#1 THERE IS
NO FORMULA

Formulas work for scientists and mathematicians. Formulas work for solving the mysteries of the universe. But they’re pretty useless for far trickier problems like: how do I launch my new kind of *insert your new innovation here* ? Our No-Formula approach generates a bespoke solution just for you and nobody else. We’re too messy for white coats.

#2 MAKE IT
MEANINGFUL

Meaningful communication.
Because nobody wants meaningless communication.
Yet we’re hijacked by it everyday with pop-ups, ads 
on the roadside, intrusions in your favourite playlist.

 

When talking about your brand, we think it’s fundamental to make it human, socially-aware, truthful and positive in its purpose. Most brands can be meaningful at heart, whether it’s a yoghurt, yurt or yacht.

#3 DON'T BE SAFE

You are spending anything from 15 to 150 to 1.5 million in real currency on communicating something important to you. Therefore, the tendency is to see what everyone else is doing and copy their best bits. Nobody out there wants this. Doing something outstanding means standing out, neck first. We can help with that. We will wear soft gloves and a kind smile. But we will not ask you to play it safe. We will only ask you to play it safe if you’re driving a truck full of nitroglycerin and kittens.

#4 ADVERTISING
IS UNHEALTHY

Advertising watches too much bad TV. Advertising dresses up in the latest tech sports gear but rarely does sport. Advertising is lazy. But that’s not what advertising wants to be – it’s what it has been forced to become. Advertising desperately wants to be shaken out of its stupor and feel decent, honourable and gracious again.

We’re not enemies of advertising, we’re enemies of bad advertising. Advertising to us simply means putting your best self forward in an honest way. Let’s give advertising a make-over and present it as communication. Advertising is one way; talking at you not to you. Communication is two way; a stimulating conversation with bad jokes, good gossip and leaving you feeling pretty good about yourself afterwards.

#5 MEETINGS ARE FINE, GATHERINGS ARE BETTER

Social psychologists state that there is an evolutionary advantage to not being outnumbered in a conversation. From that, the deduction is that the optimum number of people for a conversation is 4. This theory works for dinner parties as well as meetings. More people means more confusion and a less effective outcome. We prefer to bring less people to the picnic table, and to speak directly to those who wrote the brief, initiated the chat, or invented the brand. Also, it means more biscuits for everyone.

#6 COMMUNITY = COMMUNICATION

Community has been taken over by marketing and politicians. It’s become a buzz word – a waste. In its essence, community means people caring about the same things.

There’s a compassion intrinsic to community which is lost in the world of online analytics and political polls and press releases.

If community equals communication and communication is a smarter version of advertising then advertising should be community focussed. Therefore a little more caring. That doesn’t mean it should be soft and fluffy. It can also be bold, stupid, loud and colourful. As long as it’s talking from human to human, with their best interests at heart, rather than hogging the limelight in the interests of the thing that’s being flogged.

#7 NO WAY IN THE MIDDLE

We believe in creating and building divine brands (we work in a church, brands can be divine). Brands in all sizes with real and extraordinary meaning. We believe in the power of a compact, tight-knit nucleus of client together with a holy trinity of strategist, creatives and producer. So no elaborate account teams to pamper you to death. Instead, a more direct line of communication between client and creatives which give room for shared understanding on both sides of the fence, and ultimately leads to better work. Middlemen (or rather middle people) as their name would suggest, tend to get in the way. And no one likes being in the middle. It’s uncomfortable, and a bit sweaty.

#8 ALWAYS CARRY A MIRROR

Oftentimes, marketeers are obsessed with what they’re selling. This makes sense. You care about what you do and you’ve spent so long diving deeply into the azure blue waters of your beautiful brand that you fall a little bit in love with it. You want everyone to share this love. But no-one else cares as much as you do. No matter how much you spend telling them. Sometimes the best thing to do is flip your perspective. To hold a mirror up to the people you think might be interested in your brand. To see things from their side. To talk about them, not the thing you are selling. It’s more interesting from that side of the mirror, sometimes.

#9 AMBITION NEEDS HUMILITY. AND VICE VERSA

Make way for a clumsy metaphor: if ambition is a tank, humility is a bike. Ambition charges through, crushing everything in its wake, stopping at nothing to arrive at its goals. Humility, conversely, takes its time. It meanders, gets lost in the view and thinks thoughtful thoughts. Humility arrives at its destination a lot later than Ambition. But Humility is happier when it gets there.

Don’t get us wrong. Ambition is vital. It gets you where you want to go with focus and determination. But maybe it should take that journey, side by side, with Humility. As long as humility doesn’t wear that ugly fluorescent cycling gear. It’s embarrassing.

#10 SALUTE FLAWS

We love ideas: good ones, bad ones, really terrible ones. Mediocre ones are great for cleaning windows with. Our industry is obsessed with perfection – it’s glossy and precise and boring. We think that good work should reflect reality, and reality is perfectly imperfect. Imperfections, accidents, mistakes and the occasional ‘oops’ is what makes life (and work) interesting.

#11 CHANGE REQUIRES DISSENT

We will not always agree with you. Please take this as an official apology in advance.

Beware the agency that always nods its head. Celebrate the agency that questions you, challenges you, and sometimes disagrees with you. As long as it leads to amazing change. If they’re just being hard-headed, show them the door. Or the window. Please don’t do this if you work on the 17th floor.

#12 START SMART, THEN IT'S ALL DOWNHILL

Some briefs from new clients start with the execution: we need a glorious piece of online social content. We need a packshot. We need a rugby player painted green and wearing rollerblades. We need a film like no film that has ever been filmed before. We’d rather start with defining the real problem; because the better you define the problem, the easier it becomes to get to the solution. Then it’s relatively freewheeling from there on in.

Fresh
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Fresh
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NIKS 2018