Andy Macaulay and Glen Hunt spent decades building brands, and now the pair are working together to build businesses with the launch of a new workplace consultancy, The Optimalists.
The pair started in advertising in the ’80s, and became well-known industry leaders over the next two decades. Macaulay helped build Roche Macaulay into a top agency before starting Zig, while Hunt became known as a top writer and creative director, with CD roles at Roche Macaulay (where the two first met), Ammirati Puris Lintas, Bensimon Byrne, Dentsu, and Cossette.
But the focus for The Optimalists goes beyond advertising to any of the country’s approximately 1.2 million small to mid-size businesses. “That’s about 97% of the businesses in Canada,” said Macaulay.
Their goal is to drive client growth by helping business leaders “un-waste” their people—and themselves—through better alignment. That starts with total clarity on purpose and beliefs, and then aligning systems and actions so that “everything works as one.”
While there is no shortage of business consultancies making similar kinds of promises, Macaulay and Hunt said that—aside from their SME focus—their company is different in a few key ways.
First, is their unique combination of skills and experience, which come from years building advertising businesses of their own. “From running agencies, we developed empathy as leaders of a small medium enterprise and the associated pressures,” said Hunt.
But as ad agency execs, they’ve also spent decades studying the inner workings of their clients—all kinds and in all categories.
“Glen and I have spent our professional lives peering into hundreds of different kinds of businesses, to help them to realize what’s special about them and capitalize on that,” said Macaulay. “We were able to get insight into multiple categories and the associated issues they face, versus a narrow perspective on a singular vertical,” added Hunt.
Success today depends upon the calibre of the people working at a business and creating an environment that enables them to do and be their best, regardless of the nature of the business, said Macaulay.
“It really starts with understanding why the business exists in the first place, what its ambitions are, and making sure that everything is lined up to deliver on those ambitions.”
The partners have also assembled a collective of Optimalist experts possessing a range of skillsets—from design and communications, to strategy and even pop culture—that can be called upon to contribute to projects on an as-needed basis.
“It’s a collective of people, each on their own is incredibly powerful,” said Hunt. “Collectively together they can do more than they could ever do individually.”
Optimalism is a belief that things can always be better, said Hunt. “An optimalist makes that happen. And as much as we’re called The Optimalists… we’re really talking to leaders who are optimalists at their core. We’re looking to find ways to un-waste time, effort, energy, money, human resources and themselves, and then really unleash sustainable growth.”