Saatchi Masius Masterclass Overview

The guiding principle at communications agency Saatchi Masius is “Everything is Interesting. Nothing is Impossible”, a maxim the agency’s Vice Chairman Peter Lovatt hopes Breakthrough Masterclass delegates will take to heart

Masterclasses are a key feature of the Santander Breakthrough programme: they bring owner-managers and directors of high-growth businesses together with companies that are recognised leaders in their field. The aim is to equip delegates with ideas and strategies that will propel them further along their own growth trajectory.

Delegates involved in the 2015 programme are set to benefit from an unmissable opportunity: a marketing and communications-themed Masterclass hosted by world-class communications agency Saatchi Masius, part of the renowned Saatchi & Saatchi Group.

Saatchi Masius 

With a client roster including household names such as Fidelity and Carlsberg, Saatchi Masius offers expertise and insight that would be out of reach for many businesses. Rachel Nash, Head of Operations and Delivery for Breakthrough at Santander, believes the agency stands out in the way it facilitates discussion, forcing informed thinking about delegate businesses and their competitive contexts. “Saatchi Masius isn’t looking to tell them what to do but instead to help them develop their thinking in a rigorous and challenging way,” she says.

However, the real distinguishing mark of the agency is its outlook and culture. Peter Lovatt, Saatchi Masius’ Vice Chairman – who along with Planning Director Derick Walker, will be working with the Masterclass participants – says, “Chiselled into our doorstep are the words ‘Nothing is Impossible’ and I think that’s tonally very appropriate for these Masterclasses.” 

Valuable lessons 

Peter believes the point of the Masterclass sessions is to take people out of their day-to-day business life and guide them through a process that helps them reassess, in a quite fundamental way, what it is they have to offer and what their business could be. 

Santander, he believes, has a great knack for identifying businesses with real potential, businesses that have it within them to become much bigger. So the delegates who walk through Saatchi Masius’ doors are already experienced businesspeople with mature marketing strategies. “There’s a great deal of experience in the room and we understand that they come to us as seasoned businesspeople. The aim is to have them leave with a greater understanding of their role, target audience and business – reframing all that to better effect,” he says. 

“The aim is to have them leave with a refreshed understanding of their role, target audience and business – reframing all that to better effect.” Peter Lovatt, Saatchi Masius

The idea of the Saatchi Masius Masterclass is to work collaboratively with the agency and with other delegates to move businesses forward in a substantive way. “We have some proprietary techniques and processes to take people through to get them to reconsider fairly fundamental issues about what it is they really offer. We have had real breakthrough moments in terms of getting people to a different place on those questions in previous Masterclasses,” says Peter.

Back to basics 

Peter wants to encourage participants to rediscover the emotional connection they have with their businesses, as a means of returning to a more fundamental understanding of the business and looking at it through a different lens. “Logic leads to conclusions but emotions lead to action,” he says. “It’s always the case that dissecting the business in this way forces a reappraisal on what they are really trying to achieve.” 

Although those reappraisals may not always be comfortable ones, Peter stresses that the Masterclass is enjoyable and engaging as well as demanding. Delegates need to go through a process that forces a reassessment of their forward strategies. “We have a process whereby we don’t let people off the hook. There’s a certain amount of pushing and digging. Certainly we will share opinions but it’s more about shifting a point of view and coming to a slightly different conclusion about what it could achieve,” Peter says. 

Taking businesses forward 

For Peter, the best result is when delegates leave with a real sense of engagement and excitement: clarity, a plan and a broader understanding of their ambition and passion for the business. “We want them to have a slightly more challenging perspective for the marketing of their brand.”

To that end, each Masterclass consists of a small group, which is split into smaller working or discussion groups. “This works really well,” says Rachel Nash. “We encourage the businesses to send people at director level, as you need suitably influential people from each business to take the lessons away.”

The two-day event 

The first day of the event is an opportunity to bring marketing issues to the table and to share, discuss and learn as much as possible. At the end of day one, participants will attend a networking dinner and overnight stay. This informal downtime is an opportunity to discuss opinions and exchange notes, which means they continue to push the boundaries on their marketing thinking. That brings a lot of clarity to the debate for the second day.

Day two is an opportunity to present ideas and test them. In the afternoon, delegates can talk on a more one-to-one level with Saatchi Masius representatives. “That’s really invaluable,” Rachel says.” Delegates get access to the top people within the agency. That’s what Santander is all about with these Breakthrough events, providing an opportunity to gain access to people at the top of their sector.”

Rachel hopes that delegates come away from the Masterclass with a sense of reinvigoration about their marketing plans. “All the Breakthrough events are a chance to showcase what we are trying to do for SMEs and high-growth businesses – it’s an opportunity to follow up on our words and provide compelling opportunities,” she says.

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