Yes, we’ve changed how we appear and communicate with the world. It’s fair to say that you are looking at a much fresher Liberty than you were last year.
But what you’re seeing is also very similar to the agency I launched some 15 years ago.
We’re publicly going back to who we were right back at the start, back when I felt there was a real need for a digital marketing agency like Liberty.
A brief history lesson
Back in 2008, I was a digital marketing manager working in tech and finance. I loved marketing, but I hated agencies.
I’d worked with dozens and every single time I was disappointed with what I got – whether it was black-hat SEO techniques, plagiarised content or unrealistic goal setting. There was a real lack of accountability, where agencies put their obsession with profit and growth above the needs of the client.
It was just hard work.
So I launched a digital marketing agency of my own: Liberty.
Our goal was clear – to be better. We were the transparent, ethical agency in an industry that often felt like the wild west.
That approach worked well. Really well. We quickly won a lot of work and were soon recognised in the Fast Growth 50 as one of the fastest growing businesses in Wales. It turned out that ethics and transparency was a real pull. It was the perfect differentiator for our sector at that time.
Where we drifted from our path
Internally we never strayed from that ethos. Externally however we stopped shouting about it. The ethics, transparency and no-bullshit approach no longer featured on our homepage and became less and less a part of our pitches.
This was because Google moved the industry forward with big algorithm updates (remember Panda and Penguin?), which meant a lot of the cowboys went out of business.
We also found ourselves in a different fight – we’d gone upmarket and were winning much bigger work off much bigger agencies, which led to us no longer feeling the need to bang the same straight-talking drum.
Unfortunately this meant we no longer stood out.
I remember being at an agency event hosted by Google where the speaker, an agency consultant, asked each agency what made them different. Why should a brand choose you?
Every leader talked about being “result focused” and “data led” and how they worked with “ambitious brands”. I did too. We all had similar awards and worked the same brands, and our creds decks were all pretty much the same.
I left that meeting feeling deflated. I no longer had a USP. I couldn’t clearly say why you would choose us over any one of them for anything truly meaningful.
Going back to our roots
Understanding this point of differentiation directly led to us launching a couple of sector-specialist agencies (Foundation for beauty, Balance for financial services) who were unique in the market.
But we needed to find Liberty’s point of difference.
So we brought in the branding team from Toward to help us bring a fresh look but also help us figure out what makes us unique.
Mike Jordan, one of the founders of Toward, is a man I’ve known and respected for well over a decade. In our initial meeting he welcomed us and recalled when he’d introduced us to one of his clients a decade before. We had turned down the work on the spot, telling that business that they couldn’t have the results they wanted for the budget they had.
He loved this. He was used to marketing agencies saying yes to anything in order to win any work they can, and demanded that this style of thinking and approach to business was the base from which we’d create and launch our new brand.
His team held a number of meetings with various people from across the Liberty teams and interviewed a number of current and past clients. The results were clear what we’re all about – no nonsense digital marketing.
An old client of ours told me last year that he spoke to one of our rivals and when he mentioned that they’d worked with us, their founder said “they’re the honest agency”. Another rival told me that they’ve always liked that we are “the no bullshit agency. Liberty tells it as it is”.
It’s in our DNA. We’ve always been the same agency, so we’re just going to start shouting about it again.
Some things never change
It feels like a good time to plant our flag and retake this space in the agency world.
The last few years have seen extraordinary turmoil, competition ramp up across all sectors and the release of usable AI (that comes with a worrying volume of utter nonsense being talked by get-rich-quick schemers) so it’s not surprising that brands are crying out for marketing partners that can help them navigate this confidently and won’t over-promise results or confuse them with jargon.
It pains me to say this but there are still plenty of agencies taking the piss and it is wide ranging.
Last year we won two social media jobs from a couple of the biggest agencies in the business. They were charging enormous fees but delivering very little. The work was disappointingly bland considering the creativity that those household name brands afforded.
We lost one of our biggest clients to an agency the year before that gave ridiculous growth projections, for a brand that we’d already mopped up all the quick wins. That client came back to us a year later saying that it all turned out to be the nonsense we warned them it would be, but the damage had been done.
We even took on staff last year from a PPC agency that thinks it’s acceptable to fabricate reports to cover the fact they are taking over 50% of the client’s media budget as fees! If you aren’t careful then your agency could even be going as far as committing out-and-out fraud.
Digital marketing is hard enough. There are so many unknowns and frantic pace of change. Google updates, AI, consumer behaviour, competitor activity. Shouldn’t the one thing you are able to rely on be that your agency has really got your back?
A few words about the new brand
I asked Tom Lloyd, the other founder at Toward, for an explanation about the brilliant work they have done. It is very clever and they really nailed the brief. There is no way I’d ever do it justice, so in his words…
“We’ve known Liberty for many years and have always been confident in the level in which they operate. They are one of the best around and an agency that we’ve always been proud to partner with. What we also knew was that their visual brand wasn’t living up to the experience. The old identity didn’t reflect their ambition. It needed more confidence—to believe in itself, to stand for something.
For the first time we asked the team to really embrace their name. Incorporating what Liberty means—freedom, revolution, celebration and a force for good, into a logo mark that flies the flag for everything the company stands for. The logo is simple but instantly recognisable with its distinctive rising shape symbolising growth and improvement that the agency delivers for its clients.
The new colour palette adds vibrancy and energy, while maintaining a more mature style and the new brand typeface adds personality and character.”
We’re Liberty. Proud to be the agency that unleashes online performance for brands that demand better.