Amber Bonney is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of The Edison Agency, based in Melbourne. She discusses building her branding agency, how she remains committed to transforming and inspiring, and why it’s worth embracing change in this industry.
We were born out of curiosity and tenacity.
As an agency founder who never sits still, I’m driven by the pursuit of change. I like novelties. I love tackling big problems and using design thinking to solve them.
In 2022, as I sit watching the barrel of post-middle age boredom, I find myself searching for new ways to find meaning in my life and my practice. Meaning. Objective. Enjoyment. They sound really simple, but the truth is that all three require enthusiasm, planning, and commitment. And when the world feels like it’s in a washing machine of heartache, drama, war and the Kardashians, a cycle of negativity, conceit and cynicism – remembering why we create, what we seek to change and how having fun seems like a lot to process.
Since opening our doors in 2011, we have invested time, energy and knowledge in connecting with our community – the people, employees, customers and industry peers and are these connections that have helped shape who we are today and the type of projects we have the privilege of working on.
Me and we (Edison) believe that good design should transform and inspire. Bring hope, shine light, create surprise, support growth, rejuvenate, and most importantly, create positive change. Creativity is a superpower and we intend to use it to make an impact and achieve a balance between profit, people and the planet – we hope that in the coming months an official B Corp certification will recognize this effort. . Fingers and toes crossed.
As expert thinkers, makers, hustlers, writers, and innovators, we have the great gift of curiosity and our brains work freely to solve problems, connect, ask questions, and listen without bias. During the early stages of the global Covid-19 pandemic, I capitalized on Melbourne’s dark lockdown times, to reflect and embrace the haze of introspection induced by wine and wearing slippers. What are we really doing? How can we improve it? What work do we like? Why do we like doing this together? What is the sum of all these parts that makes it a trustworthy company?
Although I founded the company, it was only the beginning of the journey. The team, in all its collective wisdom and individual curiosities, is truly what built the business and the reason our customers keep coming back and new people connect. As a for-profit branding agency, we talk about “using transformative design to create positive change for people, brands, and organizations.” You can find it on our website, on our onboarding documents, and in our credentials. Our growth ambitions are to increase our impact through bold, caring and ethical business practices that inspire industry change and foster an open-minded, curious and collaborative culture.
Why is this important? A big part of what branding is about today is creating the right idea of the brand in the minds of employees, just as much as in the minds of consumers. And so, I feel like my personal introspection and work “on the business” has helped shape how we help other businesses. While this isn’t a new revelation, the idea that an employee is your biggest advocate is now more pressing than ever. As a business owner and leader, it’s my job to define the future of my brand – to focus on what can change and what must stay the same.
In my 24 years of experience in consumer branding across almost every industry sector, I see that fear can keep brands from acting for change. It can be a tricky tango, if you don’t change you can die a slow, unimportant death (I see this happen often). If you change too much, you can also become stale because what made you unique is no longer recognizable to your audience. The truth is that change is a certainty. Positive change is the result of deliberate choices – both strategic planning and good intentions in a crucible that drives action.
With spring upon us in the southern hemisphere, now is the time to rejuvenate your brand or business and rethink why you exist, what you stand for, and why it matters to your employees, customers, and community.
I have a passion for good design and am committed to designing for good!