Making a Splash: Company Profile
StrawberryFrog Contagious Magazine
Big may be beautiful at the empire building end of the communications business, with clients like HSBC and Samsung upping the consolidation ante, but one company becoming an increasingly famous exception to this rule is StrawberryFrog.
StrawberryFrog is a pioneering exponent of the third way: not your trendy independent making waves in its national market, rather a movement marketing and advertising company servicing multinational accounts from a single hub without the need for a phalanx of offices in capital cities. StrawberryFrog is mentioned frequently in the same breath as MDC agencies Crispin and 72 and Sunny, and Mother. But while these companies boast a roster of 280 and 100 staff respectively, StrawberryFrog positions itself as a lean, mean, fighting machine with a nucleus of only 70 full time staff serving a roster of blue-chip clients including Emirates, IKEA, Heineken, Mitsubishi Motors, Pfizer and Sony.
When it launched in 1999, StrawberryFrog became the first full service marketing and advertising company to adopt a business model pioneered by architects, scientists and movie studios. ‘The idea behind StrawberryFrog is to deliver the best possible strategic and creative solutions, operating with a little bureaucracy as possible,’ explains founding partner Scott Goodson. ‘The client gets fresh yoghurt, not pasteurized. We have a core senior team who work directly with the client like any huge consultancy or agency, but then we contract in a specially tailored groups who collaborate via the net. Some of these talents include former consultants from Booz Allen, McKinsey, strategists, and creative directors from Widen & Kennedy, Goodby, TBWA. We’re like the kid whose dad owns the candy store. When a client hands us an assignment, we can reach out to some of the brightest people on the planet (a way of working that is designed for the Gig Economy). A few days later we have the richest, most varied solutions you could possibly wish for.’
The strategy of outsourcing applies equally to media. The neutral status of StrawberryFrog enables each client to negotiate its own media arrangements with a preferred partner (or new cheaper and better software). ‘We’re the pilot, the client is the Lear jet and the media agency is JFK,’ says Goodson.
A revolutionary spirit is hardwired into the company’s DNA. Visit StrawberryFrog’s website and the first thing you see if a nimble frog leaping away of the herd of lumbering dinosaurs. ‘Our model is geared towards large US and international clients wanting effective, break-out strategy and creative communications (movement strategy and movement marketing) done better, better and cheaper than the big corporations,’ says Goodson.
Despite numerous advances from holding company and consulting company nemeses, StrawberryFrog remains defiantly independent. There is a swagger about StrawberryFrog. Goodson certainly never misses an opportunity to spread the Frogism gospel.
Former president of Mitsibishi Motors Stefan Jacoby says: ‘I consider my choice of StrawberryFrog one of my best decisions. They contributed to turning around the business with breakthrough strategy and branding. This led to a rise in our market share. If these achievements weren’t enough, the Frogs helped us realize significant reductions in our marketing costs.’
Goodson is confident that StrawberryFrog that his movement marketing, advertising and design company has remained ahead of the curve, despite imitators like Anomaly and others springing up. ‘We are very much into non-invasive advertising where the consumer actually seeks out the product rather than the other way around. Our work has always focused on inspiring consumers to talk about and actively participate in branded ideas. We invented this new model of movement marketing to engage people in ways a 30-second ad no longer can. Big and small, everyone is running faster, the work is getting more exciting and that’s good for clients.