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Building an $11 Million Agency Through Emotions, Dreams and Realities featuring Brantley Payne of un/common

Apr 28, 2021

Brantley Payne is Partner and Executive Creative Director at Sacramento creative agency, un/common. He started his career as a graphic designer in the early 90s and was hired as a junior art director of the former Glass Agency under the mentorship of Bob Matsumoto. In 2010, the owner passed away due to a terminal illness, which left Amber Williams (Head of Accounts), Siobhann Mansour (Head of Media) and Brantley (Head of Creative), to forge an unlikely partnership and lead the operations of the agency.

The three of them bought out the agency and renamed it un/common in March 2016, almost exactly 16 years after Brantley was employed as a junior art director. They changed the name based on the peculiar path that brought them together and on the advertising work they had produced over the years.

During this episode, we discuss the unusual path Brantley took to become an agency owner, how he uses storytelling to wow potential clients and deliver work that is full of excitement, He also explains why he encourages his team to dream big and deliver big results, which has led them to grow into the successful $11 million agency they are today.

This Cast Covers:

  • Brantley’s childhood as a creative and artistic 12-year-old which led to him having amazing presentation skills (03:50) 
  • His unique story from starting as Junior Art Director in 1997 to becoming Partner and Creative Director of un/common in 2015 (05:59)
  • Making adjustment when he and his partners took over the agency (08:10)
  • Drastic changes he and his partners did in terms of company culture and dealing with clients (09:33)
  • The process behind the agency name change from Glass Agency to un/common (12:12)
  • Projects they are working on and clients they serve currently and what they have become known for (12:21)
  • Finding ways for smaller clients to stand out through brand storytelling (15:14)
  • The not-so-secret secret to building an $11 million agency (17:13)
  • Why sometimes slow growth can also be good (17:30)
  • How they turned their agency’s greatest fear into their strength (19:06)
  • Creating experiences for clients that make them excited to work with you and refer business to you (21:33)
  • Balancing a culture that leads with emotion and dreaming while maintaining a common goal (24:26)
  • Why most agencies struggle to exist to create a successful business (27:23)
  • Brantley’s superpower as a leader in the workplace (32:30)
  • Areas for improvement and where un/common is focusing on in 2021 (35:02)
  • Why focusing primarily on growth and sales can sometimes hinder you (39:06)

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