REBORN founder David Easton reflects on the agency’s growth and successes as it marks 15 years

Reborn - David Easton

Plus: The agency’s impressive 2022 and launching FutureThinkers

REBORN was established by David Easton after five years of working for digital media agencies.

Easton recalled: “I had built a solid network of contacts that enabled a leap of faith to start a digital agency in 2006. This evolved into the digital creative agency REBORN when I joined forces with another like-minded indie agency,” he said.

Easton spoke to Mediaweek about the benefits of being a “compulsive problem solver”, reaching 15 years in the business, the agency’s impressive 2022 and launching FutureThinkers.

Easton reflects on the early days of REBORN

Easton shared that in REBORN’s earliest days, the independent agency attracted a solid client portfolio, with a client list including Colgate, Club Med, L’Oreal Group, Revlon and Estee Lauder which has continued to this day with clients like Kraft Heinz, Unilever and more. 

Easton shared that the independent agency garnered numerous accolades and industry attention over the years, such as the BRW Fast Starters awards, BRW Fast 100 and Campaign Brief. The agency also has received various creative, design and technology awards for our collaborative campaigns with clients. 

In 2018, Easton’s business partner exited the business. While navigating and running the advertising agency through a global pandemic was challenging, it all came down to his team and their unwavering passion for their work, going from strength to strength. 

Leading REBORN and the benefits of being a “compulsive problem solver”

Easton has been the CEO and founder of REBORN since 2010. In the roles, he oversees picking the strategic direction for the agency, exploring growth opportunities, leading new business, and hiring.

“Despite my CEO responsibilities, my sleeves are always rolled up to help tackle any challenge that the team or our clients face,” he said. “It’s a hazard of 20 years of experience in the game and having worn many different hats, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it also!”

Easton highlighted that a major part of his role is problem-solving, from working with their team on integrating AI into the production processes to advising start-up clients on go-to-market strategies or working with senior leaders on brand strategies.

Easton noted that the roles suited him well and quipped: “You could say I’m a compulsive problem solver.”

Reborn - logo

Delivering a nimble, flexible, challenger mentality to clients

Easton highlighted that in contrast to other indies, their many years of experience working with many of Australia’s most beloved brands sets them apart from other agencies.

“Then compared to network agencies, what sets us apart is we’re nimble, flexible, and bring that challenger mentality, however, you want to call it – that hunger, hustle, moxie. 

“Our average tenure of REBORN staff is over three years, providing a huge benefit to our clients when it comes to maintaining IP and relationships,” he added.

Being the go-to agency for challenger brands and the value of collaboration

Easton noted that REBORN embraces the idea of ‘Boutique Giants’ and prides itself on being the independent agency for challenger brands.

“For the past 15 years, we’ve specialised in combining media, creative, and digital services to help brands launch, grow and reposition. We believe that successful outcomes really do come from a team that knows how all these disciplines work together,” he said.

“The challenges, the opportunities, the best way to meet the objectives… being full-service means REBORN has a bigger toolkit to work with,” he added.

Easton said that REBORN doesn’t just throw the ball over the fence as a full-service independent agency.

“We’ve got all the players in the team, and this results in a winning outcome. That level of accountability is compelling to clients because it also makes their job much more efficient and streamlined.

“That’s not to be at the detriment of specialist agencies, but that’s simply the benefit of partnering with an established full-service agency.”

As an agency, REBORN believes in the value of collaboration and the spirit of partnership. Easton said that when its clients look good, the agency looks good.

“So, when working within an agency village, we play well with others. We’re at the table with the client and their agencies, using our multidisciplinary experience to help problem-solve for creative or media,” he said.

“We’re not trying to cut anyone else’s grass. That’s not how you build great long-term client relationships,” Easton added.

REBORN’s dedication to long-term clients

Easton shared that REBORN doesn’t have foundation brands. He explained: “It’s more like foundation brand managers, who like how we operate and who want to work with us again and again when they move to new brands.

“It’s very affirming when a client becomes a repeat client. It’s a testament to the relationships we’ve built over our 15 years. In fact, most of our client relationships are long-term and 5+ years in the partnership,” he said.

In terms of recent client wins, Easton said that the agency has been on a bit of a streak for the last 12 months, adding two big global skincare brands come into the roster, as well as a major Sydney transport operator.

Easton added that REBORN has also just completed several campaigns for Hays Recruitment, which we won via competitive pitch late last year. The agency also launched a campaign for Heinz Infant, which continues its years of work with the Kraft Heinz team. 

Achieving impressive trajectory during 2022

Looking back at REBORN’s performance in 2022, Easton noted that for all the moving pieces that happened that year, the agency maintained a trajectory of 20-25% growth experienced in the last few years.

Easton said: “One way I like to measure performance, which then somewhat indicates how the following year will turn out, is to ask, “how well did our clients do?”, “did we make them look good?”

“In this regard, ’22 was a fantastic year, seeing our media + social client Life Savers launch and become the #1 brand for household penetration gains in Australian FMCG,” he pointed out.

Easton said that while there has been some clear tightening in client budgets in the first half of 2023, the agency has tracked strong growth because of new client acquisitions, with media billings growing 40% from ’22 to ’23. 

Marking 15 years in the business

REBORN has just reached the 15-year mark, which Easton called a special milestone, particularly as an independent agency.

“We’ve had to withstand the intense storms of the global economic crises, talent shortage, the pandemic… without a giant global network propping us up.

“There’s a long overdue website refresh in the works this year. As part of that, we’ll be launching our editorial platform FutureThinkers. Things have always moved at a rapid pace in our industry, but now more so than ever. It’s an exciting, terrifying time,” he said.

“With the dizzying amount of information out there to process, it’s hard for clients to know what they need to know. FutureThinkers is REBORN’s way of metabolising what’s happening in digital in a digestible format for brand managers and other marketing leaders,” Easton added.

The benefits of having the IMAA in REBORN’s corner

REBORN recently joined IMAA, and Easton noted the networking, training, and group offers the IMAA provides as particular highlights of their membership.

“As an indie, you’ve got to have that fighting spirit, as you’re so often going up against network agencies with seemingly unlimited resources,” he said.

“Joining IMAA means having that team member in your corner pushing for the indie cause, working on much-needed advocacy and a sense of community for indies. We look forward to getting more involved with its growing community of like-minded agencies,” Easton added.

Top image: David Easton


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