Former MKTG managing director launches 'community partnerships' agency

The shop will marry brand experience and CSR.

Michael Brown: chief executive and founder of Asociat
Michael Brown: chief executive and founder of Asociat

Former MKTG managing director Michael Brown has set up a new agency that will create brand experiences fuelled by corporate social responsibility.

His new venture is called Asociat, a derivative of the Latin word societate, which means partnership. The name is intended to reflect the services that Asociat will provide, which Brown described as "community partnerships".

Brown, who left MKTG in March and will act as Asociat chief executive, will be joined by a team including Zanine Adams. She is on board as a minor shareholder and director of city partnerships. She was previously head of events and business development at London & Partners for 13 years, before leaving in 2018 to act as a consultant on large-scale events.

Other team members include Alexandra Lima Dimitrijevic as communities manager, Emily Stacey as director of partnership relations, and Alex Brown as executive director of communities. There are plans for the team, which will work remotely and from office space in Brighton and Farringdon, London, to expand in the next 12 months.

Brown told Campaign: "It's about helping brands communicate with their customers in a new way. Each community has a unique set of needs, and we can identify those needs and help brands consult with these communities that are important to them. And of course, what constitutes important depends on the brand and depends on the community. If you get that right you can work with all the stakeholders to co-create partnerships to address those needs."

Brown said that there are a lot of "tick box exercises in CSR" when it comes to brands communicating values and purpose.

He added: "There is the opportunity for an agile agency to create authentic, value-driven marketing platforms. It doesn't necessarily need to be confined solely to your CSR programme, these can be through-the-line advertising campaigns. Any collaboration between a brand and the community that they serve, it's not about selling any more, it's about serving."

The agency is launching alongside its first project, an immersive show backed by the Welsh government and Visit Wales designed to connect people in a post-Covid world. Produced by EdenLAB and Eye Project collective, "Eye Cymru" is an outdoor laser and sound experience created by artist Chris Levine in collaboration with musicians Gruff Rhys, Robert Del Naja and Nick Mulvey. Spatial sound design is by Marco Perry.

High-powered lasers interact with the natural surroundings and architecture, accompanied with 3D sound. The start of what is a three-year partnership with the Welsh Government and Visit Wales, "Eye Cymru" will premiere on 14 October at Cardiff Castle before touring across Wales in 2022 and 2023.