1. Working indoors all day doesn’t have to be boring. If you look around our offices you can clearly see the creativity splashed across our office walls. On that note, this office is a second close in terms of creative and inspirational workspace. http://www.blessthisstuff.com/stuff/living/misc-living/tetra-shed-garden-office/
2. Sometimes technology is completely awesome, but it can also be little scary. For instance, when you watch two three year olds at a diner silently playing on iPads instead of coloring on placemats or organizing the sugar packets; well, that’s just upsetting. This photo project “Toy Stories” by Gabriel Galemberti shows that we have nothing to fear. Kids across the globe still treasure the simple old fashioned pleasures in life. http://thewondrous.com/italian-photographer-compiles-photos-of-children-from-around-the-world-with-their-prized-possessions-for-his-project-toy-stories/
3. Last week we showed you a creative guy who got hired off a billboard. This week we’ll show you the interesting direction resumes are headed. http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/the-how-to-craft-the-perfect-modern-social-resume-infographic
4. Companies have been pranking their customers on April Fool’s for quite sometime. (Taco Bell did a great one in 1996, in which they claimed to purchase the Liberty Bell). Google is pretty famous for their yearly pranks, but this year got a little rough. While pretending to shut down youtube.com, they reminded google reader devotees that they really were shutting down their google reader. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/01/youtube-google-reader_n_2992832.html?ir=Technology I guess not every prank goes as planned.
5. Finally, Happy 40th Birthday Cell Phone! Yikes, we’re all getting old.
Love it or hate, we all exist in a culture that interacts with technology on a massive level every day, and that technology is a dynamic force for consumerism. There is absolutely no indication that this is going anywhere.
These are all enormous understatements.
Here’s another enormous understatement: In order to keep up, we advertisers need to stay current on technology.
That’s fine, but It’s so much more than that.
Because we exist in a world so commonly referred to as “Instant” consumers need to be seeing results faster, and behind the scenes advertisers need to be creating those results faster.
Our ideas need to be spot on because advertising is more engaging than ever, consumers have the option to interact with brands and promote only the things they love, while completely ignoring the things that don’t impress them. In addition to this instant pressure to impress, it’s got to get done fast.
Google explains how it’s possible in their project about Agile Creativity. We like to think Echo-Factory utilizes the model pretty well.
The brains behind the project explain, “The technology industry teaches us that we need to be ready to fail fast. It’s better to know what doesn’t work quickly and cheaply rather than invest time and resources on concepts that won’t deliver results.”
In other words, get to work, don’t worry about finalizing every piece of the project before moving forward, and have as many minds on it as possible. The premise for agile creativity is that the project evolves as it’s built.
In the early days of advertising, agencies had a copywriter write copy, a designer design ads, and a creative director give the green light. It was a domino effect toward completion. Each moment was completed before the next moment could begin. Google Agile presents the idea that no project should be so rigid. In fact, the method embraces flexibility and constant change through repetition. Each project has a diverse set of minds on every facet; techies, writers, designers, administrators can brainstorm as valuable voices.
Knock down those occupation title walls and collaborate. There needs to be more teamwork, especially between the artists and programmers.
One might ask, “With so much speed and so many people how is the process not just one huge chaotic mess?” Well, projects are broken down into stories, and those stories are realized by small teams.
Each team member brings their unique skill to a project and the collaboration happens early in the process rather than in a step-by-step or tier fashion. The process is organized with an objective in mind, and that objective has a narrow time limit.
After the teams come up with ideas they test them out, discover what can be improved and make changes, then they do that again and again until it all works like a well oiled machine.
Google offers these Tips for Agile Creativity:
Collaborate (And Listen, Vanilla Ice anyone?)
“A culture of collaboration promotes agility. Because inspiration today occurs at the intersection of the advertising disciplines, agencies are re-imagining the way teams are structured and operate.”
Get team members and clients in the same space instead of separated by cubicle walls.
Add some techies to the creative team. People outside of the creative can offer outside perspectives.
Develop T-Shaped talent by hiring/growing problem solving employees that are highly skilled in at least one area and highly collaborative.
Echo-Factory is made up of some awesome minds. That’s why we’re really big on combining all of the talent we have for each project across all mediums. When a copywriter hits a wall, a designer can always come up with some sort of pun that works perfectly for a postcard. It’s not unheard of for a member of the administrative team to fly in to a designer’s rescue with a logo that gives a whole new life to a project.
