What’s in a name?
Matt (pictured right), along with Tim Bloore (centre) and Mike O’Rourke (left), were working together in an advertising agency when they decided that they could be doing so much more on their own as a “creative hot shop” in the style of old-fashioned agencies.
The three joined forces and combined their names to form Bloke: taking the ‘Blo’ from Tim’s name and the ‘O’ and ‘ke’ from Mike’s name.
“[Tim and Mike] put the two names together … and it was a way of making ourselves visible, distinctive and memorable to the marketplace. And in a name, it was supposed to be charming, it was supposed to be slightly irreverent – a nice creative platform for us to operate within,” Matt says.
However, the three found out that their reputation preceded them, giving the image Bloke did not want.
“We certainly may have inadvertently positioned ourselves as a ‘bloke’, a male-centric agency, … [and] there was an expectation we would be experts in ‘bloke’ brands.”
In actuality, Bloke was an equal-opportunities employer and did not want to be pigeonholed into being an agency for ‘bloke’ brands.
“We were trying to overcome certain perceptions, and realised that we needed to make that change,” says Matt.
Time for a new model
Aside from avoiding being typecast, Matt also was seeing that the old-fashioned style was not working out, such as the commitment to a three-year period.
“Clients are less and less willing to put all of their eggs in one basket over a three-year period, especially when an agency might only be delivered on the creative part of their requirements,” says Matt.
Businesses would then need to employ a digital marketing agency, a media agency, PR agency, a printing company, a sales promotion agency among others, which Matt believes dilutes the advertising agency’s creative role, “because I think there is an opportunity for any of those agencies to come up with great ideas ourselves”.
“We realised that if we could answer the client's requirements and answer the client's needs, then we would be differentiated in the marketplace as an agency that's willing to be a partner with its clients and not just a service provider,” Matt says.
After redesigning their current business plan, Bloke held a two-day planning session, which involved taking a look at their branding. While there was sentimental value attached to the name, it was time to change it for the good of the business.
“We took the opportunity of thinking, 'How about if we change the agency model? How about if we think about what is it the clients want from their agencies?'” Matt recounts.
According to Matt, clients want not only great creativity, but a return on their investment. Matt and the rest of Bloke then asked themselves how they could deliver that investment “with a degree of certainty” to allow their clients to have confidence that Matt and the business knew what they were doing.
“That's when we looked at our name, and said, 'Is Bloke the brand that can promise that with clarity?' and we decided no, we needed to change our name.”
And so Bloke became The Certainty Principle with a new model and a new brand.
“The principle of certainty really comes from the way we want to approach our relationships with clients, which is open, honest, transparent and very intentional in the way that we deliver our business outcomes, not just in making ads or designs that we like ourselves and hope that our clients like, too.”
Growing their brand
A part of the new model had Matt meet the specific needs of his clients, as opposed to providing blanket support and treating every client equally, and was what he attributed to the 400 per cent growth in just six months after rebranding.
“You don't necessarily have to do everything the same way. You apply the same strategic thinking, but then you apply the implementations in a different way,” says Matt.
“We found that had actually grown our market, the brand growth, and the client growth for us has been exponential. It's been 400 per cent ... because we are actually talking to clients about offering them services in a way that makes sense to them, not like, 'We are a small agency trying to be a big agency; we use big agency thinking; these are the services, would you like to buy them?'
“Many SMEs, for example, are looking at us and thinking, 'Well, I'm not sure if I could really validate that experience,' or, 'I don't really understand that experience because I haven't worked for big agencies before because I [have no experience] in that area,' and what we've done is, we've gone, 'Well, how do we tailor the way we approach this to fit with what the clients are talking about?' And that way, it's exponentially grown the opportunity.”
Fast facts: The Certainty Principle
Location: Sydney, NSW
No. of employees: 12
Customer base: Australia-wide