Modeling agencies and talent management businesses have changed a lot since the industry was first created. While most industries can blame their evolution on economic shifts, and technological changes, modelling and promotional talent management has remained relatively static, for one simple fact – the product hasn’t changed.
In other industries, there have been significant or limited changes to the product or means of distribution. Even seemingly slow-moving businesses such as fresh produce sales has been revolutionized through advanced distribution methods and automated ordering systems. Far more obvious is the impact that has been made in industries that have experienced a complete overhaul of their product, such as the music industry and book publishers. Modelling agencies and promotional talent businesses, on the other hand, have not experienced anything quite so significant. Hiring humans to promote a product is arguably the most effective and direct means of engagement, but humans are the same as they have been for countless centuries. Additionally, there have been no significant improvements in how to send humans from one place to another, as Star Trek style transportation systems have not yet been invented. This has meant that modelling businesses have, from the outside, remained almost exactly the same as they have been for decades. Sure, there have been some changes including more effective communication methods – or at least more communication methods – like text messaging, email and social media, but generally speaking the product and the means of delivering the product have been limited by the disappointing lack of robotic humanoids and a frustrating shortfall of flying cars.
So where is the significant change?
While other industries have been focusing their communication improvements on technology, people-based industries such as recruitment agencies, promotional modelling businesses and modelling agencies have gone in completely the opposite direction. Focusing on increasing traditional communication, and using technology to empower that type of communication.
At PUSH Agency, we have the largest database of promotional talent in North America. We have built that up as a result of hard work and patient development, and are proud to be leading the industry. However, we have had to be more flexible than we thought in terms of the types of communication we have with the talent we rely on as a business. It wasn’t long ago that everyone thought we would simply be communicating via text, and that traditional phone calls would go by the wayside. We found that to be true…except when it isn’t. Blanket rules don’t apply when you are dealing with a significant cross-section of the population. We have talent who are from a wide range of social groups, varied ages and locations. Even within each of those demographics, we can’t determine exactly how a certain subgroup will respond to a specific type of communication. This means that if we are only communicating in one way, then we are inhibiting our ability to use our entire database effectively because even if there are a small amount of people who don’t respond well to a certain type of communication – text messaging for example– then we, if only using text messaging, cannot effectively engage with those people. In other words, if we only email our database, there will always be a percentage of our database that will never respond.
So, we have had to become not more specific in our communication but far broader and more flexible. As technology has evolved, we have had to embrace every part of it because the value we add to our clients is access to the best promotional talent in the country, and we need to make sure we are accessing it to the best of our ability. So, we have become a cutting-edge, old school, high-tech, phone-based business. We have an in-house development team who created an incredibly complex database and engagement platform, and who continues to improve it every day. And we have phones – actual phones that are plugged into the wall – that we use when needs be.
As an example (and this will serve to give nightmares to those of you who enjoy a steady and monotonous work day) many of our engagements are in regional areas, where there isn’t a significant amount of promotional talent but where some of our clients have a steady base of customers, and an opportunity to expand that base through promotional activities. We almost always have a good amount of PUSH Agency talent in the area, but when the event is of a significant enough size, we must sometimes rely on and uncomfortably high percentage of those people. Our fancy database is designed to pair with our project management tool, and as a result we can see potential staff shortfalls before they occur. If this should happen, it’s our job to find a way to fill the gaps and put contingency plans in place should people pull out at the last minute. Our team then jumps on the phone to anyone who hasn’t responded, or to those who were uncertain as to their availability. We then ask our promotional talent who have accepted the job if they know anyone, have any friends, or of heard of anyone who is with other modelling agencies who may be interested in the event. Then, we ask everyone to put a shout out on all their social media channels, and we do the same. In addition, we also email blast neighboring areas from our database, and text message anyone who has potential to be in the area. Modelling agencies used to make a phone call, book the talent and then get on with the rest of their lives. Now, it’s our job to make sure we can live up to the highest of expectations, and deliver the best possible talent no matter where they are, or how they communicate. Our database gives us the opportunity to deliver what other modelling agencies and promotional businesses cannot – exceptional talent we already know. But it’s always important to have a fallback position, and our ethos is that we do whatever it takes to make sure events and promotions go off without a hitch, with the best talent, and service so good that no client could expect it.