In an age when companies around the world pay huge lip service to doing something positive, it’s a welcome relief to see one that does things properly. Newcastle-based Guts Creative is a living example that doing good can be good for business.

Kara Sullivan

Guts began life seven years ago when Kara Sullivan saw that her marketing and branding skills could be put to better use. Starting her professional career working for an international haircare brand before moving into agency life, Kara reflected on her career and saw she had to forge her own path.

She said, “Guts started in 2015. I was on maternity leave with my first son and I decided I wanted to use strategy not just to sell more stuff, but to do good. So I started Guts.”

“Guts is a purpose driven branding consultancy. We exist to change the world and it takes courage to do it, hence the name! We work on projects that are making a positive difference in health, education, environment, STEM, arts and community.”


On their first ever project, Guts worked with local animators to create the music video for Daniel Johns’ Going on 16 as a way to promote the University of Newcastle and their Newcastle International Animation Festival.

Kara said, “We contacted Daniel Johns’ management and convinced them to let us animate a music video. We filmed him at his house and then broke the video up into frames and ran a competition for students and local animators to animate it. They each got 50 or so frames to hand draw.”

“We mashed it all together and the result blew our minds. It showed there is so much incredible local creative talent, it ended up on Rage and on The Today Show. It was a really exciting way to start Guts with a bang!”

A good start indeed – one project in and Guts won its first plaudits in the 2015 NEWi Awards for Digital Creativity. More awards, nominations and shortlists from the Mumbrella awards and AMI awards would soon follow.

Daniel Johns

From then, Guts has gone from strength to strength under Kara’s leadership and the talented Guts team of research and brand strategy experts. Working with some of the top names in the Hunter region – including Newcastle Airport, City of Newcastle, Hunter Water, Ampcontrol, Hunter New England Health and the University of Newcastle – the Guts team is building a reputation that is spreading far and wide.

She said, “Our vision is to be the leading brand strategy agency in Australia for brands that want to do good. Pushing statewide and national to help clients make an even bigger difference.”

“We love working with CSIRO and this year we’ve started working with NSW Gov, NSW Health and some more national clients. It’s exciting to be spreading our wings further.”

Hunter Water

“We’re doing more of the work we love too. We just completed a full re-brand for MJC, a school for at-risk kids. It was such a feel-good project. They used our full offering: research, brand strategy, visual ID, a launch campaign. Seeing the brand and values whole-heartedly embraced by the students and staff at the launch was a reminder of why I started Guts.”

“I’m inspired by my awesome Guts team every week and I feel very lucky to work alongside them to help clients walk the talk when it comes to purpose.”

MJC Billboard

Of course, The Roost has played an important part in Guts’ huge success. Kara and her team joined in 2017 and have reaped the benefits since. Moving from hotdeskers to full-time members, Kara has made The Roost her base as she pushes forward. As well as the opportunity for working with talented designers, writers, illustrators and photographers, what’s impressed Kara the most is the big hearted community.

She said, “The Roost is awesome. There’s two really great things, they’re related. The people at The Roost are such good people. Better people than I could ever be and, so, by comparison, it makes you feel like an average human, but it’s a good thing! It inspires you to do more and to give back and contribute and be a good person. Everyone here is just lovely.”

“And you know when you work in a company and you don’t get to choose the people you work with and sometimes they’re very different to you? The Roost is not like that at all. When you see people from The Roost outside of work, it’s awesome. I love bumping into my co-workers because they’re, fun creative people and so great to be around.”

“And they’re all very big fans of karaoke so that’s a massive plus.”

To find out more about Kara and Guts, visit the Guts Creative website.