One Minute With... Ben Reed, Silvertown

Ben Reed, the head of engagement at Silvertown, discusses how the east London development is evolving to accommodate brand experiences.

Ben Reed is head of engagement at Silvertown
Ben Reed is head of engagement at Silvertown

Reed, the former director and co-founder of agency House of Experience, joined Silvertown in January.  

How has Silvertown developed since you came on board?

Silvertown is back on the map, tearing up the rulebook and becoming London’s hottest brand experience destination.

The ongoing transformation of the iconic Millennium Mills building, a 1930s art deco flour mill, and the rest of the 62-acre site will create a new kind of London space, where businesses, consumers and residents can come to together.

Silvertown has developed into a place of creativity and collaboration, where brands can get closer to their consumers, to test and break things, speed up their innovation lifecycle and succeed faster.

This year we have met a number of interesting brands to see how Silvertown can help them achieve their objectives. Expect to see plenty of brand labs, showrooms, and mock-shops, as well as drone racing, coffee festivals and even gin distilleries.

What is meant by the term 'brand experience campus'?

The huge emphasis on businesses to provide tangibility and spatiality to their products and services has led to a shortage of spaces in which to house impactful experiences. This shortage is due to historical building constraints, restrictive planning regimes and out-dated designs.

Silvertown believes in clustering likeminded businesses together so that they can collaborate, share and form strategic partnerships. Grouping forward-thinking businesses means that we develop a pool of talent at Silvertown that is hungry to succeed.

This campus approach also means that Silvertown visitors can have a truly enriched day out, filled with learning opportunities and curious new experiences.

Has Silvertown hosted any brand experiences of late, or are there any in the pipeline?

The next chapter in Silvertown’s involvement with brands is really exciting. We recently launched the new Jaguar XF, when a stuntman veteran of the Bond and Bourne movies drove the car across London's Royal Victoria docks on two 34mm-diameter wires suspended high in the air.

We are currently speaking to a number of leading brands in their sectors, from automotive and electronics to tech and fast-moving consumer goods.

Why should a brand opt for Silvertown to host an experience?

Silvertown offers brands four key ingredients; space, the ability to personalise, flexibility and affordability.

We’re roughly the same size as Soho, so we have plenty of space to house large-scale brand experiences that can use our assets completely. 

Brands now look very closely at the ROI of an experiential piece of activity, which is often tactical in nature. At Silvertown, we are communicating to brands that they can not only provide brand experiences here, but also house employees, innovation and R&D functions, and have access to great transport links.

Brand experiences should be about longevity and current content, rather than popping-up and popping-off after a few weeks.

More: Squatters' rights: Is the pop-up dead?

Comment below to let us know what you think.

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