It’s time for a new kind of creative company
One shaped by technology and the needs of its clients
Lots has happened in the last few months. All of it great.
After winning two Agency of the Year titles with R/GA London, Drew and I have left to join the brandtech group, You & Mr Jones, as Partners.
We’ve also just launched a new business within You & Mr Jones, Blood.
Blood is a new kind of creative company, a ‘brandtech Practice’.
This is what you need to know about it:
- Brand-building passion
- Technology know-how
- No departments
- No competitive pitches
- Plugged into the tech scene
- Iterating towards a new model
Why are we founding Blood now?
We believe that marketing is ripe for positive disruption.
Technology has positively disrupted so many different aspects of our lives — music, film, radio, finance, healthcare, transport, the list goes on — but so far it has only disrupted marketing, without the positive bit.
We feel that now is the time for our business. This isn’t an empty feeling. It’s born of belief.
We believe you can create better brands, faster and cheaper through technology.
So we’re a brandtech practice.
Brandtech is self-explanatory; we’re bringing tech know-how to bear on big brand thinking. But why are we a practice?
Well, we’re in the business of designing, growing, nurturing, diagnosing and mending things.
We’re a group of practitioners, senior people with a bias towards getting stuff done and not obsessed with producing everything ourselves.
We want to move fast, collaborate, solve problems, look forward, obsess over outputs and try to affect the fundamentals of our clients’ business.
We’re founded on five, incredibly exciting opportunities.
Opportunity one. Everything is marketing these days.
Brands in 2016 are forged in many different fires.
They’re created through experiences, products, services, social, data, content and advertising; shaped by advocates, influencers and their own actions, good or otherwise.
We’ve stopped thinking about marketing. We’re more interested in marketing effect and almost anything can create that.
What this means is that the answer to a marketing problem can take almost any shape.
So Blood is designed with as much knowledge as possible behind it but also no knowledge as well.
As much as possible in that we have experience in every corner of the marketing universe but none in that when we start on a problem, we have no preconceived notion of what the solution is.
And we are not beholden to any of the media buckets that have gone before us. First we’ll find the solution and then we’ll work out where it lives.
A Brandtech Practice — solving marketing problems in a holistic fashion. Understanding all possible solutions but beholden to none.
Opportunity two. Brands built on technology.
Blood is designed to help brands design, and build, themselves with technology at the core.
We know this is what clients want — they’re telling us so all the time. So Blood is specifically created to answer some really exciting questions.
For example, how might we:
Launch a brand more efficiently using technology?
Transform the retail landscape with in-message commerce?
Use blockchain to make media more transparent?
Harness the power of the crowd to grow brands?
Use AR / VR to convert customers at shelf?
Build a digital service layer to improve CRM?
Create and distribute a campaign with tech at the core?
Retain share of voice using real people?
Really understand the buying cycle?
Recreate the appointment to view that live TV used to be?
Re-articulate a fallen brand to unaccepting millennials?
Supercharge a product strategy with tech?
This is just a starter list based on conversations we’ve had with people. The joy of what we are doing at Blood is that we’re letting our clients shape the type of business that we become.
‘What would you like us to be?’ is a motivating opening gambit.
A Brandtech Practice — bringing strategic, creative and technological know-how together, to design and build the brands of the future.
Opportunity three. The chance to dis-intermediate.
Think about it for a second. You’re a CMO. Your remit is growing but year-on-year you’re being giving less-and-less money to play with. And you know you need to build your brand on technology.
What you are desperate to do is spend as much of your money as possible on production and cut out the middle men.
One solution to this is to take capabilities in-house. The other is to work with Blood. How so?
We are a company that sits at the heart of You & Mr Jones, the world’s first global Brandtech group.
We currently have partners in people-powered content creation , owned channel networks, influencer marketing , data science , location-based AR, self-service programmatic, gif creation and storage and a social commerce specialist. As you’d expect there are more in the pipeline.
These guys are all at the top of their game, that’s why we have acquired or invested in them.
We have an open partnership with them, as we do with companies that can make us better outside the group.
So we are a conduit, a lean organisation that is motivated to stay that way.
A brandtech Practice — where production spend is maximised. As dis-intermediated as an intermediary can be.
Opportunity four. Dismantling the roster.
We’ve have met lots of clients over the last few months. All of them have been in the process of rethinking their roster.
One Global CMO we met went so far as to say ‘we make a point of not working with agencies any more’. At which point we, of course, reminded him we were a practice.
Blood is designed to work between the roster, on a project basis. We have carefully crafted a set of products, called Accelerators, with the express intention of being able to work fast, and well, to transform our clients’ business across Brand, Product, Service and Content.
We’ll charge these products at a fixed-fee, aiming for a world where we get remunerated according to the value we create rather than the bodies we stuff the desks with.
A brandtech Practice — project-based, between the roster, charging for value and working at speed to solve problems.
Opportunity five. A new creative class.
Really good creative and strategic people these days are hybrids who don’t fit into a traditional structure.
They want to be given the responsibility to solve problems. They want to have fun. So Blood is set up to be a place for them.
We are built out on a replicable team of creative, strategist and technologist working together.
We are flat by design. And we aim to have inter-changeable teams in London, New York and Los Angeles by the end of the year.
We don’t have departments. We don’t do competitive pitches. And we are determined to enjoy ourselves.
Finally, we actively seek out hybrid talent. We use their inherent overlaps to be more efficient and get stuff done.
A brandtech Practice — no departments, hiring hybrids and powered by flat, empowered teams of problem-solvers.
So that’s Blood, designed around the needs of its clients and the people it employs. Bringing brands and people together in more meaningful, more valuable relationships through the judicious use of technology.
Bringing positive disruption to marketing.
And why are we called Blood?
Well, design thinking forces you to think of people as human beings, rather than consumers. You have to become people people.
So the name Blood for us is a statement about our focus on humanity, as well as our loyalty to clients, decency to the people we work with and the fact that we like to get under the skin of things. Plus we sweat it.