More than meets the eye: good design with NHO

Working from Melbourne and with a satellite operation in New York, NHO is a brand strategy and marketing agency with an eye for design that looks good and does a world of good too.

The NHO team believe that design has a purpose beyond simply looking pretty. When done mindfully it can also uplift people and our planet. They understand that design has a subtle but significant influence on the way we live our lives at home and at work. 

This is why NHO relishes developing brand, marketing and communication strategies for like-minded clients; leading architects, designers and creatives across the design spectrum. This is a team that gets excited by people who do things differently. Why bother doing things the way they’ve always been done? We couldn’t agree more – no wonder they’re a B Corp!

We’d argue that there might only be one thing the NHO team love more than design, and that’s humanity. Their workplace culture is one that has been intentionally curated to celebrate and elevate each team member personally and professionally. Employees enjoy flexible working arrangements, ongoing professional development, and cultural experiences that centre around building connection with community.

They also support a range of impact-focused design events both home and away such as ‘The Charity Project’ and ‘The ArchitectureAU Award for Social Impact’, further encouraging others in the field to embed positive impact into their work.

To learn more, we chatted with the NHO team about collaboration for good, the power of human and planet centred design, and their advice for anyone ready to embark on their own B Corp journey.

A set of cream drawers with a wooden sculpture and books on top

Image: NHO

Tell us a bit about NHO and what your agency does?

Hi there. Thank you for having us. NHO is a brand strategy and marketing agency distinguished by our ‘innate value of design’. We have an ambitious and self-appointed vision for elevating the value of design and its potential for positive impact. To achieve this we pursue collaboration with likeminded businesses that seek to grow through “a definitive understanding of brand and a strategic approach to marketing and communications”. We love working with those in the built environment of interior design, architecture and property, but also with brands, businesses and individuals that express design in more nuanced ways, such as in retail, hospitality and culture. 

You speak about wanting NHO to be a place that embraces different or innovative ideas – where ‘this is how we’ve always done things’ is a phrase never uttered! With this ethos in mind, why was it important to you to certify as a B Corp?

We have always sought to support the objectives of likeminded clients; those who share our value of design, commitment to people, and respect for place. This certification is a framework that allows us to do just that. Never denying that we are a commercial enterprise – a business that exists to generate profit – however, committing to also be a force for good, proving that purpose and profit are not mutually exclusive. We have a wide network of clients, peers, and collaborators, and we embrace this with a sense of responsibility and advocacy. We’re committed to sharing our experience with our community, and hope to inspire others to join the movement.

Some design books laying on a cream carpet, displaying NHO's creative process

Image: NHO

You collaborate with a wide variety of like-minded clients in the design space across various industries. But within the NHO walls, how do you approach ‘doing good’ on a day-to-day bases as a business?

As a business, we acknowledge and recognise our position of both influence and impact. Being a Certified B Corporation provides a framework that allows us to harness that position for good. From policies that ensure a safe and inclusive workplace, to measuring stakeholder satisfaction, to ensuring there are ethical and sustainable supplies in the stationery cupboard – no stone is left unturned. 

However, this is just the beginning. Given recertification takes place every three years, over this time we will be striving to inch the needle forward, ever improving, evolving, and growing.

B Corps want to help transform our economy. If you could ask every business to make one commitment for a better future what would it be?

There are so many, however ultimately committing to ‘Mission Lock’ – the constitutional amendment required to become a B Corp in Australia – is the most powerful, marrying purpose with profit at the most fundamental of levels. Imagine a world where every business made this commitment.

Five pinned images on a black background, displaying NHO's creative process

Image: NHO

Do you have any tips for aspiring B Corps about the certification process?

Rather than having one person in the business drive the process, share responsibilities amongst the team. Not only does this make the submission workload more manageable, it educates and inspires a wider cohort who will themselves become internal champions for the movement. Employing the services of a B Consultant to guide you through the process is also invaluable. 

A big thank you to NHO for taking the time to share its journey with us. To find out more and explore their offering visit: NHO Agency