BBN ACADEMY – BELGIUM 2014
17 agencies, almost 1000 professionals, speaking different languages, living in 14 different countries around the globe, all seeing the world through a different cultural lens – from Aberdeen in North Scotland to Singapore in Asia, and everywhere in between. What do all of these independent, seemingly different local agencies from all corners of the world have in common? BBN – a global agency network consisting of the top independent B2B agencies; and I had the opportunity to experience what it truly means to be a part of this network during the 3 day Convergence Academy near Brussels, Belgium.
Connectivity was the prevalent theme throughout the 3 days of the Academy and boy did it deliver on so many levels. A unique group of strangers who by the end, made lifelong personal and business connections – and, dare I say, even friendships. All interested in sharing their respective experiences (both business and personal) and ALL with one goal in mind – to be the best they could be in whatever they embarked on. The learning was endless – case study after case study you began to realize the power of BBN’s tools, the vast amount of potential business opportunities and the willingness and openness to share those opportunities.
In my 6 months at tag enterprise, I have embraced the B2B discipline along with the values of BBN. I have listened to our CEO sing the praises of the network and all it had to offer. And, although I have actually been living the impact BBN has had on tag through our own work, our newly defined agency platform as well as working strategically with clients, the Academy really was an A-HA moment for me. “Ahhh-ha!…this is what it’s really all about and how it works…” Sharing experiences, business tools, developing relationships, making new connections and discussing new business…it all came together and I began to see and understand the true potential.
For me, one of the best demonstrations of capitalizing on the value of the network was the collaborative work shared by the other agencies, executing campaigns as unified partners and tapping into one another’s respective expertise to find the best solutions – what a powerful way to do business! No competitiveness. No arrogance. Just a downright “let’s get it done and get it done well” attitude and share in the glory of success.
Having had many experiences with agencies in my career (that have also been part of a global conglomerate), I can say without a doubt, this is my first experience where “global sharing” truly meant something and not just a bullet point in a PPT presentation. The BBN culture truly puts its money where its mouth is, walks the walk and talks the talk. The collaborative nature, the sharing of ideas, insights and methodologies of the B2B practice was so transparent and genuine without the level of competitiveness or the “keeping it close to the vest” mentality that can often occur amongst agency networks – even if they all belong to the same brand! And because BBN members believe in the same values and principles and make use of unified business tools and practices, sharing clients and even individual projects is seamless.
What I experienced in Belgium were like-minded, passionate individuals, interested in elevating each other and the B2B discipline for the greater good – our greater common goal to be a “the world’s best global B2B network”. Thus revealing the exponential potential for new business. Conversations centred on the clients each were working on and also where business partners in another country may be required. In fact, during one of our after parties, several member agencies approached me about potential opportunities where tag’s help would be needed in Canada. Bring it on!
As I gave a big hug good-bye to the last of the 40 amazing people I met, I left knowing that I could pick up the phone to someone practically anywhere in the world and engage them in a pitch for a global opportunity initiated in Canada – and that it would be reciprocated should a Canadian partner be required. And, at the very least, should I be in their neck of the woods, a glass of wine would most certainly be in the cards.
The Academy in Belgium truly helped solidify the notion of business without borders.
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