Paul Ephremsen: “Banks are still best for short term funding”

Name: 

Paul Ephremsen

Role and company:

CEO and founding partner of iD Experiential

Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric): 

For the year ending January 2012, turnover was £12.5m PBT was £920,000.

Employee numbers:

62 staff and 5000 brand ambassadors spread throughout the UK

In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:

Three things:

  1. Our heritage as the original full service Experiential marketing agency (established 1994);
  2. Our brand and passion to make all touchpoints of our agency “Always Experiential” – making iD Experiential an incredibly creative place to work; and
  3. Our industry leading team of 5000 brand ambassadors, with our auditions process and new technology platform to manage and report on them in the field.

What’s the big vision for your business?

To be the most robust, intelligent, professional and creative experiential marketing agency in the UK. To deliver campaigns for our clients that makes their brands famous and talked about.

Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:

In the early days, iD Experiential offered staffing and operational services to other creative agencies – we were the implementation specialists for experiential marketing.

In 1999 we decided to target the brands themselves, which obviously required a much more brand orientated infrastructure – planning dept, insight, in-house creative and design etc. This whole process of transforming our agency and adding all of these services was more time consuming and expensive than we anticipated and we struggled for a couple of years, but everything has been in place for many years now and we are now thriving as a result of this change in strategy.

What makes you mad in business today?

Clients requesting too many agencies to pitch for relatively small pieces of business.

What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?

The technology and systems used for real time reporting from the field by our brand ambassadors and the venue data that such systems can generate.

Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?

Yes, there are all the obvious channels available – banks are still best for short term funding and there are all manner of entrepreneurs, angel investor networks and VCs still interested in the marketing communications sector.

How would others describe your leadership style?

Informal and people orientated. I have a firm belief that creating a loyal and motivated workforce is the key to running a successful agency. My door is always open and I’m a good delegator, happy to let junior team members step up to the mark and take a chance – I consider myself a bit of a risk taker.

Your biggest personal extravagance?

My annual pilgrimage to Vegas for the World Series of Poker!

You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:

Create a business startup fund and network of entrepreneurs packaged as a cool “funding” brand that will help monetise all the great ideas that the young, often out of work generation have.

This funding brand should focus on becoming the obvious choice of graduates once leaving university, and communicate with them throughout their studies so they are being actively encouraged to have a dialogue with this brand and form the ideas that they can bring to life once their studies are complete.

My feeling is that most funding initiatives are not sexy enough and do not appeal to younger people. This is the gap that could be addressed.

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