Utilize an “MVB”
“The concept of a Minimum Viable Brief is mirrored from tech companies that quickly build a “Minimum Viable Product,” with only the features needed to make it functional enough for real-world testing. The MVB covers as much as it needs to for creatives to get cooking, and can be built in a day.”
Find out real-time consumer trends that are relevant to the project.
Learn what’s relevant to your brand online.
Get face to face with consumers during project conception.
When we start a project we often begin by sending out a survey to current and potential customers of our client. This helps us figure out what is relevant to the consumer and helps us build a brand quickly that applies. Tracking the data ensures that what we put together fits what our client’s customers expect. We never want to miss the mark on what a target audience wants from a service.
Have a “Hackathon”
“Hackathons are day-long events where technologists quickly crank out ideas and build software. Agencies can model after these compressed timelines to foster creativity and get ideas out the door.”
Put half a day aside that schedules time for coming up with ideas and testing them out.
Create an agenda that boils everything down to a simple skeleton of everything that needs to be done quickly.
During the Hackathons at Echo-Factory, we put ourselves through a sort of boot camp of creating, designing and programing. The ideas become more realized as we go, and as each concept filters out we get closer to a final working piece. In just half a day we can produce several outlines and weed out strengths and weaknesses for each one. This gets it all on the table and toward finished product with speed.
“A product constantly evolves with fast and flexible responses to feedback. Agencies can collapse the creative process: rapidly building out executions in tangible form, testing them and optimizing early and often to get to the best version.”
Get to the “build” of a project quickly by moving between idea to experiment. Launch prototypes that aren’t completely finished to measure marketability.
Keep it in check by using online tools that allow feedback and consider what you’ve learned when you re-launch the finished product.
To test our client’s marketability we use SEO/PPC campaigns, this allows us to get feedback about the success of any of our launches. After data is collected it’s easy for us to adjust the campaign accordingly, and utilize any back up plans we’ve previously created.
For each project we come up with at least three concepts that offer a variety of media outlets, that way there is never any danger of finding out something doesn’t work, and we don’t have a back up plan ready to go. If our first prototype isn’t ideal we’ve got a binder full of more options to test out.
Beta Test with Clients
“Agencies can beta test agility by openly partnering with certain clients on pilot projects, working together to evolve to a better process.”
Make a plan and team that fits with the client and interrogate the objective with the whole group before beginning a project.
Agree on terms. Expect and plan for failure, flexibility and evolution then learn from it.
It’s completely normal for us to bring in more than just a client’s decision maker as we work through the creative process. We often bring in the client’s entire team. We think the more minds on a project the better. It also makes it easy for our clients to understand that we’re going to come up with a plethora of ideas, some will work and some won’t, In the history of Echo-Factory, there has never been a project where our first idea was perfect and it stayed the same from beginning to end. Flexibility is key on both ends.
Staying on the cutting edge of advertising is no easy task, as it is constantly changing and morphing, not only with consumer trends, but technology as well.
But truth be told, that’s what’s great about advertising. Every day is a new opportunity to learn, create and revise. Each project gives us a chance to become experts on something people are passionate about. Yeah, we love our jobs.
If you’re hungry for more, you can read on about Google Agile Creativity here: http://www.google.com/think/articles/lean-communication.html
1.This place runs on coffee. So, it’s no surprise that when coffee pairs up with design we’re salivating. http://www.incrediblethings.com/lists/incredible-coffee-maker-designs/
2. In the job market today, you’ve got to sell yourself. Sending a resume in through craigslist is a slim chance at nothing. This guy spent the last of his money on a “Hire Me!” billboard”: http://www.carbonated.tv/lifestyle/unemployed-but-smart-man-spends-all-his-money-money-to-make-his-own-billboard Sixty job offers later, he’s happily employed.
3. To be successful in an advertising agency you’ve got to collaborate. These musicians all offer their unique talents and let you pick the sounds, adjust the volume and let them know when to come in. It’s quite the group effort. http://wwww.inbflat.net/
4. Clever packaging is a great way to get a customer’s attention. Now it’s also a great way to get much needed medicine to people in far away lands. http://www.wired.com/design/2013/03/colalife-piggybacks-on-coke/
5.Our copywriters write all day, and then when they’re done, sometimes, they write on their free time. It’s not much of a leap between copywriting and creative writing; it’s all about good story telling. These tips work across all types of writing. Plus, they’re from someone we really look up to. http://www.openculture.com/2013/02/seven_tips_from_ernest_hemingway_on_how_to_write_fiction.html/
The old adage, “actions speak louder than words” is never more true than in the world of advertising. Except rather than actions, we use visualization. As a designer, it is my constant challenge to tell the client’s story visually first and then use words when necessary.
