Some agencies help brands succeed with cutting-edge, disruptive campaigns that will leave a mark in the industry forever. But no matter what kind of brand it is, they all have to start somewhere.
It is the task of agencies like B&B Studio to help innovators and idealists realise their vision and bring their brand to life. The team of 25 has a clear mission: to work with brands that want to bring change in the industry and bring something different to end consumers. However, there is no way to achieve that without something that this pandemic has taught us to value more than anything else: togetherness, trust and collaboration.
For this Company Spotlight we have had a lovely chat with Shaun Bowen, Co-Founder & Creative Partner at B&B studio, to learn more about what brought the agency to life and what motivates their very creative process. More on that below!
How was your company born and where are you based?
I founded B&B in 2009, also a time of uncertainty and recession, albeit different to now! We are a team of 25 and specialise in creating and developing brands. We have a well-earned reputation in food and drink that we’ve built over the past ten years, but we’re more and more involved in the creation of direct-to-consumer and more digitally-led brands across all kinds of sectors from personal care to fitness.
As an agency, we’re defined by our mission to partner with idealists and innovators, people who build brands primarily to give consumers a better, more purposeful, choice and who believe in the power of design to push categories forward and shift the status quo.
We’ve collaborated with some fantastic founder-led and entrepreneurially-minded businesses, building their brands from scratch. We also work with established brands who understand the role of design in maintaining their relevance as consumers and categories evolve.
As an agency that works on a lot of new brand creation, we need to take responsibility for what we’re bringing to market. It feels wrong today to use the power of creativity to create desire for something that hasn’t thoughtfully and thoroughly considered its reason for existence.
We work globally from London.
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
Working directly with brand founders takes a lot of energy and passion. We love working with clients that are able to trust their gut, embrace an element of creative risk and who value true collaboration.
It’s a proud moment when a client’s belief in us pays off with great brand success for them.
BEAR, our first client and a brand we created from scratch is a great example of this. Founder Hayley Gait Golding talks about the ‘great leap of faith’ she took when going with the brand name and design we recommended. BEAR was subsequently sold to Lotus bakeries for £70m six years later.
I’m proud of the effectiveness of that brand creation, because it was incredibly disruptive at the time. Pip & Nut and Fever-Tree are other great examples of effectiveness. These brands show what can be achieved when there’s trust and true collaboration.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the creative industries?
I’m thinking about this question at a time of real change. For the creative industry, and of course for people on their own individual level. These last 6 months and the subsequent realities of virtual working, lockdowns and uncertainty, have in actuality brought some real clarity around what really matters.
I think this means that the creative industry has an opportunity and responsibility to be brave and push boundaries like never before. Consumers rightly demand more from what they buy. They want brands to truly deliver on product, but also connect with them and make them feel great. They want brands to share their values and work as a positive force. We will see some brands win and many others become totally irrelevant.
For agencies to truly deliver the level of creative expected today we need to empower our teams to be brave, and empower our clients to dare to be different.
What’s your team’s secret to staying inspired and motivated?
There is a danger in the comfort that comes with seeing the familiar – and today’s digital world is set up to make this happen. We need to force ourselves to be exposed to difference and remind ourselves that different people are consuming different forms of culture. As creatives we mustn’t be lazy or stop trying to see the world through different perspectives. We support proactively getting out of our comfort zones!
How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?
Technology is an amazing enabler, but it can’t replace the connection that comes from being together in a shared space. We need to be mindful of what people need from work and I don’t think that the connection enabled by technology is always enough.
Shaun Bowen, Co-Founder & Creative Partner at B&B Studio
Can you explain your team’s creative process?
Although there are key stages involved in our approach we don’t ‘pass over’ from one stage to the next without continuous integration and fluidity. For example, our strategy team stay closely involved throughout the design process to ensure our brand design stays completely aligned and inspired by the strategic vision. Verbal identity too is always intrinsic to the visual identity, ensuring the brand possesses depth and personality in addition to a compelling and stand-out aesthetic.