Rich Berney and John Linton left 303 Mullen Lowe in February this year to launch their own start up. Friday night, the pair held an event at Lawson Flats to launch their new independent offering, Berlin, to clients, collaborators, friends and family.
The first question on most people’s lips was: ‘why Berlin?’
Berney explained: ‘Berlin is a creative mecca, set in one the most strategically-focused countries in the world… so we thought that works. Berlin, WA – let’s go! To be honest though, it’s just a neat mash-up of our names.’
‘Our agency concept isn’t new, we’re a strategic shop with creative chops. But it’ll work. There’s a real wash of conservatism going on and we’re not into it. It just doesn’t work. ‘Playful is POWERFUL’ – is what we know to be true, and we’ll offer it every time. The potential for environmental, social & economic change through measured creativity is absolutely endless.’
Linton said: ‘We’ve found time and time again that our most effective work comes from embracing a sense of playfulness in everything we do. Not rushing straight to execution, but rather taking the problem ‘for a walk’. Stretching, contradicting, testing and building upon ideas until we arrive at creative destinations that are audacious, yet perfectly planned for success.’
Berney added: ‘We enjoy taking this walk together. John’s left brain and my right, working together through every step of every project, because we believe there’s as much to be gained from injecting art into strategy as there is science into creativity.’
The pair said they’d been encouraged to back their positioning after road-testing it with a platoon of marketing leaders over the past 6 months.
Linton explained: ‘Regardless of the category, marketers have a real appetite to shake loose the conservatism that’s set into our industry, both here in WA and further afield. But they’ve highlighted the increasing internal challenges they’re facing to get these kinds of transformational ideas off the ground. So, yes, they want the playful ideas… but more so they need partners who’ll help them make the careful plans required for those ideas see the light of day. Partners who’ll help to make that ‘risk’ feel entirely responsible.’
Over the course of their careers, Berney and Linton have done just that, helping to grow iconic brands locally & internationally including Canon, Honda, Telstra, Lotterywest, St John and ECU; while creating long-lasting behaviour change with clients such as the Mental Health Commission, Water Corporation, Road Safety Commission and FARE.
This passion for a positive, hope-filled future runs deep into the agency’s business model.
Berney said: We’ve begun the B Corp Certification, but that’s a commitment that takes time. Until then, our company goal is simply to be GOOD and GREAT at the same time. From day one, Berlin is a social enterprise hybrid, meaning we’ll channel at least 20% of our time & profits into pro-social and proenvironmental campaigns. We are a proudly FOR PROFIT business – but we are dead serious about making our future grandkids proud!
Berlin has kicked off its journey with foundation partners to be announced soon.