Gavin Manley, Managing Director reveals to IIBN that CoolGraySeven is a boutique creative agency that specialises in branding, content generation and digital experiences. Operating across a wide range of industry sectors, we work with companies at all different stages of growth – from scrappy start-ups to well-known consumer brands and everything in between.

If you would like to contact Gavin, the email is Gavin is very active on LinkedIn or you can visit the CoolGraySeven website here

What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

As managing director, my ultimate responsibility is simply to ensure that our clients are happy with the work and that the creative solution we develop is in tune with the long-term business strategy for their brand.
The scope of my day-to-day responsibilities are pretty broad and include everything from strategy to copywriting, business development to operations, client service to financials.

What are your biggest challenges?
Keeping abreast of the ever-accelerating speed of change in digital marketing. It’s a landscape that is constantly shifting and what worked last year, or even last quarter may not yield the same results today. And yet, like everything there’s a plus side. For brands and marketers, the advances in technology have revealed new and exciting ways to capture the imagination of your consumer.

What advice would you give to small brands looking to make their mark?

Take the time to figure out your brand story, what makes your offering unique in the marketplace and how you plan to tell that story in a way that will resonate with your target audience. Defining an ownable brand strategy upfront helps to lay a solid platform for all marketing communications while building internal consensus around your vision for the brand.

What are some of your favorite Irish brands?
There are so many interesting Irish brands that have emerged in the past few years. Dingle Gin, and the skincare brand Dublin Herbalists are two that have a really clear and compelling brand story. I also love the idea behind Woolow, an innovative company from Galway that’s popularizing wool pillows again.

If you had to name one person who has left a lasting impression on you from a professional standpoint, who would it be?
My career began at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin where I was one of just two marketing executives and my boss during that time was an amazing woman called Bernadette O’Neill. An astute marketer and visionary with a wicked sense of humor and impeccable taste, I learned so much from Bernadette about the power of great design.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

It’s not earth-shattering by any means but an old boss used to say “you miss every shot you don’t take”. I was running new business development for a branding agency at the time and it stuck with me because it speaks to that special human quality of not giving up and dreaming big.

How has being Irish in New York helped or hindered you career?
More than anything else it’s been a huge help. The various Irish networking groups in this city and beyond are incredibly supportive to young people arriving on these shores. For me personally, the Irish Network NYC opened the door to many new opportunities and I’ve made fantastic friends along the way.

Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?

I think that over the past five years we’ve seen a trend whereby a lot of the new, digitally native brands are starting to look and feel very much the same – logos, visual identities, websites etc. that all look like they’ve come from the same place with minor variations. I would love to see more of these brands celebrate their unique personality and idiosyncrasies even if it eschews the so-called conventional “best practices” of design today.

What’s the best way to reach you?
I am very active on Linked In but can also be reached through email at

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