Our industry has been embroiled in a lengthy debate concerning the undeniable need for evolution. To date, agencies have struggled to transform their model to meet the demands of clients and a media landscape that has changed forever.
Our agency was no different. Purpose/Built is the result of the efforts of our global leadership team to put our passion for strategic design to purpose, starting with our own agency model.
Last year, while working to help design, develop and launch a new North American digital sports brand, platform and production studio, our agency became part of an extraordinary group of people. Sequestered for nearly six months to work on the project, our leadership team made what turned out to be enduring professional and personal connections. Together, working under intense and highly collaborative conditions, we began to view and understand the creative agency role differently. We elected to use this project as an opportunity to trial a prototype and approach we had been working on for the last few years.
We knew intuitively what we wanted to do, and what we felt our transformative architecture should be; however, it was crucial to our planned outcome to co-create the new model with a select team of clients and industry experts. Together, we worked to understand the various ways the legacy agency model falls short of client requirements and expectations, in order to ingest and interpret that insight as the raw material for our blueprint.
We focused less on typical agency failures and shortcomings, and more on understanding what constitutes an ‘ideal’ agency model. We learned that there are fundamentally four, crucial adaptations agencies need to make to build and grow meaningful relationships with their clients:
Insight: research and evidence-based strategy encompassing the holistic business, with a creative output that gets real, measurable results.
Efficiency: the agility to respond to fluctuating and responsive client requirements with hustle and speed to market, and the intelligence to simplify the ‘impossible’ and deliver precise and executable plans.
Partnership: the quality of relationship where the agency assumes our clients’ challenges as our own, and works as an invested partner with skin in the game.
Transparency: the depth of partnership and knowledge of our client’s business to be open and accountable, and provide meaningful, direct advice. Even when our clients think they don’t want to hear it.
Working from these foundational requirements, we devised a strategy to build the ‘perfect agency’. An agency that is well-positioned to build on our long history of excellence, our capabilities, and is poised to offer a palpably richer and unique client experience.
This is Purpose/Built
First, we devised a strategic global partnership comprised of leadership and the team from Tamm + Kit, a Toronto-based creative agency, Decubic, a first-rate digital and interactive studio in Kuala Lumpur, and Genesis Spark, a fledgling incubator in New York. Under the new agency infrastructure, we formally acquired and synthesized all three agencies under a common brand, culture and approach, with nuanced offerings by location.
Toronto: full-service creative agency with strategic brand and operations advisory services
New York: strategic brand and operations advisory services
Kuala Lumpur: full-service creative agency with a focus on digital and interactive design and development
Singapore: strategic brand advisory services
With our terrestrial holdings in place and a roadmap to instil a common culture and operating manifesto across all studios, we added the final piece, an elite executive think-tank of strategic advisors.
Our strategic advisory group offers confidential short-term, high-value support to senior leadership teams to help guide business strategy through intense episodes common within the business lifecycle—M&A integration planning and cultural alignment, issues and crisis management, and periods of high growth.
- Our model: award-winning brand creative agency backed by new, black-label strategic advisory firm co-developing and co-executing on behalf of clients.
- Our geography: Partnered creative and digital studios and executive management services located in Toronto, New York, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
- Our leadership: Unified global executive team, working under a common vision, mission and brand.
- Our perspective: Collaborative project teams rooted in key markets (Asia and North America) for nuanced east/west business, brand and product insight.
- Our service: Invested, accountable and accessible agency leadership across all projects, in all markets.
What’s the same?
- People: the same great people you know from previous agency projects are all in place to deliver the new business, with a couple of new faces.
- Strategy: though larger, we remain an agency committed to creating thoughtful, intelligent solutions to real business problems.
- Accountability: we work seamlessly with client teams to co-produce efficient, effective and enduring tools, products and results.
- Leadership: the person who pitches is the person who leads the project from inception to completion.
- Currency: our creative, design, digital, interactive and production capabilities are in constant evolution to meet the demands of a business and communications landscape in a state of perpetual flux.
- Excellence: each of our studios has always done amazing work, now there are countless more opportunities to achieve the extraordinary.
Manifesto: We are Purpose/Built.
We are the result of a desperate need for change in our industry and built to serve our clients’ needs better and more efficiently. We are extensions of our clients’ businesses and understand that their success is intrinsically coupled with ours. We understand what our clients want, but instead give them what they need.
We are smart, driven, and imaginative. Constantly curious, we see things differently. We approach every problem with an open mind, and are always willing and ready to learn. We ask questions, because we need to understand why things are the way they are. We see the status quo, but challenge it to evolve.
We know that one-size-fits-all fits no one perfectly, so we position ourselves accordingly, as co-investors in our projects, from ideation to execution. Passionate about what we do, we stop at nothing to deliver bold design and strategic communications, informed by extensive research and thoughtful insight. Clients can expect bespoke ideas, complete accountability, open and regular communication, and straight-up, direct advice.
We may have both feet in brand strategy, advertising, and design, but we still believe in integrity and hope that the good guys win. Invested in the communities we live in and serve, we are creative, courageous and relentless in our pursuit to do good work, committing 5% of our creative and development hours to not-for-profits and charities.
We are the outliers, recruited for our intelligence and our drive from various industries, and we value those who welcome ambiguity as an opportunity to re-imagine their current context. We are motivated by an innate desire to do better, to proceed with purpose, and be the catalyst for change within our industry.