Meet Simon Hakim. Co-founder of creative agency Hunter. Simon is not your typical person, so it follows that his advice isn’t typical either. He doesn’t pull punches. If you’re looking to start a business he’s brutally honest about what to expect. “You’re definitely going to crash, burn and fail along the way,” says Simon. “Running your own business or doing great work wasn’t meant to be easy … I call it the pain barrier. Before you hit your dreams you’re going to endure a heap of pain along the way. It’s hard.” This is his entrepreneurial story.
But failure doesn’t mean giving up, and success shouldn’t breed complacency. For Simon who, alongside Matthew Gibbins, co-founded Hunter in 2010, they set out to create a different sort of advertising model, one that asks “why do it the same?” For Hunter, it’s all about positioning. What can you do better than everybody else? When everyone’s fighting for the same thing, how are you living the values of your expertise? In their case they’ve become known as the place brands go when they need agents of change. The creative agency lives by three fundamental concepts – simplify, humanise, connect – and utilises them to quickly put order into chaos.
If Simon is known for anything it’s his honesty, which is an incredible asset in today’s advertising realm where marketing speak has become incomprehensible to the layperson. Simon recently rose to LinkedIn fame when a post he wrote about the problem attracted almost 2000 likes and 200 comments for calling out the self-indulgent nature of brand bibles.
“If you’re a marketer or an agency working with marketing … ask yourself a simple question … if I sat at a bar or in a cafe or on a bus and I tried to explain what I’ve just written to the person next to me (hopefully someone not in the industry) would they understand it? Or would they look … somewhat bemused and look for the nearest exit point?” Said Simon in his LinkedIn post. “Stop writing brand bibles for your marketing team and start writing them for the common man or woman. You know the normal people out there … not the pretend people your so-called brand bible is being written for.”
We visited Hunter HQ in the iconic Art Deco Mitchell House and chatted to Simon about disruption, being selective, and the future of work. Read some of his thoughts and opinions below: