January 13th 2017

The magic number

by Martin O'Toole

Looking back

So Fist of Fury is 3 years old this month. Coincidentally this is the 3rd time I've owned a creative agency. 3 years old.

Honestly? It's been a roller-coaster!

I've always said that Fist of Fury's beginnings were rather like an unwanted pregnancy. An agency I'd only just joined was (unbeknown to me) in financial difficulty and thus went under, leaving us all unemployed just 3 days before Christmas. The following morning - whilst everyone else was in bed with a hangover - I hopped on a train to London to beg a new e-commerce client to give "us" a chance to drag their web project out of the black hole left by the newly insolvent digital agency. It was vey much like that scene from Jerry McGuire - a "Help me help you" pitch combined with the kind of wild-eyed look of desperation usually reserved for someone on Crystal Meth. Surprisingly said pitch worked and suddenly Fist of Fury was born.

On the morning of January 6th I was all fired up and about to set off for my second new business meeting when I got the call to tell me my mum had died. I didn't realise it at the time, but it was to change my perspective on life forever.

Well that was fucking cheery.

The original idea behind Fist of Fury was to create a virtual agency or 'creative collective' made up solely from experienced & talented freelancers - with creative strategy and PM back at base. Big agency talent without the bollocks. Fast, fluff-free and creative. It sort of worked and we started winning really decent tactical briefs from decent brands. The problem was that clients didn't trust the model from a retention perspective and I had more passion for working with creatives and devs than a load of account managers. Obviously there's nothing wrong with tactical briefs, but when you're spending 90% of your time looking for new clients, you soon realise you're not on the easiest road. So it was time for a rethink.

Looking ahead

Fast-forwarding to now. I'm a bloody Londoner! Since moving to London, I've been able to focus on growing this feisty little creative shop from Soho - our new home. We've some great clients, phenomenal in-house talent and are still working closely with trusted members of the FoF collective. We've a new Senior Account Manager about to come on board - and new business opportunities aplenty. In additon, I took my own advice and took the business through a rebranding process. There's a new identity and a new look & feel - all on a spanking new UX-designed website - with fewer words and a lot less swearing. It's the next stage of development for us and I'm REALLY bloody excited.

So what I really want to say is: thank you. Thank you to all the clients who've taken a chance with this tiny Marmite-esque agency. Thank you to all the writers. Thank you to all the designers. Thank you to all the developers. Thank you to the people who've recommended us and put in a good word at any opportunity. And thank you to the people close to me - my friends who've been there through thick and thin - offering both personal and professional advice. Thanks to Jess, Pete and Dad. Kinda weird for everyone nowadays since I actively invite advice! But without it I wouldn't be here writing this soppy blog now.

Anyway... Here's to another 3 years and to the continued growth of Fist of Fury. Fortune favours the bold, right?

For my Mum. The original wordsmith. x

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