Dario Regattieri, CEO at beon. Worldwide explains in details what defines beon. Worldwide. A company that comprises five essential parts of advertising and communication (Events, Communication, Production, Entertainment and Technology) and that it is proud of have them all in-house. The emotional factor is the basis for all these fundamental pillars, as key condition to generate unique brand experiences.
This adventure started with Eventisimo, how and when does this project begin?
Jaime Sánchez started this project in line with events and communication, but focusing on its emotional and experiential sides. My personal motto is a quote by Maya Angelou that says “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” This powerful statement summarizes the essence of our work, that it is driven by emotional communication.
When our journey started in 2001, eighteen years ago, communication via internet was not yet what know today. This allow us to endeavor in reaching out with much more emotional events, creating experiences in line with the brands’ values that will stay forever in the minds and hearts of your audience.
Now we are seeing how this works in other industries such as retail because it is not so much about product sale, but about the consumer’s experience in the store where this product is purchased. And we understood this formula from the very beginning: communication through a staging or setting that will, above all, new and surprising.
The company has been both evolving while incorporating more communication areas. What will be the greatest changes in this field?
Originally we started as event agency, executing any need of our clients, and therefore we always understood that the experiential part was essential. With beon. Worldwide we take the events to their highest form, with workshops and an infrastructure that transform any action in something tangible and a real experience. And, from that commitment to go further and make unique live experiences, today we work on five pillars that shape beon. Worldwide: Events, Communication, Production, Entertainment, and Technology. It is about taking people to new places and make them live experiences through a brand that they could not possible enjoy on a daily basis.
What is then beon. Worldwide right now?
The truth is that we have always done things in reverse of what the market has usually established. Our enterprise started in Mairena del Aljarafe, a small town in Seville. We wanted to be a great company, but that did not necessary mean to settle exclusively in big cities. We have always believe that talent can be found every. I think that great part of the success of beon. Worldwide is to create, execute, and thus develop campaigns and events fully produced by us. In this sense, incorporating the parts of creative, development, management, etc., has been one of our biggest successes.
The five divisions -Events, Communication, Production, Entertainment, and Technology – possess their own facilities, in order to avoid outsourcing. For example, we have acquired new machinery and technology, we have pioneer great campaigns out of Spain, and we are capable of providing a customer service that goes beyond creating a particular design or a claim. We own our transportation fleet, wood & metal workshops, a decor company, an audiovisual production company and everything that has to do with TV and film (cameras, mobile units, editing facilities…).
On the other hand, over the years, we have acquired companies that completed our service portfolio and opened startups within our company to create new business lines and satellites within the group.
In short, we are now a company of 400 professionals with offices across Europe and facilities where we can produce from a stand, to a stage set for an event or a spot.
Speaking about company acquisition, beon. has incorporated both Sörensen and Avantine in just 2-year lapse. What was the goal for integrating these two companies into the group?
We had expertise in an industry closely linked to corporate events and we understood that we had to be more complete in the both the communication industry and classic advertising. We already made emotional communication from the areas of production and applied technology, but we lacked that part closer to what brands need to reach out with their messages. We had creatives close to the production and environment creation, but we lacked the agency part.
With the acquisition of Sörensen, we wanted to open our possibilities in the event world, with an enterprise closer to traditional advertising, something that was essential part of this prestigious agency. Besides, they were our direct competitors in many competitions and therefore they were an absolute gain for us.
So it was a race to cover both lines and it has worked to perfection. We were already great players in both the industry of events and the production industry, but not within what we know as real advertising, so we thought that in this way we would grow organically, by gaining accounts and expanding our professional teams. We should highlight that once inside beon. Worldwide, Sörensen has maintained its executive, directive, and professional teams.
With respect to Avantine, we wanted to strengthen the advertising sphere, and grow in that industry. With its acquisition, we have integrated more than 50 new professionals into the group, taking all related to communication and advertising to the next level.
How have you empowered the technology division?
If we were in our headquarters in Seville, you could see everything that division physically encompasses. We started to apply technology to communication due to different reasons. We took that direction to diversify and lead another type of business, entering the technological world at the same time that applications were booming, creating video game apps.
Then, we joined the world of engineering and pure programming, designing and creating everything from the creation of a website to a video game.
Meanwhile, we saw that communication was demanding technology and there was hardly anyone who knew how to apply it to communication. Technology was in applications, leisure gadget, and video games, but what we really wanted was to empower traditional communication. Thus, we started working with augmented reality (AR). We were pioneers in coordinating the technology applied to advertising through QR and interactive actions based on AR in magazines.
It was an absolute discovery and we loved it took us back to the emotional, creating different vibes and experiences through technology. From there we became Oculus and virtual reality development, and apply this technology to event presentations and traditional advertising via
Smartphones, iPads, etc.
