SIA New Member Profile: Sparks Studios

Sparks Studios

New Security Industry Association (SIA) member Sparks Studios is a total solution brand experience partner creating a myriad of live, live+digital hybrid and/or full virtual experiences. By leveraging current retail infrastructure/operations and combining their experienced team with proven physical distancing strategies, Sparks Studios can help quickly and safely prepare offices for reopening. Sparks Studios is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and serves customers all over the U.S. and Canada.

SIA spoke with Sparks Studios about the company, the security industry and working with SIA.

Tell us the story of your company.

Family-owned, Philly-based Sparks Studios began producing theatrical sets, retail window displays and specialty exhibits in 1919. Over the next sixty years, our live marketing reputation took shape and brought continued growth into trade show marketing, adding additional design and fabrication services and a client base of Fortune 1000 companies. In the early 2000s, we strategically added strategy, events, and creative technologies divisions to evolve Sparks from an “exhibit house” to what we are today, a total solution brand experience partner.

We create experiences as live, live+digital hybrid and/or full virtual experiences: 

  • Global Trade Show Exhibits
  • Conferences, Events and Meetings
  • Road Shows and Mobile Tours
  • Brand Activations and Sponsorships
  • Showcases and Expo Floors
  • Executive Briefing Centers, Corporate Offices and other Permanent Brand Environments
  • Retail Fixtures and Experiences

With unmatched talent, deep roots, fresh ideas and global reach, we are the experiential agency you need.

  • 500 Sparkies
  • 10 Global locations
  • 100 years in business
  • $250M and growing
  • 1,500 Experiences annually
  • 92% Program client retention rate

Tell us where your business is located.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, we operate 10 strategically located facilities:

  • Atlanta, GA – Client services, fabrication and warehouse
  • Burlingame, CA – Client services and creative
  • Detroit, MI – Client services and creative
  • Fairfield County, CT – Marketing
  • Las Vegas, NV – Client services, fabrication and warehouse
  • Los Angeles, CA – Client services and creative
  • New York, NY – Client services and creative
  • Philadelphia, PA (HQ) – Client services, creative, fabrication and warehouse
  • San Francisco, CA – Client services and creative
  • Shanghai, CN – Client services, fabrication and warehouse

What solutions/services does your business offer in the security industry? And what makes your offerings/company unique?

We offer turnkey experiential services making us that rare, end-to-end experiential partner capable of working from strategy, creative, content development, virtual technologies, fabrication, management, execution, measurement and more.

Project Management: We act as your project nerve center–handling every detail from kick-off to debrief while keeping you sane and your goals and objectives in mind – your full-service managers and therapists, in one!

Strategy and Measurement: We immerse ourselves in the things that matter (market research, business objectives, audience profiles, content directives, measurement, and more) to uncover usable intelligence to generate insights that inform our solutions.

Creative Ideation and Design: We take complex messaging, services and products and create attendee journeys that simplify your story. We ensure a consistent representation of your brand across all audience touchpoints.

Content Development and Production: We create compelling content that connects your audiences with your brand. Compelling content is relevant when it addresses the needs, wants, frustrations, or aspirations of your intended audiences.

Digital and Virtual Technologies: We are skilled at producing digital and virtual experiences that connect with your audiences in the absence or augmentation of live experiences.

Fabrication and Production: All fabrication, event production and logistic services are managed in-house and we ensure flawless execution so you can focus on what truly matters–connecting with your customers! 

What’s something we might not know about your company – or something new you’re doing in security?

We collaborate with brand and marketing teams from Fortune 500 global leaders in their industries – many within security! These clients have the highest expectations and demand the absolute best and we thrive on the challenges they present to us. We will apply the same level of passion, innovation, creativity, and heart to you from day one, leveraging key learnings and best practices gained from these boundary-pushing companies.

Our integrated approach includes solving their real business problems using a thoughtful mix of strategy, creativity, and culture. We listen to our client’s needs and learn about their audiences. We identify the trends happening in the world and the essentials that people love about their brand. Then we innovate and design to connect and amplify them. Through experiential marketing, we build undeniable moments that empower people, get them thinking, change the direction of their lives, or simply bring smiles to their faces. The result is a relevant live, hybrid, or digital experience their audiences never forget.

