AGENCY OWNER JUMPS IN THE DEEP END… DOESN’T HAVE THE TIME TO LOOK BACK

"It didn't take us long to be up and running. I always believed 100% that we'd be a success, so I threw us in at the deep end and honestly haven't had time to look back since."




Introduction

Filecamp, the makers of your favorite digital asset management tool, recently reached out to the folks at Appetite Creative, a branding an advertising agency with offices spread out around the world. We had an opportunity to chat with Jenny, the founder of the agency, about how she’s approached Appetite’s growth from day one.

Let’s jump into the interview below.




The Interview

Hi and thank you for joining us today. Let's kick off the interview by talking a little bit about your agency's growth. You only got started back in 2015, yet it seems like you've been able to grow quite quickly. You have a decent sized team and a huge portfolio of incredible work. Can you tell us a little bit more about your growth rate? Where did you start out and how does that compare to where you are today?

It didn't take us long to be up and running. I always believed 100% that we'd be a success, so I threw us in at the deep end and honestly haven't had time to look back since. Our team is distributed all over the world. We've been lucky to have had some amazing people come through the doors. We actually won the growth award from the Drum when we started in 2016 and that has just been a testament to what our future was to look like.


What were some of your biggest growing pains in your first couple of years and how did you overcome them?

I wanted the best talent that I could possibly get, and we made the decision very early to have a worldwide team. It's great, and I would never change it, but of course, it did take getting used to. My team was spread all over the world and finding the rhythm to cope with that has been massively beneficial, but also took a while.

Clients’ payment terms were a bit of a shock and still are, to be honest. Now that we're up and running, it is slightly easier, but at the start, we were chasing the shadows of accounts departments. It was a reality check that everyone has to go through.


How do you go about building and maintaining a positive culture at your agency? How important and connected is your culture to your agency's growth?

We are open and diverse. Our global culture is so vital to what we do. Anyone can walk into my office at any time with an idea. I don't care if the idea fails. I see each one as an opportunity, and I want our teams to feel the same. Extending that across continents and cultures gives us a creative pool that I don't think many other companies have.


When you were first starting out, how did you go about onboarding your first clients? What was the hardest part about onboarding early clients and how did you deal with those obstacles?

We made sure that we sent out the message that we were 100% committed to innovation and technology. We listened and we found ways to provide solutions. We are flexible, we were then too, and we started by creating our "soul-utions” to our clients' needs. We didn't just give them something from a catalogue, we strived to investigate and innovate to give them something that improves them as a company, meets their objectives and tries to think beyond the initial brief.


On your website, you talk about being on the 'digital edge" of digital marketing. Can you tell us a little bit more about the "digital edge" and why it's important for your agency to position itself there?

We provide our clients with the best, most cutting edge technology. We fuse a global creative team, with unfathomable technical knowledge and the scope to see the latest advancements in terms of technology. If it exists and can help our clients, we will make sure that we are creative enough, and savvy enough, to use it to their best advantage. We want our clients to stand out. 

Vodafone wanted to do something unique... we had to bring them the newest and coolest idea. In the end, we decided to design an augmented reality treasure hunt. Taking place in a shopping mall, we left clues around various locations and the contestants had to use their smart devices to find them. The winner even got a new iPhone X!


You have offices in Madrid, London, and Dubai. Can you tell us a little bit more about why you selected each office location? What is it about these three office locations that help you serve your clients and your employees best?

The UK was the obvious one. We simply have to be there because of the industry we're in. Madrid is fantastic, it serves Europe brilliantly and it's so well connected to London. Dubai started to become more and more important as we did more work there. It's essential to what we do now. In fact, we've just finished a campaign for a Coca-Cola fruit drink called Rani juice over there which had some awesome image recognition and an engagement data piece.


Can you tell us a little bit more about how you scaled out into these different geographic regions? What was your logic in wanting to expand internationally? How does having international offices help you as an agency?

