Friday, October 30, 2009

Sometimes it is all worth it

The creative process is not easy. It is not just sitting down and this inspiration comes over you – voila a masterpiece. For design it is even more difficult. Art is very personal and meant for contemplation. Design is meant to be useful and to communicate. Designers must constantly remember that their goal is to meet the client’s needs. So often you are convinced that it is the perfect design, the president walks in to see it (after being approved by the marketing department), one hour from the media dead line, and the president hates it. For those not in marketing and advertisement, this scenario may not seem real – Believe me it is real!
Then you have yesterday. Having worked several weeks, and many long brainstorming sessions, we completed the concept phase of a totally new marketing and advertising approach for a national bio-mass energy company. The concepts were somewhat “edgy” but would be very effective. We went in, presented the 10 different communications channels that would be designed. There was silence in the room (oh boy that must have been a bomb, we were thinking). The chairman looked up with the biggest smile on his face and said “Love it – different and that is what we need”! It is moments like this that makes our industry truly enjoyable and satisfying.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Always Keep Them Surprised!

We are working with one of our clients on a major re-launch of their system of web sites (actually 5 different sites supporting each other). Over the past couple of years we have developed a strong sense of trust and respect for each other.

In large projects like this, sound business practice is to not find yourself in the erroneous belief that whatever the client asks for you perform the work for free. “Out of spec” merits engineering change orders. But you can also fall into the trap of “nickel and diming” the client to death. Balancing these two extremes is important but at times difficult. The more we respect our clients and they respect the studios, the easier it is to find the right balance. Both each have to be fair – and in today’s economy fairness often times goes out the window.

With all this said the done, we at the studio constantly remind ourselves that our success has been and will continue to be built on “always striving to exceed client expectation”. This mantra can be heard in the truly successful studios and agencies

Thursday, October 22, 2009

If it helps – think of it as a bird’s nest!

As we work with our clients to establish channels of communications for advertising and marketing, social media always comes up. Yes, everywhere you turn there is some start-up offering a free seminar in social media and how they use it.

Many clients when first exposed to social media channels, either have a blank look or an expression of “I dare you to try that craziness here”. Such reactions usually come from the baby-boomer age cohort. As a baby-boomer, I fully understand. On the surface, it makes no sense. It is one of those things, the game-crazed younger people do. Within the studio, I was the last to have a “FaceBook” account. The real story is: one lunch time when I was out of the studio, Studio Guy et al set up my FaceBook link.

This was my mindset until I heard the following story:

Often times we see birds with twigs, strings, and pieces of trash in their beaks. How often we would ask “What will they use that “crap” for? Until we see the beautiful nest they build. That is exactly the same with social media. Maybe that is why they call some postings “tweets” in Twitter!

Every time there is some type of social media posting about your company/organization, it adds to building your nest. So my advice to you who are still resisting trying these communications channels, is the same advice I got from others at the studio – “Get over it and just do it”! Go “tweet”.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

You just cannot get around it!

We believe in the power of a brand and that branding is one of the most important assets an organization possesses. Every organization needs a brand. So often, we find organizations having survived their first five years of start-up, having built no name recognition or client loyalty - just two of the benefits of branding. We repeatedly remind clients going through the brand development process that their brand is more than just an icon or graphic, so much more than just a logo.

Creating your brand elements should be the result of a process. If not the results are personal opinions. Even worst, they just concentrate on a graphic element and actually get lost in the design. They quickly move from design to art. The process gets thrown out of the window. Branding degenerates into what family and friends like – so much for what will work in the market.

I have come to the conclusion that even though everyone needs a brand and should be branding, some organizations and/or founders are just ready for a brand. We have actually included interviewing and screening prospects, who are interested in branding as part of our marketing processes. Both process and product are required for success. Some people are just not ready or understand that principle.