Gavin Brett is the co-founder of We Did That (@WDTLondon), a creative technology and content agency based at WeWork South Bank. Their clients include Unilever, The Unilever Foundry, JUST EAT, Audi and Diageo. The agency works with companies of all sizes on messaging, content, creative execution and brand partnerships.
How does your startup stand out against its competitors?
We’re a lot more flexible than larger creative agencies, and a lot more welcoming! Plus we have a working, in-depth understanding of the startup space, having worked with startups right across the board, across markets and from one or two on the staff to globe-conquering scale-ups – which many don’t. Our former editorial experience also gives us an edge with content, and telling stories.
Where did the idea for We Did That come from?
We knew that there was a space for us from our experience with brands in editorial and through their PR agencies. Everyone along the line was having greater creative needs placed on them, without the resources to fulfil that. We began working with PR agencies and their clients – which we still do even now – before going brand-direct once we’d navigated a few projects.
What was your journey to starting your own company?
Desk-bound procrastination in our old jobs, and then – after deciding to make the leap, just going for it. We haven’t looked back.
How did you initially raise funding for your company?
We didn’t. We bootstrapped and hit the ground running. Within a few weeks of starting up, we were working on Audi UK social projects, which gave us the impetus to forge ahead with confidence.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
There have been many – working with some of the world’s best brands in a relatively short space of time is no mean feat is obviously a pretty huge achievement for us. When Diageo invited us to pitch alongside the big boys, we didn’t think we stood a chance… and then won, being brought on to a roster alongside two huge, global creative shops was pretty epic. But then it’s been as exciting working with startups for Unilever – which has probably taught us more in the journey than anything else. It’s been particularly great working with African feature phone startups, because the market is so different. You have to be creative in new ways, without the luxury of fancy programming. We could genuinely find a great achievement in every project.
You recently moved to WeWork’s South Bank building. What appealed to you about co-working versus a more traditional office space?
Everyone will have a different view on this, but for us, our background was from large publishing companies where growth and innovation had suffered. It was miserable. We didn’t want to repeat that, so as a creative technology and content agency, we looked to co-working spaces, where we could be in among hopefully like-minded people who all wanted to build something great. But also, who would also be facing similar challenges in that mission, so could bash heads together to help solve them. And crucially, our agency We Did That works with new startups and technologies, so we needed to be right in amongst all that. Co-working made complete sense.
Co-working is booming now with many spaces popping up around London – was there anything in particular about WeWork’s that made it stand out from others?
Well it was brand new, which helped! And the location on the South Bank – and being by the Thames and its iconic buildings like Sea Containers House and the OXO Tower – was spot on for us, particularly as the area is a growing community of creatives just like us. We can also use WeWork’s other locations as they launch – Soho’s just launching now, so that’ll be handy. The flexibility also helped galvanise the decision. If we choose to expand or even move elsewhere, we can do so without getting caught out with annual contract penalties. That’s a major factor. Another factor was, weirdly, dogs. We’ve got them, loads of office spaces in London don’t want them. WeWork’s canine-friendly! Plus: free coffee and free beer? Couldn’t really say no, could we?
How much of an impact did company culture and a sense of community have on your decision to go down the co-working route?
Again, having endured company culture where innovation and creativity is stifled, there was a big attraction to co-working. We’ve made some great new friends here and there are always new faces to get to know. People’s backgrounds as well – absolutely fascinating. There’s never a dull moment when you’re wandering out to make a coffee or grabbing a beer! You might get the same in traditional offices, but generally within your desk group, or your own department. Here, you tend to meet everybody. And it’s a surprising mix across all ages. It’s great.
In the coming year, what would you like to achieve with your business?
Grow the creativity and grow the client base. We’re always on the lookout for our next challenge and we’d love to hear from your brand – be it startup or established – to see where we can help.
What has been your most valuable lesson so far since starting your business?
Each lesson we’ve learned has been incredibly valuable. So how about this: you, reading this – get in touch, let’s chat about what you do and in that respect, I’ll tell you the most valuable lesson I’ve learned so far!
Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?
Go for it… and then get in touch with us, because you need to think about how your amazing new business communicates to the world! We’re here to help.