AGENCY

LIFE

05

Ever found yourself in a position where you didn’t dare to pitch your outrageous ideas and eventually just let them go to go with what you know? Don’t! In this over-saturated market the craziest, creative ideas are just what you need to stand out from the crowd. Think bold.

PAUL KEMP ROBERTSON 

If you look in the mirror, do you see a data-nerd or a creative visionary? At a time when many people are talking about data and understand its relevance, it’s strange that data and creativity are seen as two completely separate things. Data and creativity. Friends or enemies?

COEN BOOM-HUIJSMANS

Content; anyone can do it, right? Wrong. With so many brands screaming for your attention in an ad-centred world, do you even notice any message at all? Give content the central role it deserves and see how it fixes your website, how it can help projects run more smoothly and delivers better results for clients and users alike.

SINEAD CLANDILLON


‘APPEAL TO HUMAN CURIOSITY.’ 

We change our way of working every day. With so much going on, innovation is never far away, the newest technology always within reach and creative solutions always at hand. Welcome to the agency life. Join us.


SWIMMING AGAINST
THE CORPORATE CURRENT

PAUL KEMP ROBERTSON

DISCOVER THE BLUE OCEAN

ADVERTISING THAT CHANGED A CITY

DO NOT LET THE MAJORITY UNDERMINE YOUR IDEAS


THE MARRIAGE OF
DATA & CREATIVITY

COEN BOOM-HUIJSMANS

DATA AND CREATIVITY: A SPECTRUM

HOW TO BRIDGE THE GAP?

THE MARRIAGE OF DATA & CREATIVITY - VOICE & CONVERSATIONAL INTERFACES

HAPPY EVER AFTER


STOP THE LORUM IPSUM MENTALITY

SINEAD CLANDILLON

LORUM IPSUM MENTALITY

BUILD A CONTENT CULTURE

THE CONTENT JOURNEY

05

DESIGN

AGENCY

We change our way of working every day. With so much going on, innovation is never far away, the newest technology always within reach and creative solutions always at hand. Welcome to the agency life. Join us.

Ever found yourself in a position where you didn’t dare to pitch your outrageous ideas and eventually just let them go to go with what you know? Don’t! In this over-saturated market the craziest, creative ideas are just what you need to stand out from the crowd. Think bold.

PAUL KEMP ROBERTSON 

If you look in the mirror, do you see a data-nerd or a creative visionary? At a time when many people are talking about data and understand its relevance, it’s strange that data and creativity are seen as two completely separate things. Data and creativity. Friends or enemies?

COEN BOOM-HUIJSMANS

Content; anyone can do it, right? Wrong. With so many brands screaming for your attention in an ad-centred world, do you even notice any message at all? Give content the central role it deserves and see how it fixes your website, how it can help projects run more smoothly and delivers better results for clients and users alike.

SINEAD CLANDILLON


‘APPEAL TO HUMAN CURIOSITY.’ 

PAUL KEMP ROBERTSON


SWIMMING AGAINST THE CORPORATE CURRENT

Being creative in a corporate environment sounds as incompatible as building a snowman on a hot summer day. This is because rigid corporate structures sometimes leave little room for ingenuity. But by staying the same, that is where the market competition is at its fiercest, where every company is fighting for any shred of the market they can get their hands on – the so-called Red Ocean. To stand out in this cutthroat environment you need to allow creativity. Paul Kemp Robertson, a co-founder of Contagious Communications, delves into how going against the current can be life-saving, and why you should pitch that crazy idea to your boss.

So the Red Ocean is a cutthroat environment but on the other side of the coin, there’s the Blue Ocean — unexplored territory with little competition where one can swim freely. A Blue Ocean strategy creates new demand in an uncontested market space. So, to find out what makes a promising creative idea let’s go through a couple of successful examples. For starters, there’s the hazardous but also immensely successful campaign in Thailand by Netflix for the TV show Narcos. The show's topics revolve around drugs, sex and weapons and this content is not ideal for a country known for its hard censorship. Yet Netflix persevered and pushed the show into the Thai market. To advertise this, they appealed to human curiosity. They used the same adverts as in the Western market but greyed out all 'unwanted” content — which includes nude women, guns and cocaine. Yet people could still clearly guess what those greyed out images referred to. The authorities quickly censored this but the number of views skyrocketed because Netflix enticed people with the notion of tempting yet forbidden fruit.

Carlsberg, a beer brand, stood out from the crowd by making fun of themselves. Their famous slogan promises: “Probably the best beer in the world”. It was constantly under fire on social media. Users were bashing the taste of the beer so hard that Carlsberg could not help but make a campaign out of it. The company asked its employees to read the funniest tweets in front of a camera. The result was a hilarious video which concluded with them announcing a new formula. So instead of continuously doing the same thing, the company chose to swim against the current which allowed them to stand out from their competitors.

DISCOVER THE BLUE OCEAN

How creative can an advertising campaign be? Well, so good that it’s not even an advertising campaign. In Buenos Aires, a famous marketing professional was tasked with attracting more people to a newly built entertainment area with shops and restaurants. Budget: four million dollars. When presenting his solution he explained: “I have been analysing the product for one week over and over. You do not need any advertising. You need a bridge!”

