The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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By The Drum, Editorial

November 27, 2023 | 4 min read

Cheerful Twentyfirst won the Agency Team of the Year at The Drum Awards for Experience for its work putting together some stellar activations. Here's how the team managed it.

Maya Angelou once said: "You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there."

We are a creative brand experience agency based in London, New York, and Amsterdam. Strategic communications are at the heart of what we do, using innovative thinking to engage audiences through game-changing content and experiences. You'll find this ethos reflected in our decks, pitches, and on our website.

While every word is true, our identity and why we deserve to be your Experience Agency of the Year go much deeper than that. Despite being small for a global experiential agency, our 60-strong core team operates in the UK, US, and EMEA, servicing over 50 brands globally. Our model is simple: an exceptional core team reinforced by our outstanding network.

We prioritize collaboration, introducing initiatives like the cross-office pollination program, allowing employees to work from global offices at any time. Our creativity and success stem from our diverse team, with unique backgrounds in theatre, sculpting, performance, professional athletics, broadcast, education, gaming, consumer theory, and advertising. We embrace a flexible approach to working hours, encouraging staff to pursue their creative endeavors outside of directly relevant projects.

Despite the pandemic, our agency has nearly tripled turnover, opening new regional offices to meet the needs of international clients. In three years, we've opened two new offices: New York to support US clients with in-market expertise and Amsterdam to continue building on our EMEA work post-Brexit. In 2023, we're sustaining that growth and investing in our teams.

From July 2022 to July 2023, we're proud to have:

Offset our operational carbon footprint for the past four years, supporting Gold Standard community programs.

Made a 600% increase in FTE US headcount since opening our NYC office.

Warmly welcomed new hires supporting our team, including People and Culture Manager, HR & Operations Consultant, Office Manager, and Sustainability Director.

Creativity: It's hard to pinpoint when or where we started talking about 'The Juice.' It's equally hard to qualify exactly what it is. What we can tell you is that 'The Juice' fuels our pitches, mixes together at the pub after a busy day, and is the source of energy in the office. It's made up of different talents coming together with the same motivations: bold thinking, creative excellence, impactful communications.

We've nurtured a culture of learning from each other by building and challenging ideas, crucial to our success. Every creative presentation has a minimum of two concepts: The Mild & The Wild, forcing us to make everything a little bolder. The Mild is an approach that meets the creative brief and brand objectives confidently, while The Wild challenges the brief further, injecting daring creativity without losing sight of objectives.

Strategy: We're strategy-led, audience-first: Our proposals are informed by an expert understanding of audience engagement and communications. We delve into the heart of the challenge our clients face, designing experiences with longevity, purpose, and genuine audience impact. Our annual global report, the Brand Playbook, distills global trends and shifts in engagement psychology, offering well-researched resources for clients' wider marketing strategies.

This year, we tackled Multigenerational Audiences - one of the biggest barriers to personalizing events and experiences at scale, now that Generation Z has graduated from teenager to stakeholder.

Conclusion: The Juice is always worth the squeeze. "Not only do Cheerful Twentyfirst have an excellent understanding of our brand and the objectives of each event, their USP is their tireless effort and subsequent fulfillment to deliver against our constant desire to seek perfection on every element." - Executive Director, Events & International Strategy, Dow Jones & The Wall Street Journal

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