If the founder of Being Agency could change one thing about the industry, it would be the perception that you need to go big or go home.
Looking at the pictures of the team below, and reading words by the founder herself, Being Agency sounds like an amazing place to work at. Warm, inclusive, brave, it is more than just an agency – it is a workplace where a positive environment is encouraged, and this helps a team of 16 achieve results with great peace of mind. You don't need over 100 employees to make a difference.
And the fact that we received way more pictures about the team than about Being's brand works (which is also excellent) says a lot about the kind of culture they cultivate.
For this Company Spotlight, we had a chat with Kerry Neethling, principal and founder, to learn the story of the agency and what brought it into... Being.
How was your company born and where are you based?
Great work is done in positive, happy environments. And that’s what Being Agency is – a place where people come every day to create meaningful work that helps great brands do great things. We’re also known for throwing the occasional handful of confetti!
I started Being Agency (Being Brands back then) in 2014. I spent years working in corporate environments, and was tired of the negative culture. There’s really no excuse for treating people badly – at the end of the day, we’re all just a bunch of people working with another bunch of people. It’s better to just be nice.
Beginning in my loungeroom as Being Brands, Being Agency is now a multidisciplinary agency with 16 staff in an office based in Hunters Hill, just north of Sydney in NSW Australia.
Can you explain your team’s creative process?
Being Agency is made up of a multidisciplinary team of strategists, designers, web developers, copywriters, photographers and videographers. The whole team works collaboratively.
Clients come to us for full-service solutions, and they get an entire team who can conceptualise and develop end-to-end campaigns from start to finish. This kind of collaboration makes campaigns a lot more efficient, consistent and creative. It saves our clients from having to wrangle a bunch of suppliers to complete the different elements of a campaign.
Having a multidisciplinary team all working together also means we can draw on each other’s knowledge to think outside the box of our own disciplines, which really pushes our work to the limits. And we have a tonne of fun in the process!
How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?
Like any creative agency, we rely heavily on good technology to produce the best work. During COVID-19 lockdowns, the programs and equipment we regularly use proved especially useful! The team checked out their computers and equipment (some even took their chairs!) to set up their home offices for the period. Zoom and Microsoft Teams kept us in touch daily for the eight weeks we were required to work from home in isolation. We even had Friday drinks via Zoom most weeks!
Ultimately though, the passion and individual skillset of the BEINGs (that’s what we call ourselves) is what drives our best work. Our tech simply allows us all to do what we do best!
What’s your team’s secret to staying inspired and motivated?
Genuinely loving what we do is the key. I make a point of checking in regularly with the team to see if they’re vibing the projects they’re working on, and we never make anyone work on something they don’t gel with. As a company, we have a policy against working with companies that don’t do good, like tobacco for example. Our motto is that we exist to help great brands do great things, and we really live it.
We have monthly strategy meetings to reflect on the month and make plans for what’s coming next. We nominate projects and team member’s efforts in alignment with our six strategic objectives: 1. Undoubtedly BEING, 2. Best Work Ever, 3. Flow Everywhere, 4. Financially Strong, 5. Rewarding for All, and 6. Stretching to Grow. It’s so important to stop, reflect and recognise great work.
Sometimes there’s cupcake bribery, but generally, the positive environment we’ve worked so hard to cultivate is what keeps the team as motivated and inspired as the day we first started. You can see some of the things we do in our wild (but productive!) office on our Culture page: https://thebeingagency.com/blog/
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
There’s so many I could name! We’re proud of all our projects, because everything we’ve done, big or small, has led to where we are now.
Being nominated by B&T – Australia’s leading creative industries publication for the two industry awards, ‘Emerging Agency of the Year’ and ‘Women in Media: Best Employer’, was a surreal moment. I felt incredibly lucky and incredibly proud to be recognised for such important, meaningful categories.
If I had to pick one project, I would say our work with Australia’s New South Wales State Government. We’ve created a number of brand identities for various projects aimed at improving the natural and built environments in our cities and rural NSW, including work for the Open Space department – which exists to develop outdoor areas that improve everything from air quality to wildlife numbers to community enjoyment.
We also strategised, branded and produced an award-winning guideline for Open Space called Everyone Can Play, which helps playspace architects build accessible and inclusive playgrounds. The philosophy is no matter their age, ability or cultural background, everyone deserves to play. The public facing campaign asks the questions; “Can I get there? Can I play? Can I stay?”; helping playspace users to navigate all touchpoints in their outdoor enjoyment.
It’s legacy-making projects like these that really evoke pride in the team.
How do you recharge away from the office?
Going for walks in nature, playing with my pet cats Maple and Piccolo, spending time with my family and friends and listening to inspiring podcasts are a few things that help me to recharge. Keeping myself strong mentally and physically is also a huge priority.
What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?
Start with whatever you’re passionate about. Everyone talks about passion, but people rarely do the things they’re passionate about. Ask for help, reach out to your network and build new networks of likeminded professionals. There are so many ways you can get your foot in the door if you take initiative and look in the right places.
I feel very fortunate to come to the BEING office every day, but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t take that first step. Being authentic means digging deep to find out what truly inspires you. I’m not fooled into thinking every single day will be filled with inspiring positivity, but we really do have more power over our own happiness than we think.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the creative industries?
For more creative professionals to be inspired by their work and to love going to work every day. With the wrong leadership, some creative industry jobs can suck the life and fun out of the process. This is when you’re left with uninspiring results. I want more people to be empowered to create things that make them proud.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
The perception that you have to go big to get good results. I have nothing but respect for the agencies out there who have 100+ staff and are producing high volumes of rather incredible work. But I know for sure there is a space out there for small, hungry agencies.
There is a level of authenticity and care in a smaller agency like ours that adds extra sparkle to our work, and it makes me very proud!