Into the deep

Features
Into the deep

Martin Fullard chats to UK-based agency Deeper Blue’s Laurence Croneen about the agency’s beginnings and its international expansion.

Founding directors Laurence Croneen and Jeremy Garbett set up UK-based agency Deeper Blue in the wake of the financial crash in 2008, after realising that a shift in global economics required a shift in attitudes towards events.

Croneen took time out of his day to share with CMW his agency story, where they are, where they are going, and what they have learned.

Where did it all begin?
Jeremy and I have known each other for 22 years, after starting working life at Jack Morton Worldwide, where we elevated ourselves into high-level positions. As much as we enjoyed our time there, around the time of the financial crash we felt there was a need for a fresh approach. When something of that magnitude happens, there needs to be a reaction. Both of us had wanted to do something for ourselves, and take our experiences and form a new agency that was slightly nimbler, more flexible, and a better fit for the post-recession world that we found ourselves in.

We thought about what type of agency we wanted to be. We used a lot of insight and called on previous clients of ours and asked them what they were looking for and what was important to them.

Who was your first client and how did things take off after that?
Our first client was Samsung, and soon after we were inundated with automotive opportunities. We saw double-digit growth and hefty expansion.

We have tried to avoid growing a huge agency, and have maintained a boutique-like organisation.

Two years ago we moved to Surrey on the outskirts of London, while at the same time opening a new office in India, which gives us a foothold in Asia. We are now treading the international stage in Asia, Australia and across Asia-Pacific. However Europe remains our playground.

What are you pushing at the moment?
The relationship between digital and live is so important, and we’re doing some really exciting things with it. We use digital to sustain people’s engagement, which is part of a long-term plan to keep that experience alive.

What have you learned?
The value of a sector specialism. Once you have that, it attracts others. Automotive organisations don’t mind if you’re working with competitors, they’re interested in your ability to add brand value.

We take this knowledge and are trying to supplant it in other sectors, such as the luxury sector, pharmaceutical, bioscience and life science and technology, among some others.

Too often everything is focused towards a single point in time where we gather audiences. People often leave such events feeling inspired. The problem was that we were not capitalising on that moment, and nor were the clients. It was a lost opportunity to see that engagement evaporate when people go back to their daily lives.

We learned two things: the importance of insight and how vital it is for a better platform, and that after any form of coming together, to maintain that momentum of engagement.

image caption: Nicki Shields, TV presenter, speaking at a Deeper Blue event