2023 wrapped – and 2024 prepped: in conversation with Bray St. Founder and Client Director Daniel Dagher
To wrap up 2023, Nicky Rampley-Clarke – Copy Lead – sat down with our very own Daniel Dagher, Founder and Client Director, to reflect on 365 days of innovation, growth and creativity at Bray St. Plus, he introduces talented new team members, shines a spotlight on some truly exciting projects, and looks ahead to the future and reveals what’s in store. Roll on, 2024…
Hey, Danny. 2023 has been BIG year of innovation, creativity and growth for both Bray St. and the industry at large. What was the development you got most excited about this year?
“Most people might say the obvious – ChatGPT, COP28 UAE or the recovery of the tech industry, for example – but for me, it was the opportunity to connect all of these and flex our strategic and creative muscles.
We used AI to prompt incredible visual directions; we leveraged COP28 as a springboard for discussions around ESG; and we brought together our global team through an optimised technology stack.
However, my most exciting development has to be the focus on investment in learning. We did it, global brands did it and even governments did it. In 2024, we plan to accelerate this focus on development, and see where it leads! Watch this space.”
You recently expanded your team and decentralised network with further specialist associates. Can you tell us about the current team and the creative skill sets that each new member specialises in?
“Where do I start?! This year, we repositioned our network of ‘freelancers’ as ‘associates’ – an internal rebranding exercise, if you like. We reflected on the fact that calling them freelancers didn’t accurately represent their skills and expertise, nor the collaborative and essential relationship with Bray St. Each and every one of the passionate, talented people make up our everyday team, and therefore ‘associates’ was born.
Firstly, let’s kick-off with design powerhouse Zahraa Mian, the undisputed expert on in-person experience and brand expression with more than a decade in the industry across categories. She joined us after moving to London from Melbourne and wasted no time in leading the way when it comes to developing and executing visual direction across touch points. Get inspired by her recent work on Bray St. client, Provet Cloud.
Next up is videographer extraordinaire Rob Regan, the man behind the camera on so many of our complex video production projects. When he’s not walking in London Pride with us for our CVC client BTV and parent company BAT, he’s capturing epic content and editing it into slick footage that tells compelling stories and accurately represents brands. Check out his most recent work for B United Pride 2023.
Then there’s Kim Lam, superstar campaign and content strategist, as well as being a specialist in Pet-Tech (a burgeoning industry right now). She regularly writes for The Economist as a journalist and has also published a book, The Walk to Nirvana. Why not support her and pop the read in someone’s Christmas stocking this year?
And that’s just three of no less than 11 new additions to have joined Bray St. in 2023, bringing our grand total to 41, meaning we’re more equipped than ever to empower brands to deliver cut-through and positive change.
But that’s not all. They’re joined by Hollie Ingram and Lauren Sotiropoulos.
Hollie was welcomed into the fold at Bray St. as Account Director after years of leading agency communications and marketing research for tech brands as such as Basware, Iron Mountain and China Telecomms Europe, as well as a global payroll and human resource software company. She took to the ground running in refining our processes and developing an internal content plan and I can’t wait to see the impactful changes she implements for the agency and our clients.
As a personal friend for over a decade, I finally managed to convince Lauren to join Bray St as Account and Operations Coordinator. Lauren has spent the last six years as leading Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant at a range of impressive global finance and law firms and I saw her potential. In 2023, she pivoted direction to focus on wellbeing and balance, and is now studying at university. In addition to her wealth of knowledge, she brings an infectious positive attitude – and a firm hand to keep us all in line!
Such a combination of skills would be enviable by even the biggest agency, so Bray St. is lucky to have our current team, all of whom share the same ethos and values that make us different. Committed to leading change and delivering positive impact.”
What has been your favourite project from 2023 and why?
“It’s like choosing your favourite child, but it has to be London Pride with B United, BAT and BTV, which was such a special moment back in June. This event is very special to me and something I’m very passionate about, marching with clients, colleagues and partners who also share these values was incredibly special. Sashaying down the streets of cosmopolitan London in all its glory, hand-in-hand with likeminded people, was a celebration in its most colourful and inclusive form. The experience and emotions just can’t be matched and will be something I remember forever.
Elsewhere, finally being able to breathe life into brands we built as an agency in 2022 was another ‘pinch-me’ moment, including Shipnet and BTV. It was like seeing your children growing up and moving into their own place.”
What have been the challenges from the last year, and how have you successfully navigated them?
“There’s no denying that 2023 was a tumultuous year with many peaks and troughs across verticals. Firstly, steep fluctuations in the business climate across the world caused investment in brand and marketing to slow significantly; and the collapse of technology banking, such as SV, made for uncertainty in investment from VC and PE. Both of which made having long-term discussions with clients particularly challenging when short-term wins were definitely the priority.
That said, Bray St. is proud to be built with agility in our DNA, so we leveraged the long-term relationships we have with our clients together with the unwavering support of our associates to weather the storm. With trust an essential component of our partnerships, we used the time between projects to increase our proactivity and offer this support to clients, resulting in relationships that are even stronger now that we’ve come out of the other side.”
Finally, what are you most excited about in 2024?
“I’m hugely excited about the launch of OpenDialogue, an insightful new content series from Bray St., where we sit down with clients to take stock of our work and reflect on our relationship, as well as bolstering our ESG credentials – news to come!
Lastly, I’m looking forward to seeing the brilliant team we built in 2023 empowered to shine in 2024, especially with some of the exciting projects we’ve got on the horizon for them to sink their teeth into. Bring. It. On!”
A great year past and an exciting year ahead! A special thanks to all our team, associates, partners and clients.
Founder and Client Director, Bray St.