Managing Director Mike Khouri explains how his independent agency is approaching an ever-changing landscape.
How would you define Tactical in an environment where traditional labels are increasingly blurred?
For Tactical, it’s less about how we label the agency and more about how we define our relationships with our clients. We’re their innovation partner, delivering social and mobile campaigns that keep them on the cusp of what’s next.
If you need a label, Tactical’s a global social-first creative agency. We’re different and we’re ok with that.
What are the key milestones of the agency's development?
Tactical was built to deliver speed, quality, and value for our clients, with social being our playground. We know social is ever-changing, always on, and chaotic, so we’ve built a model that adapts to the change and helps brands navigate the immediacy of their audiences across the world.
We do this for bold brands like Spotify, Amazon, and Jumeirah, as well as tech platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, and TikTok.
Over the last year, we’ve grown into a global agency and we’re now delivering campaigns beyond the region and into markets across Asia, Europe, and the US. This means we’re benchmarking against the best in the world, and we’re bringing the talent, learning, and insights back to our regional partners so they can benefit from our development as well.
What is your strategy to stand out vs large network agencies that tend to attract major clients thanks to their scope, international capabilities, and extensive portfolios?
For us, our reputation is our portfolio, and we build our legacy by helping global brands build their own.
We know we’re the challenger brand in our industry, and we’re completely cool with it. By harnessing that mindset, we’re agile and quicker to change, which is something we always champion as part of our DNA.
In today’s world, change is more important than ever, and we believe all brands - big and small - are looking for partners to help them navigate through it with calm and clarity.
Independent agencies usually focus on specialisms, but your approach seems to be based, on the contrary, on a full-service offering. Why and how do you manage to offer the full scope of services this entails?
Our specialty is social and mobile, and with social quickly becoming central to a brand's marketing mix, we believe it’s important to deliver the full experience in that space.
To put it simply, if it happens on a screen, we do everything we can to make it happen. Whether that’s video or AR, organic or paid, we’re building Tactical to deliver the full service.
We also designed the agency in a way that our services don’t function in isolation. Our flywheel approach allows us to build on each step to maximize impact for our partners. Even if we’re approached for only one service, our understanding of the entire ecosystem means we can deliver more impactful work.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect you and how did you manage the challenges that came with it?
So much has changed since we went into - and came out of - lockdown. At the time, we were tested quickly as a culture and in the work that we do.
Culturally, we immediately moved to protect the team. We always look through a people-first lens, and during COVID, this meant accelerating our fully flexible work program we call WTF (Work That’s Flex). This gave the team a safe work environment, as well as a choice on how and where they can do their best work.
Our clients also went through significant change. It’s no surprise brands quickly transformed their digital and social experiences, and we did everything we could to support the pivot so they could build stability and consistency beyond the sudden change.
One way or another, we always aim to be the calm in the storm for our team and our partners; so, while the pandemic really tested us, as a business, we feel far stronger because of it.
What are your next moves?
Our mindset is to never stand still. Beyond the fundamentals of the agency, we launched Vertical, our made-for-mobile production studio, as well a dedicated mixed reality team that builds AR experiences for platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram. These are two areas we’re doubling down on as brands realize the potential and utility across both.
We’re also working on a proprietary technology that solves the problem of quality creative and mass personalization at scale. This is something that’s becoming rapidly more important to brands in a cookie-less world.
To wrap it up, we look to embrace the changes that are coming to the industry. We weren’t built to be traditional and we continue to work to be a force of change, whether it’s in the work we do, how we do the work, or who we work with.