We talked to Alex Hearn of The Big A on how to help brands earn attention and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Alex Hearn: I am keeping safe in London, thanks for asking. Life carries on, albeit in a different way to adapt to new challenges. I’m grateful for the technology we often take for granted because it allows us to feel less isolated by keeping in touch with loved ones. Staying connected with others has never felt so important.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded The Big A.
Alex Hearn: I always knew that my path would involve something in the creative industry. I’ve worked in advertising and as an illustrator, but it was as a graphic designer that my crossover with marketing started. My interest in psychology later became a part of my creative armoury too. I founded The Big A with Ashley because we wanted to offer a more responsive, exciting agency with fewer limitations.
How does The Big A innovate?
Alex Hearn: Extremely! But there is a time and a place for it, and we understand when that is. It’s about striking the right balance. Much of what we do involves distilling messages into beautifully crafted work which resonates with people. But if you need some real out-of-the-box thinking, then we also have plenty of that. Our eye-catching work has been featured all over the world for that very reason.
How has coronavirus affected your business, and how are you coping?
Alex Hearn: As we have all seen, the explosion of online shopping and other businesses’ implosion has been quite shocking. Creative agencies have had to adapt to survive, and we are no different. Specific sectors have become quieter, while other areas have become busier. For example, we’ve been doing more work for online stores, particularly on the Shopify eCommerce platform. Offering the full service of strategy, design, coding and SEO to online shops has provided us with more opportunities.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Alex Hearn: On a basic level, pitching, consulting, and meetings have all moved online, a different experience of meeting face-to-face. The Big A is lucky to have an established client base, some of who we have been working with for over ten years. They come back to us for various things, from logo design and website design to SEO and brochure design. But in this climate, business models can change quickly – sometimes halfway through a project! We have had to react fast to changing priorities. We needed to be part of the answer instead of being left behind. You can’t swim against the tide.
What do you want for The Big A in the future?
The Big A has just had the accolade of being listed as a leading branding and graphic design provider by a ratings and reviews service. Its results we care about, so this matters. I always aim to raise the bar and offer something extra, whether that’s in branding, website design or anything else.
How do you plan to stay in the game?
Alex Hearn: It’s about understanding your strengths. I focus on what clients value most about us, what attracts them to us instead of our competitors. They trust that we’ll do a great job and win attention for their brand. The legwork we put in before each project is quite something and I think that’s the key. We take the time to understand brands and discover what motivates their clients so we can win their attention. That is why we get invited to do diverse projects, such as designing eye-catching swiss watch dials or making e-commerce stores more enticing. In the short term, businesses who are more flexible and embrace change seem to be coping a little better. The Big A has always been quite agile as a company, which has stood us in good stead through these trying times.
Your final thoughts?
Alex Hearn: People are more aware of logo design, typography, and website design because they are more accessible thanks to technology. And Covid has only accelerated the change to DIY design. But making a brand more enticing is an entirely different prospect. Focusing on people is necessary to make their experience more meaningful, regardless of the technology. Human emotions will never change, so connecting with people on that level is timeless.
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