This week is a rather momentous and exciting one for us here at Ready.
Eleven years ago, we began life as Xcetra Media, a two-person design agency creating print ads and web banners.
Fast forward to the present day and we’re achieving client growth in a myriad of ways: building chatbots, launching apps, creating mobile games. Things couldn’t really look any different.
So, over the last three years, we’ve been on a comprehensive journey to really try and understand our place in this crowded agency landscape. And crucially, what our future looks like within it.
The process began with our rebrand from Xcetra Media to Ready back in 2015. Today, it concludes with the launch of three elements: a new positioning, a fresh commitment to our clients on how we will endeavour to add value to their businesses, and a new sub-division: ReadyDaily.
We caught up with co-founders Jake Xu and Shane Carnell-Xu to find out what this means for the future of Ready…
Tell us about Ready’s new positioning…
Jake: We started as a design agency eleven years ago, but we’ve changed a lot since then as we’ve adapted to what clients need over time. This meant our message was becoming diluted and unclear. If you asked our clients what we did, they’d all say something different.
It’s time for us to clarify who we are to existing and potential clients. We want to make it clear that promotional and tactical marketing is what we specialise in, but that we also offer other extremely valuable services too. Now is the right time to do that.
Shane: When we rebranded back in 2015, we looked at our vision and positioning at the time. But since then we’ve evolved even further as an agency, particularly on the consumer brand side.
We’ve always delivered breakthrough campaign tactics for our clients, but just didn’t realise that much of what we did was promotional marketing. We just gravitated towards promotional tactics because they’re really effective.
Unwittingly, we’ve been developing a different approach to it over the past few years. This approach executes certain elements of promotional marketing, such as competitions, sampling and coupons, creatively through digital channels to achieve better results.
Now we know that actually, this is what makes us unique. We’ve found our niche.
Why launch the ReadyDaily arm of the agency? And how will it work in conjunction with Ready’s core offering?
Shane: Part of this process was to look at the different work we do, and the various challenges it helps our clients to overcome.
It became clear that it is split into two core parts: promotional and tactical campaigns, which have a finite beginning and end, and everything else (videos, web design, email marketing, chatbots) which helps our clients to grow on a daily basis.
The latter will now sit within its own dedicated division: ReadyDaily. This work has always been a big part of what we do and will continue to be. So not only do we create breakthrough promotional campaigns, but we address the daily challenges our clients face as marketers.
Jake: It’s also a really important aspect to us. We want to know our clients inside out. Their demographics, their challenges, everything about them. It’s our way to get to know their brands. Having a deeper understanding of them ultimately aids us when we then create those tactical campaigns.
How will the changes impact current clients?
Jake: Pretty much no impact. It’ll be business as usual for all our existing clients. We’re still the same team of people, we’re still working in the same way.
We might refer to ReadyDaily from now on, but we’ll make sure they’re all clear on what this is and that it doesn’t change anything.
Shane: The changes will be to clarify our positioning to new clients more than anything. On an operational level there won’t be any disruptions. We surveyed a lot of our clients on how they work with us as part of our research for this change. We took all that information on board, so we can continue to deliver on our clients’ challenges and get better at serving their needs.
What kinds of brands can benefit from ‘breakthrough’ promotional and tactical campaigns?
Shane: We’d say all consumer brands. Anyone with a product to promote, anyone planning to launch a new product, wanting to acquire new customers or improve the engagement of existing ones. And any brands looking to make a splash during key selling periods like Christmas or Halloween.
FMCG brands are probably the most relevant though. We work with a lot of FMCG brands, particularly within beauty and personal care, and we know there’s always a need to break through the noise and stand out amongst competitors. Particularly when traditional advertising is becoming less effective amongst younger audiences.
Jake: The space is so noisy and competitive with so many different channels and platforms. Consumers are being bombarded, so having those breakthrough tactics that really stand out are crucial.
For established brands, it’s vital to stay relevant, and for challenger brands it’s important to cut through and be noticed. There’s a chance for everyone to benefit from original and unique tactical campaigns.
What can the creative industry expect from Ready as a result of these changes?
Shane: We want to show that we’re not just another agency, we’re here to shake things up in the promotional marketing world. We deliver results using breakthrough tactics, and our work proves it.
Jake: We’re committed to helping drive promotional marketing forward, and as part of this we’re excited to be joining the IPM (Institute of Promotional Marketing) very soon. We want to contribute to the future of promotional marketing and put our voice into that space.