Case Study: Smarts

Agencies' number one focus is making their clients famous. But how can they achieve fame for themselves? 

Sure, case studies, awards, data points - these things all help, but as agency owners know all too well, those are short-term metrics.

And to build a truly great brand, that not only delights in the moment but sticks around in hearts minds and memories for a lifetime, you need to go deeper. 

But this is hard to do when you’re close to it. So that’s where we come in. 

The Smarts team have built an incredible roster of clients, a glowing reputation and a seriously impressive set of results to back it up. 

But the agency landscape is only getting more competitive, and over time it’s difficult to maintain that connection to why you started and why you’re best placed to guide clients through the cultural complexities of the future. 

We were tasked with rediscovering Smarts’ brand DNA and crafting a unique positioning that would both feel true to the team AND connect with clients, both present and future.

How did we do it? By bringing our Outside Insider approach. 

First, we get close to the team. We talk to them. Find out what they believe about creativity, brand-building, technology and culture. 

Then, we look outwards. We talk to clients and find out where their pains and their priorities are to discover the strategic opportunity. Aka where we should play. 

From there, it’s about finding the common thread to connect both. Without that thread, there will be a disconnect between your commercial strategy and your internal culture. 

The big questions we asked were:

  • In a world of short-termism, how do you build brands that refuse to be forgotten?
  • Everyone wants to grab attention, but how do you keep hold of it in a meaningful way?
  • How do you land big impact moments and connect them over time rather than simply tapping into the ‘sugar rush’ of short-term trends?

This led us to Cultural Endurance. 

“We don’t chase trends. We build them. We don’t tap into culture. We shape it. We embrace cultural endurance so the brands we work with don’t just ‘show up’ in culture – they go the distance.”

This is something to loudly and proudly shout to the market. It’s something to be known for, to be famous for. Something to get out of bed and work hard for, something to buy into. 

We helped give Smarts their competitive edge, but the most important part of our Outside Insider approach is bringing the team with us. 

Co-creating the positioning so it feels fresh and distinctive, but something they can put in their voice and bring to life across every touchpoint. 

If you’re struggling to articulate what makes your agency stand out from the pack, let’s talk. 

“Mac+Moore did the thing for us that most companies find impossible to do for themselves - they found a way to make us stand back and see what makes us stand out. They were the perfect blend of strategy, copy and commercial savvy we needed.”

Colin Corbridge

Group Head of Creative and Strategy, Smarts