「シリコンヒルズ」企業視察レポート①:Greatest Common Factory


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テキサス州の州都オースティンで、3月9日に開幕したSXSW(サウス・バイ・サウスウエスト)。Twitterが世界的にブレイクしたきっかけとしても知られ、インタラクティブ・映画・音楽などのテーマで、街のいたるところにおいて最先端のテクノロジーや企業の展示などに触れることができます。世界中からイノベーターや投資家、企業が集まる世界が注目するイベントのひとつです。宣伝会議では、 SXSWへの参加をはじめとする「Innovation Boot Camp in Texas」と題する視察ツアーを企画。会期中、帯同する編集部やコーディネーター、ツアー参加者からの現地レポートをお届けします。

Greatest Common Factory(グレーテスト・コモン・ファクトリー)

昨年、米国アドエイジ誌のスモールエージェンシー・オブ・ザ・イヤーに輝いたGreatest Common Factory。わずか10名で数多くのプロジェクトに関わる同社の働き方について、パートナーでストラテジック&クリエイティブリードのジョン・トラハー氏に聞いた。



「MAKE THINGS BETTER」というスローガンに込めたのは、「クオリティの高い、数多くのクリエイティブを、より効率的に生み出し、より良い結果を出す」との思い。トラハー氏は「クライアントにサービスを提供するために、大きなチームを編成する必要はない」と言う。「私たちのスタッフは多才なタレントを持っていますから」。





The Workings of the “Small Agency of the Year”
Greatest Common Factory


Karen Jacobs, Partner, Business and Production Lead

John Trahar, Partner, Strategic and Creative Lead


In 2017, Greatest Common Factory was named Small Agency of the Year by Ad Age. Their name comes from the phrase “Greatest Common Divisor”, a reference to finding the right, interesting content for the audience you need to reach.

“Make Things Better” is the agency’s corporate platform. They described the meaning of this platform as “producing abundant, quality creative work, more efficiently and with better results. We don’t feel these elements are incompatible. We use our resources efficiently to produce quality content.”

John explained, “We look at our work from five vantage points when we’re moving forward with a project – aiming to produce something simple, multi-faceted, direct, entertaining, and transformative.” He elaborated, “We staff with talented people that don’t need a big team in order to deliver for the client. Our staff is multi-talented. ”

John cited problems he observed while working for larger advertising agencies as the inspiration for this technique. He felt that, “There were frequent meetings with lots of people. The agency was separated into different departments, and it was hard for me to feel like I was actually making a contribution to the client.” So he felt that much more motivated to try different approaches, and explained that “I wanted to impart the message that an agency can provide both high-quality, creative work and productions that bring great results without necessarily asking its clients for huge sums of money. Because if the agency doesn’t explain this clearly, the client will end up spending a lot more money than it needs to.”

In order to achieve that goal, the agency is very particular about the way they deal with their clients. All necessary staff members must be in attendance from the very first briefing. The agency and client talk through the challenges and the goals specific to the project. Then the agency pinpoints the client’s issue immediately following the briefing. The agency quickly presents ideas and solutions to the client for review and discussion, and then the team narrows it down to what it will execute.

John also stated that the agency doesn’t create for any particular channel: “We aren’t partial to any specific type of media. We try our best to come up with the most suitable type of media for each case. We don’t submit a timesheet in our bill to the client. We charge an agreed upon amount that is appropriate for the project. Longer hours don’t necessarily lead to greater work, and adding more staff to a project doesn’t necessarily produce higher quality work.” Clients appreciate the fact that placing a work order with Greatest Common Factory is a wholly different experience from placing an order with a larger agency.

In response to a participant’s question about the agency’s policy on staff training, Karen said, “We try to create a safe workplace environment where our employees have the chance to try out new things. And we support our employees as they widen their interest base and develop new skills. Management should have a generous understanding of each employee, and should understand that proper management entails taking a long view of the direction of the company, and incorporating a plan that nurtures employees.”

Greatest Common Factory also shared why being a small agency with only ten persons distinguishes it from other agencies. For one thing, there is the security that business will always be conducted in a transparent way. For example, John explained, “We regularly hold meetings where we share management strategies and other tactics with all of our employees. And when we make a profit, we always pay out bonuses. Since everyone is working their hardest, we give everyone a bonus, not just select individuals.” With regard to his vision for the future, John said, “I’d like to eventually expand to the point where we have 5 offices, each staffed with 20 employees.” We look forward to seeing how much they can grow with a team that’s comprised of just a select few.

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