Shari Walczak and Shane Ogilvie, former Zulu Alpha Kilo executives have left their posts at the agency to open up The Garden, a new breed of creative company.
Ogilvie, previously ZAK’s Executive Creative Director, and Walczak, formerly its Executive Planning Director, promise that The Garden will take a broader approach in harnessing creativity to offer brands new and innovative solutions to their business-related problems.
“It can no longer be just about buying impressions; it has to be about making them,” says Walczak. “The customer now controls the conversation, which means the experience has to align with the promise at every point of contact.”
The Garden promises a holistic approach to its creative offering, which includes making marketers a part of the entire process and working with all divisions of a company to design and deliver the best possible brand experience. Anything can grow in a garden. All you need are the right conditions, the seed of a good idea and the proper care and attention.
“Our output will be different for every company because it will be based on their individual needs,” says Ogilvie. “It could be a brand repositioning or social strategy, or it could involve operational design or customer experience innovations. Because the process starts further upstream, the possibilities are endless”.
Ogilvie and Walczak say The Garden will employ a unique model wherein teams of experts will be custom built and brought in to address specific problems. They could include technologists, interior designers or even hospitality consultants. It’s not just about writers and art directors anymore.
“The problem to be solved drives the decision on who’s brought in,” says Ogilvie. “Of course, everyone is asking ‘will you still make advertising’ and the answer is yes, if that’s what the solution dictates, but we’re also happy to partner with a company’s AOR, in-house creative department or a third-party content creator to bring an idea to life,” adds Walczak.
The Garden is currently working with several companies who have shown interest in the new model and hope to announce some formal partnerships in the coming weeks.
“When people hear exactly how the process works and what the outputs are, they get really inspired,” says Walczak. “The response has been incredibly positive so far”.
Ogilvie has amassed over 15 years of industry experience at some of the most creative agencies in both in Canada and the US and has worked on some of North America’s biggest brands, including Bell, Coca Cola, Corona, Tabasco, Capital One, Audi and Budweiser. Shane's work has been awarded both at home and around the world, including Cannes Lions, The Clios, The New York Festivals and London International, among others.
Walczak has over 20 years of industry experience, and a Master’s Degree in Creativity and Change Leadership. Shari is a recognized brand strategy expert, top facilitator and workshop leader, and a change agent who has applied creative problem solving techniques to the business challenges of some of the country’s biggest brands including Interac, Corona, Cineplex Entertainment, ING Direct (now Tangerine), Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola and ParticipACTION.