We have our own engineering, research and development lab, where we work in different ways to apply technology to advertising in all media.
And in the entertainment division?
We believe that communication goes beyond pure advertising, and theater is one of its highest expressions, as it is a timeless cultural tradition. Advertising is a way to inform, but also, in some way, it creates bonds and makes people feel passionate, because these bonds are deep, and not new. For example, Romans celebrated much more spectacular events than those we do now, without any of the technologies that we have today. We are not gurus of anything; events have been part of the history of mankind since the earliest civilizations. And the same happens with communication, and theater is a powerful way of communicating and telling stories that is, after all, this is what advertising is about. In the musical El Médico we present a spectacular where the audience travels with the protagonist through time, world cultures, religions… And this journey is something inherent to communication.
Now we are with this musical and other two, more conventional theater projects. All this belong to the sphere of communication. Whether through technology, stage, a magazine, or an event, everything is about communicating something. We are making a lot of efforts in entertainment and integrating ourselves more and more into productions closely linked to dramatization, because we understand that this is also communication and we love it.
It seems that sometimes everything is technology, and still there are experiences that add a lot with much less…
Technology should never supersede the message. I always say that because, what has happened so far, and this is the great danger of applied technology, is that suddenly the news are no longer what you are communicating, but rather the technology you are using. Technology must be used in our benefit, and never be the protagonist of the story.
From your experience, how are technology and artificial intelligence helping to communication?
Never before we have had the tools we have now. We come from a time where we had television, radio, and magazines so we knew we had to reach those media. Suddenly, the digital world stormed in, and everyone went crazy with the different ways to get to people by means of brands. The challenge came later, with measurement.
Thanks to Big data we had the possibility of obtaining all the information possible about the users, but we did not know what to do with that information, as there was no engineering that could process Big data. However, in recent years, a new analysis system has appeared, capable to interpret any of the data received and, thanks to machine learning, generate from that data the information you really need. It is something fascinating.
Now, in addition to knowing the customer journey of users as well as their tastes, we have the possibility to identify reactions to specific products or campaigns. This is a fascinating context in which we can get closer to our clients, offering them what they really want.
Technology is now much more accessible for everybody. Now we are able to understand the user behavior through data without having studied engineering. We can now more easily know who is receiving the message and how.
And, this, in some way, also has a lot to do with the world of events. We belong to this world, we know how the audience reacts to a specific product presentation. For me this is taking the experience of events to the virtual world, and this is achieved thanks to technology.
Now we have tools to accurately measure and define what target we need to reach and, based on human reactions and in a very precise manner, take the message where we want it.
Taking into account the origins of beon. Worldwide, it was hard to start to be seen as much more than just an event agency?
In general terms, yes, it has been very complex to present ourselves as the group we are now. Stereotypes, except for the brightest minds, are common barriers to most humans. It is in our nature to try to catalogue and label everything.
It is also true that it is very difficult to define us when there is nothing similar to what we do, so it is easier to label us as ‘event agency’ or ‘advertising agency’, as everyone knows what it is. And, in Spain there is no company able to integrate events, production, creativity, entertainment, technology, and everything that shapes commercial communication in a single provider. And we have achieve all that. We have managed to combine a series of assets and advantages that often go separated. We offer multiple fields of expertise that our clients can experience here not just virtually, but in a tangible form.
But in the end it is difficult to get out of that Events agency ‘mental folder’, though we endeavor daily to communicate our work to the media and through the actions we carry out. Our group is an evolution of experience and expertise shaped along the way, jut to give a more much more complete service to our clients. Now we are a different format because the future will require that transformation.
We cannot be labelled under the past century criteria. I think that, in due time, everybody will finally understand who we really are. In fact, one of the most effective ways to prove it is by showing our facilities to companies. Ten thousand square meters of central offices where, behind each door, there is a whole universe interconnected with the rest. It is an amazing experience where you begin to understand that communication today is not a straight line, but a wide road that covers multiple fields.
All those who have visited our headquarters and offices are long-term clients, and they have remained with us because they have understand the scope and diversity applied to emotional communication.
So, just to clarify things, how would you define beon. Worldwide?
beon. Worldwide is a group that has as fundamental premise to apply creativity to all types of communication. We are like a super organized madhouse, with experience and expertise in multiple fields, in order to apply creativity in an effective, emotional way. This creativity will be applied to a stage design, a dossier, a web page, a whole advertising campaign, a trade show stand, or even to a musical, as it is the case of El Médico, now premiering at Teatro Nuevo Apolo in Madrid, where our creativity was applied in terms of production partnership.
Nowadays, communication has as many satellites around as expert people in each of them, capable of adapting creativity to whatever format. And, in that sense, beon. Worldwide does not outsource, but rather the opposite, it creates, produces and executes everything at an internal level. We are, in short, creative applied to emotional communication in all its areas.
