Chris and Terri met in NYC in September of 2002. Chris was working on an interior design project for an upmarket nightclub and Terri was launching a South African jewellery brand at New York Fashion Week. After a much needed a break from it all, they both opted to get some chill out time at the Hudson Library Bar in uptown NYC.
The chance meeting was an instant, magical chemistry. They talked design and all things creative for hours, explored uptown, downtown and just about every nook and cranny of the bustling city. Of course the fun was endless, the adventures boundless and it was not long before they fell crazy in love.
One evening, over some delicious take-out noodles in the middle of China Town NYC, Chris and Terri, frustrated with their current job situations, decided to take a risk and embark on a new journey together. With Chris’ background in 3D design, architecture, fine art, sculpture and conceptual thinking and Terri’s abundant talent in branding, design, marketing and communications – a formidable creative team was born.
They decided to pack in their jobs and start a unique boutique creative agency. Chris made the bold move to relocate from the UK to South Africa and Terri handed in her resignation as Design Director of TBWA Gavin Reddy South Africa.
Some agencies are born from personal ambition, some are the product of frustration, and some are created to exploit a niche in the market. Chris and Terri’s new agency, Visual Intelligence, was created out of the belief that there was a different and better approach to branding and communication – an approach and a business model where clients could benefit from top brain creativity without the premium price tags of the super agencies.
From humble beginnings, working from home with one machine in the spare bedroom, Visual Intelligence grew from a small partnership into a highly sought after boutique communications agency. Soon there two machines, then three, then they had to staff up and were 10, then it was time to expand.
New offices, new clients, new exciting projects and they were working with wonderful people and companies from all walks of life and all corners of the world. After 10 years of success an opportunity surfaced for Chris and Terri to establish new roots in Portugal to work with blue-chip clients in Europe and Africa.
At the end of March, 2008, with no inch of shipping container space unfilled, it was ‘good bye’ to the hustle and bustle of Sandton and ‘ola’ to the incredible beauty and tranquillity of the Western Algarve coastline, overlooking the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
Chris and Terri soon found their feet, adapted to the new culture and were on their way to a new journey in Europe. Unfortunately, the economic crisis of 2008 had an almost catastrophic impact on Europe, especially on Southern European countries. Quickly understanding that the Western Algarve was not a sustainable option for business, Chris and Terri packed the container once small and made the sensible move to Lisbon in 2011.
In considering the economic state of affairs, Chris and Terri adopted an outside-in strategy for their European agency, Brand Republica. Keeping with their original business model, they offer creative communication solutions to local businesses targeting English speaking countries like the UK, USA, South Africa and Australia.
They also outsource their creative ideas and expertise in branding to agencies worldwide – collaborating on projects of all shapes and sizes.
After 10 years of hard work doing business globally and in Europe, the development of Brexit – meaning that businesses in the UK are eager to move to Europe and being strategically located in Lisbon, has presented Chris and Terri’s Brand Republica with a wonderful opportunity to be feet on the ground for any global entity wanting to enter the European market or to simply do business in Europe.
On all their projects, Chris and Terri fuse the visual with the intelligent to produce strategic answers with character and depth, tailored to the specific needs and demands of clients and their markets. This is true whether they’re developing fresh, new promotions for a start-up business, re-energizing advertising for an established concern, or building the solid brand foundation their clients have come to believe in.
They don’t believe in promises, only results. Results are far better. In every industry, for every client, they focus on producing a tangible and quantifiable return on investment, whether that is increased revenue, awareness, equity, or all of the above. Their goal is to create strategically sound solutions that creatively meet your needs and maximizes your return... bottom line.
They understand business. But most importantly they understand the business of good design and communication in turbulent economic times.
Design for design's sake does not concern them. Making a difference does. Solving problems is what they do best - listening, getting to the heart of a problem and developing effective communication solutions that surprise and excite in equal measure. So from Chris and Terri, you can expect daring, customer-centric tactical solutions that go beyond the tired media-planning-software-generated templates, that traditional agencies cling to.
Chris and Terri believe that there is a difference between communication and persuasion, between striking a chord and having it resonate. They also understand the value and power of the Big Idea - and the difference it can make to a business, large or small, when correctly executed. From small art projects to multinational brand identities, each and every project is treated individually and afforded the same care and attention.
Who would have thought that a chance meeting in NYC between a Portuguese South African girl and a Liverpool lad, with their team of collaborating partners that span the globe (from photographers, to copywriters, to magic filmmakers and even a whacky professor of social sciences, et al), would come together to build this unique team’s dream. It seems that after 15 years together on the front line of creativity, Chris and Terri’s commitment to what they started a decade and a half ago, has paid off.
Chris and Terri eat, breathe and sleep ideas, passion and experience. Every day they make a point of making a difference and that is what makes collaborating or working with them exciting, fresh and inspiring.