Creative Talk with John Madden, Spitfire
John Madden is the Creative Director & Co-Founder, Spitfire - an Auckland based digitally led creative agency. Describing themselves as digital pioneers, we find out what projects make them tick and how they are proving themselves as digital innovators and pioneers.
Tell us a bit about Spitfire, and how you see yourself in the marketplace?
Spitfire was founded in 2004 as we saw a need to bridge the gap between the traditional Advertising Agency model and the evolution of technology driven marketing. In retrospect, we were one of NZ’s first digital agencies, even though that title was yet to be coined. We’re into our 15th year of business and recognised as being NZ’s most experienced digitally led creative agency. We’re proud of our heritage, our successes and the great work we produce for our clients. We are digital pioneers.
How do you fair up compared to a pure digital focused agency?
Consumers aren’t single channel agnostic and nor are we. We’re a results focused creative and digital agency that transforms businesses and brands for the connected world. Our single minded proposition is to drive business growth for our clients through customer acquisition, activation, retention and increased transactional values. We use the mediums that are best suited to each particular client objective for acquisition and then activate digitally.
So how do we fair? Our clients find it refreshing working with a single partner agency that gets their business and can handle all of their brand and marketing requirements. Digitally led strategies with the capability for traditional tactical support.
How do you find the market in New Zealand v’s Global?
The New Zealand market continues to strengthen, showcase itself and be competitive in the global digital world. Every discussion we have in our business, our clients business, or business in general involves digital. The future looks bright for those who think creatively and activate across multiple dimensions.
How do you stand out from the crowd?
The Spitfire brand has always been a pillar of strength for us and our clients. Our core essence of boldness, strength, agility, comradery and victory is how we walk the talk. We’re renowned for being strategically driven, results focused and cost transparent. When we plan campaigns we accurately forecast the return on investment, deliver to this and our clients love it.
What’s your perfect type of client project?
We tend not to think on a project by project basis as it’s not the best use of our time, resources and clients marketing budgets to do so. For our clients we have strategic planning sessions to understand their business objectives, challenges, competitor analysis etc. Then we create annual marketing strategies and plans made up of multiple integrated campaigns and projects that we roll out across the year.
Our perfect client project is a request to help achieve XXX% growth over the next 2 to 3 years.
What’s a typical day at Spitfire?
We’ve just moved to a new studio in the business hub of Graham Street, CBD. The team are fizzing on the ample food and coffee offerings, so the morning always starts out with a coffee run for the crew. Caffeine fired up at our daily stand up / Video conference WIP, the team gels on what needs to be done for the day and get cracking. There’s always a Spotify playlist going down, ideas being tossed around, dev talk, sharpening up for Client Meetings, and Account Managers running around handing out bribes. Group lunch on Fridays and a drinks order a bit shy of 5 most days. Babich Wines of course.
What are the main technologies you work with and why do you prefer them?
Are there any new / emerging web technologies that have you excited?
As a Creative Digital Agency, our role has shifted from building everything from scratch. With more and more open source and white label options available on the market we’re able to develop and integrate technology faster and more affordable than ever before. We’ve always been into Augmented Reality and it’s now becoming a lot more integrated into our offering. We’re testing chat bots with a few of our clients and the tech team are excited about progressive web apps.
When hiring, you obviously don’t want ego’s – how do you sieve them out?
We’re down to earth and humble people so ego’s generally stand out in our 30 second rule. This is not to be confused with confidence or belief in one’s ability, but self importance is an attribute that doesn’t tick the boxes at Spitfire. Let’s face it, we spend 1/3rd of our lives working together, so we best get on well with each other!
What advice would you give to graduates looking to venture into the digital / advertising world?
Create a plan for where you’d like to be in your career in 5 years' time, write it down and follow your passion. Then clean up your social media brand by making it private and get yourself out there. Attend marketing network events where you can potentially meet future employers. Don’t be afraid to step up and introduce yourself. Consider getting your foot into a few doors by doing some entry level freelance gigs. Approach some companies that you think you might fit with and asks them if you can do a summer internship. And keep knocking on doors. One day it will open your future.
How’s the rest of 2018 looking for you?
This year’s been an awesome year for Spitfire with some great client wins recently that will allow us to really push the boundaries of what we do this year. We’ve got a great team, new office and an aggressive growth plan that will be exciting to roll out over the coming months.