Creative

 

When I was asked to think about my own professional development, I went all the way back to the beginning to evaluate my career thus far. It forced me to question the relationship between a marketing communications agency and their clients. And most importantly, the need to seek professional help.

Categorizing myself as a thinker not a doer, I have always had difficulty seeing things through to the finish line. I did fairly well in art school despite never completely finishing a project. My upbringing was a cautious one. It was drilled into me early on to focus on “what ifs” and potential pitfalls. It can be paralyzing. To paraphrase Simon Sinek, some are focused on the FREE bagels, and I was focusing on the long line ups.

Yesterday, I woke up stuck. I didn’t want to go to work because I had come up with an idea that I no longer believed in, because I thought it was impossible to execute. I also had no really good reason for thinking that. And I certainly can’t blame my mother. I was paralyzed by the fear of letting everyone down and for getting everyone excited about an idea that wouldn’t see the light of day.

But then something magical happened, when I collected myself and went to work. I spoke to a vendor regarding the possibility of this idea, and two important things happened. One, they got very excited. And two, they not only offered multiple solutions on how to make it come to life, but ways to make it better.

When I thought about it a little harder, I realized all of the best projects that have ever happened in my career were a result of some colleague, client or vendor saying, “I don’t know if this can be done, but we’re going to figure it out.” Scary shit, but exhilarating.

Our ideas are exponentially better when we surround ourselves with smarter people. People that are driven to make things better. The right combination of thinkers and doers creates the chemistry that can make us great.

So back to my professional development.

I need to surround myself with smart, caring people who love solving business problems with savvy marketing ideas. That’s what FKA is. The marketing landscape is changing right in front of us and there is no map. So oftentimes it’s important to run ahead and fall off the edge.

I want to learn more from everyone. What matters to them, and together how we can collectively make things great.

I realize now that collaboration is more critical than at any other time in my career. We need all of us. Including outside help. Our clients, vendors and partners are critical to all of our success. And as a vendor partner to our clients, we hopefully provide that outside perspective they need to feel better about what they’re doing and where they want to go. Clients will always find a way to be scared. Then we can be the ones who reassure them by saying, “We don’t know if it can be done, but we’ll figure it out.”

I woke up scared again today, but we’ll figure it out.

Welp, someone in our industry has potentially said something outrageous, and we at FKA are very here for it.

Last week, the CEO and CCO of Havas Creative North America, Paul Marobella and Jason Peterson, adorned their finest streetwear and perched in front of a large green-screen for the first of a series of agency-wide video updates. In it, they implore their creative teams to shift their paradigm from that of creative to creator. As Peterson, a man who almost definitely owns a Supreme Brick, brusquely puts it: Havas’ competition is “…kids with iPhones and millions of YouTube followers.” He also happens to call the agencies of Leo Burnett, BBDO and FCB “shitty.” Poop emojis and a farting effect are added for good measure, obviously.

Check out their video here.

As you can imagine, this hot take has stirred the proverbial pot, springing forward a range of thoughts and opinions. Do they have a point, Tim and Eric-esque production aside? Did they cross the line? Is the video just really…lame?

For FKA’s erudite musings on the video, listen to the first snippet from our upcoming podcast below! (No, that’s not a joke. We’re making a podcast.)

 

All Weather Windows (AWW) makes high quality, beautiful, durable doors and windows, and has been for the last 40 years. But this kind of work can seem seasonal, so a key question must be posed: How can you convince Albertans to remove and replace their doors and windows once the weather starts to turn?

AWW and their direct-to-consumer branch in Alberta All Weather Windows Renovations (AWWR) has been a client of FKA for over five years. In 2016 they posed this question to us with the challenge of helping help them boost sales during their fall window and door replacement campaign. Despite their renovation services team rarely needing more than a day to complete the work, Albertans are understandably nervous about removing their doors and/or windows during the chillier fall months. To make the task a little more complicated, AWW also wanted to target Edmonton and Calgary — two places that were hit hard by the economic downturn in 2015.

We realized that a great offer or financing rate likely wouldn’t be enough of a motivator with this combination of factors at play. So we chose a more powerful motivator than money: fear.

Working with Mediactive, we developed an integrated multimedia campaign that leveraged our collective disdain for (and fear of) winter in a fun way to generate leads for All Weather Windows Renovations.

We took an admittedly tongue-in-cheek approach that dramatized Albertans’ natural trepidation about the winter season. We made winter into an over-the-top foreboding force, and we added a limited time offer to spur “frightened” homeowners to action. This played really well on radio!

