Lime Creative is a boutique communication agency offering large agency experience, specialising in the luxury lifestyle, with offices in London and Beijing and partners around the world.
With a team made up of designers, writers, developers and content creators, the Lime process is to “reveal the DNA of your brand, unlock data intelligence, scope out the sector, listen in on social and disrupt the predictable.”
To learn more, we spoke to Lime’s Founder and Creative Director, Abi Goldfinch.
How was your company born and where are you based?
After experiencing large creative agency structures and methods I realised there was a need for a new approach. An agency that breaks the perception that creatives are precious people, designing on the back of cigarette packets and throwing toys out of prams without the administrative ‘suit’ to calm them down.
A place where clients could benefit from talking directly to the decision makers creating the idea, crafting a story, and feeling more immersed in the ‘exciting’ bit. Rather than being exposed to a layer of account handler ‘interpreters’ diluting the path of communication. Hence Lime formed, providing a creative comms agency made up of brilliant creative minds, with a common goal, drawing on and respecting our collective knowledge to create enduring value for the client.
We are based in London Bridge; a French Stick throw away from Borough Market.
What was the biggest challenge to the growth of your company?
I probably speak for a lot of smaller agencies here with this issue and that is to be recognised and visible against the big boys and not be seen as a ‘risk’. Winning business sadly doesn’t always come down to just delivering the best creative.
Some brands want to be associated with the bigger names, larger formulaic structures and agency count around the world, rather than seeing the benefit of a more agile boutique agency that is highly creative and able to tailor services to fit demands in an ever-changing landscape.
Which was the first huge success that you can remember?
Oh, this has to be us winning an award for our Orient-Express project, above Saatchi’s and other ‘known’ large agencies that were also shortlisted.
What’s the biggest opportunity for you and your company in the next year?
Going back to our roots of being brand specialists and not trying to be a ‘jack of all trades’. As clients are recognising in this digital biased landscape, that their brand essence has been lost and they lack the storytelling. So, we have stripped back to what we know and do best: being creative brand thinkers, wearing cohesive integrated hats.
Can you explain your team’s creative process? What makes it unique?
We call ourselves the brand storytellers and a good story should do more than just inform or amplify. It should add value. Our process is to always reveal the DNA of a brand and align its philosophy with its audience.
By understanding behaviours, mindsets, and lifestyles we can creatively and strategically weave a story into all channels, to engage with an audience and disrupt the predictable.
How does your team remain inspired and motivated?
The culture of Lime is to work as a team. Our ethos is ‘no egos’, being collaborative not combative. So, Lime is open plan for that purpose – to throw ideas around, bounce off each other’s energy and feel free to create.
Everyone at Lime is also encouraged to enrol in courses if they wish to learn something new, get a dose of inspiration or advance their knowledge. And of course, hosting a team party at home, now and again, brings everyone together in a relaxed environment.
How has COVID-19 affected your company?
The main impact was locking people into their homes as the core of Lime is ‘creativity together’ and the WFH, people deprived restrictions dampened that.
The teams’ attitude, their efficiency and endurance of working hard to ensure communication channels kept open were brilliant, but the team spirit of coming together and using joint energy to push ideas further was harder to achieve.
Which agencies do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
Inspiration and heroes for me are the agencies creating beautiful clever ideas and work that makes me wish we had thought of that. Also, those with clients that are on our ‘want list’.
What is one tip that you would give to other agencies looking to grow?
Never give up, always push an idea further and never lose focus on what you are good at…
How do you go about finding new clients/business? (Pitching, work with retainers, etc.)
We are lucky that a lot of our clients come from word-of-mouth. Also, clients that leave one company take us with them to their next one. We tried a marketing new biz company, but it didn’t prove successful, so we spend a lot of time doing SEO and ensuring we follow what we preach, which results in a lot of enquires coming in from Google search and our website.
With pitching, we have found that clients ask for a lot of work within a pitch brief, expecting it for FREE. We have been burned a lot recently as the pitch process seems more ruthless, so we are being more selective about who we pitch for, making sure they fit us as much as we fit them. Also, where possible we ask for a pitch fee.
Regarding retainers, the market seems to have shifted with clients preferring project to project based fees. Although we would feel more secure with the bigger budget clients agreeing to a retainer method.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the industry?
Well, it must be the previous topic of pitching. It amazes me that too many companies expect to get creative agencies to offer their hard thought-out ideas and often months of time, without paying for them. So, one future change in this industry is for pitches to never be considered FREE!
Do you have any websites, books or resources that you would recommend?
At the beginning of my career, I was with an agency that launched Stansted Airport and part of that research was to go to Disneyland to experience how they ‘put everything together’. I also was asked to read ‘Walt Disney: An American original’.
It’s a fascinating and inspirational story that made me believe anything is possible. As Walt is a man that changed the face of American culture, from humble beginnings, his desire, determination, and perfectionism made him and his empire what it is today.
Also, from an industry perspective Pinterest has become a ‘go to’ for research and inspiration as well as online platforms such as Behance.net to showcase creative work from around the world. Additionally, The Future Laboratory is great to keep up with market trends. And of course, the Creativepool Annual is a great source of creative being developed by agencies across all sectors.