For some years now, I’ve been watching colleagues – locally and internationally – reshuffle, reinvent, reconfigure and, in some instances, restart.
Digital agencies have discovered better revenue models by becoming media focused front of house. Quick-turnaround production has come in-house as clients dodge mark-ups but agencies want to hold onto ancillary revenue. Internal operations see either more multi-tasking or outsourcing as those stodgy traditional functions like traffic, production and art buying really start to blur. Branding consultancies are delving into advertising. Hell, even management consultants are snapping up digital and design studios.
Is this the hastening of our very own singularity, the quintessentially integrated agency? What is this obsession of being all things to all clients and business partners? Would Richard Branson be readily duped by his own advice? “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
A fellow creative partner was once asked to audit a major brand for the purposes of adding value to the balance sheet. Perhaps the fact that he was asked in the presence of a trained auditor contributed to his decision to politely decline, rather than just, you know, have a crazy-ass go at it.
No, we have not restructured in the interests of blind empire building. We are not still tanking away at creating yet another one-stop shop. And yes, we did engage an outside consultant, someone well versed in the perils of trying to be all things to all people. In the successive workshopping and interrogation that we readily submit our clients to, it was our very selves who were now confessing to, and revealing, our brand essence. “Know thyself” became our mantra.
Though not quite a phoenix out of the ashes, we’ve realigned pretty radically. Gone are the middle-weights, the jobbers, the in-betweeners. Instead, we now have a core partnership of creative directors along with experienced, highly capable Strategic Brand Consultants. Gone is the hallowed creative silo. Hello, streative team. Another clever bit of advertisingese, I know. But it’s changed the dynamic of executive decision-making. If you have the right calibre at the table, things happen faster.
We’ve moved, it would seem, to the consulting realm. How creatively scary is that? Well, not much. Especially when you consider that you’re in the business of devising, managing and building brands. If it’s just a supplier you’re after, call another agency.
Established in 2001, Blast Brand Catalysts is a hybrid studio/agency that crosses the specialist disciplines of brand identity development and advertising. Design and advertising have dedicated skillsets and objectives. But working to a singular, longer-term strategic projection at the outset will factor market and media competitiveness as well as category differentiation. There is also an immediate, fluid transition from brand inception to activation.
Blast Brand Catalysts researches, strategises, designs, applies, implements, evolves and invigorates with proven, follow-through calibre. The tightly talented team gets it done, gets it done well, and gets the very next thing done even better.