The radio was accompanied by direct mail that was sent specifically to neighbourhoods in Edmonton and Calgary where the majority of homes were built over 20 years ago, making them more likely to need window and door replacement. The creative featured an ominous path in a wintery wood and aligned visually with our melodramatic approach on radio.

The visual creative was also applied to digital display and paid social ads on Facebook. We used remarketing list targeting to push primed and interested homeowners further down the sales funnel. All of our tactics featured unique phone numbers and web addresses, ensuring that we were able to track results and optimize the campaign in real-time.

And the results? Well, it turns out fear of winter is a powerful motivator!

We recently sat down with Jenelle Bremault, Senior Designer at FKA, and Kevin Newcombe, Developer, to pick their brains on a recent project we did for our clients at The Brick called My Brick Home. This project had a few different moving pieces, as our client’s needs were quite specific.

My Brick Home is a quarterly catalogue that showcases beautiful lifestyle imagery, which is accompanied by an online advertising campaign. A series of videos are also produced for each edition of My Brick Home, which feature DIY home decor ideas. With so much beautiful and engaging content, The Brick needed a website that could digitally showcase it. Each quarter these assets would also need to be updated with photography, videography and any other assets created for that season’s catalogue. So how can a website be both beautiful and functional while constantly subject to updates and changes?

This project was unique, as it required an approach to building a website that focused on format more than content. Building the site required our team to break every section of the site into modular parts to ensure that the client was able to create new web content from scratch on the fly that would seamlessly integrate into the existing site.

A previous iteration of a modular approach to websites for another client gave our team some initial insights into what would be required, but there was still a steep learning curve. They discovered quickly that building a template and building a site are very different experiences. “I had to be strategic on how I approached the design of the modules. They needed to be used on multiple pages without looking too repetitive and had to accommodate content that would change throughout the year depending on the season of the catalogue,” Jenelle recounts. “It was a challenge to pre-plan and make smart decisions that would ensure the site was a success without having all the variables.”

Kevin echoed Jenelle’s sentiment, reiterating that designing the blank modules was more challenging than creating a standard website. “How do we make each module user-friendly? How do we include a taggable image module and allow them to edit it? It was a big technical challenge.”

This new way of building websites forced the team to juggle their roles. Jenelle first noticed her role was shifting when the project entered the development stage. “My role as a designer transformed when the project was in development. I had to test the CMS for content population and what the users would visually see and interact with. As we were adding content I tried to break our modules any way I could think of. Anything that could make the visuals less pleasing than I intended had to be fixed.”

Adopting a quality assurance role was crucial for the project, which needed to be able to handle anything the client could throw at it. “In the past we were able to design around a template, but for this we had to build modules that could accommodate anything and everything,” explains Kevin. “The whole time I was building the site, I was looking at it on phones, tablets, old computers and new computers to make sure it was adapting properly.”

Challenges aside, Kevin believes this template will give FKA a strong tool to offer new and existing clients. “It was kind of a breakthrough for us because it is so simple to update. It’s cost effective and it doesn’t lock clients in to a particular design.” This new template offers clients the ability to have more control over their content and site functionality after our team hands over the keys. Each module included in the site is designed for a different purpose, which gives the client the freedom to build unique pages whenever it’s needed based on whatever content they have at that time.

The innovation and creative problem-solving that led to building a website focused on modules was born out of a need from a client, but has taught our team about a new tool to use for clients who want more flexibility with their website pages. The goal of FKA is to be able to meet the needs and expectations of all clients and this is one more way to provide the best possible service.

The site, which launched at the end of March 2018, can be seen at mybrickhome.ca.

At Starburst Creative, we are constantly seeking ways to empower the next generation of leaders within our industry. Through our partnership with NAIT, we were able to create the Starburst Creative Scholarship in 2014, awarded to students who achieved a top academic achievement based on the PREL 3378 Public Relations course.

Our goal was to make this an annual award in the Business Administration Marketing program to help upcoming talent achieve their academic and career aspirations and shine a spotlight on the next generation of advertisers and marketers.

Several current Starburst employees were encouraged to pursue advertising careers through similar scholarships and we wanted to give the same encouragement to students who demonstrate the skills and the drive to succeed in the business.

We have seen great success in previous years and are pleased to announce Anna Vincent and Claudean Murray this year’s co-recipients. Anna and Claudean received of 94% and 90% respectively – a demonstration of the capabilities we can expect to see from graduates.

Congratulations Anna and Claudean! We look forward to seeing many successes in your future.