From our teams to our offices, we always wanted to be as connected as possible to as far and wide as possible. We speak more languages than I can list, we have projects being worked on 24/7. The sun does not set on appetite! We have worked recently with Bayer in Germany, and Tetrapak is a long term client from there, building a multilingual web app connected experiences that are running internationally. It's all well and good casting your net out, but we have placed offices in great places to help hold that net up. We are on hand for any client, anywhere, in any language, and at any time.


Previously, we chatted about your early client onboarding strategies. However, now that you have a substantial portfolio and many awards, how does your client onboarding process look today?

It's an ongoing process because the world we're in changes so much. We are doing more to build relationships, we have a Women's network FemmeNiche that travels the world, and we have a carbon offsetting tree growing scheme that we are pushing as hard as we can to ensure we are carbon neutral. Right now, we are building relationships and working on ourselves. Of course, we have a marketing team that does amazing things and brings us amazing clients. We don't try and sell products; we try and create solutions. We continue to innovate, we've just been named leading creative agency in the UK for 2020 (our third year running), and we do it by being ourselves. Awards vindicate what we do. They show our teams how good they are in different ways, that they are appreciated more and more by the outside world, and they deserve that.


What are your three biggest growth channels?

If I can cheat and say that innovation is one, I can include AI, AR, voice technology and 5G altogether. We are brainstorming some fantastic ideas, we are talking about virtual cities that are displayed from within driverless cars and use of voice tech in ways that are ahead of the game. 

Secondly, it’s data. Our solutions are not just about the experience but also the whole wealth of first-party data that we are able to collect for brands. This data helps brands learn more about their customers, their locations their habits. Additionally, it helps brands to actually have an impact on their next campaigns by understanding what makes their users tick, when, where, on which day and it’s even influencing logistics and production for some of our clients!

Thirdly our marketing solutions for tech companies. We are focused on providing solutions for tech companies who need support around changing their technical or functional messaging into audience-focused benefits that make sense to them. It might be a full rebrand or a new website with an explainer video or it might just be a sales presentation created as a set of building blocks for the sales team, but we found that being a tech marketing company we have a focused skill being able to support other tech companies with their marketing objectives.


If you had to double down on just one growth channel today, what channel would it be and why?

Okay, I won't cheat. 5G has the potential to let us do whatever we want. We have a team, an award-winning team, that is spread all over the world. 5G will take away so many of the restrictions, and we will be able to unleash our stunning depth of creativity. We are brainstorming and finding ways we can use every inch of it and create more and more connected experiences that offer brands the ability to merge online with offline personas and create and learn more about their audience than ever before.

These solutions using image recognition, bar code scanning transforms packaging into a useful and new media channel for brands and allows brands to connect in a new way. It’s particularly useful for FMCG but any DTC brand can benefit.


You have your hands in so many different parts of the digital marketing world. You do everything from design to growth work with your clients. What are some of the most exciting new marketing opportunities you're seeing on the horizon? Who are some companies you believe are doing an excellent job of taking advantage of these technologies?

You have to look at voice technology, AI, and AR as the most exciting. I would say that above all of them is the beautiful umbrella of 5G. It means that our scope has been blown wide open, the possibilities are so vast that it's going to go back to being the most innovative and most creative. 

In terms of which companies are excelling, I think it's probably the ones we haven't seen just yet… the disrupters of the disrupters that will bring a new wave of revolution building on the new business models of direct consumer interaction- offering better easier ways to work, interact, purchase and go about our daily lives. We have a few companies we are working with up our sleeves! Watch this space!!


Thank you greatly for taking the time to chat with Filecamp’s blog readers today. We truly appreciate your insights about how you approach helping your agency’s clients brand and grow their organizations. I know the readers of our blog will have taken a lot away from this interview. To our blog readers, if you’d like to learn more about Appetite Creative you can follow them on Twitter or head over to their website here.

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