This year marks Brave Agency’s 18th birthday, making it one of the longest standing and most trusted Integrated Marketing Agency in the region. Founder Tony Conte tells us how he got started all those years ago and what made the agency grow into a fully integrated, trusted, resilient company
Against the backdrop of economic uncertainty in 2000 (think dot-com bubble and the Millennium Bug), starting a new business may have been viewed as risky, but in many ways it was a perfect strategy. My mentors and previous bosses taught me that in fact marketing yourself when others are being so cautious is the perfect way to gain an advantage and stand out. So I give it a go!
There was a lot to learn in those first few years and I literally gave it all of my time and commitment. Flexibility and super-efficiency were essential, qualities that remain key to this day. Back in 2000 companies weren’t overly aggressive as they are now when it came to investing in digital and online marketing. The dot-com bubble left a sour taste, with way too much money invested across the board – the digital bandwagon arguably had some cowboys to answer to at the time who capitalised on this new economy.
A lot of agencies had got a bad reputation for this – which made it harder for the rest of us to sell our digital services legitimately I think. It also created a level of scepticism around the feasibility of developing digital brands and platforms compatible with the infrastructure available at that time; you simply couldn’t get enough speed or bandwidth to do anything too fancy and agencies over-promised on what was achievable and forgot about what ROI really meant. Internet speed and technology would take some time to catch up.
I remember our first big client. They were considering whether to reduce or cancel their magazine advertising and push entirely online, or just dip their toes in the water. As one of the biggest spenders in some of the largest publication, it was a big decision. We discussed the pros and cons and they committed to becoming the number one online retailer in their sector within three years whilst utilising a good mix of online and print media.
So I pulled together a highly creative and technically skilled team to help achieve their goal. It worked! They became leaders online and offline and over the years we helped them to further develop their brand. They were ambitious and wanted results, which made me realise that we needed to work with similarly ambitious clients, whether they are start-ups or established brands, I wanted to be brave for them and help them achieve great things.
Brave Agency is now well established as a fully integrated (full service) agency with a strong results-driven attitude. Client’s needs are fully considered with a cost-benefit honest approach. We even turn work away if we don’t think a project has legs or needs way too much investment to make it viable. Far too many agencies are happy to spend as much of a client’s budget as possible, or coast along with their monthly retained fees for as long as they can. I’m so proud of everyone who has ever worked for me over the last 18 years. My ethos has always been to employ people who care about what they do and how they interact with our clients. It fuels a real passion, which is passed onto our clients through the great work we strive to deliver.
BRAVE AGENCY 0845 5443626, www.brave.agency