“We want to make a big push creatively over the next 12 to 18 months,” said Zulu president Mike Sutton. “Our goal as an agency has always been that we want to compete on the global stage. Part of it [was due to] organic growth, but part of it was a deliberate decision to invest above and beyond where we are right now.”
Zulu chief creative officer Zak Mroueh said, “We don’t see the competition as Canadian agencies. We see the competition as global agencies.”
That goal to become the best in the world was present when Mroueh founded the agency almost seven years ago. But back then, “My focus was building the business, getting the right clients and office space and building the right culture. Now it’s 6.5 years in, and now it’s about making that final push to become the world’s number one creative company.”
And, he said, “the only way we can achieve that is by investing and finding the right people.”
Of the 14 hires, eight were creatives, and five were account or media managers. Zulu also brought on Allen Oke as its new ECD; he left TBWA Toronto after a decade and spent the last three years as ECD.
Mroueh said, “It’s really important the type of person who works at Zulu. A hunger, passion and desire to be the best in their craft. Everyone we’ve hired has that desire. We look for that sparkle in the eyes. An excitement about life and curiosity.”
Expanding the team was a plan for two or three years, he said, but the agency had to be at the right stage in its life cycle. Over the past few weeks, “The right conditions happened with the right organic growth and the right opportunities. There [are] also a few projects in the pipeline that we can’t completely talk about right now that were also part of the reason.”