Q&A: Get to Know Native Foreign
by Jordan P. Kelley, Content Director, BrandStorytelling
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The leadership at Native Foreign, the award-winning creative agency telling authentic, design-elevated stories, pride themselves on taking a unique approach to their work that begins with their roots and extends to their clients. The woman-owned, diversity-oriented one-stop-shop is dedicated to providing storytelling solutions to a range of clients telling a wide variety of stories.
BrandStorytelling caught up with Co-Founders Rebecca Hamm and Nik Kleverov to discuss how their origins and ethos are foundational to everything they do:
How does the hybrid, multi-disciplinary model of Native Foreign contribute to better alignment of creative vision and cost efficiency?
The hybrid model ensures that the creative vision is consistently maintained from the concept phase through to execution. This integration reduces the need to outsource different components, streamlining the process and cutting down on costs associated with hiring multiple specialized agencies.
Can you explain your scaled approach to production and how it allows you to provide more for less to clients?
Of course! Being equipped to handle various aspects of a project, from strategy to production, allows Native Foreign to be more agile. With the entire process managed internally, there's better control over the budget. Costs can be more accurately predicted, managed, and optimized, as the team has a comprehensive view of the project from start to finish. We are also aware that the budgets of a startup are not the same of a Fortune100, so are able to scale appropriately.
Could you share more about the process of cross-collaboration, especially when pitching ideas to clients, and how it contributes to the creative output?
Communication tends to be more efficient in a hybrid model. With fewer external parties involved, there's less chance of miscommunication, which can often lead to delays and additional costs. With a team that understands multiple aspects of a project - from conceptualization to execution - the ideas presented are more comprehensive. This holistic approach ensures that creative concepts are not only imaginative but also practical and executable.
How do you leverage your backgrounds to explore new arenas and collaborations?
From a leadership perspective, Rebecca brings the ‘Native’ from her extensive brand and production expertise and Nik brings the ‘Foreign’ with dynamic visuals and his design background (earning an Emmy nod for his work on Netflix’s Narcos main title sequence). Nik is also an immigrant, of Ukrainian/Russian descent, and son of a famous nonconformist artist that was persecuted by the Soviet government.
How does Native Foreign actively seek and incorporate diverse voices and perspectives in its creative projects?
The latest addition to our leadership team, Kayshawn Wallace, hails from Boston MA and has an incredible passion for filmmaking. As our new Director of Business Development, he is able to talk the talk and walk the walk with our brand and agency partners due to his extensive knowledge of the production process. We are always looking for diverse voices to drive storytelling forward.
Can you highlight some recent projects that showcase the diversity of Native Foreign's offerings?
As seen in our 2023 highlight video, we’ve done everything from Netflix titles, to brand storytelling for OpenAI, to big commercial campaigns for Camping World and spots for STIR with Busy Philipps, and motion graphics & VFX for Brooks Running and Nike.
What do you think is the value of having an open-minded approach to how you work and who you work with as an agency?
Our positioning statement is “Your Story, Elevated by Design™” - so we always try to put our partners first and really help them tell their story in the best way. Every brand is different and there’s no “one size fits all.” Our chief core value is “We Care” - and we think it shows in the way that we overdeliver for our partners and stick with them to earn our 85% retention rate of repeat business. We also have a wide variety of verticals which is a testament to our team’s thirst for creative exploration!