Altrincham Market and a home in Menorca are Brian's havens
Greater Manchester Business Week caught up with Brian over an ethically sourced cuppa...
Brian has worked in the marketing industry for more than 25 years.
In 1984, he set up PDP, which was one of the UK’s largest independent sales promotion agencies by the time it was sold to McCann Erickson in 1999.
Following the sale, Brian became a world group board member at McCann and CEO of Momentum, its experiential division.
He set up IF in 2005 with Christian James who is the agency’s managing director.
Brian Rees, the chairman of creative agency IF, shares his secrets and strategy.
What is your business motto?
I’ve had a few over the course of my long career, but the one that has always resonated most is: “Have some fun, do great work and make some money.”
How do you make contacts which are useful for business?
I’m a big believer in face-to-face engagement, so I try to choose the networking events that I attend wisely. For me, it’s all about striking up meaningful relationships with decision makers.
What makes your business different?
We are a creative agency at heart, but we are conscious that there’s no point in being creative for creative’s sake. Our obsession is helping our clients sell their products through a combination of first class analytics, careful planning and exciting, integrated, creative campaigns. Data insight delivers more potent fuel for our brand development offer and ensures more thorough measures of effectiveness for the multi-channel activation campaigns we deliver.
What do you always have with you?
Do you dress up or down for business?
Somewhere in-between. However, I do miss the black Armani suits of the 80s. They must be due a comeback by now, surely.
Which individual has inspired you most in your business life and in what way?
I am most inspired when I meet a young entrepreneur who’s starting a business at the frontier of what our industry is doing.
It’s inspiring to see something that’s different – especially when it’s in uncharted territory. The creative sector needs those ideas and innovators otherwise it will become irrelevant.
What’s your proudest achievement in business?
I do feel proud that over the years my businesses have generated revenues and created jobs in the north west that could quite easily have gone south.
What is your company’s greatest asset?
Obviously our people, but I‘m also convinced that we have significant shale gas reserves under our office in Altrincham!
Do you use social media and, if so, with how much success?
I look after the IF LinkedIn and Facebook pages and we have an agency Twitter account too. They’re all great platforms where we communicate what we stand for, the work we deliver along with some irrelevant rantings that make us (and probably only us) smile.
If you hadn’t gone down your chosen career path, what would you be doing?
I always enjoyed my brief stint client-side so I think that could have been the obvious home for me. Knowing my luck I’d probably now be head of PR at VW.
What is a tip for a successful business?
Work with good people and always foster two-way trust and respect. Also, be serious about your business but not about yourself
At what time of day are you most creative or inspired?
When I dream at night, I am a total legend. I think that says it all.
How do you relax outside of work?
I’m fortunate to have a place in Menorca which I escape to as often as possible. Being there allows me to spend time reading, walking, and swimming. I’ve just taken up padel – it’s work in progress.
When do you take your coffee break?
Mid-afternoon, preferably either at the beachside bar in Binibeca near my villa in Menorca or at Altrincham Market which is - of course - a very close second.
Who would you most like to have a coffee with?
Antony Bourdain, Steve Martin or Jack Nicholson.
Americano, latte, cappuccino - what’s your coffee break favourite?
None of the above - it always has to be a cortado.