Finding our niche: marketing for brands that put the planet first

Finding our niche: marketing for brands that put the planet first
Written by Alex Wright, Head Honcho
Posted on Wednesday, 6 December, 2023

A few months ago, we revealed our rebrand. And while I know the actual look and feel of the rebrand is something the team and I will 100% care about more than you, the WHY that sits behind our shift might just matter. 

It signifies a lot more than just a new look for the agency, this make-over marks a turning point for us, incorporating my experience in the built environment and Rob, mine and Louise’s significant ties to the world of agriculture, to officially see KW embracing a more sustainable way of working.

Since 2014, we’ve worked with a wide range of businesses and, over the years, we’ve honed our skills as an agency to work out what we’re really good at. As it transpires, what we’re really good at is caring about the difference we can make. 

This could come across as trite, or even a bit soft, especially given that I cut my professional teeth in the boiler room of an ad agency in London, including three and a half years at big, bad Facebook! But actually, it matters: really great marketing often comes because the people who create and implement it care about the outcome, they care about its impact and, increasingly, they care about what effect it’s having on the wellbeing of the planet.

If you go further back than the first decade of this century, you’d find me being encouraged to gaze out of the window of a geography classroom at Bolton School, beginning to become absorbed in what makes this glorious planet of ours great, and what we’ve been doing that has been tearing it apart. 

Fast-forward to when I met Rob, coincidentally around the time that Louise and I set up this agency, and I found in him a kindred spirit: someone whose soul was enriched by being outside but not leaving an imprint on the outside world. Perhaps this is why we’ve both married into agricultural families! 

Finding our niche… Did the niche find us? 

Back to an agency finding its niche. When Rob joined us in October 2019, we began talking seriously about what Knapton Wright should specialise in. Should it be a product we offer? PPC marketing? Building websites? Social media? We didn’t feel passionate enough about any one aspect of marketing to double down on it and, frankly, we didn’t have enough of a track record in one particular area to use that as a foundation. But we knew we wanted and needed to find or develop our niche because being generalists is really hard: switching across a wide range of clients, and doing different work for each of them not only loses vital time in the agency but also means the team can be buzzing from one flower to the next, never really pollinating each one properly but feeling worn out from the distance covered.

The power and positivity of a common goal

We knew we had a fantastic team (which we’ve added to with more legends over the past two years), a group of people who are so talented and care so much about making positive changes, that we needed to enable them to do their best work. Concentrating on brands that share a common goal was our way of moving the agency forward by retaining the brilliant minds we have and recruiting more who align with our culture.

What do we mean by ‘brands that put the planet first’? In some ways, it’s subjective but at the core, it’s a focus on businesses and people who put sustainable development at the heart of what they do. They don’t have to be hanging out with Swampy or boarding oil tankers but they do need to care about the impact they’re having on the wellbeing of our planet. 

Brands teach us as much as we teach them 

As the seed of our planet-positive way began to sprout, unbeknown to us, it was working with Myenergi as the Grimsby-based energy giant began to establish itself in the industry as a global player, that really opened our eyes to what we didn’t really know we loved and what we were, as it turned out, really good at. 

Helping Jordan and the team at Myenergi as the business began to flourish, not only opened our eyes but encouraged us to be even more proactive in contributing to the renewable agenda and wider conversations that were ongoing in the region and further afield. The world was waking up. 

Even the agricultural sector, one that Rob and I live and breathe with our respective families, was becoming more digitally aware. A palpable curiosity was building, and we knew we had more to offer them than when we were purely a social media consultancy. 

Walking the walk and talking the talk

Being situated in the heart of the UK’s energy estuary is an incredibly exciting place to be, especially for an agency forging a niche for itself in sustainability. 

For one it’s given us a prime seat to work with the area’s planet-positive conscious younger generations, through projects such as Projekt Renewable, Grimsby (PRG). This piece of work in particular has shown us that our drive for wanting to connect with younger people on sustainable and green energy issues is validated, as well as providing them with an outlet for their creative endeavours, even if it simply acts as a stepping stone to The Big City, as it has done for a handful of young creatives over the past few years! 

Over in agri-tech, working with burgeoning brands has been - and continues to be - a fascinating thing. Forging relationships with innovative forward-thinkers, such as with the teams behind Sea2Soil and Omni-Pac, has very much opened our eyes to the incredible drive that exists in the sector for making food production more sustainable; from the processes and packaging used to the products the farming community rely on day-in, day-out. 

Most recently our drive to be better and work better has culminated in an office move. We had been looking for a new office for two years, and 2023 certainly delivered. While we’re keeping this on the down low until the new year, call it our settling-in period if you will, what I will say is that this move gives the team further opportunity to walk the walk. Our new home better suits our needs and our renewed brand values.  

While growing our connections and building relationships with like-minded clients is a high priority for me, and Rob, as agency owners, we will also continue to prioritise the growth of our team of experts. We not only want to be producing great strategic work for clients in this (fairly broad) niche but also have a team of industry experts who are playing a key role in the decarbonisation and sustainable development of this region to make it a better and healthier place for our children and their friends to grow up. Everyone has their part to play, and we believe this is how we do our bit. 

Our processes towards greener working have naturally evolved to become part of the agency’s everyday approach to creative marketing solutions that emit less carbon. Now, we’re on a mission to get all the folks we work with to think about the implications of digital and cloud-based stuff. It has real-world implications - for starters the new W3C Website Sustainability Guidelines, how to measure a company’s digital carbon footprint, and why it is that positive challenges are necessary for your business development.

This could be you

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Our clients are open to change, and they embraced it. They challenged us and it paid off.

Now we want to help you.
We love working with brands who put the planet first. From renewables and agri-tech, to environmental and sustainability-focused businesses, get in touch to find out how we can help you.

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