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Finding the perfect match - Making Glug Reading happen

Last week, something special happened right here in Reading.  I know, as they say, right?

A small team of creative businesses pooled together their networks, resources and quite frankly, a lot of energy/ caffeine, to bring Glug, the global creative networking series to Reading.  Glug Reading was an example of creative collaboration in action and as with all the best projects like this, it truly resulted in something more powerful than any of us expected.

How does creative collaboration work?  Here’s what I learnt:

Share the same vision

When my inspirational client Louize Clarke, co-founder of ConnectTVT and GROW@ GreenPark said she wanted to strengthen the creative community in the area, it was something that really resonated with me. As a B2B PR consultant, I often felt on the edge of other professions.  I couldn’t work out where all the great creative people I met through client work, on Twitter or LinkedIn networked locally, went to learn more about their industries or basically, hung out. As it turns out, nor could they.  

Louize and I both realised that if we wanted it, we’d have to create it.

Choose your co-lab partners wisely

Networking gets a bad rep and truthfully, the last thing Reading needs is another siloed networking group. Our vision was for something that gave back, had a heart and was about making more than contacts.  We knew that Glug had built a powerful creative community based on inspiration, education, and fun.  Luck counts – we were lucky Glug founder Ian Hambleton trusted our vision for Glug Reading and believed we could make it happen.

We chose sponsors carefully too. True, it’s not like we were in a position to turn people away but brands like Jon Bradley Photography, No Magnolia and Austin Fraser really got our mission – and in fact, had been looking for ways to make that thriving creative hub happen themselves.

Be brave

Creative collaboration isn’t just about bringing together the right brained guy from accounts with the left brained from studio.  It’s a bit of a gamble too.  While the Glug Reading team had a hunch that we could build a sustainable creative community – over time – we weren’t expecting the wait-list only, super-charged success created last Thursday. Trust me, things looked different on 4th Jan when we counted member numbers on our somewhat sparse Meetup group.

Our sponsors took risks, our speakers chose to brave a dark night in January equipped with their amazing thinking and a beer and the creative community stepped that little bit out of their comfort zone into this new world of Glug to explore a diverse room of strangers and celebrate new ideas.

Make friends, not contacts

BE NICE & MAKE FRIENDS – is one of Glug’s rules. My view is that Glug Reading captured so many colleagues, associates and perfect strangers’ imagination is because it wasn’t just the hard sell. There really was the sense of people finding their tribe, their space.  People want the opportunity the learn, connect and yes, have a friendly beer, all with the shared interest to be better versions of themselves…be it through broadening industry knowledge, learning something from a colleague or better, being able to help someone out with an idea, an introduction, a tweet. 

And it’s when you collaborate with these chosen people, the real magic happens. Already new relationships, partnerships and even job opportunities have formed out of Glug Reading.  There’s always space and opportunity for us to collaborate more.  Break down the problem, divide the tasks at hand, bring new ideas together… then you get to multiply the success and create something new, that resonates, connects, and I really hope, is built to last.


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