About us

This is one of our favourite topics.

Welcome, nice to have you here reading about Brightworks. There are a few reasons you might be here:

You are a client looking for an awesome new agency. If so, welcome! It is very hard to capture something as dynamic as an 80+ person creative agency in a few sentences, so once you are done reading feel free to email Jack, our VP of Client Services, and he can answer any questions you have.

You are an awesome person looking for a better place to work. If so, welcome to you too! This site will hopefully give you a sense of the business side of Brightworks, but you should also take a peek at us on Facebook (Opens in a new window) and that will give you a better sense of the day-to-day.

You are neither of the above. If so, we are still very happy you stopped by.

Ok, with that out of the way, maybe we should move on to the actual “About us” stuff. More than 10 years ago, this guy named Neil started an agency called Brightworks. Ok, I am actually writing this so I am going to start saying “I” and not talk about myself in the third person. It has been a heck of an adventure and we are all (me especially!) very excited things worked out.

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

In 2005 the world surely didn’t need another creative agency (and it still doesn’t), but brands wanted their stories told, and people were looking for a great place to work, so I thought long and hard about why brands might want this new agency to help tell their stories, and why people might want to spend some time working at Brightworks.

“Giving clients
not only
great work,
but a great
experience.”

Truth be told, a founding belief was that agencies could simply do better: be more open and honest, hold themselves to higher standards and produce amazing work that rose to the challenge at hand. The other was a belief that agencies could be better places to work, too. All the fun (and beer), with the right kind of drive and competitiveness—but with collaboration and respect at the core. All of this was aimed at giving clients not only great work, but a great experience along the way. Technologies come and go and agencies start up and disappear, but if you have terrific people, telling compelling stories for trusting clients, spending client budgets as if they were your own, you can weather the storm.

OUR MOTTO (OR LACK THEREOF)

Thinking about it now, if we had a motto it would be “do less stupid stuff and be better to work with ”. But that wouldn’t be a very catchy motto, hence we don’t have a motto. Maybe if I translated it to Latin it would work better… minus stupidi , et vas in opus ad else meliorem. Nope, still not good.

“Do less stupid
stuff and be
better to
work with.”

We’ve grown up a bit (just a bit) in the last 10 years, but our commitment to this basic vision hasn’t wavered. We’ve seen some great people come and go, a few of us have had kids, the entire company can’t fit into my car anymore (heck, we can barely fit on a bus), and we’ve evolved into a true multichannel shop. But at the core, we are just a bunch of people who care a lot, try to do less stupid stuff and think about how we can make our client’s lives a little easier.

CREATIVE DNA

We tend to end up working with fairly regulated industries, like banking and healthcare, and have expanded our footprint to include teams in both Toronto and New York. Our clients often use words like “innovative, “creative”, and “responsive” when talking about us, and that suits us just fine. While we started primarily as a digital agency, with a focus on creative and not technology, we have evolved and built off that creative DNA to provide full AOR services to our clients. Being digital first has its advantages, it keeps us critical (will that platform really be around 2 years from now?), it feeds creative drive (how can we tell this story in the most engaging way for the audience?) and it ensures we are curious (tech is never static). Those characteristics have been the bedrock upon which we’ve grown, and a critical component in the 75+ international awards we’ve won in the last 5 years alone.

WE LOVE A CHALLENGE

“Curiosity,
creativity,
and a
critical eye.”

Whether it is running an online diabetes community of almost 1M people, developing virtual reality experiences for physicians, creating messaging for a new credit card, or doubling engagement for an internal Health & Wellness program, we tackle each task with that same sense of curiosity, creativity and a critical eye. The answers live at the intersection of what the brand and the audience are looking for, and the real value comes when we can use a “marketing” program to truly add value – to reduce the friction, to provide valuable content, or to leverage the power of mobile to derive additional context.

So while I could go on, (as this is my favourite topic) I know you can only read so much. I am hoping our work speaks for itself. Check out some of our highlighted projects and look at our case studies. While you are poking around, be mindful that we know winning is about playing by the rules, and in healthcare and banking especially there are a lot of rules! We respect brand guidelines as opposed to ignoring them, we push up against the limitations of the FDA and PAAB, but we don’t step over the line. Oh, and did I mention we’re experts when it comes to developing WCAG compliant sites? We love playing inside the box because there’s always constraints, so focusing on any so-called limitations is futile. As I sometimes say, you don’t get to play in the NBA by complaining about bouncing the ball, you just get really really good at it.

Neil Follett
President, Brightworks

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