Creative Agencies 05.01.22

5 Independent Agencies To Watch

Independent creative, media and advertising agencies play a significant role in the wider world of marketing. These agencies often bring a breath of fresh air into pitches and new business meetings, offering a bold alternative to established networks.

5 Independent Agencies To Watch

Independent creative, media and advertising agencies play a significant role in the wider world of marketing. These agencies often bring a breath of fresh air into pitches and new business meetings, offering a bold alternative to established networks.

Unsurprisingly, COVID created some turbulent times for many of these independent businesses in the last year.

During the height of the pandemic, many clients drastically reduced (or completely pulled) their advertising budgets and campaigns.

Although this trend impacted the majority of agencies in the marketing world, independent outfits were hit particularly hard, since they often work with a smaller set of clients and lack the financial safety net of global networks.

But thankfully, things are looking up. Independent agencies are back with a bang, as clients start to loosen their purse strings and launch new campaigns. Business is booming.

So, who should you be keeping an eye on in the advertising world? We have identified five independent agencies to watch over the coming months.

Croud

Croud was founded in 2011 by former Head of Search Ben Knight and ex-Google employee Luke Smith.

A full-service digital advertising agency, they offer everything from performance marketing management to global campaign support.

Their goal is to fuel long-term growth for ambitious clients through a combination of data expertise, innovative technology, and creative thinking.

Croud has previously launched successful campaigns for various iconic brands, including Avon, AA, and Vans. These executions have varied from SEO to content distribution and full-funnel digital strategy, highlighting the breadth of Croud’s digital knowledge.

The agency was recently appointed by Comparethemarket to manage their paid search activity, which is an enormous win for the business.

The comparison market is incredibly competitive, and paid search is fundamental to success in this sector. Croud will no doubt be keen to tackle the challenge and prove its expertise in performance marketing.

Winning an account of this stature is always positive for both agency credentials and future new business pitches.

Goodstuff

Goodstuff was created in 2004 by Andrew Stephens and Ben Hayes, with the backing and support of Virgin as their founding client.

A fully independent media agency, Goodstuff specialises in producing strategic thinking and media buying that pushes the boundaries of creativity and innovation. Their mission is to deliver ‘Media & Some,’ fuelled by transparent trading and bold communications planning.

Goodstuff has collaborated with various household brands, including Yorkshire Tea, ITV, and Dunelm - their work is often recognised for reimagining what’s possible within traditional media channels.

In October Goodstuff were appointed as the first full-service agency for CleanCo, a non-alcoholic spirits brand. The founder of CleanCo, Spencer Matthews (also known for his entertaining appearances in Made in Chelsea) launched the brand in 2019 to provide healthier alternatives to alcoholic spirits.

The ‘low and no’ alcohol beverages category has been steadily expanding, and market analysts predict that consumer appetite will continue to increase for these products.

This is a strong win for Goodstuff and will allow them to make their mark on a new industry with promising signs of growth. An excellent door to have a foot in.

The7stars

The7stars was founded in 2005 by Jenny Biggam, Mark Jarvis, and Colin Mills. It’s currently the UK’s largest independent media agency.

The agency strives to deliver unique work for its clients, powered by a spirit of entrepreneurship and inventiveness. Their expertise spans both offline and online channels, and campaigns balance innovation with impactful business results.

The7stars have developed campaigns for many recognisable brands, including Twinings, Foxy Bingo and South Western Railway. These client activations often blend smart audience and market data with media creativity, which has proven to be a powerful combination.

Digital retailer N Brown recently appointed the7stars as their media planning and buying agency, across their five leading brands - JD Williams, Simply Be, Ambrose Wilson, Jacamo and Home Essentials.

This is a significant win for the7stars. Digital retail is a constantly evolving sector with many opportunities for innovation. Plus, it provides the agency with a platform to display its ability to deliver both media creativity and business success.

Yonder

Yonder Media was founded in 2018 by Ed Cox and Zaid Al-Zaidy as part of The Beyond Collective - a micro-network of specialist agencies.

The agency has a strong focus on audiences, identifying a shift in consumers from ‘captive recipients’ to ‘empowered, disparate groups’. Audience definition, insight and communication are at the heart of the Yonder offering, and this fuels much of their media planning and strategy.

Yonder has worked alongside several well-known brands, including Proper Corn, Kerrygold and Pilgrims Choice. The Yonder mantra ‘Go Beyond’ reflects their dedication to producing inventive campaigns that accelerate the growth of their clients.

The agency has recently been appointed by Zizzi for a test-and-learn push into new media channels and advertising environments.

This is an overly exciting appointment for Yonder for a couple of reasons. Firstly, an established and recognisable brand like Zizzi is a fantastic addition to any agency portfolio.

Secondly, the test-and-learn nature of the appointment lends itself to media creativity and innovative executions, which is a recipe for fame-building work. Look out for some exciting campaigns here.

Brainlabs

Brainlabs was founded by Daniel Gilbert in 2012.

A full-service digital agency, Brainlabs focuses on smart data usage, innovative technology, and the ‘science’ of modern advertising. The agency also prides itself on maintaining a positive culture that stays ‘ahead of the curve’ - with all aspects of the business underpinned by scientific methodology.

Brainlabs have produced work for several big names, including Sports Direct, Financial Times and American Express. The agency offers flexible services for each client, with specialist teams being created for each project depending on the requirements.

Specsavers have recently appointed Brainlabs as a key digital partner. The agency will work alongside the eyewear colossus to enhance its UX and website conversion rates.

This appointment presents Brainlabs with a fantastic opportunity to highlight its digital expertise. Working on these specific elements of the Specsavers account will allow them to demonstrate their specialist knowledge and ability to provide large businesses with technical support.

The future is exceptionally bright for all of these independent agencies. These recent pitch wins will allow them to show off their best work, impress potential prospects and make a statement in the industry - all of which is good news for an agency team.

Each of these agencies also brings its own unique attitudes and skillsets to the table, which is precisely what makes working for an independent agency so exciting. No agency is identical to another.

There is no doubt that these agencies will continue to flourish and recover in the post-COVID market, so make sure you keep an eye on their movements and campaigns in the coming months. Exciting times are ahead!

If you would like to discuss potential hires for your team, please get in touch at tom.eso@harmonicoperations.com

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