Where are located the company’s current offices? What could you tell us about your future expansion?
As two people that came from another culture -Jaime was born in Belgium and I was born in Switzerland- we had the international spirit right from the start. Though we were settled in Spain for many years even then, our education and training took place in central Europe. With this experience, we thought it would be easier to establish bonds with other countries due to these natural culture and language advantages. And we were right. From the very beginning we gained international clients and brands operating in Spain by offering an integrated service perfectly consolidated in this country, but with an international philosophy.
We entered the industry market very fast, lucky to be in the right moment and the right place and to have earned the trust of very good clients to whom we provided a good service. That international role has been essential for us. On the other hand, the first challenge was to cover the Spanish territory with offices to be able to provide a service and ensure that operability. We have seven offices in Spain (Seville, Madrid, Barcelona, Santander, Malaga, Merida – a television studio – Valencia, and Tenerife) well situated across the Spanish territory. From that moment, we planned how to leverage that experience abroad. Thus, we opened the offices of Italy, Portugal, and France to be able to provide a service to countries that were very close to the Spanish culture. With the same methodology, it quickly began to bear fruit because we conveyed all our savoir-faire and experience focused on the European sphere.
Last year we opened in Paris, France, where we started to gain accounts and new clients. In the next steps we plan to close the cycle in both Germany and the United Kingdom and open up to larger markets such as America (particularly the United States) and Asia. A whole world in which we have been working already and where most of our clients belong, but where we have still to create a permanent structure. And these are our next objectives.
beon. Worldwide has positioned within the Top 3 of world’s best event agencies at BEA World Festival. What does this recognition means to you?
It is difficult to assess recognitions. On the one hand, it is great that other people recognize your work because that means that we are great professionals and that we feel and love what we do. That Bea World Festival award is an added value to the people who are part of the beon. Worldwide family, and it is dedicated to them because otherwise they are the people who make this possible. And it is fantastic that other people recognize this work, it is a way of telling us that we are good professional doing our job well.
On the other hand, these awards show brands the capacity you have and serve as a showcase for your company by means of European recognition. Winning the best European convention, best incentive, and the best entertainment fills you with pride and provides you with the satisfaction that, as an organization, you have worked well. It is not guarantee of future results, but it is like, “Hey, we are here now, we have done things well, and our work has been recognized.” And recognition is always good for the soul.
Talent is a core value for beon. Worldwide, and this is reflected in some of the company initiatives such as the contest “Yo no tengo abuela”. What experience has been gained?
Working in a company like beon. Worldwide is not easy. From the outside you could take a most glamorous picture (celebrities, world brands and destinations…) but working here requires of lots of energy and pressure coping. Some emotional moments are really devastating.
An event is like a painting on a white canvas. Something unique that you create with the colors of your client. Something that will never take place again, that no one will be able to reproduce exactly as you did it. It is the greatest gift of all to see this painting when it is finished. But working in the event industry has a lot of nuances, time limits, very high demands, and constant pressure. In all, this is a very satisfying job, but complex to handle, to absorb so much energy, people’s input and emotion… it is not something mathematical, but rather depends on every individual sensibility.
In our contests we do not look for experienced professionals, but for people open to understand how to work in a company like ours. That has to do with training, but much more with the values you have as a person, something complex to see in just one interview. Through contests like Yo no tengo abuela, people can express themselves in a creative way. They offer their skills as they truly want and feel, showing us why they think they can work at beon. Worldwide. This is much more comprehensive and closer that a cold, regular CV. We see the boldness, the attitude, the spirit, and why they want to join a company such as this.
These actions open new ways of knowing people and their talent, and it is great they can express their creativity in such an interesting way.
In this sense, we have recovered in Seville an amazing venue from the Expo’92, one of the most visited sites of the exhibition, the Canadian pavilion. After 23 years, we opened it and transformed it into a great auditorium for events, startups actions, talented people, young entrepreneurs… A showcase of opportunities for people to show their potential.
We are very active in our constant search for talent. All our managers, for examples, are professionals who have been trained here, taking on new responsibilities as they have grown. And that is not easy because in the end there are people who do not adapt so well and do not know how to cope with this pressure, not because they are not a good professionals, but because market need is very high, especially in an industry like ours.
What will be your overall assessment of 2018? And what are the prospects for 2019?
2018 has been a fantastic year and I would repeat it again. A time for new colleagues to join the company, strengthening our communication division, and allowing a stronger presence in the industry. It is also positive to have gained so many new clients who trust us, and to know that by 2019 you have already closed new agreements… We are confident and secure working in a project such as beon. Worldwide.
A project we want to share with the world, opening new markets in more countries.
The future of beon. Worldwide has just started and we have closed a very positive year with respect to brand, positioning, and clients. I am certain that 2019 will be, at least, as good as this one.