Opus Agency is keeping its pedal to the metal—with a continued national hiring blitz, a string of new account wins and an eye on additional M&A deals following last year’s acquisitions of MAS Event + Design, CRG and Level 2 Design. With 450 employees spanning five offices and more than 500 events expected to be produced this year, there is a lot going on across the growing Opus portfolio of companies. We caught up with Opus president Jeff Stelmach and MAS chief creative officer Mia Choi to talk about 2019, where the industry’s headed next and the power of being “creative led.” Roll tape.
How are the best event experiential agencies of tomorrow going to be different than the agencies of today?
Jeff Stelmach: Markets, data, trends, customer and consumer needs are shifting at a rapid pace. Those agencies that can be nimble, evolve quickly and reflect the clients’ changing needs will survive. Agencies must adopt these skills to survive.
What does “creative led” mean and how is that a mantra you are embracing?
Mia Choi: Both Jeff and I have always run creatively led companies. This is in our DNA. We build our teams around fostering the narrative, the creative idea and then producing these ideas to the highest standards.
Finish this sentence: The best event and experience agencies…
Stelmach: … build experiences for people, not brands. The key is figuring out the simplest, most effective way to make a product or brand message real and relatable to your end audience. As a result, they’ll be able to make an informed decision as to whether they want to buy what you’re selling.
There are so many agencies out there these days focusing on events and experiences. What are a few tips to help clients partner with the right one?
Stelmach: It comes down to chemistry and passion. It’s people talking to people, focused on connecting ideas and other people. Is this agency really passionate about your brand or your product? Would they buy what you’re selling? Does their team know how to talk to your audience—or even better, are they your audience?
What are some trends you’re keeping your eye on?
Choi: Inclusivity in designing experiences. We’ve always prided ourselves on being mindful of diversity and inclusion when it comes to designing experiences for our audiences and are grateful to work with amazing brands that aim to do the same. But we’re excited to see others in the industry making this a priority and helping to push this trend into the forefront. Together as an industry, we’re investing time and resources into providing solutions to help make experiences more accessible to everyone, more reflective of all people in society and more globally minded.
Opus and MAS joined forces this past year. How does Opus + MAS = incredible experiences for clients?
Choi: We’re all storytellers at heart, particularly on the MAS side. We start by defining a compelling story then focus on weaving this throughout the full experience. This becomes our blueprint for design and all other aspects that go into developing a fully robust event or experience. The Opus team is one of the most proven event producers in the industry and their engine enables us to tell these stories on an even bigger scale.
What will be different at Opus and MAS this year?
Stelmach: Our teams are growing and collaborating more and more each day. Opus and MAS are effecting positive change within both companies and collectively we are providing our clients world-class operations, broadcast production, and thoughtful provocative creative.