Brett and his team produce some of the best looking, most elegant Business Catalyst solutions on the market today. I dig into the heart of that with Brett . . . and his dog.
Brett Stockley, Director and Owner of Pretty Pollution based in Sydney, Australia, has been a top performing Business Catalyst Partner since the beginning. I think (correct me if I'm wrong) he is the longest active BC Partner running - his journey began in 2005.
Brent:Hey. This is Brent Weaver from bcgurus.com. I'm here today with Brett Stockley of Pretty Pollution. Welcome to BC Gurus.
Brett:Thanks, Brent. Thanks for having us. Thanks for coming to the office.
Brent: Absolutely. It's been great here in Sydney for the last couple of days here at the Business Catalyst Partner Conference. Australians are very hospitable. You guys have been showing us a great time, so I want to thank you for that.
Brett:Great. Thanks for coming. It's been awesome.
Brent: Brett, tell me a little bit about your background. What got you into technology, what got you into web and explain to us where you come from and what's your background.
Brett:Sure. I come from a background in IT, so I'm a systems engineer by trade. I have ten years of experience in Microsoft systems and Citrix systems, as well as a certification in iTill foundations. So principles around releasing sprints into a production environment and also IT systems changes, best practices, I guess, yeah.
Brent:How did that lead into Pretty Pollution? IT and actual website creative agencies seems like there's maybe a little bit of a difference there. What was the progression there?
Brett:I guess towards the end of my career in IT, I moved towards a web focus. Working with .NET developers in large, corporate web environments, managing websites with loyalty programs for big corporates. I progressed in my career, I guess, into more management-style roles. I had that web experience, that IT experience, experience around D and S and web servers, managing web servers and also the management side of things. So the progression into web was quite seamless for me.
Brent: Very cool. When did you start Pretty Pollution.
Brett: Pretty Pollution started about eight years ago.
Brent: Tell me a little bit about it. We're sitting in the Pretty Pollution office right now. It's been cool to see where you guys actually work. I've seen your name around the BC community for a while. I think you guys have been partners for a little bit. Tell us about who Pretty Pollution is.
Brett: Pretty Pollution is a creative agency. We do branding, print, signage, car decals and also digital. Business Catalyst is a large part of what we do, and we are very active in the catalyst community.
Brent:What's the makeup of Pretty Pollution? How many people are they, what kind of roles do you guys have working here?
Brent:Who is an ideal customer for Pretty Pollution?
Brett: Sure. We love fashion.
Brent: You're quite stylish, I have to say. He's got a pretty stylish wardrobe. So I can understand that.
Brett: I do what I can. We love fashion. We love fashion because they usually can provide us with sexy images, and we love that they turn over their look and feel and products quite regularly. It's a very competitive market so they're very focused and dedicated on marketing and what they can do to lead the industry. We love fashion and we love fashion when they're big enough to have a marketing person that we work with.
Brent: So somebody that gets it on the client side.
Brett: Yes. Somebody that gets it, can work with us, we can work together toward a common goal. Ultimately, how we view ourselves, rather than a digital agency or a creative agency, is an extension of their marketing department. We like to think we can offer quite a broad set of skills to their marketing team. Where they wouldn't necessarily be able to hire a designer, developer, a marketing expert, an SEO expert, a social media expert. They can have one marketing manager, and they can use us as their extended marketing team.
Brent: Very cool. I know you guys do a lot of campaigns, at least that's my understanding. Tell me about how you approach web and the types of projects you build for clients.
Brett: I guess when we take on a web project or we're working with a web project, our focus so much isn't about turning a website and setting it live and moving to the next website. We're more focused around clients that we feel that we can work with in a marketing capacity. We probably wouldn't build as many websites as some of the other design agencies, because we simply don't focus on how many sites we can build, but rather which clients we can work with to get results. One client, we might work on them monthly, all year-round. It'll be campaigns: email marketing, direct mail, social media strategies. We'll buy brokered lists from companies, and blast out to try to bring in new business and convert new business to get those hundred thousand people into the Business Catalyst list. It's more about the marketing strategy.
Brent: OK. I assume you guys use the marketing tool within Business Catalyst quite heavily?
