Top Tips for Running a Creative Agency

Brand and digital agency Embrace is in this year's Design Week Top 100, so it was timely to speak to Managing Director Simon Davies on how to run a creative agency and make it a success...

Healthcare and financial services brand and digital agency Embrace Managing Director Simon Davies gives his top tips on how to run a creative business...

What’s the history of Embrace?

Originally founded by current director partners in 1995, Embrace is result of a 2012 merger of branding and design agency (DogStar), Digital agency (Abstracts), and social media specialists (All Leo). Our heritage means we are brilliantly placed to help create brands and support how they live and breathe in the digital world.


What is the most difficult thing about running a creative agency and how do you tackle it?

Making a creative business a commercial business. At the end of that day, this is all about empowering great creative thinkers and strategists to channel their talent in a way that adds value to both our client businesses as well as our own.


What’s been the biggest lesson?

When merging businesses, culture fit and skill integration are the most important things. However excited accountants get by analysing potential figures, if you can’t get the people working together and on projects, you will never fulfil the predictions.


When you look at your competitors, what do you think they’re doing wrong?

I don’t believe anybody has quite got the brand meets digital offer properly tied up, that’s the area where we’re working hard.


And who do you envy, and what are they doing right?

Agencies who have properly mastered the creation and delivery of great branded content.


What advice would you give new creative agencies when it comes to …

- Team-building?

Hire talented people, but manage them well. Don’t go for the safe option.

- Finding clients?

Go after clients where you know you can add value and then sell it to them. Don’t just go telling them how good you are, prove it in a way that is relevant to them.

- Creative output?

Don’t be afraid to push boundaries, but have the ability to make it real.

- Working with clients?

Understand them and constantly challenge what you are doing for them. That way they’ll come back for more.

- Marketing yourself?

Practise what you preach.

- Running the business?

Manage the cash: you won’t have a business if you don’t.

Find out more on Embrace's place in the Design Week Top 100

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