Welcome to our Agency Spotlight series! Each article will feature pioneers of the #agencylife and how they run their businesses in the modern world. This week we chat with Hyperquake, a digital brand agency, on the importance of storytelling behind a brand.
Who are you? What is your background?
My name is Dan Barczak. Im Partner and Chief Creative Officer at Hyperquake in Cincinnati, OH. I grew up in Northern Kentucky, and Ive been obsessed with what a brand is and the impact it can have on people since I was a kid. I grew up loving and appreciating the arts as a whole music, art, design and its intersection with culture. When I was little, my Mom would draw me coloring books, and I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons with my brothers and sister, riding my bike everywhere, playing any sport with a ball, acting like Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan, collecting baseball cards (which taught me how to make and lose money), and being picky about how things looked my design eye.
When I look back on it, I was inundated with the rise of brands like Nintendo, Nike, Coca-Cola, WWF and wrestler personas, cultural phenomena like The California Raisins, the power of marketing and the launch of the Batman movie, watching We Are The World over and over again because I loved the mashup of seeing Wilie Nelson and Michael Jaskson sing together for the greater good, the Making of Thriller music video, and a whole host of classic movies that made me realize there was so much outside my world of what builds an iconic brand.
I evolved from focusing on just design into branding and business because I fell in love with running, and studied the history of my sport, and in turn, legends like Steve Prefontaine and his coach Bill Bowerman, among many others. Knowing their history led me to understand how a brand like Nike was created, and I loved diving into the origin story of it. Not only the vision of someone like Phil Knight, but the business acumen and willingness to take a risk, and how a brand can be built from nothing but tenacity, risk, and a bit of luck. And I realized that I wanted to build brands for other people. I loved the intersection of design and strategy not as a job, but as a mindset. Ive spent the majority of the last 20 years or so pursuing ways to evolve and grow businesses on a human level, and help visionary leaders in the midst of a shift whether theyre a startup or a global giant. Im lucky to be able to do this every day and build alongside an inspiring team of people at Hyperquake. Im a lifelong designer, loyal husband, father of two amazing boys, and even though Ive hopped around a bit, I still live in Northern Kentucky, not far from where I grew up.
How would you describe Hyperquake?
Hyperquake is a team of both like-minded and divergent curious, creative, and caring people who choose to share our talents to solve bigger business problems together that we couldnt solve on our own. We build stories, brands, and businesses rooted in truth. We see the world through these three lenses and how they intersect in our rapidly-changing world. Our roots are planted in Cincinnati, OH, and weve got folks in DC and Portland, and work with anyone from startups with a vision all the way to Fortune 50 global giants all over the world who want us to help them position and bring life to a vision they have. We like staying small enough to adapt and change quickly and do great work alongside people who trust in our ability to take risks, cultivate the uncomfortable, and be humble enough to know we work for them and their business.
What does Hyperquake do especially well? What is your specialty?
The one thing that anchors everything we do, and what we take pride in, is our ability to build. We spend our time building stories and experiences for brands to engage with their customers, building brands rooted in human insights, and building businesses by helping corporations and venture capital groups de-risk innovation. Truth, be told: Its our motto and its how we frame everything we do. In our work, and in our culture. One thing we hear often from our clients which we take pride in is that were a bit of a swat team to tackle complex problems and take strategic and creative risks when theyre either not sure what to do, or they know exactly what they want and simply need a team to walk alongside them to help them push the limits of what they think is possible for their brand and business.
What is your favourite part of working with your clients?
Seeing our clients’ business grow and succeed is always great to be a part of. When we get to help our clients achieve something tangible to help drive a successful impact on their business, its truly rewarding. It doesnt matter what industry its in beauty, consumer goods, healthcare, engineering, global innovation of any kind, womens health, automotive, performance brands, or B2B services if we can help them deliver tangible business results, thats what makes us successful. It doesnt matter if its a startup with a vision, a ventures team, or a Fortune 50 that continues to grow, when we get to move their business forward, and help make an impact on their culture, weve done something right. Our clients are human, too, and we never forget that. Personal connections and relationships are important, and when you get to create alongside people you care about on a human level, thats also what matters in this ever-evolving industry.
What is the most important part of building a client relationship?
Truth. Sometimes its uncomfortable, but any relationship built upon and nurtured with truth will always be strong. And quite honestly, theres no room for bullshit anymore. Not with clients, not with teammates, and surely not with our culture. Were human beings. We just dont have time for anything but the truth, and our clients want great talent, hard work, an agile team with a vested interest in them, their business, and their culture and they want to work with real people who are willing to listen more than they talk.
Id also say empathy and mutual respect are also critical for building a strong partnership. We know that our clients can turn to thousands of other teams, agencies, and partners for any number of reasons. And we cant pretend to know their business better than they do. But we can bring a new perspective a new truth to the table. And if they choose us, its because they feel were worth the value, the time, and the relationship. Theyre paying for two things: business results, and a great experience. If you invest in the human beings on the other end and not just the work, the work will always be worthy of their time.
What problems are you solving with HeyOrca?
HeyOrca has helped us streamline our entire social planning ecosystem, creative collaboration, and approval process. Its saved us a lot of time by allowing us to keep things updated in real time and have approvals immediately programmed and set up for social feeds. Scaling our team and empowering people to create and share our culture with the rest of the world is a big deal for us. And we needed a platform to allow us to scale, to work collaboratively, and build together in real time. And HeyOrca has helped us do just that. Time is really what people value today from how we shop, how we work, and how we interact with each other its all based on making great use of our precious time, and HeyOrca removes friction from our entire go-to-market process, and gives us the flexibility we needed to work well within our culture. And its really helped us grow our audience and focus our attention on the things that matter. Were truly happy with how the HeyOrca team supports us whenever we need a little help. Truth, be told.
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