My Journey to Spark: Sasha Dewes
Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do at Spark?
I’m an Account Director at Creative Spark, working mainly with clients on retainers (although I do have a few projects on the go too)!
One of our principles at Spark is ‘build partnerships, not projects’ and it’s something I feel hugely passionate about. Building relationships is one of my biggest strengths and probably the thing I love most about my job. So what better way to embed yourself in a client’s business than being their plug-in marketing team? Retainers are an area in which I really feel I can help clients to thrive – working with them on a long-term basis to get a deep understanding of their business, focusing on both their long-term objectives as well as tackling any immediate needs or challenges.
What’s the best thing about working in the agency/creative industry space?
It sounds like such a typical answer but it really is true… every day is different! One day I can be working on an exhibition stand for a dental lab, the next on a TV ad for a delivery company and literally within the next hour, I can be working on a new brand positioning project for a football experience concept… The diverse portfolio of clients we have at Spark really does keep things interesting. And of course, you can’t do this job unless you are truly excited by creative. I absolutely love seeing the seed of an idea come to life and being part of the process from concept to completion.
Tell us a bit about your journey before Spark
After deciding I probably wasn’t going to make it as a West End star, I went to UCLAN and studied journalism at university. I loved getting out and interviewing people, finding the hook of an article and bringing stories to life. However, after a few internships in London I realised I didn’t love it enough to push my way up in a pretty cutthroat world.
I decided to pursue roles in project management and marketing, securing my first ‘proper’ job in a creative agency on the Co-op food account. I was based on the artwork and repro side of the business but I realised I was most excited about the creative process before that – and I wanted to be a part of it. This led me to start my next job in Account Management at a full-service agency where I stayed for 4.5 years before joining Spark.
As an Account Director, you have a lot of clients on retainer which gives us a great opportunity to really work with them to achieve their brand and activation goals. What are the biggest challenges you face when it comes to building these long term relationships?
The main hurdle is always demonstrating the benefit before you’ve actually started. However sometimes it’s only when you get the ball rolling that you can truly understand the benefit. The value that retainers can add to a business is enormous. Imagine having an entire agency without the cost and responsibility of hiring all those people yourself… We really do act as an extension of the client’s team and feel very much engrained and engaged in our client’s business.
What do you see as the main benefit working as a partner to the client, rather than on an adhoc basis?
A retainer allows us to be proactive and reactive. This always-on approach that means whatever you need, we’re here – and when you don’t, we’re busy thinking of ways to keep people engaged with your brand. As an Account Director, I act very much as a sounding board for clients – taking the time to understand their challenges, help them to find solutions, generate ideas, talk through plans for the future, and ultimately make sure our clients feel loved! Naturally working long-term with a client you care about their success – personally, and in a business sense – so retainers ensure that we are doing everything we can to fulfil their business needs and propel them forward.
Tell us an unpopular opinion
TV series are always better when you know how they are going to end. If I’m investing 6 hours of my life, I need to know it’ll be worth it!
Do you have a party trick/fun fact about yourself?
My feet are a size 8!