From kick-starting the production process, prototyping and quality checks to installation, de-rig and travel, Rich (Lead Project Manager at isin) gives us a look into the fascinating world of bringing creative concepts to life and the details that make a difference. 

You and your team make the magic happen – where do you start?

We start in the details, familiarising ourselves with the creative and looking at it from an environmental and sustainable point of view – very important to us and our clients.  Working with our in-house studio we get to see the creative really early on and that allows us to advise on all aspects such as materials, cost, durability etc. but we look at all of this when working directly with agencies too – if it’s needed.

Our studio produces motion graphic walk-throughs which give us (and the client) a more immersive view of what the creative will look like in reality and this can help massively, especially on bespoke executions with high investment attached to them.

Usually we are bringing lots of aspects together at one time and this can be a challenge especially when sourcing unusual items or when there are digital tech elements. 

How do you manage the production process?

We have our own in-house production team and a trusted supply chain of partners who are used to working with us and we regularly make visits whilst items are being produced to ensure they meet specification and quality standards.  It’s the small details that can make a difference with the end result and by keeping a close eye on the production, it helps keep on track with the timescales – which can be very tight at times.

That’s one of the biggest challenges, keeping all parties working to the same deadlines – if one aspect falls behind it can put the entire project in jeopardy so it’s up to me and my team to ensure we stay on track.

Some of the projects I have seen are really complex, how do you manage the client’s expectations?

We prefer to prototype the more complex elements for client approval.  This allows any issues to be resolved or improvements identified before giving the go ahead on multiple roll-outs. 

We have a dedicated Mock Shop that is built for purpose so our clients can see the campaigns in situ, for example a window campaign in a window or unitary and launch zones built, fully visually merchandised. 

Once we’re all happy, production is completed and then the assembly process starts. 

What happens next?

It varies depending on the project.  Everything is checked for quality once back at our HQ and packs are assembled by store and territory, depending on the project. 

Some projects just need to be kit-packed for delivery by courier.  Others will be packed for collection by our installation teams.

Do you select the installation teams? How do they know what’s required?

Our installation teams utilise our Mock Shop to familiarise themselves with the activation and a comprehensive installation guide is issued to them. 

A big part of my job is to get the right people and skill sets in the right place at the right time. We select our installation teams carefully depending on the expertise required, for example, projects involving vinyl application would have a skilled vinyler on the team. 

When there are large-scale rollouts across multiple countries we try to organise what we call “milk runs”.  This involves the installation team travelling from one site to another rather than dedicated teams being sent individually to each location. This reduces cost and is more environmentally friendly and has the added advantage of the install team getting familiar and therefore quicker with each location.  We always try to combine projects to reduce travel where we can.

Do you and your team attend the installs?

Yes, where possible, a dedicated production specialist is onsite during each install. I attend as many as I can and usually I oversee the more complex executions. It means I travel a lot – you’ve seen the video on Instagram. This was a recent project that saw me travel to Paris, Berlin and Milan within the space of three days but it’s all part of the job.  The buzz of being onsite and seeing the concept come to life before your eyes is a rewarding experience. 

That’s it then?

Well yes and no. Once the campaign has finished we organise the de-rig and this process can be just as important for the environment as the installation.  Everything removed from the store comes back to our warehouse and we recycle everything that can’t be used again – usually only the printed elements – and catalogue and store everything else that can be reused like podiums and scaffold structures.  If items have been rented from us, such as digital screens and hardware, they are returned to our library for use in the future – we have found this to be a good way of reducing cost and impact to the environment. 

Have a project that you’d like to discuss? Get in touch.