• Every agency wants to dominate its market…
• …so Gareth Morgan decided to launch a new sub-division, laser-focused on the beauty market.
• The founder and group CEO of Liberty will be telling us all about his experience launching a niche sub-brand, and what NOT to do if you’re thinking of doing it yourself.
“Instead of having one agency that caters for all markets, we thought, ‘Why not have a little group of agencies that each cater for a different sector?’”
“It’s kind of been painfully apparent for the last few years that we didn’t really stand out, and that’s probably why our growth was stunted,” he says.
Liberty had previously worked with Benefit Cosmetics, and Gareth could see potential in the beauty world, launching Foundation in November 2020.
“We get a lot of enquiries coming through and a lot of them aren’t speaking to anyone else,” says Gareth. “They say things like, ‘You’re the beauty guys, why would we speak to someone who isn’t beauty?’ Quite often, there’s no competition.” Which is obviously every agency owners dream.
But not every client is right for them – and this has made them question the way they target work.
“Whilst we’re getting a mountain of inquiries, we can’t work with at least half of them. They’re either too small or don’t understand digital,” Gareth explains. “We’re turning away business every other day because it’s just not right for us.”
“We’ve had brands come through that haven’t done digital before, and a lot who can’t afford a £5k a month minimum fee, but they need a lot of strategy. Can we just offer them a £10-20k strategy project and give them that as a service?”
A big stumbling block for Gareth was realising he couldn’t be Foundation’s figurehead – but he chose the wrong person to do it in his place.
“One of my team members was very interested in taking on the challenge, but it turned out he was wrong for the role,” says Gareth.
It quickly became obvious that the one thing they needed to do – become a beauty expert, they hasn’t taken seriously and it really showed with clients and prospects.
“It was nearly a disaster,” he says. “My biggest lesson is that if you’re going to go niche, you have to have people who can really hold their own with people from that sector.”
Despite setbacks, Foundation is flourishing, and Gareth reckons this is only the start.
“I think it’s got a great future and will be an important part of our agency group. I can see it being a £1m+ agency all on its own in the next couple of years.
“I think we executed some things poorly, but we’ve learned a hell of a lot of lessons, it’s made us question things and we know what to do differently now.”
Come along and hear all about Gareth’s journey to launching a sub-brand and the mistakes he made along the way.