• Transform magazine
  • February 29, 2024


Rewrite to get it right

David Kirkland

David Kirkland, executive creative director and co-founder of KNOW Creative, describes how his agency’s free roaming nature allows it to ruffle feathers and create value for its partners.

“We’d love to be your creative partner…”

Chances are, this is a phrase – and promise – you’ve heard before. Several times, probably.

On the one hand, that’s fine: it makes sense. After all, collaboration is essential to success. And creativity thrives on relationships that aren’t just purchaser/supplier dynamics (apologies to any procurement managers reading this!).

But true partnership means more than people often think. It means being able and, more than anything, willing to question, challenge and even confront each other. To cede and share control when it matters. To sometimes step backward in order to go forward. To value mutual trust above all else. Because it’s only when you and your agency truly embrace this mindset that you’re genuinely creative partners.

That’s our view, anyway. It’s also our reputation. From day one, KNOW Creative has built its name on a hunger to turn things upside-down and inside-out, to change angles of approach, to hunt down and carve out different perspectives and fresh opportunities. And, in many cases, all before a job’s fully commissioned or a scope defined. 

Why do we act like this? Why are we so willing to ruffle feathers, when surely it’d be much easier to focus on things organisations typically care about, like cost-effective and efficient delivery?

Because, to us, ruffling feathers reveals unexpected beauty, unfurls transformational impact. Think of a peacock. It’s already a colourful, stunning bird, that catches the eye and impresses with its stature. But then it opens its tail, and something even more magical is suddenly on show. Something that unfailingly makes people pause, smile and wonder. Who can resist stopping to gaze at a peacock, who doesn’t want to pick up and take home a discarded feather that might lay on the ground?

How did I even get onto writing about peacocks? Maybe because that’s the very point I’m trying to make. It’s only when you allow things to flow freely, and new narratives to emerge, that fun is found, and – most importantly – creativity uncovered. 

Besides, peacocks don’t like cages. They love to roam freely. And that’s us. Our success – and ultimately our clients’ success too – has been built on a clear upfront understanding. KNOW’s creative generosity is as boundless, and our impact as powerful, as that of a peacock in the wild.

This approach might not be for all. For those constrained by corporate boxes, it might be too brave and bold. But for those who really want to change, create value and deliver impact, it’s perfect. Additionally, it means you don’t need to come to us with preconceptions, lists of deliverables and cast-in-stone briefs (let alone an apples-for-apples RFP rigidity). 

Often, a simple request to develop the journey together is enough. A desire and willingness to allow creative expertise to thrive, requirements to become passions, and true partnership to blossom. A trust that rewriting the brief may well be the way to get the brief right. And a lingering sense of that irresistible wonder we all still possess, from small child to serious businessperson, to stop and gaze at a peacock, waiting for the moment its tailfeathers unfurl…