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Irish Chamber

2019 Finalist - GHO

Irish Australian Business Awards Peoples Choice 2019

Growth for a marketing agency in the current climate is more difficult than ever. And as a smaller player, in a niche category, we were looking for new sources of growth. Last year, GHO won the SME-award based on largely, the innovative approach that Eithne McSwiney, the MD and I had taken. This year CoLab is bigger, better and more successful than ever.

When defining our strategy, we didn’t look at what other agencies were doing. If it had been thought of already, then GHO was not going to be ahead of the game. In the wise words of Siimon Ryenold, if your competitors zig, you need to zag.  The solution was to find a way for our agency to solve broader business-problems and to ensure GHO as an agency was set up for the future iso that it could drive better value for clients, and ultimately to the bottom-line of our clients businesses.  


The challenge however, is that broader business-problems are more open and complex than communications-problems. Whilst a communications problem may be the focus of one team; marketing, business-problems often transcend teams to incorporate product, sales, marketing, customer service and so on. Also, a business problem does not often have a predetermined solution, like communications.

So with this new goal, came a new way of working; one that put a greater emphasis on collaboration and with the freedom to create solutions outside of communications, efficiently.  We launched our new innovation-facility ‘CoLAB’ in April 2016. CoLAB’s mission is to solve business problems through creative collaboration, at speed. 

Critical to the success of a CoLAB design-Sprint is the collaboration between our team of design thinkers, and our clients’ cross-functional team of experts. Whilst traditionally marketers would dominate in these types of workshops, we have found that the wider and diverse roles within a company that participate, the better the results. One recent CoLAB Creative-Sprint were representatives from; product, legal, customer service, IT and marketing.

Ultimately, what this allows our agency to do, is to be actively involved in solving big business-problems for our clients, using customer-centric design.. And not only this, with the global trust-crisis currently at play at a macro-cultural consumer level, it also allows for us to directly navigate the uncertain future for our clients’ businesses.. And the direct-effect on our clients’ business is just the beginning of the success story.