Mathews: getting a Rise out of strategic communication
The growing importance of strategic communications and channel neutrality was underlined this week with the launch of a new agency following in the footsteps of Unity, Michaelides & Bednash and Naked Communications.
Fronted by former Optimedia managing director Simon Mathews and former Saatchi & Saatchi communications director Andrew Goldborn, Rise Communications, aims to tap into growing advertiser demand for unbiased and creative brand communications advice.
Rise, which opens for business this week, is to place particular emphasis on marketing techniques that add monetary value to brands. Rise will also be aiming to give its style of integrated communications authenticity, with research systems such as Market AuditContact, which is designed to prioritize consumer contact points and maximize sales and brand equity. Goldborn worked with Oscar Jamhouri, chief executive of marketing specialist Integration, on the development of the system.
The launch is likely to spark renewed interest in the concept of communications strategy, which has won over major clients such as Channel 4, the COI, Siemens, Honda and Lucas Film and prompt larger media agencies to rethink their approach to client's needs.
Matthews, who resigned from his post at Optimedia in February following the creation of the Zenith Optimedia Group, joined forces with Goldbourne, who has also previously worked for BMP DDB and MediaCom, earlier this year to plan the launch of the new agency.
He said: "One key proposition is to increase economic return from marketing activity. For example, we'll be looking for clients' most valuable customers, brands and the most significant value-creators within a business.
"We'll offer a service that will fit in with any communications specialist or, indeed, client and I think what we offer is a choice - a different way of working at a time when industry and businesses are rethinking the way they work.
"For example, the advent of low cost airlines and other new business models."
According to Mathews, the market for strategic advice is far from saturated and Rise's fresh approach also translates to the way the agency will market its services. "We're evangelists for the communications sector. On our website and credentials, we're going to present the work that the likes of other, similar agencies, such as M&B, Unity and Naked have been doing, because we want to raise the profile of this sort of work in general. We have no pretensions about being the best at the expense of everyone else.
The more competition there is in this sector, the more heat will be generated. There's tremendous opportunity for growth," he said.
Mathews and Goldborn are the sole equity partners
in Rise and plan initially to use specialist freelancers as appropriate, but will consider expanding its permanent base.
Mathews said: "For the future, Andrew and I are very open minded in that we may want to take on an equity partner, probably with a background in strategic brand planning.
"We've known each other a long time and we feel comfortable with each other, so we'd have to feel comfortable with whoever joined us."