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Creative leap

Creative leap

If Kipp wasn’t such a coward, we’d start our own business. But it turns out we’d stand a better chance of success if we tied up with a branding agency…

January 23, 2011 2:24 by

Dennis de Rond, strategy partner at creative agency Day, highlights transparency between the agency and brand as the biggest advantage and necessity. Day had invested in and had helped set up a new sneaker brand called !syou around three years ago, says de Rond. The agency had been approached by a young entrepreneur with the idea of a co-designed sneaker brand and “we proposed that we would do the branding right from start and then we would invest with time and you [the entrepreneur] will get full resource to work on the projects. In return we ask for a small percentage of your company and you can pay us back if you start making profit with your company,” he adds.

The idea was then executed by a team of four partners: “We found somebody who knew everything about manufacturing shoes and somebody who knew everything about financial work and investing in companies. The four of us [including the entrepreneur] are now equal partners in !syou.”

De Rond says that being an investor in !syou has helped the agency get access to the “right” information, especially in terms of the budget. “With a lot of other clients, you never know if there is more budget. They tell you that there is none, but sometimes you know that there is. And if you are really a part of the company, then you know exactly what the budget is.”

According to de Rond, another advantage of being a partner in a brand is that when armed with the information, the agency can have more of a say in the direction a briefing should take—something that is usually determined by the client’s marketing department and is not very often open to change. And of course, the agency has all the say if it entirely owns the brand.

It’s not all easy, though, say Gothard and de Rond—especially in a partnership. The agency may be more involved with the matter, but both entities have to make sure that the mutual interest is being served and that each side is keeping their end of the bargain. “Unless you keep your professional integrity in place, there is always the opportunity to abuse the relationship,” says Gothard. “[As an agency] you must also make sure that your standards don’t fall as well.”

Being part of the brand, however, may motivate the agency to work harder, says de Rond. “Also because we know that if we spend a month on a project where we can’t spend our time on anything else, we will challenge ourselves to give the best results in the most efficient way.” Kipp agrees. After all, why would any agency let its standards fall when it has a vested interest in how the brand fares?

We guess the start up bandwagon is not so daunting after all. At least, not if you’re an already accomplished branding agency.

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