Half Dome looks to its whole potential with new brand and positioning

“Everything is coming together under the concept of ‘Half Dome, Whole Potential,'”co-founder of the independent agency, Joe Frazer told Mumbrella as the agency unveils its first rebrand.

“Which is about how we unlock our people’s potential and how do we unlock our client’s potential, and that is the prevailing thought and organisation of what we already are.”

The repositioning of the agency comes as a growing up, of sorts, significantly sizing up since its inception in 2018, now housing just over 65 staff, with 28 arriving in the past 12 months.

Half Dome’s pathway juxtaposes that of many indies founded by successful and established agency figureheads locally. At the time of its founding, both Frazer brothers, Tom and Joe, and their business partner, Will Harms had under 10 years industry between them.

“You go through different phases of a business, with growth then stablisation,” said Tom Frazer, managing director, “and you have to learn and evolve how you operate with that number of people.”

Founders of Half Dome: Joe Frazer, Will Harms, and Tom Frazer

The main change, Joe Frazer said is an elevation of the offering “from a professional standpoint,” he said, rather than changing a lot internally.

To date, Half Dome has operated with a test-and-learn mindset, and while the agency has experienced significant success in its short lifespan, the pair admit it hasn’t done a great job of telling the market openly “why you’d come to Half Dome”.

“I don’t think we’ve had an amazingly distinctive client-facing product in market.”

To do this, Half Dome engaged agency partners in creative agency, By All Means and brand consultants Untangld to develop its positioning and new brand identity. The process included research pieces across clients, the industry and staff, in order to get an end product that distilled and articulated clearly “why you would work with Half Dome”.

“We offer brand strategy to clients as part of our pitch process and probably to unlock media strategies more, but having fresh eyes and having new people come in and not necessarily be in the same echo chamber telling you the same thing all the time, we thought was really important,” said Joe Frazer.

The agency said the new positioning reflects its commitment to working with clients and talent who are grounded in a challenger mindset, “energised by the concept of developing boundary-breaking work which will be remembered as the best in their career”.

“Where we have landed, with our promise to clients and staff of unlocking their ‘Whole Potential’, is both a celebration of what we are already doing, whilst simultaneously providing the necessary ambition which will fuel our product and culture growth over the coming years,” said Harms, co-founder of the agency and head of product.

It also comes at a time where the agency feels confident about its position in market, as a leading media agency.

Joe Frazer said Half Dome is past the point of feeling “lucky” to be competing with Australia’s largest media agencies, with the pair considering the indie shop to be in the top group of indies in market, beside the likes of Nunn Media, Hatched and Atomic 212.

“Pet Stock was probably the first time the imposter syndrome that had been included, was thrown away. That was maybe like 12 to 18 months ago, and that was when we had a new business process that actually stood up and was professional. That was when we went into it expecting to win, and that kind of a mindset, I think that’s more common now.”

“We were lucky to hit the ground running,” said Tom Frazer, “through equal combinations of luck, skill, and hard work – underline luck – and then we were able to win a few more clients and grow it into something that is a little bit more self-sustaining now.”

“Are we part of the mainstream media landscape now? Of course we are.”

Initially launched with a digital focus, drawing from both Joe Frazer and Harm’s agency experience at the point, Half Dome now operates with a full-service media offering.

James Needham, strategy director at Untangld said: “Half Dome is often perceived as a ‘hot indie start-up’, when the truth is it’s a genuine alternative to the big boys. It was a pleasure working with them on a strategy for the business built around ambitious growth and real authenticity. It’s hard to think of another business in the industry with such genuine care for its team, matched by work that breaks the boundaries.”

Mat Cummings, managing partner of By All Means, added: “We love working with the Half Dome team on client projects, so to be given the opportunity to bring the By All Means creative skills to the Half Dome brand was a project we couldn’t wait to take on. The challenge, as with any good brand, is bringing to life the truth via inspiring stories and visuals, and communicating what’s in it for all stakeholders, all the time future-proofing the brand.”

Frazer concluded that there are clients in market that share the same mindset as Half Dome, but right now, don’t know about the agency’s offering. “I want them in four weeks’ time to say “I know Half Dome is the agency for us.”


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