As a Creative Director, Tobias has worked with some of the biggest brands from around the globe. We sat down to talk creativity, branding and learn how a recent collaboration with Peter from 4 Points completely changed the structure of PLUVO.

Tobias Black

Tell us about Pluvo and how you and Mark got started?
Pluvo is a Branding Agency that I started with my business partner Mark about five years ago. Before that, we were called Brandhouse and I was actually one of Mark’s first employees as a Graphic Designer when he was running his first agency. After three years working with him, I went travelling overseas and worked for agencies in London and the US. When I came home Mark approached me and wanted a business partner, so we started Pluvo.

You guys were one of the first members here in 2013 and have really helped to shape the culture. How was it for you, transitioning from your own office?
It changed everything, our mindset and attitude totally shifted. When we had our own space everything was so quiet. It was noisy when we were noisy, but it felt stale. The biggest change for us was probably the fact that, holy crap, we don’t have to do all these other things that would usually be part of a normal office like cleaning and maintenance. Things that were getting in the way of our creativity, were gone. Now it was about being creative, and we actually started to really enjoy the work again. We could talk to people who were excited about what they were doing and that made us feel excited again.

When people hear branding they think of logos. What’s the most important aspect of what you guys do?
Our job is to facilitate changes in perception and in business practice and we do this from a brand angle. We’re not just changing the perception of a business for the customer, or target audience, we’re actually changing the perception of the business internally as well. As a Brand Agency, we don’t just look at branding as a pretty picture, and create a great logo. A great brand strategy has to come from the business foundations – from the core of the offering. The true foundation of their business is what our clients want to pass on to their audience – we have to truly understand each business in order to correctly position each brand. CoSpaces actually helps us with this because there’s so many different businesses in here and we talk to them on a daily basis about their business issues, structure and goals.

One thing I find interesting about Pluvo is the way you have structured your business, and how that’s evolved over time. How did Peter from 4 Points help you?
Before we came here, we had ten people sitting at desks in the same place every day having the same experiences. If we didn’t keep those guys busy, we suffered, it required scheduling of every minute and maintaining all of the infrastructure associated with that. After a range of casual conversations with Peter we organised four brainstorming sessions and really took a hard look at what was and wasn’t working in our structure. From there, we made some strategic changes. It was a really positive process for us. The first fundamental change for us was that we started to incorporate floating desks and desks off site. We now use the CoSpaces office as our creative base to generate all of the ideas, strategies and ogranise our core assets.

Pluvo Creative Agency

Do you see that as a new model of doing business?
Yes. In order to do it, we went through a period where it was not an easy change. We had to change our mind about the way we have always operated. That’s hard. Like old habits ingrained in you. All of a sudden, we don’t have to manage ten desks sitting there in the one space, and it opened up a world of flexibility and also opportunity. We can now offer our services to more international clients instead of being constrained to the local market. For example, since our change in structure we’ve been working with global companies like Toshiba Medical, flying to L.A, Japan, US and Europe so its been exciting!

You just got back from Vienna right?
Yeah. We had to present our concepts to the President of Toshiba Medical in person. Because of changes to our setup and infrastructure, we’re now totally cloud based too which gives us network access and allows us to communicate with the people on the ground, here at CoSpaces, while we’re in the air flying over Europe. While we were in Vienna the international time zones actually became a positive, because I could brief something overnight and it would be ready for me in the morning. Those things were not even on our radar before. We were more concerned with local business, traditional business models like bricks and mortar. Now we’re open to working while traveling.

Okay. What’s next for Pluvo?
We’re just evolving. This model, being a small business in a co-sharing environment works well for creatives because creatives don’t follow a normal program. We work irregular hours and with lots of different people to achieve the best outcome. We also enjoy working with other agencies too. That part is really good because we are not driven by ego or competition anymore, its about doing something great together and it’s way more fun. What’s next for Pluvo is continuing coworking here and expanding our network with new projects, organising the right team for each job and just enjoying it.

Thanks for your time!
No worries, thank you.


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