Why BIMM has kept going upstream in a pandemic

The agency's "Rapid Experience Development" model has helped it keep up with pivots with clients like Audi.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, it forced some agencies to re-examine their thinking and work processes amid a changing and modernizing work environment.

BIMM, however, felt those changes were less arduous, in part due to its “Rapid Experience Development” (RED) methodology, which aims to give it an upstream role outside of advertising.

“Agencies are very likely to do the work that they are asked to do – and then sometimes go outside their comfort zones to win awards,” says Marco Tomada, VP of operations at BIMM. “This was a need to say, ‘Let’s take that drive and innovative spirit [that’s applied] to award-winning work, and apply it to other problems that our clients are having that are maybe not on the docket yet.’”

BIMM RED takes a step back to examine work more broadly – before drilling down into challenges or issues the agency thinks are worth exploring – then develops a solution or prototype for the client that can be further developed. An example of rapid experience development in action is when Audi approached the agency with the idea of exploring “mobility as a service.”

Audi’s digital team came in-house at the agency for roughly a year, and the agency created a hackathon for Audi with automotive, design and tech experts. At the end of the hackathon, three tangible solutions emerged (the solutions are proprietary and currently in development, so Tomada couldn’t speak to the specifics at this point). “We didn’t come out with a deck at the end of this thing,” he says.

Tomada adds that BIMM hired two participants from that hackathon to work on the projects that emerged. “We admitted that we are not a collection of all the experts we need at the table right now – we needed to reach out to other experts to come and join us.”

Going upstream is something many agencies have attempted to do in recent years to compete with consultancies. BIMM found that adopting the RED approach has been beneficial to navigating rapid pivots and also expanding its scope of work. Using RED methodology to help Audi develop several online modules to adapt its purchase funnel to pandemic safety measures, also triggered work from Audi in other regions.