One of today’s advertising holy grails is to marry the art of communication strategy with the science of media and direct response. Today it’s happening Down Under at Bohemia, the Sydney-based shop that is employing a new advertising model. According to Bohemia’s leader Brett Dawson, the agency accomplishes this through a deeper understanding of behavior—and what it takes to change it.
Launched just two years ago with backing from STW, Australia's leading Communications group with 75 operating companies, and from Simon White, Founder of Ikon Communications, where Dawson served as Agency Director for 12 years, Bohemia is not only proving that their premise works, but they are winning a string of new clients—(Vodafone, Travel Insurance Direct, The Travel Corporation, Aspen Pharmaceuticals, and Healthdirect Australia), and starting a new PR division. The art of the agency’s strategy is to create programs that are powered by a brand’s most committed customers. The science is based on inviting these ideal targets to actively participate, so that every dollar spent delivers a measurable outcome.
In many ways, the key to Bohemia’s success rests with the clients themselves. The agency focuses on harnessing the owned assets of their clients—from customer data to physical and digital footprints, from social communities to brand imprints. According to Brett Dawson, “We focus here first because owned assets are the most influential channels in the marketing mix and are often overlooked by traditional media agencies. We then leverage a growing number of paid communication channels to accelerate this behavioral change.” The wealth of data is used to create “Participation Programs,” not just media plans.
Dawson continues, “We venture further into the commerce of our clients' businesses to integrate customer and sales data with the growing sources of behavioral data produced from the new communications landscape. This also allows us to link our remuneration directly to delivery of desired behavioral outcomes.” The result is a new agency model indeed.
In addition to Brett Dawson, Chris Christofi, also ex-Ikon, and Peter Leaver, formerly of Commonwealth Bank, are founders. Dawson calls the leadership team and the agency staff “a collective of experienced and networked individuals, unencumbered by traditional agency buying models, licensed to go deeper into a client's business than ever before to put media and data led strategy at the center." A holy grail found.