Tell me something about your brand.
While I believe that defining something is important, I also understand that it is a process, something that doesn’t finish, but changes as time moves on.
The only constant in life is change, and that is something we all need to embrace.
Every two-cent company has missions statements, vision statements, core values, but how many actually live and breathe these in their daily work?
Less than 1 percent.
I want the agency to be in the 1 percent. Hell, I want it to be in that 0.1 percent of companies that not only live up to their values but are actually defined by them.
The agency is something so radically different to what exists right now, that it is simply evident from every interaction. From browsing our website to stepping into our office, to the texture of our business cards, and, most importantly, to the results that we produce. The agency is an environment where excellence is not only expected but required.
We don’t need to talk about how awesome we are, we simply show it in everything we do.
It is easy to have values when they don’t cost anything.
Values should cost something.
They should cost time – they need to be defined, they need to be measured, they need to be developed, and then they need to be nurtured.
They should cost money – going to extra step with the work means spending more, sometimes working for longer than we intend to, and ensuring that we are always delivering more than is expected.
Design First should be our first value.
Design is not just about pretty pictures. It’s about how an object looks, and how it works, and how a real human being interacts with it.
The reason why Design First is our first core value is because it is at the forefront of the work we do. Everything we do is design – from the way our proposals look to new clients, all the way to the feelings we create – and the smiles we put on their faces – the first time we unveil the concept for their new brand.
The work we create should be something that we are truly comfortable recommending to the people we care the most about: our family and our friends.
The first question, of course, is why do we care? We can split this answer into two:
- We’re professionals. We will spend more than half our waking time at work, and so we need to love what we do and the people we do it with. This means our colleagues, our partners, and, of course, our clients. We care because we are selective in the work we take on, and our clients infuse us with their passion and energy for their business and project, and we take that energy and create with it actionable results – beautiful brands, stunning websites, thoughtful campaigns.
- It shows. The worst feeling in the world is working on something that you don’t care about. Each minute feels like an hour, and each step forwards feels like a marathon. However, when one truly cares and is passionate about the work you’re doing, then suddenly an hour feels like a minute, and progress is effortless. Falling into “the zone”, that place where awesome work is both effortless and enjoyable should be our aim. The results will then speak for themselves.
As an aside, we should ask ourselves the following question:
If we don’t care, then why do it?
The answer is that there is no compelling reason to do it.
This goes back to my earlier point about values being easy when they don’t cost anything. If we truly care, this may well mean saying no to clients and projects that are highly profitable, but not a good fit.
The client may not have any passion, the type of work may be not be something that we can guarantee the results that we expect from ourselves, or we may already have full schedules and be uncertain about delivering on time.
We will be thought-leaders in our field.
What does this mean?
It means that the work we execute will be intentional, that it will hold real meaning because behind the work are individuals who truly think about what they do. They read about it, they write about it, they teach it, they live it and they breathe it. They think about it when they go home and when they travel.
They make cross-disciplinary connections and are constantly attempting to push the boundaries of what is possible.
This makes the agency work have a depth that competitors simply can’t match.
We are bold.
We are not going to be scared to have ideas that others think are crazy. We will be fine with doing things differently, and our clients will love us exactly because of this.
We won’t try to please everyone, and the work that comes out of our agency will most definitely be our work, it won’t be mistaken for the generic work that comes out of every design shop in the world.
We will be fine in telling each other, and our clients, what we truly think. We won’t run with ideas we don’t believe in, and we won’t become Yes Men who just turn up and pick up the cheques.
If your brand had human personality traits, what would they be?
Confidence – Someone who is aware of what they are worth, even if they don’t necessarily need to speak about it.
Charisma – People are naturally drawn to him or her, even if they are not quite sure why.
Sharp – Quick to understand new concepts, never drops the ball.
Creative – Ideas come quickly, and they come easily. The trick is learning to curate them.
Honesty – Gives out a complete sense of trust, without needing to explicitly show it.
Who is your ideal customer?
Our ideal customer has as fierce a passion for their business as we have for ours.
They have clear business objectives and are looking for us to add our expertise to make their dreams come true.
They understand and value this fact:
Good Design is Good Business.
They understand that we are professionals, and they treat us as such. They understand that trust in our design process is of the utmost importance, and they understand why.
It doesn’t matter if they are billion dollar corporations or cash-strapped startups, what matters is that they are the type of people that we want to spend the most precious of resources we have available: time.
Who are your main competitors?
I don’t believe that the agency described here has any direct competitors in Cambodia.
The competition we might face are agencies that charge less and try and win clients by being cheaper.
While they may steal potential clients from us in the short term, they will never have return clients like us, and those clients they have may well one day understand the value of paying more for a crafted, thoughtful approach.
While these type of competitors will be constantly chasing for work, we will have the clients coming to us.
A vision for the future.
The best description I’ve found of the agency I want to create is “Global Boutique”.
An agency that uses small multi-disciplinary teams, where the client is part of the team, to create incredible results. Leveraging talent from across the world, this pool of professional can tackle projects both small and large while respecting the core values expanded upon earlier.
We leave the world a little bit better than we found it.