Water Lily Pond is a Fresh, Cool and Collaborative Startup on AdLand’s Changing Horizon
Water Lily Pond is a progressive advertising and marketing communications startup, powered by a best-in-class global team and empowered by cloud collaboration.
In this first post, I wanted to announce the launch of Water Lily Pond (WLP), explain why we exist and how it works.
Why We Exist
Over the years, as I was working in the industry at more than a dozen agencies, I have come across lots of good stuff and also seen many things that could be done differently. I was determined to address these observations when WLP was founded in Q4 2016.
On the top of that, marketers and agencies are now all facing incredibly challenging times with myriads of new market players, technology, disciplines, tools and media options. As a result, the number of touchpoints between brands and people has increased dramatically and communications challenges are more complex than ever before.
What’s The Vision
My vision was to adopt a company model that is streamlined, flexible, brand centric, international, human focused and collaborative.
- Being a bootstrapped startup with a horizontal structure and flat hierarchy helps distil the complexities and gives us more freedom.
- At this time and age, when everything is changing so fast, choosing an open-concept and 100% flexibility means we have the best chances to be able to help brands adapt and get ahead.
- It’s key to be brand centric and solution driven, not service centric and sell driven. We must be able to recommend what we think is right for brands’ challenges, not what we need to push or have on tap for sale.
- Diversity of cultures, ethnicities, languages and genders is really important. The global team not only makes global coverage and work across time zones possible, but contributes to the cultural intelligence of the company.
- Human values must be always prioritised by respecting and trusting one another. Balanced egos with humble and friendly approach help bring out the much-needed compassion and empathy when we collaborate and communicate with our team members and partners.
- We are all creative — working in the right structure can inspire everyone and help bring their great ideas to life. Cloud collaboration lets us all enjoy more productive, creative and environmentally friendly work with less interruptions and stress.
What’s The Potential
I wanted to have a framework that can support brands and agencies as well. And I think WLP can do more than that...we can unlock some rare opportunities for them. By bringing unique combinations of people, cultures and skill sets together, we can not only come up with new perspectives in strategic and creative ideation, but fully manage and implement the selected solutions.
What Makes The Difference
There are several things that differentiate WLP… and I think these are all for the right reasons. These differences are not there to set us apart from our competitors — they simply exist due to the company model and framework that I decided to adopt. This model and framework are nowhere near to be disruptive or unique. I’m sure, and in fact I know, that there are more and more companies going down (or up) this path. And I’m really happy to see this as I believe those companies will have a lot of potential in the future.
At WLP, we are calling for simplicity and efficiency to help brands and people connect in this fast-changing and increasingly complex business climate.
We Do Simple, Efficiently
Nature inspired me to design WLP’s framework based on the universal principles of simplicity and efficiency. So that we can help brands make the complex simple and navigate as efficiently as possible in this fluid and ever-changing market environment.
Our aim is to help brands and people connect by creating a meaningful bond that works both ways — adds value to people’s lives, and generates sales and loyalty for brands.
A ‘Limitless & Borderless’ Framework
I have chosen a simple, flexible and global company model to be better suited to support brands in their quest.
WLP’s structure is horizontal with a flat hierarchy — there are no offices, parent company, senior company management, departments or fancy titles. We work exclusively with agile, globally distributed team members who collaborate in the cloud, from anywhere.
Our multicultural and multidisciplinary team includes 50+ freelancers, moonlighters and digital nomads from 20+ countries, and counting. All team members have diverse, senior-level industry experience (10 years’ experience on average), and proven track records of working for great ad agencies and blue-chip companies on global and local brands.
We aim for long-term partnerships with brands and agencies, with no strings attached. Our solutions and support come on demand and on project basis, in brand strategy, creative design, content and technology development.
As a result, WLP can offer high-end marketing communications solutions, global cultural intelligence, customised teams, flexible speed of delivery and reasonable prices.
I hope this sounds intriguing so far, so let me give you some more details about how WLP works.
100% Distribution, Agile Team and Cloud Collaboration
Following the footsteps of some of the boldest tech companies, WLP adopted a 100% distributed, agile and cloud-based model. This model is nimble and that doesn’t just mean getting results fast; we are able to shift gears and potentially speed things up when required.
We all firmly believe in this and signed up for this approach from day one, even though this is certainly not for everyone and it’s a rather unconventional step in the industry. But this progressive take may be just the thing that can push the boundaries in the ad industry that is going through exciting times with quite fundamental changes.
Brands in the Centre
The framework is designed to only involve the niche skill sets and precise bandwidth that we need— allowing us to customise teams and solutions to suit brands’ marketing communications challenges. When a project is initiated, it will be taken care of by a team of consultants at the front, backed by a pool of experts around them. Also, there is a small selection of supporting partners available to get involved when special equipment and studio facilities are needed (i.e. print production or film production).
Due to this structure, WLP is not bound by industry type, disciplines, media channels, skill sets and resources. It helps ensure to keep brands and their challenges in the focus without being driven by pushing services and selling time of the staff. This also means we don’t need to perceive the increasing commoditisation, changing media landscape, growing in-house capabilities and martech platforms as challenges but as opportunities to provide the guidance and support brands actually need.
Global Team with Senior-Level Expertise
Being a 100% agile team that works remotely means WLP can gather best-in-class senior experts around the globe to contribute with niche skill sets, diverse industry experience and cultural intelligence.
As the team grows, we can live up to the potential of being truly global and even work 24/7.
WLP invites the term ‘Agency Partner’ that embodies our goal to push partnerships with brands and agencies beyond vendorship. Our aim is to create long-term relationships with funded startups, growth-stage and established companies, no matter what their industry, size or location. We offer ad-hoc and project-based solutions with no minimum budget requirements. The same applies to agencies that can benefit from our white-label support as their extra pair of hands.
Thanks to the collaboration of our consultants and experts, day-to-day work doesn’t get in the way of strategic conversations with our partners. We promote transparency and honest collaboration, with performance optimisation and shared risks/rewards arrangements to help partnerships function even better.
WLP champions a humble, friendly and accessible environment with no arrogance, ego culture, politics, buzzwords and less stress — eliminating anything that may stand in the way of deepening relationships and close collaboration.
We all have to take more responsibility towards our team, partners, social peers and this planet. As our occasional social contributions and ad-hoc volunteer work will grow in the future, a spin-off company will be set up to engage in regular not-for-profit work.
With this progressive model and approach, I honestly believe we are in a good position to help brands find solutions to their challenges, get through the complexities and adapt to change.
I’m interested to see what you think about WLP’s approach and I hope you find this thought-provoking, even though it’s more of a news piece, than an actual article. In this collection of publications, my goal is to post updates about how WLP is getting on. Hopefully, some of this information will be useful for others planning to launch bootstrapped startups, especially those in the ad industry. There have been (and will be) some interesting challenges along the way, so I already have some ammo for the next posts. I’m sure that some of the team members will also contribute to this collection moving forward.
In the coming weeks, I’ll continue to network, grow the team and initiate conversations with brands and agencies to see what their challenges are. I’m really curious to see what they think about WLP’s model and framework and whether they feel we can help them. As this is not for everyone, I want to find those like-minded companies who can see the potential in this and are happy to try this out.
What are your thoughts on WLP’s model and framework? Please leave a comment below and recommend this announcement to others who may be interested to work with us or partner up. Thanks so much!
Check out WLP’s website here