Brett: Sure. That's primarily the reason we got into Business Catalyst: the suite of marketing tools integrated into Business Catalyst. As you see these days, there's more and more tools coming onto the market, and they'll be built into Business Catalyst as Business Catalyst evolves. There's a lot more technologies. Web is going more toward integration, web is getting more competitive. Once upon a time, you could turn a website and put it online. It would be a fashion site and you would do well. These days with the international sites having distributors based out of Australia and New Zealand and they've got distributors all over the world, it's just become a cut-throat market. You need to really be on it and pushing it.
Brent: Yeah. Very interesting, that's very interesting to view. I'm sure you guys have sent out a lot of emails and types of campaigns and the amount of integrated stuff you guys have done. Also, I've found that in the online business space, it's not just a website. You've got to focus on the social, you have to focus on their print, all the different types of media that you're producing for that company. Getting specifically into the Business Catalyst, you guys have been a BC partner for quite some time as I understand.
Brett: Yeah. We've been partnered with Business Catalyst for eight years. I believe we're the longest current-standing partner that's still active.
Brent: Wow. That puts you as a partner in 2005. I feel like I interview partners all the time and it's 2008, maybe 2009 or 2010. It's interesting that you guys have been around BC for that long, and stuck with it. Obviously, it's providing a great return on your business.
Brett: It is. Business Catalyst is an awesome platform. It's always been a really tight-knit community. We used to go for Christmas barbecues and all Sydney over with the BC staff. It's always been very tight-knit. It still is with the partners. You see from the last couple of days, we've all been hanging out, exchanging ideas. It doesn't matter who I talk to at these conferences. What the partner does, what level they're at, whether they're a sole trader working out of their bedroom in their house like we did once upon a time, it doesn't matter who I speak to, I always pull something valuable out of them. I hope I give something back as well.
Brent: For sure. There's definitely been a lot of that going on at the conference. What's been your impression of the conference? We had two days:
we had a day of presentation and we had a day of lawn bowling. What was some of the takeaways from the presentations?
Brett: The presentations were awesome. Just getting together and discussing how different people run their agencies and what components of what they do can I take out and implement into my business. I think just networking. A lot of these people I've known for many years and I've never met them. I know who they are, I've emailed them, I've worked on sites of their clients, but I've never met them face to face. So to be able to go into a room and actually meet personally is kind of like a connection which cements the relationships.
Brett: It's been mad.
Brent: Within the BC space, what kind of work do you guys do? I know you do a lot of fashion clients, you have a lot of end clients. It's been my understanding that you also work with a lot of partners. What does that capacity look like?
Brett: Half of what we do is working with partners. Our business is split into half partner support training, and half direct to our customers. We work in all capacities. Whether it's a white-labeled capacity or a partner wants us to work directly with their client. Ultimately, I'm open. I will share all of my knowledge, all the tips and tricks of what Pretty Pollution does. It's just what the partner needs. Quite often, it's training their staff. We have partners that have their developers trained once a week, one hour or two hour training session once a week, to keep them progressing along in their skills. Quite often, it's training their clients under a white-labeled arrangement by Adobe Connect. Or it's when a client knows enough about Business Catalyst to design and develop their own website and support their own client, but when that client comes to them and asks them for a custom solution that their not confident to deliver, they'll outsource it to us. We'll deliver it and step back again.
Brent: OK. Very nice. One last question. I know you have a few staff here. Some of them are of a different kind than normal human BC partner staff.
Brett: We've got staff of all sizes and denominations. We've got a security staff. Hank, come. Up. This is Hank. Hank is head of security at Pretty Pollution.
Brent: I'm not sure how dangerous Hank is but it's been a pleasure to meet their head of security, as well. Did your team end up winning at lawn bowling?
Brett: We did. We did. We did have a bit of an advantage in the fact that along with partners like yourself, we organized the event. So we knew that lawn bowling was the game, and we had a chance to practice in the office, rolling down the hallway.
Brent: I see. You did have an advantage. It seemed like you were very consistent on your bowls.
Brett: Rolling apples.
Brent: Very nice. It's been an absolute pleasure, Brett. I appreciate you guys taking the time to host us while we've been in Sydney. I appreciate it for taking the time to chat with the BC Gurus community. We definitely wish you guys the best at Pretty Pollution and hope a world of success for you.
Brett: Thanks, mate. Thanks for coming to Australia, thanks for your presentation. It was awesome and you guys do a great job. We've been following you for a long time. We're big fans.
Brent: Nice. Very cool. Stay tuned for more great content from bcgurus.com.