Young & Shand, a digital agency that flicked the switch at the end of 2009—and at the height of the recession—has gone from three staff to nine in the past year, has recently added Jasons Travel Media, Lucky Rentals and Goodman Fielder brands Puhoi Valley and Kiwi Bacon, and now has a total of 45 clients on its books. But, not content with mere digital domination, it's now moving into bricks and mortar by attempting to create a creative hub in an office it has secured in Auckland's Britomart.
Ben Young, one half of the founding team and the company's marketing director, says it's a great time for digital and he puts the agency's success down to a combination of good timing, making digital simpler for clients, focusing on the macro rather than the micro and an impressive marketing effort, which includes an extensive adwords campaign and a focus on digital thought leadership through its podcasts, blogs and well-read monthly newsletter.
"In the past, digital has been made difficult. But it's not. We link it back to what the business wants to achieve. And it's not just search engine optimisation, because that's way too micro for business results ... In saying that, a lot of the tools to get great business results [such as Facebook and Twitter] haven't really been around or accessible for the past 24 months."
As for the foray into landlordship, Young says it's not about making money, it's about creating a creative haven, gaining access to great talent and giving all those lonely freelance creatives an opportunity to be part of a creative community working in their industry.
There is already one creative shared workspace in Britomart called Generator, which houses experiential marketing outfit Sublime NZ. And Young & Shand's 300sqm working space in the Old Sofrana house—otherwise known as 'The Brewery'—is another good option for the creatives of Auckland to gather together and compare their Chuck Taylors and thick-rimmed spectacles.
As the Young & Shand website explains it: "As a digital agency, we get creatives. The feel, the look and the love of ideas. It’s what we do too! We want to work with the best freelancers available. Our clients need talent, as do we. The Brewery is a space where the best freelancers can work together on their own projects and contribute with others as well. Unlike other working spaces, we’re not ‘available to anyone’. We want freelancers: creative freelancers, web developers, designers, copywriters, video producers, illustrators, etc. Our idea is to get the best in the building, work with them on projects and help grow each other's businesses. In other words, A web/dev eco-system smack bang in the heart of Auckland."