Ideas not hours

The secret behind The Liberty Guild’s redefinition of a creative business and the growth engine behind it

Emmaclare Huntriss

Head of New Business The Liberty Guild


Better biscuits. That's the only real difference between traditional agencies when they pitch, isn't it? The amount of time and effort that goes into catering is mind-boggling. That and pitch theatre. Oh, there’s the house reel, of course, the one that’s probably filled with great work from long-since departed creatives. Differentiation is a problem in the old world. 

This is The Liberty Guild, we do things differently here. When your digital transformation of the agency process wins awards. When you actually win the Grand Prix for how you do the work, not for the work itself, it would seem to be a bit of a cop-out to do new biz like everyone else wouldn't it? 

Which is why we don’t pitch. Ever. And why we sell products (products that are at the heart of that digital transformation, and that are the building blocks of rapid scaling). The products have a fixed time frame, a fixed deliverable and a fixed cost. They might be designed for communications ideas, or NPD/brand creation, or innovation, or brand design. They’re populated by award winning ‘A’ list talent; creative, strategic and business directors. They produce quality ideas, at scale because…. that's what clients want to buy. It’s just common sense.

Selling ideas, not hours, is a game changer

Emmaclare Huntriss, Head of New Business at The Liberty Guild

Selling ideas, not hours, is a game changer. We’re a B Corp founded on the belief that Freedom Works, making us a business fit for purpose for today, and a true partner to our clients and our talent using business as a force for good. Age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and geography don't matter. All that matters is ideas.

But here’s the key. The process of selling a product is different to selling a dream. It’s objective. It has risk designed out of it, and excellence baked in. To step outside the status quo is refreshing for everyone who’s ever said… I’m sure we could do this better.

But, how do we sell the product…?

Here’s some growth hacks we’ve learned over the last few years 

Give people water in a desert, not another grain of sand.

True, new business acquisition is a numbers game, but it’s not as simple as pushing stuff out and hoping something will stick. That’s at best wasteful.

Selling is so much easier when you give people what they want. When you really understand what they need, their challenges and what’s driving their desire to change. Listen hard and continually sense-check that your products deliver what your clients need.

Champion your superpower 

Don't try to be everything to everyone. Understand what makes you different and how you stand out from the crowd. Define it, refine it and simplify it, so that the benefits that your superpower provides are clear. Bring it to life. Brutal simplicity wasn't a bad idea. Prove it by not selling. Yes you read that right. Don’t sell.

Embrace technology

(btw whole world has digitally reinvented and disintermediated… why not you) Grab it with both hands. Not technology for technology's sake, but look at where it can make you better and integrate it to your tech stack to connect the dots. How can it help streamline your processes? Take the ego out of the room and let data guide decisions. And if nothing else, invest in a database. The insights you’ll glean are the wisdom that will continually make you smarter in your approach. 

Nurture your pipeline 

Your pipeline is a hungry monster with an almost insatiable appetite. Never take your eye off it. Not for one moment, or a feast can fast become a famine. It's a complex beast that, especially in its infancy, rapidly evolves. Like a small child it needs continual attention and its unique personality nurturing. Know your stats, pinpoint the weaknesses and develop strategies to ensure it's well loved and fed. We run a full on CRM programme. Practice what you preach. Walk a thousand miles in your clients shoes.

Not all business is good business

Focus on what you’re good at and know when to say no. Is this the right project/ client for you? Stick to your guns, retain a laser focus and know your happy place. Easy to say, hard to do, but we know from experience that knowing when to walk off into the sunset with a smile on your face….is crucial.

Challenge the status quo

The freedom of working in a new way is that you are not beholden to legacy processes, or old ways of working. Muscle memory is strong, and it is easy to slip back into them. You really have to constantly ask yourself why you are doing something. If the answer is because you’ve always done it that way, maybe, just maybe there is a better way… It’s so liberating to rip up the rule book and try something new. 

Embrace the freedom to do things differently 

Build a different engine. One that makes a difference. It’s not the easiest path but it’s much more rewarding and it will spark conversations that people want to engage with. Give it a go and trust your instincts. Don’t be afraid to fail fast, growth is an iterative process and curiosity is your catalyst.

Be Kind 

A core tenant of The Guild. Treat people well. Really well.​ Instinctively we know kindness has a positive impact on our business. The kinder you treat people, the better the work, leading to more new and repeat business and ultimately a positive impact on your bottom line. It’s not a soft value. It’s competitive edge. 

Guest Author

Emmaclare Huntriss

Head of New Business The Liberty Guild


Emmaclare kicks open doors and rolls out the red carpets to drive both growth and general happiness. Combining passion and enthusiasm with 20+ years of experience at top UK agencies within Dentsu, Omnicom and independent consultancy. Her insight-led approach helps businesses guide their thinking, communications and behaviour to deliver creative growth solutions with measurable business impact.

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