The Beards behind Lucky Beard believe that exceptional people, passion and an ambitious culture are the things that make us who we are. By bringing these things together in one space we help our clients ensure their businesses remain relevant as their customers and the world around them changes.
The Beards, as they are affectionately known, are a global design and advisory business with offices in South Africa, Dublin and London. Their journey together started before the doors of Lucky Beard were opened back in 2015. Having started, grown and sold businesses in the digital and advisory space (Aqua Online, South Africa’s first full-service digital agency and Africa’s largest digital agency, Base2 – sold to WPP) they realised that there was an opportunity to inject some fresh energy, creativity and a modern approach into what has traditionally been a dusty and conventional consulting space. Through their understanding of the increasing commercial importance of design and the strategic advantage of pace, Lucky Beard was born.
“It’s been an incredibly exciting journey that we have been on over the last five years,” says Adam Oberem, Co-Founder and CEO. “Over the last 18 months, we have seen how the world is changing faster than businesses and as a result, our clients find themselves and their leadership teams grappling with some chunky challenges when it comes to their future. Those are the challenges we love.”
James Nelson, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, adds: “We’ve crystallised what we do into this simple phrase: we make things that change things, quickly. We make businesses, brands, products and experiences that are built for tomorrow, and we have the ability to execute a vision like nobody else can, and in a timeframe that no-one else can. We think, we design, we test, we code – at pace.”
Mark Schefermann, Co-Founder and Chief Strategic Officer, says: “As a leadership team, we are naturally curious, always challenging, questioning why things are the way they are and how they could be better. We look around us and see a world that is full of unexplored frontiers. It’s this entrepreneurial culture that comes across strongly from the team, and it’s been a key ingredient of their success to date.
“Having built businesses themselves and worked so closely with founders and leadership teams, they understand what it takes. It’s that empathy and insight that allows them to build a real connection with their clients. Across the different offices, they partner with an enviable client list and have some longstanding relationships with clients of different sizes and across multiple industries, working with leadership teams from large corporates to founders of challenger brands and everything in-between, from health care, financial services, fashion, retail and insurance.
“While the list of clients is impressive for a business of their size and age, it’s very clear that the single thing these Beards are most proud of is their people. You won’t find industry awards in our offices – we don’t have enough ego for that – but you will find our ‘Gees Cup’, which celebrates our people. It’s amazing what’s possible when you surround yourself with smart and talented people and then give them the freedom to try new things.”
Nelson agrees: “It’s about being a good human at the end of the day, treating each other with respect and kindness. It’s as simple as that. Life is too short for it to be any other way.”
Thankfully, facial hair is not criterion for joining the Beards, and so in 2019 they brought in Elaine Devereux, MD Ireland – the smooth one amongst the beards – to lead the Dublin team and drive the process. Elaine believes Lucky Beard’s difference also lies in the internal structure they’ve created.
“We’ve evolved our teams into ‘pods’, which keep everyone connected and allows us to pull in all kinds of specialists and functionalities,” she says. “There’s a fluidity and flexibility, which enables us to become a seamless extension of the brands we work with, so that we’re able to help them articulate their vision.
“Articulating and defining a business’s future vision is one thing, bringing it to life is something different altogether. For us, this is where all those different skills, competencies and ways of working fall into place. The world is not short of clever strategic decks and theory; unfortunately (or luckily for us) the world is short of companies that can bring a strategic vision to life from Jason Knight, MD UK.
“We have a North Star process, it’s a blend of rigorous research, focused strategic thinking and creative thinking that brings the vision to life. Once a strategy becomes real in a client’s mind, once it becomes something that they not only buy into but something they can see, feel and get inspired about, that’s when things get exciting. There is a real intensity and optimism that comes through from the Lucky Beard team and they are certainly a company to keep an eye on.”
If you would like to find out more, visit luckybeard.com.