We’re a brand agency – but we don’t look for brands to work with

That may sound silly, but it’s fundamentally true.

Since we formed We Launch in 2010 we’ve worked with a huge amount of businesses and organisations – from startups to multi-nationals. From Sydney to Rio. And the common thread that runs through the most successful projects isn’t the business we’re working for, or the industry we’re working in – it’s the people we have worked with.

We’ve brainstormed the most fantastic concepts with some truly innovative people – directors of fundraising; airline CMOs; CEOs of national governing bodies within sport; brand directors of pharmaceutical groups; founders of snack brands; retail heads of marketing; board directors of financial services businesses; entrepreneurs; leaders of industry. It’s in those sessions, where nothing is ever impossible or out of reach, that the best brands are shaped. To them, it’s about surrounding themselves with likeminded collaborators that they trust, and whose opinion they respect – challenging each other to find a solution that propels their business upwards, and beyond the competition.

But we’ve also met our fair share of people that quite simply don’t get it. They may have brilliant minds, or have spent years developing an amazing product or service – but they either just think that a brand is a costly waste of time, or that they can do it just as well themselves. To them, a project has an end-point, and that when their new campaign or brand launches they can sit back, relax and look at a vast increase in sales. They can’t comprehend that brand is an ever evolving journey – that it has to constantly question, improve and respond to the changing needs and desires of their audiences. That if their brand ever once sits still, it becomes stiff.

And whichever brand these people work for, or own, its a brand that we don’t want to work with.

This is why we strive to only work with those people that inspire us. The innovators and pioneers. The mavericks and out-of-the-box thinkers. Those that actively approach a problem differently. Who think big, yet know their own limitations. The one’s that doodle ideas all over the rulebook. The people that don’t fear the moment when their main competitor does something groundbreaking – they thrive on the challenge of how to create something even better. They back their hunches, and put faith in their teams. They know that at times they need short-term gains, but they always use them as a part of painting a long-term picture.

Innovators have the courage of their convictions, but love to be challenged in equal measure.

It might – in part – explain why Uber has had such a negative perception recently prior to Travis Kalanicks’ departure. Rather than placing value in working with a highly creative external agency for their rebrand in 2016, he opted to oversee it all in-house. In having nobody to challenge, question and surprise him – it resulted in a somewhat derided solution. There are myriad others.

For us, everything is about the person.

Those extra miles are easy to run for someone you believe in, and who has faith in what you can do for them. Internal politics can be overcome as both sides know where the other is coming from. That’s why we would much rather work for an innovator in a lesser known industry than someone who constantly plays it safe, and repeats what has been done before, in a supposedly ‘cool’ brand.

We’re not being controversial with our opening line. We’re simply reflecting on those relationships, and work, that we’re most proud of. Its those experiences that have made us and our clients what we all are today, and which will shape our futures.

As Michaelangelo said, “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

 

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