- Tech & Gadgets
- BRW. lounge
Published 26 October 2012 06:42, Updated 21 November 2012 08:44
When Grant Higgins had to find more than 400 freelance and contract workers this month, he didn’t place ads or even push requests out though social media sites, rather he tapped the contacts and extended networks of his own staff.
Higgins is the senior creative director of George P. Johnson (GPJ), an engagement or “experiential” marketing company. He describes his business category as shifting between marketing and brand development. At the recent Australian International Motor Show in Sydney, Higgins hired a troupe of 50 dancers to make a splash for Toyota; for a recent industry launch of Testra’s partnership with music streaming company MOG, GPJ took over the set of SBS’s music game show, RockWiz.
Higgins is accustomed to drawing on contingent workers to meet the demands of the highly cyclical and project-based industry but he admits this month was the busiest he can remember in the 22 years he has been in the business.
There is always a spike in activity in October and February in experiential marketing. Higgins explains that companies are either looking to roll out their marketing message before the Christmas retail season, or in February at the start of a new calendar year. GPJ in Australia has an annual turnover of about $40 million to $50 million, one-fifth of which is generated in October.
GPJ usually employs a core staff of about 72 full-time and at last count, Higgins said he had 478 people working for the agency this month.
When it comes to sourcing talent, Higgins says his weekly brainstorming session with staff is his most valuable tool.
Even in the months when he’s not seeking contractors for an event, Higgins still uses his staff meeting to quiz people on who’s in town and what talent may be available if needed.
“It’s part of our culture now,” he says. “It’s up to everyone to know what’s happening around them in their world, who’s touring, where the next available talent might come from.”