Freak out or be brave

Don’t worry we’re not going to do a fluffy piece about pumpkins and bobbing for apples, but the fact it’s Halloween this evening prompted us to talk about what drove us to land on our own positioning - bravery. The reason it hit a chord on this day of ‘scariness’ was that it was fear that first made us think about ‘bravery’ and our desire to put it back into our industry.

We questioned our own ‘why’. It’s something we get our clients to do as well, but first we needed to nail it for ourselves. What had driven us to leave our well paying jobs in the corporate agency world? We saw, that a lot of the things, that had annoyed us in our corporate roles, were actually driven by fear. Fear has driven us to move from an era of ‘Mad Men’ to ‘Yes Men and Women’. Fear you say? What do you mean?

When you look back at the last few decades the agency landscape has had a lot thrown at it. A lot we have all had to cope with.

  • We’ve been through a recession that saw many good agencies crumble
  • Some of us had to face laying people off or feeling the knife of redundancy come swiftly down on our own careers and those of really talented friends
  • Budgets are under constant scrutiny, with procurement gaining more and more power in the area of marketing and advertising
  • Proving ROI is just par of the course now for most agencies
  • Keeping up with the speed of technology and new communications is a challenge for clients and agencies alike
  • We’re in constant fear of losing that ‘main client’ that is keeping the agency in the black
  • Transparency and authenticity are expected from all brands (client and agency)
  • Competition is fierce with 20,000+ agencies competing for dwindling client budgets
  • Brexit is looming on our immediate horizons (and who knows what that is going to do to the economy)
  • Obama is leaving the Oval office and who knows which of the two sub-par options are going to get into power and further affect the global economy

We get it; it’s scary out there. But what we don’t want to see, are agencies making the wrong choices for their clients and their own brands and businesses out of fear. We want to help put the bravery back into the industry by highlighting the positive steps agencies can take to be braver and take on the fear that might be holding them back from the potential growth they are capable of achieving.

First of all we’d like to support agencies attain their own level of bravery. This sounds fluffy, but actually there are some real, practical, ways you can attain bravery:

  1. Start behaving like a brand. Develop a well defined brand proposition that is based on why you exist and your agency’s purpose
    • Include a why based vision and mission
    • Develop a unique tone of voice that matches your behaviour
    • Don’t ignore the emotional side of your brand by simply focusing your story on the discipline you work in
  2. Stop focusing on what other agencies around you are doing and be brave enough to carve your own path. It’s OK to step up and away from the crowd
  3. Be true to yourselves, be authentic to who you are as an agency and a brand
  4. Be transparent – what do you have to hide? Clients appreciate honesty and openness.
  5. Have an opinion – we’ve been discovering that a lot of agencies have forgotten that client’s turn to you for your expertise and opinion, so be brave enough to offer a point of view, whether that is with clients, prospects and in your external communications
  6. Don’t be afraid to polarise. Being everything to everyone isn’t brave or smart. Focus on what you are good at, and have a brand that will attract the kind of brands you want to work with and turn off the kinds of brands you don’t.

Bravery is an interesting word. It can mean something different to everyone, which is why it doesn’t mean you have to be the wackiest, brashest or loudest brand, but it does mean being brave enough to step out from the shadows of others and be the best, most authentic version of your agency and brand that you can.

This is a challenge we give to our clients and ourselves every day, be strong enough to be you and achieve your own level of bravery. 


If you are interested in having a chat with us on how we could support your agency to be braver please feel free to contact us.