The award-winning creative technology pioneer has built a number of successful global digital creative agencies. For his latest venture, Poppins, he gathered a team of the industry’s most prolific individuals. And they’re looking to disrupt the market.
Maani Safa, CEO & founder of Poppins creative agency, has a portfolio of leading international brands under his belt. His ability to drive innovation and digital business transformation has seen his career celebrate successes working with executive teams across multiple industries’ biggest players, such as News Corp, Google, Audi, Burberry, Apple & DeBeers.
Safa believes that digital technology is now so seamlessly integrated into our lives that our digital experiences should be beautiful, efficient and as natural to use as our favourite everyday objects. His vision is to bring this thinking to the world’s leading brands and to fast-growing startups to help them create game-changing products that reinvent user engagement and interaction on a global scale.
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All Around The World
With offices in Los Angeles and Sydney, the London based creative agency Poppins is perfectly set up for major global operations across multiple time zones. As Safa says, “the sun never sets in the world of Poppins.”
Poppins is a rather special boutique agency, with a founding team built from leaders who have led or transformed some of the biggest brands on the planet such as Virgin, Red Bull and Samsung to LVMH and The Wall Street Journal. Realizing potential isn’t just for new products and services, their understanding of digital technology and the team’s diverse experience allows the agency to identify different ways to solve a variety of business problems. From enabling brands to creatively communicate with their customers to finding workflow efficiencies with new technology, the Poppins team are up to the challenge.
Where Product And Brand Intersect
Where most typical agencies simply deliver product or branding as their core offering, Safa and his team sit on both sides of the table. The agency sits perfectly at the intersection of brand and product. “It starts with brand and ends with experience,” says Safa. Poppins brings the two together to create what seems like magic. The team was born out of the internet revolution, and have worked in technology for years, which is clearly evident as soon as you speak with them: the passion is undeniable. Seeing them work together in their London studio feels like watching master craftsmen (and craftswomen) creating art.
Which makes sense given their strapline of ‘‘digitally handmade” which is what Poppins has coined for the term of an artisan approach to creative branding and production under one roof.
Team Work Makes The Dream Work
Alongside the skills the team bring to the table, Safa’s humble approach and high appreciation for his team seem to be another important factor behind the success of his operations.
“I don’t believe in a “Steve Jobsian” approach to leadership where all kudos and praise is given to one “glorious” leader. I am supported by an incredibly talented and compassionate leadership team that helped kick off a new company bang in the middle of a world gripped by a pandemic. The result? A global agency that is now one of the fastest-growing agencies in the U.K. with a real focus on giving back. We try very hard to work with clients who are working to make a positive impact on the world”
Safa added: “The Founding team of Poppins is made up of the best of the digital industry, with all having worked with or held leadership positions at brands like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Disney, Audi and Youtube to name a few. They come from both agency backgrounds as well as client side.”
It’s clear the founder of the digital creative agency understands that the power of any agency sits with the quality of its people:
“For example our COO, Gabby Hegerty, spent 20 years working in big corporations like Microsoft and Samsung before switching to the agency side. Having been the client to scores of agencies, she understands the unique challenges and needs of clients and helps to guide both parties on a successful client-agency relationship.Our Executive Creative Director Dan Sherratt has worked with many of the world’s leading brands driving industry-leading creative work, including Coca-cola, Universal and Goldman Sachs.”
Arguably the most interesting part of Safa’s company is that it is a digital creative agency for brands that want to have a positive, transformative effect on the world. Which is where the name “Poppins” comes from: Mary Poppins.
“We are a carer brand archetype with regards to our clients and our own impact on the world,” says Safa. “In equal parts, we are also a magician brand archetype, we are curious and excited, always looking to deliver surprise and delight moments for our clients.”
Having launched in the middle of a pandemic, the founding team has managed to create real magic by turning challenges into opportunities through passion, creativity and unrivaled expertise and resilience. Poppins is still in its infancy, but has managed to exceed expectations in terms of new business. They’ve brought in new clients and new staff members almost every month since the company started and are working with a prolific set of clients ranging from fast- growth startups to some of the world’s leading international brands – it’s safe to say that this is a company to watch!