Cast your minds back to this time last year. The country was engrossed by the Hatton Garden heist, Chelsea were coasting to the Premier League title, and we were plodding along nicely as Xcetra Media.
Soon afterwards though, we would embark on a wonderful journey that culminated in a new name, brand and agency positioning. So what happened, and why?
Our founders Jake Xu and Shane Carnell-Xu explain all…
So what changed this time last year?
Shane: As a business we were entering our tenth year, and had just recorded our best ever year in terms of revenue. When we sat down to analyse it all, it became clear to us that we were in a very different place to when we set the business up nearly a decade ago. We’ve got clients from many different sectors, and almost all our work is campaign-driven. Back then though, we were mainly working with publishing clients – hence the ‘Media’ in our name – and took on any work we could get. It felt like a world away from the present day.
Jake: We’d just had a great year, but deep down we knew that if we really wanted to accelerate our growth, we would need a fresh approach. I had heard about a grant offered by Creative England, to help creative companies with business growth. The grant must be spent on consultancy and mentoring, and after a successful application we appointed Emma Collins, former chair of the West of England Design Forum and a renowned leadership coach, to support us.
What was the thinking behind the decision to rebrand?
Jake: We clicked instantly with Emma. She brought so much energy and fresh thinking to the way we thought about ourselves, our strengths and our weaknesses. She also confirmed our suspicions that our brand, and the way we present our agency, didn’t match our ambitions.
“We’d just had a great year, but deep down we knew that if we really wanted to accelerate our growth, we would need a fresh approach.”
Shane: Our name Xcetra Media suited us well in 2007, but we’ve come a long way since then. Xcetra was generic, and some people either misspelt it or had trouble pronouncing it. The word ‘Media’ also felt outdated and misleading, with some assuming we were a media agency. Working with Emma, it became more and more obvious that we had completely outgrown it.
How did you decide on the name ‘Ready’?
Shane: The whole team was invited to think about who we are, what our values are, our vision and our personality. Everyone really got behind the process, which was fantastic. After coming up with lots of names we narrowed it down to a shortlist of five, which then became two. We took a vote, and Ready was the chosen winner.
Jake: It’s a very positive, energetic name that has two clear meanings for us. Firstly, it’s a rallying cry for our team. We’re ready for any challenge, ready to embrace new technologies – ready for anything. Secondly, it tells our clients we’re committed to helping them be print-ready, social-ready, digital-ready and, crucially, campaign-ready. Which links perfectly into our new strapline: the creative campaign agency.
What impact has it had within the agency, and externally?
Jake: Client-wise, it’s been very positive. Friend and suppliers too – we’ve had great feedback from everyone really which is very pleasing.
Shane: Internally, I feel there’s certainly been an injection of energy into the team – both Jake and I included. The rebrand has given us a real boost and allowed us to focus on the future, rather than being lumbered with a legacy that didn’t reflect who we are.
“We’re ready for any challenge, ready to embrace new technologies – ready for anything.”
Jake: I think the result of it all is clarity. When you don’t have clarity, you don’t have focus, and when you lose focus you can lose motivation. The whole process made us look at the work that we enjoy doing, and which motivates us. Having this repositioning gives us a clear idea of what we want to do going forward. With a host of new business wins and new projects for current clients, we are already feeling the benefits.