Interview with Étage | United States

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Étage is a creative strategy agency that transforms big ideas into world-changing experiences. Guided by the name's French meaning of "a higher level," they engage with leaders around the world to elevate ideas into impact through events, media, and branding.

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your creative background.
Étage is a creative strategy agency that engages with leaders around the world, across all industries, to shift perceptions and inspire meaningful change - from the boardroom to the ballroom.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a creative?
Our passion for crafting compelling media and stage productions is driven by the profound influence of storytelling. We believe in the power of narrative to shape perspectives, behaviors, and connections in society.
3To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?
For Étage, creativity means changing the world. We believe in bringing more technology to humanity, and more humanity to technology. Additionally, we do this for corporations, non-profits, academic institutions, and startups, by pairing creativity with strategy to inspire meaningful change.
4Tell us about your creative and/or design process.

For us, a successful creative idea or design has the following elements:

1) Messaging that is evocative when appropriate and pushes the limits of possible to inspire new ideas.

2) Graphics design that is intriguing, different, beautiful, and inviting.

3) Work that is purpose-driven, impact-oriented, and promotes the greater good.

5What's your favorite part of the creative process and why?
Our creative process is iterative and collaborative. It begins with a thorough understanding of where we can be most helpful, followed by a phase of creative exploration where diverse ideas are developed. Through the process we continually look to identify “the shift” - the moment where we can take the expected and turn it into the unexpected and reveal a new way to tell a story that will resonate with audiences and change the way they think.
6Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.
Our inventive, captivating, reliable style results in work known for seamlessly integrating interesting stories with thought-provoking, actionable messages.
7Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your creativity process?
Creativity is both geographically specific and globally influenced. Our cultural heritage in the United States shapes our initial perspective of the world around us, how things work, and what we are accustomed to. However, creativity comes from the intersection of the known, the learned, and the unknown. The global influence of culture, story, perspective, process, and challenges shapes our every day and reminds us to not rely on the status quo but to look beyond what we’re comfortable with to make the most impactful work.
8Congratulations! As the winner of the 2024 MUSE Creative Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
Thank you! Receiving this award is an honor. It’s gratifying and uplifting knowing that our work resonates with our peers and contributes positively to the collective creative landscape.
9What was the biggest challenge with this project?
We often face constraints from our clients such as budget, timeline, and availability; it's all part of agency life. We take pride in our ability to navigate these challenges, delivering work that elevates our clients to their teams, their customers, and beyond.
10How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
Winning this award demonstrates that our peers support our mission and the approach we are taking to achieve it. Any award received is validation from our peers of work well done, but it is also an inspiration to keep moving forward and not rest at comfort.
11What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
Our top three favorite aspects of our industry are the inspiring community that pushes us to achieve more, the limitless creativity it encourages, and the collaboration that we see across specialties and bodies of work.
12What makes your country specifically, unique in the creative industry?
The United States stands out in the creative industry due to its diversity. We are in a melting pot of cultural influences. Our environment fuels innovation and offers us a spectrum of perspectives, enabling collaboration across the country and around the world.
13Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?
Looking ahead, we see the creative industry increasingly leveraging advanced technologies to enhance our human creativity. The rise of AI creates an unknown in today’s creative world; however, we look to the future as an opportunity to amplify our abilities with the integration of technology and increase creativity and productivity. The ingenuity of the human spirit cannot be replaced, but we may have the opportunity to amplify it to a whole new spectrum that we don’t have the understanding to fully describe at this point.
14If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
Dive deeply into the core of what you're passionate about. The industry thrives on innovation and bold ideas. Don't just satisfy the brief—expand it. Imagine larger, push boundaries further, and always ask, "What else can this become?" Your work should answer questions and also provoke new ones.
15What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?
Prioritize critical thinking by seeking diverse perspectives, staying informed about industry trends, and promoting collaboration to develop innovative and effective strategies.
16Who has inspired you in your life and why?
Our CEO, Sophia Larroque, radiates optimism and possibility. With her resounding "yes" to any and all challenges along with her boundless belief in our team's potential, she ignites our creativity and drive to turn every project into gold. Sophia's empowering leadership is defined by her relentless pursuit of excellence and positive change in the world.
17What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Our key to success lies in our relentless pursuit of meaningful change. We aim to transform societal perceptions. There is always work to be done; the world is full of challenges that need creative solutions. Stay curious, be empathetic, and never underestimate the power of a well-told story to inspire and move people to action.

Winning Entry

Étage - Small but Mighty | MUSE Creative Awards

Étage is a creative strategy agency that engages with thought leaders around the world, across all industries, to shift ... (read more here.)


Étage is a creative strategy agency that transforms big ideas into world-changing experiences. Guided by the name's French meaning of "a higher level," they engage with leaders around the world to elevate ideas into impact through events, media, and branding.

Read more about the interview with Jan Bais of Digital Renegades here.