Q&A with Martin Mason: The Past, Present and Future of a Digital Creative Agency
Those values remain the same no matter what work we do.
A lot has changed since we first started out as an agency. In our latest Q&A, we grilled our boss, Martin Mason, the Founder and Managing Director of Bang Australia, on where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Here are some excerpts from our conversation:
Why did you start Bang 14 years ago?
There was a need for a business to business agency in Sydney, specifically in the technology sector, that could really understand that space and provide more specialised communication for their customers. So, I started one.
Was Bang always destined to be a digital agency?
Digital has always been very important to me. Even prior to Bang, I was at a startup in the UK and Asia Pacific called Elateral that provided dynamic marketing collateral through the cloud (Although it was just known as delivering software through the internet then). When Bang was formed, it was the early days of the Internet and e-commerce, so we have always tried to keep abreast of it. Obviously, we have had to look at more traditional ways of communicating to our customers’ audiences, and we still do, but digital has always been the platform of our work.
How has the agency evolved to where it is now?
In the last 3 or 4 years, we have been able to apply our methodologies and learnings to other sectors, including the consumer space. So, rather than just B2B, we now offer more of a blend of what we call Business-to-People or B2P solutions.
Whilst we specialise here at Bang in technology, every organisation whether it's in education, not for profit, government, or charity, the reality is there are similar challenges from a branding and marketing perspective for all.
Saying this, the biggest change in the agency space has happened as a result of the changes in digital over the last 18 months to two years, resulting in a complete transformation of how we work. We have had to adapt to changes in the market along with our clients.
How have your client engagements changed in this adapting environment?
No more or no less demanding. Which is a good thing!
But we are seeing a change, away from the traditional agency that interacts with its client as a supplier to a more collaborative approach. We have been working towards this, but now people are starting to embrace it more. We’re moving away from order taking to consultancy, and acting more as a business partner. It's a rapid change, both for our existing and new clients. And it means we don't have the luxury any more of just taking a brief, thinking about it and then coming back—because if you do, it's almost too late.
Now, it’s all about collaborating with clients to move into markets as quickly as we can.
Is there anything from the good old days that you’ve had trouble letting go?
I’m proud of the fact that I’ve embraced change and really enjoy technology. But the qualities and values Bang has today are the same as they were when we started.
What we are trying to do is—of course, we are trying to build a successful business—but also, to do the right thing and create long term relationships with clients. A lot of the clients we have, we have had for quite a few years, and we have grown with them.
For me, taking those values and using them in a new way is important. Bang’s values are delivering good quality work, being interested and passionate about what we are doing, wanting to embrace it and take it forward. Those values remain the same no matter what work we do.
How do you see Bang moving forward?
We are to continuing to evolve. We will still be predominantly a digital agency moving forward, but that doesn't mean it will be the only thing. Instead, we are going to use the right channels for whatever that campaign may be. We’re entering a more exciting time with cool new ways to communicate contextually.
For me, it's about having a great bunch of team members who also have the same passion I have and deliver quality and value to our customers.
What are you most excited about in 2016?
The Offroadies part of Tour De Cure in April and cycling in France in September.
What do clients need to know in the year ahead?
Our audiences—well, your audiences—have increasingly limited attention spans. It’s become confusing for them to make decisions.
So, to an extent it's about bringing everything back to the basics and enabling clients to articulate clearly and simply what they do. We do that by ensuring there’s a simple proposition and messaging, and articulating that effectively and consistently across all mediums.