Magazine article Marketing

Creativity: Agencies Are Incredible Hothouses of Talent, Drive and Creativity - Which Is Why They Need to Die

Magazine article Marketing

Creativity: Agencies Are Incredible Hothouses of Talent, Drive and Creativity - Which Is Why They Need to Die

Article excerpt

Luke Scheybeler is a designer and entrepreneur. He co-founded the sportswear companies Rapha and Tracksmith, and runs the incubator Future Classic

Apple, Burberry, Airbnb, Nike, Innocent, Acne, Vice, Rapha. These brands have design at their heart. They also have creative founders, multidisciplinary teams, deep specialisms and an ability to bring everything together into a coherent whole that people just 'get'.

And when people 'get' brands, they buy brands: as a result, these creatively oriented businesses outperform common-or-garden companies by 228%, according to the Design Management Institute's Design Value Index (bit.ly/DesignLed).

The approach makes a measurable difference, and clearly 'design' and 'business' belong together. Yet, for the most part, the creative class lives in a world apart, remote inside the exposed brick walls of the agency.

They're happy: they have everything they could want. The environment is informal. The pay's great. The people are beautiful. There's always a shiny new challenge. The quality of the execution - particularly in London - is second to none. And there's free toast.

But these comfortable agency 'safe spaces' will never help designers produce work that fulfils them or creates any real change in the world.

The pulse of a business

I have benefitted hugely from the years I spent in brand, digital and ad agencies. They are unequalled environments for the development of creative skills, a talent network, and to experience a variety of work.

But it was only after starting Rapha that I learned the direct effect that creative work has on businesses. In agencies, I was several steps removed from the problem. I didn't 'feel' how the idea affected sales.

In a business it's different. Once you're inside - and particularly with a direct-to-consumer model - you can feel the pulse of the organisation.

You understand how it connects with its customers and how it succeeds or fails in the outside world. You see the uptick in sales in real time as you launch a campaign. You read the brutal feedback about the product you designed. And you feel the pain of missing a factory slot.

Get messy

Moving into physical product was a shock. The experience is visceral Messy. …

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