After five years away, CEO and CCO Stefan Mohr looks forward to the Hamburg-based digital agency brand setting sail again
When your agency is named after a band of mythical adventurers who sailed the wild seas fighting monsters and seeking treasures, there’s a lot to live up to. Founded in 1996, Argonauten (Argonauts) was as pioneering as its ancient Greek namesake, setting up as a digital agency back when, for many, you could make a cup of tea in the time it took to load a website.
In 2013 the agency brand was subsumed in a merger to become part of Geometry Global, but five years on, the Argo is taking to the seas again with Stefan Mohr at the helm. Previously managing director at Jung von Matt for eight years, he brings considerable creative seafaring experience with him.
The agency officially re-launches on October 1st with a 20-member team in Hamburg consisting of creatives, strategists, developers and consultants. Argonauten will operate as a separate limited liability company under the umbrella of the Geometry Group. Their offering will range from e-commerce platforms to apps, data solutions, augmented and virtual reality to voice-based applications and strategic solutions for digital transformation.
LBB’s Alex Reeves caught up with Stefan before he and his crew embark on this new quest.
LBB> Can you give me a quick history of Argonauten?
Stefan> Founded in 1996, Argonauten was one of the first true digital agencies in Germany. Argonauten’s legacy as a creative digital agency pioneering new media and digital technology was borne out of a simple idea, a rallying cry to venture into what comes next, charter new ground, challenge conventions and ‘face the open sea’. With ever-increasing success Argonauten, as part of Grey, became a member of WPP.
LBB> What were the most important moments?
Stefan> In agency life, there are always important moments like winning that beloved brand client, really good employee satisfaction, cases that shake the industry and exceptional growth. These moments were present in Argonauten’s history all the time. Looking forward, there’s no moment so important as the next one.
LBB> Why is now the right time to bring the agency back?
Stefan> Firstly, Argonauten is an answer to the constantly changing digital communications business. A core learning is that people are more and more experiencing brands and their ecosystems beyond campaigns. We will offer ‘digital as a service’, which means solutions that retain people to a brand when the job of a campaign is done, for example through apps, websites and e-commerce platforms. This complements perfectly Geometry Group’s offer and approach for a holistic customer experience and answers the steep demand on the market.
Secondly, in times of customer centricity we know that nothing is as unpredictable as a customer’s wish. Clients need a true partner for their communication challenges that is not acting like an anchor but offering a rudder and sail to navigate towards the ever-changing customer will.
Last but not least, the smartest people of today are looking for working environments that fit their individual needs of personal development and meaningful work. It’s time for an agency that is offering a startup like environment for employees, with true values and a modern approach to work. A little hint: we are hiring!
LBB> What are the key goals for the first year?
Stefan> Happy employees. Cases that show our vision to the industry. Significant new business wins. Employee growth. But we don’t want to grow too fast – rather sustainably.
Despite these more general goals I like to have a lot of fun, with people around me that love their work and are always questioning the status quo. Honestly, at the end of the first year I would like to be surprised by what we have accomplished. And be curious of what comes next.
LBB> How will the agency be different to its previous incarnation?
Stefan> If you only think about the change of your media behaviour with the ubiquitous presence of smartphones it’s obvious to say today is very different from 10, 20 or 30 years ago. So, the demand for agency services have dramatically changed as well. Argonauten is reflecting these changes while keeping hold of the basic idea of ‘facing the open sea’. A true difference though is the focus on ‘digital as a service’, separate from digital campaigns and advertising.
LBB> Any final thoughts?
Stefan> Even if it’s common sense: we are living in the most exciting times for communications. With all the new technologies, advanced strategic views on customer behaviour, not even rudimentary connected dots between creativity and data, there is so much to learn and experience every day - I love it. And you could, too: we are hiring.