Most recently, we’ve pivoted our efforts to provide Back to Business support and PPE solutions (plexiglass partitions, physical distancing signage and safe distancing/directional markers, hand sanitizing and PPE disposal units, etc.) to help our clients and communities get back to business seamlessly during these unprecedented times. As companies across the US reimagine their workspaces, it is critical to normalize new safety guidelines into everyday life. We understand the purposeful use of physical space: spatial strategy, architectural cues, traffic flow, signage and wayfinding, contactless technologies, branded swag and more. By leveraging our current retail infrastructure/operations and combining our experienced team with proven physical distancing strategies, we can help you quickly and safely prepare your offices for reopening.

What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?

Our corporate mission is to remain a leading experiential agency for companies within the security industry to deliver innovative live + digital marketing solutions for our clients.

Our vision is to drive client growth within the industry and achieve their business objectives through compelling brand experiences that build brand and customer loyalty.

Our business philosophy centers on an integrated service offering that encompasses everything from strategic planning and creative, to implementation and measurement, across all experiential touchpoints.

What do you think are the biggest opportunities in the security industry right now?

Customers continue to look for the “trusted advisor” that can provide sound guidance and excellent service.    This was made even more apparent with all of the changes that occurred to businesses in 2020.

What are the biggest challenges facing your company and/or others in the security industry?

As COVID-19 continues to bring a wave of cancellations and postponements, our biggest challenge is the lack of face-to-face opportunities that our clients typically engage in to drive their sales. In response, we know that the value of face-to-face interaction will never go away, but now more than ever, virtual is becoming a necessary part of our strategy. And virtual events are nothing new to us. Our clients expect the best experiences — onsite or online — and we’ve been delivering both for decades. We help brands produce digital experiences and virtual events meant to connect with their audiences in the absence or augmentation of live engagements. Our in house creative and virtual teams handle every aspect, from identifying the perfect virtual platform — including our own acclaimed Virtu, Virtu Max and Virtu 3D — to producing broadcast-quality content and everything in between.

What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?

Our Culture: Our employees are the heart and soul of our business. We have the right mix of people, principles, values and attitudes and we strive to maintain an environment we can innovate, create and effect positive change while respecting and encouraging each other along the way. Our culture is built around providing the best possible working scenarios for our employees, and the most productive working relationships with our clients. Our principles “Code Ten” guide ensure we achieve those scenarios:

  • Do the right thing
  • Question everything
  • Embrace change
  • Details matter
  • Challenge provides opportunity
  • Think unconventionally
  • Be a service legend
  • Choose kindness
  • Strive for greatness
  • Work should be fun

Our Clients: We’re proud to works many brands within the security industry such as Hanwha and Stanley Security. We also partner with over 150 brands across a host of industries including technology, healthcare, apparel, e-commerce, consumer products and more. Thes brands rely on us to design, produce and deliver their experiences of all different types , shapes and sizes.

Our Reputation: Over the past 100 years, we’ve worked with some of the world’s most recognizable brands and have become known for purposeful design, challenging the status quo and flawless execution.

Creative license: We encourage one another to push the boundaries in all areas of our business. We support, invest and reward innovative problem-solving, such as cost- and time-efficiencies and innovative, environment-friendly ideas, while creating the most meaningful and memorable experiential solutions for our clients and their brands.

Talent: We employ the most experienced, most creative and most innovative minds known in our industry. New employees revel in being able to work with these individuals and gaining skills that they will not get at any other agency.

Experience. Through working with security companies, we’ve come to know the security industry, its experiential marketing landscape, its challenges, what works, and what doesn’t on and off the show floor. Because of that understanding, we’re confident we offer all of the experiential services you need to connect with your audiences through live, live +digital hybrid or full virtual experiences. 

What does SIA offer that is most important to you/your company? And what do you most hope to get out of your membership with SIA?

  • Visit the SIA booth/lounge at shows where they are in attendance
  • Attend upcoming virtual events
  • Access member resources: newsroom, blog, articles, etc.
  • Learn of new industry members and their offerings
  • Acquire new industry-related knowledge as it pertains to technologies, trends and developments to better serve our clients
  • View archived materials
  • Connect with security industry brands that want to:
    • Have a strategic experiential (live, hybrid, virtual) program
    • Connect with their core audiences at the right touchpoint
    • Create experiences that leave lasting impressions
    • Build brand awareness, showcase products, etc.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts and/or profiles are those of the authors or sources and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Security Industry Association.