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By The Drum | Editorial

December 7, 2023 | 5 min read

Against all the odds, Kyiv-based agency Bickerstaff.734 is growing rapidly in terms of retained clients, campaigns executed, staff numbers and revenue. Judges of The Drum Awards for Agency Business were so impressed they named Bickerstaff.734 Agency of the Year (11-49). Here is the award-winning case study.

Born in Kyiv just three years ago, Bickerstaff.734 has surged ahead in the industry, defying challenges posed by a pandemic and ongoing war in Ukraine. Our relentless pursuit of excellence has gained global recognition, redefining industry standards within Ukraine. With a robust portfolio including over 32 clients, 28 campaigns executed, and more than 90 esteemed awards, we're making a substantial impact in a short span.

Rising Strong: Navigating Adversity and Achieving Resilient Growth Amidst the complexity of Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022, we showcased resilience and refused to surrender. Despite facing client losses, reduced revenue, and disrupted plans, we turned challenges into opportunities for growth. Consider our agency's net revenue trajectory: starting at 11.8 thousand on July 1, 2022, we surged to 90.9 thousand by July 1, 2023—a remarkable 770.33% year-over-year increase.

Yet, our success goes beyond numbers. Grounded in unwavering principles, our true strength lies in our integrity. We stand committed to fostering innovation and prioritizing customer-centric approaches, which not only meet but exceed client expectations, resulting in an exceptional client retention rate of over 80%.

Transformative Initiatives in the Spotlight Rooted in innovation, our agency redefined the Galychyna dairy brand by bestowing it with 14 historical names, encapsulating the nation's diversity. The resounding call of "We instead of Me" echoed across digital realms, amassing over 20 million impressions in a month, reinforcing our shared identity.

On the defence front, our #FreeTheLeopards campaign rallied unwavering support for Ukraine's acquisition of Leopard 2 tanks. This rallying cry resonated powerfully, generating over 5,480 Instagram posts within a single day, underscoring the nation's indomitable spirit.

Our cooperation with the Ukrainian Leadership Academy resulted in a comprehensive 6,000-page book, "Crime Without Punishment," a stark exposé of Russia's crimes in Ukraine – kidnapping Ukrainian children.

In times of adversity, we harnessed collective strength, helping the United24 platform to raise more than 6 million $ to strategically procure vital weaponry for Ukraine's triumph. In parallel, our partnership aided displaced Ukrainian youth, offering support as they embarked on a fresh chapter.

Education, Unity, and a Path to Progress Our agency also embraced education as a driving force for change. Through an inventive recruitment campaign for Teach for Ukraine, we empowered students as advocates for equal access to education. This approach reached millions, inspiring a new generation to become educators, bridging gaps, and fostering a culture of learning.

Amid the international stage of Eurovision 2023, our heart-shaped installation symbolized Ukraine's struggle for sovereignty, while the digital campaign #OpenYourHeartForUkraine united two nations in solidarity.

Furthermore, our "Bird Vision" campaign transformed eyewear into a canvas of self-expression, pushing boundaries and redefining norms.

From tracing Galychyna Yogurt's nationwide journey as a symbol of unity, to portraying shared experiences through animation, and infusing AI into storytelling, our work stood as a testament to innovation. Throughout, our agency demonstrated an unwavering commitment to transformation, unity, and progress.

From Accolades to Action In 2022, we proudly earned the title of Eastern and Central Europe's Most Awarded Agency of the Year, and our momentum continued with the Boutique Agency of the Year win at the May 2023 ADC Awards, alongside gold for our "Khortytsia" project at ADC NY. Our shelf displays a spectrum of accolades from significant festivals, including the 2022 Cannes Lion bronze for Khortytsia branding, ADCE gold in Design, D&AD Graphic Design/Integrated shortlist, and a Clio bronze for Brand & Corporate Identity.

Amidst the Ukraine war, we countered Russian propaganda through impactful volunteer initiatives such as "All around the (Russian) World," acknowledged at Effie for Travel, Transport & Tourism, Cresta for Anti-war work, and the Clio shortlist for Public Service in 2023. Post-war, the "We Instead of Me" campaign played a pivotal role in uniting Ukraine's regions through brand renaming, earning the title of Epica Agency of the Year and securing positions on the Epica and NYF Advertising Awards shortlists. Additionally, our "Leopards for Ukraine" project found a place on the NYF shortlist.

Small Agency, Big Impact Navigating a strategic growth trajectory, we've embraced the boutique agency model as our North Star – a choice validated in 2023 as ADC in New York crowned us Boutique Agency of the Year. Our boutique size ensures personalized attention to each client, delivering bespoke solutions attuned to their distinct needs.

Quality over quantity defines our strategy; we're driven not by amassing clients or expanding our team indiscriminately, but by curating exceptional talent and maintaining an optimal clientele that shares our values and aspirations.

Beyond projects, we prioritize our team's well-being, introducing flexible work structures and robust support systems that nurture motivation and harmony. With a forward gaze, we anticipate promising prospects. Our unswerving focus on clients, commitment to talent, and dedication to innovation propel us into an exhilarating future.

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