the class found itself at (hands down) the coolest B2B agency that I’ve ever seen: IAS. The IAS office is nestled in the hills of the charming village of Bollington, just south of Manchester. The building sits between trees, gardens, walking trails, a park and a canal. It is an inspiring environment that undoubtedly fosters the creativity of the agency.
To kick off the day, the students heard a presentation from three of the IAS creatives, Alistair, Natalie and Chris, who spoke about killing cliché B2B marketing tactics through the use of contextual, positively different, and multidimensional creative approaches. After learning about a few case studies and seeing some examples of the work, the students were put to the test. The proposed challenge was to create a set of concept ads in one hour. Each small group was given a creative brief prepared by IAS, a fact sheet and background information for one of the agency’s REAL clients, and then were set loose to explore the area, get inspired and start producing ideas. How exciting! Each group of students then presented their ideas to the rest of the class and the IAS creatives. IAS then showed the students the actual ad campaign that they came up with for that same client.
The visit to IAS overwhelmingly exceeded everyone’s expectations. I’ve never seen our students – or any group of students for that matter – so blown away and excited about B2B marketing. IAS makes B2B marketing cool. It was definitely worth the journey to Manchester. There is no question why the B2B Marketing Awards named IAS the best marketing agency last year.