A clever introduction to Aesthetic – brand experience agency

November 6, 2019 - Posted by Hayley Williamson

Why open a brand experience agency?

We’re Aesthetic – an award-winning brand experience agency re-imagining the way brands connect with people. For the past 12 years, Aesthetic has been building our reputation in a marketing niche that’s just now beginning to gain momentum in the Australian market —‘brand experience’.

To those unfamiliar with the term, it can be difficult to define where brand experience fits within the marketing mix, and there’s no one formula that will apply to every brand. We like to think of brand experience as a strategy that connects brands with their audience in human-centered ways, which often stem from live experiences – but can be woven into every omni-channel touchpoint. Unlike marketing buzz words that come and go faster than you can say Tik Tok, brand experience is a strategy that will deliver both the short-term results that marketers are under pressure to deliver, and the necessary long-term brand-building that creates lifelong loyalty. An audience’s experience of a brand is the sum of every touchpoint and interaction, and the art of live experience helps build affinity like no other strategy. We believed in the power of this trend as it began to strengthen in the Australian market 12 years ago, and our prior experience in theatre positioned us well to begin working in this space.

Aesthetic brand experience agency team
L to R, top row: Gillian Laging, Alice-Ginevra Micheli, Kristy Foulcher, Andy Schreiber, Candace Lazarus, Darren Natale, Courtney Leary, Amy Humphreys, Jill Harrison-Rogers, Jarrah Gerstle-Smith
Bottom row: Clare Miles, Hayley Williamson, Naama Gilad

The link between theatre and brand experience

Aesthetic wasn’t always Aesthetic. I first met founder Darren Natale when he was running Verve Studios. Verve was Melbourne’s premier center for actor training, where I had the privilege of studying for 3 years before I joined the team professionally as General Manager. This was an early career pivot for me – I’d envisioned an entirely different career and had studied Criminology and Behavioural Studies but found myself drawn to theatre after I’d completed my bachelor’s degree. Though I do still get to apply my learnings in behavioural psychology in Aesthetic’s current work, my lens has positively shifted to the science of bringing people together rather than what drives them to crime!

When brand experience started making traction and delivering on serious ROI overseas, Darren saw an exciting opportunity to take his theatre expertise in a new direction. There was great synergy between our work at Verve Studios —where we pushed boundaries and enriched Melbourne’s vibrant theatre scenes— and the emerging trend of brands thinking creatively to connect with their audience through experience. Our unique and diverse backgrounds gave us the skills to effectively bring people together to forge meaningful connections, and in 2007 Darren founded Aesthetic. Over the following 12 years, we’ve helped brands authentically engage with thousands of people.

Our philosophy embodied

As we carved out our niche in the industry, we established our ‘Part Art. Part Science. All Heart.’ philosophy, which remains central to our identity to this day (it’s emblazoned on the wall of our recently converted warehouse-office):

  • Art – refers to our theatre roots and the art of performance, both of which influence our creative approach.
  • Science – acknowledges the research-driven insights and human behavioral science that informs our brand experience strategies.
  • Heart – talks to our passion for bringing people together through live experiences that they connect to on a human-centred, and more emotional level.

Still independently owned after 12 years, we keep our approach to collaborating with clients personal and agile. We have a permanent team of 13 all-rounders who all understand the big picture (“thinkers”), but can also roll up their sleeves to get the work done (“doers”). Our core team is complimented by a flexible network of permalancers (permanent freelancers) that enable us to deliver large events, while remaining lean and cost-effective for our long-standing clients. Most importantly, everyone who works at Aesthetic shares our values and is committed to delivering our high standard of excellence.

We’ve taken care to build a team with a diverse and unique range of backgrounds that drives our strategic and creative solutions. Everyone at Aesthetic puts their heart into it.

Recently we’ve undergone a restructure to position the agency for future growth. Today, our new leadership team is shaping the direction Aesthetic will take next, with a focus on challenging ourselves to continue to drive innovation in the industry that we are as excited about as we were 12 years ago.

We’re constantly rewriting the Aesthetic story to grow with the rise of brand experience. Follow our Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn for our latest projects, research and content.

– Hayley Williamson,
General Manager, Aesthetic