Rogue Penguin Creative is not your father’s marketing agency.
And the three-person team of marketing professionals who combined their total of 30 years’ experience to launch a compact and efficient firm is just fine with that.
“Rogue Penguin is a different kind of agency,” says copy director Alisha Morrissey, a former journalist who moved into creative writing, spending a number of years with DC Design House before changing careers this fall.
“It’s not a 9-to-5 box, we don’t charge per hour. … We have decided to do things completely differently than how we’ve worked in previous agencies before.”
Creative director Sid Williams — formerly of the Idea Factory and once named on the top 250 art directors in Canada — says the 9-to-5 office life can sometimes stifle the creative process.
“If you’ve got your own space, you get to walk out in the world instead of being sat down at a desk for eight hours,” says Williams. “You have a bit more latitude in terms of creativity in that regard.”
Another facet of the startup agency setting it apart from its competitors is its office, or, rather, its lack of office and the accompanying — sometimes crippling — overhead costs.
“It allows us to be a little more flexible with regards to our clients and definitely allows us to meet their needs on a better level,” suggests director of relationships Liam Kelly, another Idea Factory alum who spent a number of years in sales before taking on a business development position with Verafin earlier this year.
Not having to take on a bevy of clients in order to keep the lights on and a roof overhead also allows Rogue Penguin to be somewhat selective with its clientele and focus on building long-term relationships.
“We’re looking to take on customers that share a similar vision and values as we do and that’ll lead to better work as well for those clients,” says Kelly.
“That flexibility of absolutely giving it everything we have for those clients as opposed to taking on additional clients just for the sake of taking them on.”
And unlike some traditional agencies where an account manager meets with the clients alone and conveys the job requirements to the rest of the team, Rogue Penguin operates as a trio.
“All three of us are involved in those meetings right from the get go so that we nail exactly what the customer or client is looking for right out of the gate and we work together as a team throughout the entire process to make sure that the vision of the customer gets translated into the final result every time.”
Outside of the fundamental differences in tack, the Rogue Penguins say they can do the same job as any other full-service agency, tackling branding and graphic design, copywriting and editing, website design and developing advertising strategies.
Asked if they feel the St. John’s and provincial market can support another marketing agency, all three agree there isn’t just room for another player, but an opportunity to do things differently.
“I’ve seen lots of agencies come and go, but the guys that do it right are still here, they’re still sticking around and I think there’s still lots of room for different ideas to be put out there and for different structures like our own,” says Williams.
Kelly adds that with a growing entrepreneurial spirit taking over the province, there won’t be a shortage of businesses looking for marketing, advertising and creative services.
“We’re excited by all these smaller outfits opening up and looking for a little bit of a different, and dare I say it, even younger outlook on their advertising needs.
“We’re really excited to be a part of that.”