Naked Communications burst on the scene nearly a decade ago and shook up the advertising industry. From an initial London hub, they challenged ideas about media relevancy to become a leader in the nascent communications planning sector. In an industry full of fast-rising stars that often fall, Naked has stood the test of time. In fact, Naked may now be hotter than ever. The company’s global expansion and unflagging energy has owed much to one the original founding partners, John Harlow.
His ceaseless globetrotting since 2000 has resulted in operations in New York, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand, and according to Harlow, many other markets beckon. “Naked’s heat as been rising in Brazil, where we’ve been asked to speak at every major conference, have had numerous approaches for joint ventures and start-ups, and have been approached by agencies and clients who would like to do something with us. Potentially, an office beckons in the region at some point.”
Earlier this year, Naked, which defines itself as “a unique communications consultancy,” was listed among the five most innovative companies in marketing, according to Fast Company magazine. Yet, one of the greatest tributes to any company or brand is how its name becomes incorporated into contemporary language; think: Kleenex. (And with an attention-getting name like Naked and a credo of “Naked Truths,” this company knows something about clever use of language.) However, the expression- “Do a Naked” has now emerged in several markets. This terms came about without the prompting of the Naked team and is now used as a generic term for “a new way of thinking.”
Rapid growth has not changed Naked’s core values. It remains an integrated marketing communications consulting company that works on the basis of neutrality and collaboration. Naked does not overhaul established agency structures, but works with existing agencies to maximize their resources for more successful brand growth.
John Harlow has certainly been a proponent of the company’s four Naked Truths since the beginning. They include:
1. EVERYTHING COMMUNICATES: Communications planning needs to inform everything you do from product innovation to service delivery to customer relationships to marketing.
2. PEOPLE ARE YOUR PARTNERS: It is outdated to think of consumers as just a “target,” passively receiving branded messages — they are now potentially partners in communication.
3. THERE IS A BETTER WAY: The industry today is still built around the same production silos that existed in the heyday of mass marketing. Even “digital” has evolved as yet another silo. There is a better way, a way that requires a radical rethinking of how products, services, issues and brands are connected to their customers.
4. SEE THE FULL PICTURE: It is vital, in navigating this ever changing world of messaging, channels and brands, that we think about solving the problem before we start designing the execution.