In the UK and Europe, Japan is still very much considered a culture associated with purity, quality and attention to detail. But it’s also filled with mystery, intrigue a sense of the unusual. I try to bring these two areas into my creative department every day—finely crafted ideas with the element of surprise.
Our name, Southpaw, comes directly from this notion. It literally means “unorthodox” and it allows me to explain to clients our distinct differences from both a creative and cultural point of view. This really comes into play when we reveal our scale. Hakuhodo is not widely known in Europe but when we show the global footprint of the network, clients are genuinely surprised and excited.
The ability to operate in such a local-to-global way has never been more beneficial to brands and in this social and digitally led world the element of surprise is vital in order to get noticed. This means more than just working together as a network, it means as agencies and individuals we must constantly evolve our abilities and learn to adapt more rapidly. Something best explained by my favorite Southpaw of all time—Bruce Lee:
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”