behind the curtain at strawberryfrog, part two

It is a lot harder to show off to your ad friends when your agency does interactive and new media work than when they do TV.

TV is great. With the right client and right media budget you can do work that everyone sees. You can become a mini-celebrity in your own little advertising world and all the hangers-on at Cannes and the One Show, not to mention the cute, just-out-of-college junior AEs at your agency, think that you’re just brilliance in an ironic t-shirt.

But when your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

StrawberryFrog is one of a small set of agencies that have set out to do things differently, to arm themselves with tools beyond the :30 spot.

I have reached out to founder Scott Goodson and ECD Kevin McKeon to get the inside story in their own words.

PART 2 / Who are they and why are they different?

StrawberryFrog has built up quite a reputation and you seem to have a knack for winning business from all corners of the globe. Where does North America fit in your global growth strategy?

Our ambition is to leverage New York’s superior marketing assets and utilize it as the hub for our global network to partner with a select group of ambitious and like-minded national and global brands.

For an agency like yours, without all of the legacy agency baggage, do you see opportunity in North America or is your focus on emerging markets and emerging market brands?

We’ve always seen ourselves as your friendly neighborhood global advertising agency. We have our eye on the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), but also on other markets where growth is in the double digits like most of Eastern Europe and South East Asia.

StrawberryFrog is owned by the staff. We are independent. We believe we have a strong point of view – a competitive edge what is not being delivered for clients in the United States or around the world. It’s called cultural movements. We create cultural movement strategies for our clients, and we do this where our clients do business which is increasingly internationally. Once you have a cultural movement you can do anything in a fragmented media world.

We do everything huge clients need and want, we just do it differently than the traditional corporate agency.

One of our success stories over the past nine years has been our global work for Heineken – a famous global brand that we stewarded in over 155 countries. We also launched Onitauka Tiger (Asics lifestyle brand) from scratch into one of the hottest brands in the world. We did this using social media, the web, innovative ambient work, brand PR, mobility and gaming.

What is it about StrawberryFrog that you think is the key difference when pitching against large agencies like BBDO?

Everything.

Of course the big agencies have incredible talent, just as we do. But the old agency models and systems are the greatest hurdles, as are their legacies.

We have a culture rooted in innovation rather than tradition. We don’t have 60 years of doing it one way.

Many traditional agencies are engaged in a process of reinvention. Rather than spending out energy trying to catch up, we devote our energy to moving forward into the future, always one step ahead. Examples of this are our recent work for Scion and Microsoft.

You see yourself as change agents. So what will your agency be in five years?

It is very difficult to answer that. Because we are about pushing forward into the future, stepping out of line, pushing the boundaries of communications as we know it, all we know is that it will be a very different organization with very different clients.

Structurally, we’ll just have to adjust to the challenges in the marketplace.

What does it take to stay cutting-edge as the years pass?

A relentless adherence to the values that launched the brand and culture of StrawberryFrog in the beginning coupled with an evolution in our process that will allow us to expand and take on more and larger clients without sacrificing any of our core values, strategic and creative excellence.

As an editor’s note: It’s tough to talk about your own agency because it’s just plan hard to describe something that is in many ways indescribable: the culture that makes your agency unique.

In the case of StrawberryFrog my guess is that said culture a lot of it is tied up in founder Scott Goodsen himself and his open-plan, ideas come from anywhere vision.

If you want more from the man, check out his blog here.

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