TANK are a Melbourne based brand-agency who strive to create clarity and meaning for Australia’s leading organisations.
The team at TANK are passionate about working with clients who want to create meaningful identities and engage the people within their organisations around simple, core ideas that are true and resonate at a very human level.
Who is behind the business and what are their backgrounds?
At TANK we have a team of people of mixed disciplines – the important thing about our team is that they are all lateral thinkers and all have a broad range of experience in and out of our industry.
I have a couple of business partners and the three of us have very different but complimentary backgrounds.
Richard's experience is in copywriting and communications, and he acts as our Head of Writing. His diverse experience spans design, advertising and PR. His focus at TANK is creating verbal identity and tone of voice for our clients as well as writing both investor and marketing communications. Richard has worked with a mix of clients including Australia Post, Marriot Hotel Group, La Trobe University and Connell Wagner.
Neil's experience is in marketing strategy, and he acts as our Managing Director. He works with our clients on insights and strategy and has worked with Adshel Australia / New Zealand, La Trobe University, The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Heart Foundation and Xerox.
My experience is in brand strategy, digital and brand identity, and I act as our Exec Creative Director. I have worked with a diverse range of clients over the years including Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Lonely Planet, La Trobe University and Village Roadshow. I hold qualifications in advertising, marketing and design and have a keen interest in design, strategy and planning disciplines.
Together with our leadership team of creatives, account, implementation and operations managers we're well placed to be able to offer a strong brand strategy and identity discipline for our clients.
Where did the idea for Tank come from?
We love the notion of collaboration and we always look for ways to collaborate with other disciplines as well as other creative agencies. The simple idea of a group of people coming together to solve problems with creativity is at the heart of TANK.
People are important to us so we're always looking at how our work impacts them and how our team can engage with our clients more and more.
A lot of businesses talk about 'culture' - what's Tanks? What role does the office space play in such a culture?
Cultures develop organically and we really try to let our people define the culture within TANK. I say this because we try to allow our staff to shape the culture that exists in our business as often as possible. We push for autonomy and resourcefulness – we want people to have the courage to dive in and get their hands dirty and truly contribute to a project and the growth of the business as well.
Ultimately, we try to nurture a culture where everyone can contribute to developing creative ideas, and aren't afraid to put something out there for fear of being knocked down. We expirement, prototype and listen/research a lot - we look for insights and let these feed the end result of a project.
Without a collaborative, creative culture where failure is not feared, but rather seen as a step towards the best solution – it's impossible to nurture true creative results from people.
The World Changing aspect of your website is rather admirable with your goal that creativity can make a difference to charities. Have you been able to quantify results for any of the work you have done for such organisations?
We believe creativity and creative thinking can truly make a difference to the world we live in. By this I don't mean pretty pictures and wallpaper but rather creative thinking that works within strict parameters and is able to merge disciplines and information from all sources to solve a problem.
Organisations such as TED are filled with proof of this, where people of all disciplines are able to bring divergent and disruptive thinking together to solve real world problems – that is true creativity.
Jim, I see you have been appointed to AGDAs council after a years hiatus. Any reason for the return and what are the plans for AGDAs foreseeable future?
I have been heavily involved with the AGDA Victoria and National councils for a number of years and am looking forward to doing some more work with the association next year.
We have a new team at AGDA Vic next year and I'm excited about having an even larger contingent of people working with the council to roll out real value for our industry and more so, our members – sounds like a lot of fluff, I know, but in essence I believe it is the council's job to prove to our community the value of what we do and the value of membership. We're keen to work with industry bodies, publications, sponsors and other content providers to create a platform of ideas and resources for our membership community.
I've noticed that the word branding has been added to your URL. What was the thinking behind such a shift as I always thought of Tank as an all service agency.
The core of our work is in brand strategy, identity, brand communications and brand management. We realised that there was a bit of misalignment in what people thought we were and what we were actually working on – a subtle fix to make things right.
We constantly work on branding projects – from developing brand strategy to identity and ongoing implementation and management of branding programs – it made sense that this was reflected in our url.
Good and/ or bad, in what ways does being based in Melbourne affect the way TANK operates (or bigger picture, being based in Australia).
We have clients all around Australia and being in Melbourne hasn't been an issue. We travel regularly, almost weekly to meet with clients, run workshops and deliver work. Living in any major world city today shouldn't inhibit interstate, or international projects at all.
Love the people based (as opposed to skills based) call to action in regards to people joining the TANK team. How has this approach to hiring people worked out for you guys?
At the end of the day, we provide a service to our clients and at the forefront of that service are our people – if they aren't the brand then we're lost in the water.
Too many times I hear the word 'creative' thrown around as if it were the domain of designers and artisans; it is, but I believe it is even more so the domain of those special types of people who are able to look beyond preconceptions and see a problem from all angles, and work towards a solution to solve it by thinking laterally.
We aim to recruit these types of people – creative thinkers who are resourceful enough to 'make and do' as well as have a strong knowledge of the world around them and how what is happening 'out there' impacts our clients and their customers. Without this understanding how can a strategy be robust and a design solution disruptive enough to work?
Some of your clients are very high profile within the Australian business landscape while some of them would be relatively low profile. Do you find the headspace of Tank is greatly different when you present ideas to match the clients public profile?
We tackle each brand problem in the same way, irrespective of budget or profile. We have a disciplined and methodical approach to our work that is well planned and allows for creative thinking. In short, no.
Whats an average day in the TANK offices?
The one thing I love about the work we do is that it is beyond average. Our clients keep us accountable and look to us to help them with real world business and brand problems – we're always challenged and we're always challenging back to make sure the idea is the focus and not the individual.
On any given day at the office there may be a planning session, a brand strategy workshop, some of the team may be interstate with clients and others pinning ideas up on our walls to share with the group for feedback and critique. Our environment and culture promotes collaboration and ensures that egos are best left at the door.