We’re Shaped By Our Environments, And So Is “The Work”

Agencies are often known not just for their work, but for their design-centric office spaces.

Given that agencies advise clients on how best to live and breathe their brand, it’s important for agencies to lead the way. In other words, “judging a book by its cover” is part of the brand identity game.

According to The Denver Post, FactoryLabs has transformed from a design firm to a full blown ad agency, and the move to fancier digs was part of the firm’s transformation.

Factory Labs chief executive, Scott Mellin, says the agency moved from Denver’s “gritty graphic urban design culture” to the “very polished environment” of Cherry Creek.

“In our old building, you could sell a million-dollar idea,” Mellin said. “In this building, you could sell a $5 million idea.”

In related news, Mellin believes the 107-person shop’s Denver headquarters is also critical to their success.

“By locating outside the typical ad agency cities, we don’t have to play by the industry rules. Being mavericks makes us different, and differentiation is critical to survival in the high-stakes agency world.”

On the other hand, “the biggest challenge to running an agency in Denver is that you don’t mingle with dozens of global brands on a daily basis, Mellin contends.

What’s interesting to me is how cities and neighborhoods within cities have their own brand identities, and like it or not, it’s a factor in how an agency is perceived.

The Denver/Boulder agency scene has exploded since I left Integer for greener pastures in 2003. But from a Dallas-based (or Cleveland-based, Baltimore-based, etc.) CMO’s point of view, it’s quite possible that Denver and Boulder remain great places to visit on vacation. Thoughts?



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.