The Lowe Roche founder tells LBB’s Addison Capper about his return to adland and a bold, unique solution for brands to beat business problems
"We spoke to/interviewed a lot of people from September to December of last year: clients, agency owners, creatives (junior and senior), media and agency people, production folks and more clients. They all said the same thing in different ways: The old way of doing effective work for clients wasn’t working."
Geoffrey Roche has been busy since he left the advertising industry in 2011. The former head of Lowe Roche in Toronto, the agency he founded in 1991, has been re-launching his online pooch paradise 3MillionDogs.com, starting fashion and online dating apps with his son Alexandre and re-imagining some former clients' brands "soup to nuts" - a task that led him to the idea of his latest venture and official foray back into adland.
Geoffrey and his business partner of the last five years Jack Harding have just launched Disruptincy
, a Toronto-based business that they believe to be a bold new solution in helping companies defeat their business problems.
Disruptincy was borne out of conversations with people from all corners of the ad industry. "'Advertising' very often was not the solution," Geoffrey tells me. "Time sheets have made most ‘agencies’ more like law firms than anything even faintly resembling a place to come up with breakthrough ideas. And the joy for many of them was gone."
Most important though was that clients didn't know where to turn to get solutions to overall business problems - not just traditional advertising problems. "No agency or consultancy in the world jumped out as being truly different in how they were approaching a client’s business issues. We wanted to change that with Disruptincy."
Disruptincy's model is simple but unique for a number of reasons. They listen to a client's issues and decide if they're in a position to help. If they can help, the Disruptincy crew holds a half-day off-site session with every stakeholder and listens, ensuring that anything and everything that may be relevant - data, employee feedback, fail stories - is shared with them. After that, they create a kind-of brief and share with what Disruptincy has dubbed its 'brain-trust' of C-suite partners.
"Some may be in, or have been in a similar industry," says Geoffrey. "Some may be more strategic types, some supply chain, some in-store experts, some e-commerce and some straight out creative. Whoever we think might help our clients think differently about how they might solve their problems."
Geoff and the team then take that big ol’ bag of expertise and thinking and feed it back to the client at hand. The it gets fine-tuned and Disruptincy present nine (or more) ideas - ones that are sometimes immediately ready to go and others that are longer-term business solutions. And what's particularly neat is that clients aren't duty bound to execute these ideas with Disruptincy. They're presented in a way that's far enough along to allow the client to take them back to their own existing partners to execute. "Or we can do it," says Geoffrey. "Their choice."
Disruptincy's other standout trait is that it lists all of its pricing on its website, offering full transparency for any prospective clients. "Too often clients said they would hand their business to a firm and then would come the dreaded fee discussion. And the question would be, ‘what’s your budget?’ Not unlike your dentist asking the same question just before she pulls your tooth," muses Geoffrey.
He says that the business charges accordingly for the efficiency that it offers (Disruptincy promises to present nine ideas in nine days, another factor that came out of extensive conversations and research). Their research revealed a "genuine need", he says - sometimes for a complete brand reboot, a fresh set of eyes over a poorly performing product, or someone to come in and stealthily dive head first into the core of a business. "Not in nine months, but in nine days. They may not have the resources or the kinds of partners we can bring to the table to bring them actionable, fresh, strategically sound solutions. Solutions that aren’t costing the same as an aircraft carrier for the month. We’re not an aircraft carrier. We’re a small group of black ops who are laser focused on the issues at hand."
Disruptincy only launched last week but has already seen completion on its first project, for market research firm Advantage Group. "They’re in the B2B space in retail and CPG in over 37 countries. It was a great way to ‘dry run’ our model," says Geoffrey. "We spoke to a number of people from our brain-trust and were able to give them insights and actionable strategies they can use right away and in the next nine months."
What's more, Geoffrey is itching to get to grips with businesses of all shapes and sizes. "We are interested in doing business with doers," he says. "Big companies. Small start-ups. People frustrated that they’re standing still while the rest of the runners pass them by. People who believe they have a great product or service that isn’t getting its due. We love nothing more than helping a client re-frame and re-imagine themselves in a way that supercharges their organisation and gets their business back on track.
"That and we have a soft spot for charities that are trying to save the world. So they get a discount."
Check out more from Disruptincy at: https://www.disruptincy.com/