Crave Global makes a move for the sake of creativity

Standing tall on Symonds Street is one of New Zealand’s oldest post offices. Yet you won’t find any old messaging systems or postal workers in it now, as soon it will be filled with creatives on deadline and even a hidden bar. 224 Symonds Street is gearing up to be the new face of Crave Global.

From next week Crave are moving upwards and outwards, occupying this new 160 sqm premise as it shakes up its branding and strategies and outlook on creativity.

The space is phenomenal, three stories of sunlight drenched hardwood floors, and an underground bar which will be open to members of the Crave family. The high ceilings in the top floor offices are definitely set to inspires in a New York loft kind of way, while the first floor is an ample space for events and client nights in.

A far shout from Crave’s previous location, partner and managing director Daniel Hopkirk says their strategy during the lockdowns saw them not only survive, but retain staff and businesses, allowing them to make this move and look into the future.

“From the outset our priority was simple – look after our staff. We knew that retaining key clients would be crucial to retaining staff.  Each of our clients faced unique challenges relative to the crisis, so our partnership approach helped facilitate a space for us to pivot as required by each client.”

Hopkirk says the agency’s ‘give more’ internal model allowed them to pivot quickly as required by each client.

“Then we assessed and forecasted pandemic-related market opportunities that could enable business growth, such as up-weighting our digital & social offering and investing in B2C products that could support our business and provide a point of difference for some of our clients.”

Another point of difference came from managing partners Hopkirk and Hadleigh Averill deciding the branding needed a refresh following this year, and it doing so have given the brand a facelift to match its shiny new offices.

Hadleigh Averill and Daniel Hopkirk

“Every brand needs to refresh itself to stay current, and to reflect the nature of its offering and ethos, in line with how it has developed as a business. We started out as a creatively lead integrated experiential agency but have expanded into a full service agency with creativity still very much at the heart of everything we do. Accordingly, we needed a revised brand that reflected our new position,” says Averill.

When talking to Hopkirk and Averill, they have an enthusiastic outlook for how this bigger premise will help them grow into an even more successful space. But for the team the move wasn’t just about building business, but building the culture. And as Hopkirk says, ‘bringing the sexy back to Adland.’

“The old school advertising days of long lunches, late nights and staff from different disciplines was very sexy because it created a diverse culture and lifestyle of work hard / play hard.”

The team note although Adland has gone through an impressive resurgence, there are some ways in which creativity was fostered in the industry that needs to be tapped into again.

“While there are definitely some traits of old school advertising that can be left in the past, there are some that believe certain aspects should be re-invigorated to assist in creating a more balanced ‘culture of fun,’ that simultaneously helps to create cutting edge work, which delivers healthy ROI.”

He says in recent years agencies have lost their sense of fun, replacing it with long hours and ‘the grind’ or the ‘the hustle’ to meet growing client demands.

“Every time we interview someone for a new position, we ask the question ‘what are you looking for in an agency,’ and everyone without fail says ‘a good culture.’ But outside the interview room, every servant of advertising talks about it as a hard slog due to less money and greater demands. At Crave we strongly believe that a great culture attracts the right people and leads to the best work. Given the hours every advertising professional puts in, it has to be more than a job, it needs to be a lifestyle.”

To really solidify this new sexy-agency style, the team have a new offering of a working bar, aptly named Thursday for its one day a week open schedule, which sits in the basement of the two storied offices. Averill and Hopkirk say this is a new way for them to test offerings for their clients (many of whom exist in the drink category) before hitting the market, as well as offering a creative hub for their members.

“As a creative agency, sometimes being in an office is the worst place to be for best results. We want people to have a place to let their hair down, mingle with advertising and marketing professionals and learn from experts from a variety of other fields that we target through our work, every day. Our bar will be a central destination to try new things, create a bit of industry culture, learn from the best and have some fun while doing it.”

The Crave Global family are due to move into their new home from next week, but until then will be busy stocking that bar for some very thirsty creatives.

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