Why is this important? It’s important because narrative is what people hold onto. The words should only reinforce the story, not carry it.
When I was in college, I took a film class called “The Art of Visual Storytelling.” Can you guess what the first assignment was? We had to tell a story visually and without dialogue. Imagine the dismay of all the aspiring auteurs who were just bursting with the chance to impress everyone with their mad writing skills. All of our outrage quickly turned into epiphany when we quickly learned that’s not what we were there for. We had chosen filmmaking as a medium, and we needed to be able to use it effectively, even in its rawest form. It forced our cameras to show what needed to be said; it forced us to push our actors to really portray what our audience needed to feel; it forced us to focus on the purest form of the story without getting confused by the unnecessary details. Everything we put in front of the lens needed to have real meaning. After that first assignment we were allowed to use dialogue, but at that point, it was just a luxury.
Now let’s take design and apply it to yet another old cliché, “seeing is believing.” People have a very difficult time buying into something they cannot see, that includes your brand. You may have “WE’RE THE BEST. EVERYONE ELSE SUCKS.” posted on all your sales materials, but if you haven’t shown anything to actually make customers like and trust you, then it’s not going to be believable. I know that’s a bit of an extreme example, so think of it this way: what’s your current favorite automotive spot? I’m almost positive that you just recalled a heart warming or hilarious narrative rather than a list of manufacturing details and company accolades, right?
In 2007, The American Association of Advertising Agencies conducted a study to measure emotional responses to television advertising and guess what they discovered. Consumers connect better with ads that evoke an emotional response rather than product focused advertising.
At this point it might sound like I am a copy nay-sayer or a design prude. That’s not the case. Copy is important to advertising; Lord knows, I couldn’t do my job without our excellent copywriters. What I’m talking about is a client who gets so distracted by the words on the page doing all the work, that they sabotage the greater picture. I am actually a big fan of purely typographic design. It works great when the words are resonating and supporting the emotional story being told; NOT when it gives a very dry and literal play-by-play of everything the company has ever succeeded at.
So you might now be thinking, “that’s all well and good, but how do I apply this to my brand?” The answer is one simple story at a time. Just like you, your brand is a complicated entity with many facets to its personality. In just the same way you’d never unload your entire life history on someone you are just getting to know, your brand shouldn’t either. Also, don’t be afraid to show a vulnerable side. We all like to be seen in a good light, but no one is perfect and neither is your company. Showing a little humanity can go a long way towards building trust with your customers.
Just like in traditional story telling, designing a brand story is an art form and will take time and patience. Here are a couple elements to keep in mind while designing yours:
Tone: every story has a specific tone or mood that draws a specific type of consumer. You don’t rent a thrasher movie if you’re in the mood for something funny and light-hearted. Give your brand a tone (friendly, professional, caring…) and don’t stray from it.
Composition: this is kind of where I come in. As a designer, composition is my go-to tool for helping a story make sense. Without a well thought out structure, a story can quickly fall apart and become confusing.
Keeping these tips in mind, your brand story will become a story of success and you will be living happily ever after in no time.
Each week we try and bring you a little sampling of all the interesting things going around Echo-Factory.
1. Fans of Seurat, Chuck Close and Mail Boxes Etc. can rejoice. These pieces of art are made from bubble wrap injected with paint. http://www.123inspiration.com/photorealistic-pictures-made-from-bubble-wrap-injected-with-paint/
2. Our team really knows how to make an ad work. There is a specific balance we’re always looking to achieve. Check out how these artists make use of negative space in their work. http://blog.insightsoft.ae/22-artworks-with-clever-use-of-negative-space/ Well done!
3. We create lots of things at Echo-Factory, including business cards for our clients. Here are ten things we always keep in mind. http://www.themost10.com/tips-designing-effective-business-card/
4. Be careful everybody, your guilty pleasures are about to be exposed. http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/03/netflix-social-shares-your-horrible-taste-in-movies-with-friends/ Yeah, and we’re not buying someone else on your account was watching Beethoven for the third time.
5. Today is National Goof Off Day. So, to celebrate here is a time waster: http://new.weavesilk.com/ Please, our gift to you.