Field Notes - Chris Wilcock

07 March 2017

Behind the scenes

How did the agency start?

The honest answer is that I came out of University with a degree in Computer Science and realised that IT or programming really wasn’t for me. While I had a good grasp of the fundamentals and what could be achieved through software I never took to coding. This made me focus more on the management and design aspect of the software projects. After finishing University I fell back on my art and design roots, freelancing in several agencies mostly working on animation or website projects in the old days of Flash. After doing this for a while the opportunity came about to acquire a small lead generation agency with some blue chip clients. We used this as a platform to develop and reposition the business as a full-service marketing agency focusing on strategy and design. Not long after we landed our first client who was The Individual Restaurant company.

What have been some of the biggest achievements for you since starting the agency? 

Last year was a pretty big year for us, new name and new vision – the new agency really encapsulates the last 12 years with the approach and ethos we have at Outpost to really go further, whether that be a big idea or servicing our clients. Last year was the first time the agency had ventured into TV advertising with Simply Warmer’s Bad Boiler campaign along with adding new services such as social media and content creation to our roster.

What inspires you?

I know it’s such a cliché but I take ideas from anywhere. I love all aspects of art and design mainly product design and architecture. I take real inspiration from people like Elon Musk (SpaceX and Tesla) and Bjarke Ingels (BIG Group) who are radical in how they think and don’t wait around for society to catch up they just do it. From Hedonistic Sustainability and Utopian Pragmatism to colonising Mars or the Hyperloop - they show a way of doing things people have not thought about before and that’s really exciting.

Describe the Outpost culture? 

Very open and friendly. We don’t have levels of management structure and I don’t believe it’s healthy in developing great ideas. You need to create an environment where people feel comfortable to express their ideas freely and have fun doing it. Along with the many social activities we do including music festivals and open mic sessions we firmly believe in supporting and developing the talent within the business. As part of this development program we’ve now launched the ‘born to explore’ series which allows our staff to develop their own skills and effectively give them an open brief to explore new skills and techniques that you may not necessarily get to do with a normal project. 

What makes Outpost different? 

Our people and the way we work. I know a million agencies say the same thing but we are so easy to work with. That being said we’re also not afraid to ask the difficult questions and stand up for what we believe in. Our team is a mix of agency and client side staff which I believe is very important as you effectively develop a greater understanding for the clients requirements. 

We also have very much a can do attitude at Outpost, we don’t shy away at any project or challenge, we take it in our stride and ask ourselves how can we deliver the best possible work for our client. I’m also a huge believer in collaboration and I truly believe that the best work comes from working with new talent. We have a great team at Outpost who constantly collaborates with the best talents in the industry whether it be animation, photography, film or development. 

What do you do during your down time? 

Spending time with my girlfriend, even through she runs her own garden design business so what ever free time we get it’s often watching a good series or film. I’m slightly addicted with Crossfit at the moment, I love the idea of working out to purely better yourself and not just for aesthetic purposes it continually pushes you way out of our comfort zones and makes you try things we wouldn’t normally do.   

What do you find is most challenging and most rewarding about your job? 

I’d have to say seeing a brand grow from just an idea in a sketch book to a fully-fledged company is so rewarding. Due to the amount of time you invest in these projects it can be sometimes difficult to step back and see what has been. However it’s still a great feeling to come across one of our ads in a magazine at the supermarket or catching it on TV advert.

Seeing the team grow and working everyday with great like-minded people that you can bounce ideas off. There is nothing more exciting than the team coming up with that killer idea, it really energizes everyone and gives everyone real focus.

What’s next for Outpost? 

I feel over the last 10 years we’ve really been finding our feet and understanding where we fit into the industry and ultimately how we can provide the best service to our clients. With our new identity and vision we are going to continue to invest in digital, social and content creation with the ultimate aim of continuing to provide great ideas and strategies for our clients that take their brands further.