Bastion Collective has rebranded as Bastion, creating a new world agency model in an industry where most agencies still cling to an antiquated model fundamentally broken by the digital age.
While almost every other industry has seen new world players break from the pack to dominate over the past 15 years of digital disruption, the communications agency industry has largely remained a laggard.
Bastion is creating the new world agency model – one that is both WIDE, in that it delivers breadth of communications services and DEEP, because it has strong expertise in each service offered. The business was born from the belief that the old world agency model is broken and has grown over the past decade into the largest independent agency in Australia, with a growing presence in the US.
Now, it has unified 10 agencies under the single Bastion banner. The move creates one business with many services, deep expertise in each one, and wide thinking across the breadth of the communications spectrum.
Service offerings work together in an integrated approach, as opposed to a collection of disconnected individual agencies. Bastion’s specialist ‘Think Wide’ proposition reflects the breadth of specialist thinking, services and capabilities it offers under one roof, including offerings spanning market research, brand and creative, corporate and change communications, PR and social media, digital and customer experience, performance marketing, sponsorship and experiential, film and content production, Asia marketing and communications, data analytics, panel management and merchandise.
Says Jack Watts, founder and global CEO, Bastion: “After listening to the needs of clients for more than a decade, it is clear they want to deal with one agency that can fundamentally solve their business problems across the breadth of communications disciplines, but do so with independent expertise, care and agility. This is what our business has been built to deliver.”
Collaboration is the new world model’s strength, with two in three Bastion clients already working with more than one service within the business. At Bastion, this collaboration has been ingrained into the DNA of the business since the very beginning.
Says Watts: “Every major agency and professional services business is trying to move towards a more collaborative model, where different service offerings work together for the benefit of the client. I know this is what the big agencies say they do, but it is impossible to execute when you have competing internal agencies that don’t really get each other because they don’t work together and that are more incentivised to capture more of the client’s revenue for their own bottom-line than bringing in the best of breeds experts from across the group.
“This is what makes us different. We are not trying to retrofit an old world agency and drag it into the new world. My brother and I created Bastion in and for the new world from scratch in our 20s.
“We only have complementary service offerings, and staff who grow by delivering integrated client work and learning from each other. We are able to leverage the scale of a multinational across our 250+ staff globally, with the care and agility of an independent.
“We have integrated Think Wide teams that service integrated accounts. Because we are one business, under one name, under one roof, we can actually all work together for the benefit of our clients, and deliver truly integrated work.”
Some former Bastion Collective services have rebranded “to do what it says on the tin” and better reflect each speciality:
• Bastion Effect is now Bastion Amplify
• Bastion RM is now Bastion Reputation
• Bastion EBA is now Bastion Experience, and
• Bastion Banjo is now Bastion Creative.
They join Bastion Insights, Bastion Data, Bastion Performance, Bastion Interactive, Bastion Asia and Bastion Films.
Bastion has also implemented company-wide initiatives to bake wide thinking into its culture and provide career development opportunities for employees, including:
• Think Wide Academy, offering individual coaching and formal training in effective communication, business strategy, product sets and process.
• Think Wide Leap, enabling staff to develop careers and broaden skills by working in another part of the business, and
• Think Wide Giant Leap pilot employee exchange program with Bastion in the US.
Says Watts: “As Bastion team members increasingly work with colleagues across the business and build their own skills in thinking wide, they won’t just become better at their chosen communications discipline, they will become better integrated communications experts.
“Our objectives from here are to build the largest independent that ever existed in Australia, and build the largest independent on the West Coast of America. We see that as an 18-month to three-year journey.
“The new world needs a new world agency, and that’s what we intend to create here at Bastion.”