Working With The Ambitious

Issue 95

Wadds Inc. works with ambitious creative agencies and communications teams dedicated to achieving growth with social impact.

Its focus is on helping management teams build a future proof, differentiated market position that exploits emerging opportunities, manages risk, embraces innovation and navigates economic volatility.

One of its clients is Cravens, the oldest UK independent creative agency in the UK. Here, chairman Ian Davidson explains what’s next in this exciting new chapter for the business.

Tell us about Cravens

This year we are celebrating our 75th anniversary and we are proud to be the oldest independent agency in the country. We are a creative consultancy whose skills span the world of brand strategy and identity and every field of brand communications.

Cravens has doubled in size over the last three years and we now have a multi-skilled team capable of developing outstanding work across all communication channels. We’ve remained relevant because we always focus on creating proper impact for our clients. Proper impact being one that makes an intended commercial difference for a client’s business or organisation.

What does your focus on purpose mean in practice?

Giving life to purpose is at the centre of everything we do and it proves to be the most important element in helping clients align their brand messaging across all their target stakeholders, both internally and externally to achieve their goals. This also means aligning your brand purpose with the critical topics of today, such as sustainability.

We employ a three-stage approach which first helps a client find (or re-connect with) the right brand purpose for them. This work is undertaken by a combination of our strategic planning and creative teams to make sure the output is the optimal articulation of the brand purpose.

Our approach then looks at how the brand looks, acts and speaks and directs this with brand books and guidelines. In the third and final stage, we apply the purpose to developing all the communications that will actually deliver the desired impact.

Depending on the specific client assignment the assets can vary significantly and can include such things as investor decks. In practice the key to delivering purpose is to arrive at the right creative articulation of it that anticipates all the uses and stakeholder groups that need to be factored for, and then manage its implementation with integrity and control.

How does this translate into work for clients?

This work often involves senior members of the client team as it is vital to have the right people involved to ensure both support for the implementation stages, as well as the right inputs to finding/re-connecting with the brand purpose. It is important and beneficial to have an executive sponsor for the assignment.

What do you think are the biggest challenges ahead for creative agencies?

One of the biggest for our industry is undoubtedly going to be the impact of AI on what we do and how we operate.

Being fairly compensated for the contribution we make to a business or organisation has always been a recurring issue in our industry and we work hard to identify with each client what a ‘proper impact’ will be for them and link this back to how our performance for them is measured and assessed.

What big plans does Cravens have for the future?

We have happily enjoyed consistent success over the last few years and we want to continue that level of growth at a steady pace with international, national and regional clients. Two of the keys to achieving this will be building our profile further and continuing to attract and retain highly talented people who want to remain true to who they are and collectively prove that you don’t have to be based in London to be successful as a creative company.

Why is the right non-executive director (NED) support so important to realising those goals?

Appointing the right NED support is vital to make sure you can expand the range of management skills the company can call on to confidently tackle and embrace new opportunities for growth. Our NEDs are focused on our objectives and it’s great to have them on the team.

If you run a creative agency and are looking for an experienced non-executive director to help build resilience and plan for growth, please visit

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