19th July 2019
Size doesn't matter
They say good things come in small packages. That’s typically what I like to say in response to any reference to my, let’s say, ‘petite’ build. Or ‘fun-sized’ depending on who you’re asking.
The more I think about it, the more that term encapsulates NDT as an agency. And as someone who has spent years in one of the big international agencies, the differences between them and us, are rather stark.
The biggest of which is the sheer speed that a job can move through an agency – our team and processes are built on being nimble and efficient, which if I’m honest, took me a little while to get used to. I was used to layers of internal check-ins and approvals (sometimes unnecessary) before a brief would even hit the creative team, which I felt is a roundabout way of taking ownership and accountability away from what I was doing.
The other really big difference is how accessible everyone is. I found (and still find) it genuinely refreshing to be able to bring in our Creative Director or Head of Strategy into a conversation at the drop of a hat just to get their perspective on something. The consequence of that is I feel that I have learned more in the past year than I did in the last three.
What isn’t different (to my surprise) is the scale of the work we produce for clients. Sure, we might not have a stable of multinational clients that the big agencies usually spend days or even weeks pitching to win, but it doesn’t make the work we do any less interesting. One day I’ll be working on a new brand position for one of Brisbane’s most loved and iconic shopping centres, and the next, a takeover of a CBD bus station with Sam Thaiday followed by a launch campaign for a first-to-market mobility insurance product. In a way, my role has forced me to develop into a much better all-rounder than I previously was.
What it also means is that we get more hands-on opportunities to make a genuine difference to our clients’ businesses; to a lot of our clients, we’re not just their ‘agency’, we’re their partner/confidante/fixer-upperer.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re not an agency for everyone – not just as an agency partner but also as a place to work. We work on a blend of science and magic (for ‘science’, read ‘a lot of smart fuckers’ and for ‘magic’, read ‘barely organised chaos’). The vibe is totally different from anywhere else I know; some can hack it, some can’t.
After a little setback we experienced recently, our GM’s response was for us to “Take a look at the nutbag sitting beside you and give them a smile…They’ll be looking straight back at ya with a stupid grin too.”
We’ll never be a big agency (nor do we want to). We’ll never win a bucket of awards (because we don’t enter them). We’ll never have a stable of huge clients (because we’re a no pitch agency). But what we lack compared to your traditional ‘big name’ agency, we more than make up for in the genuine care we have for our clients and making them look good, quality work without the big agency ‘layers’, and that dose of magic. (For magic, read ‘crazy’).
– Tim Kho,
Senior Account Manager at Nick Did This