The marketing professional came up with this daring idea because he took an inside-perspective. He found out that to get to the entertainment area you’d need to take two buses. Which is simply too much effort. So the bridge was built. And did not only bring a lot more customers to the stores, but it also became a beautiful new sight of the city at a cost of six instead of four million dollars. However, it created a value that outnumbered the costs many times over.

ADVERTISING THAT CHANGED A CITY

What was the secret of the aforementioned campaigns? They were all about creating something bigger than just advertising. These solutions revolved around people. Since the human aspect is increasingly becoming more important in this day and age.

Great ideas are often (not always) simple ones, but they are not obvious. So when you have an idea, focus in on it, and question it and your environment to get the best results. 

What do people need? What is the real problem? Don’t ask just a few questions, ask many! In fact, according to Paul, you should ask about fifty. Swim right into the Blue Ocean. Don’t hesitate to be provocative, disruptive, unconventional, and/or crazy. This is where you leave competitors behind and enter the open water. Welcome to the Blue Ocean!

DO NOT LET THE MAJORITY UNDERMINE YOUR IDEAS

COEN BOOM-HUIJSMANS

Many professionals, especially those that work in the digital field, view data and creativity as complete opposites. Data consists of facts and statistics collected for various purposes versus creativity, which is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. To many people, data is rational and logical whilst creativity is chaotic; data is knowledge whilst creativity is a product of your mind. However, that shouldn’t be the case and combining both can lead to beautiful results based on consumer information and visual preference. But, how can we go about doing so?


THE MARRIAGE OF DATA & CREATIVITY

Many view data and creativity as two opposing ends of a spectrum and many of us are more focused on one part only. This is because we’re afraid of the unknown or scared of losing the idea or project we are currently working on by incorporating unfamiliar concepts. 

Take a moment to figure out where you are on this continuum. When work becomes stressful, do you fall back on rationality, data and facts or do you trust your creativity and emotions? Many of us lean more towards one side and that is not a bad thing. In fact, we need both ends of the spectrum for the best results. The issue is that many people don’t realise that there is another side. On the one hand, an analytical framework alone won’t reinvent your business. On the other, if you only rely on creativity, the chances that you will create something that the user really needs is limited.

So, it’s important to realise where you stand on this spectrum compared to your colleagues and your team. Wherever you are, remember the other side. Because you need both in order to be successful in the digital world. 

DATA AND CREATIVITY: A SPECTRUM

To combine both worlds, start by using data as input for your creative process. To best apply this practice, start by ensuring that your creative ideas and design decisions can be explained by available data. You often see this in the form of an input analysis for designers, a daily dashboard for the business or a CRO program with A/B-tests. This sounds quite simple, but this way of working is still not present in all digital organisations. 

If you already do this, it’s time to take it to the next level: reverse engineer your choices and start with data as your base. Think about the data you possess regarding your target audience, you can combine this data to create a 360° customer view. What kind of unique and creative propositions can you create based on this information? This kind of analysis can help companies make more focused creative decisions. This can contribute to bettering the user experience and deliver innovative concepts that deliver value for the customer in the long run. You might even notice that data can inspire you and spark your creativity even more.

Bridging the gap will pay off. According to research by McKinsey and US Association of Advertisers among CMOs and CTO’s, it was found that companies who use data as a basis for creativity, and vice versa, can double their revenue growth compared to companies that do not integrate both worlds.

HOW TO BRIDGE THE GAP?

This is the domain where the data and creativity collide to form a romantic entanglement. The moment you start developing conversational interfaces, you immediately experience the need for both ends of the spectrum to be successful. For starters, data is useful to understand the intent of your user and to determine which subjects need to be covered by the conversational interface. Then, fancy algorithms of voice services come into play to help read intent so you can create the best responses. Lastly, data is used to analyse how people use your conversational interface and ensure they are happy with it. Based on this you can continue optimising and creating additional content.

So the data part is clear, you obviously need data. Thus, the creative side is focused on inventing and designing your voice. What will your brand sound like? Your voice will represent your brand and your values and its tone of voice should match your brand propositions and market position. So, for example, should your interface make jokes or will it only give serious factual answers? Lastly, consider how your voice will respond to consumers since you want to create responses which resonate with the intent of the user. All of the above is a job for conversational designers. This relatively new job in the digital world is a combination of a copywriter and a user experience designer. 

So, combine data and creativity to create successful voice solutions that stand out, fit your brand, and has real value for your users.

THE MARRIAGE OF DATA & CREATIVITY - VOICE & CONVERSATIONAL INTERFACES

Although both data and creativity are on opposite ends of a spectrum, they complement each other. Data can be elevated and used in imaginative ways when combined with creativity. So, create more relevant ideas by using the information at your fingertips and then explore all the different places this can take you.

HAPPY EVER AFTER

SINEAD CLANDILLON


STOP THE LORUM IPSUM MENTALITY

“It doesn’t fit, it’s too long/short”. That’s the common refrain I hear when the digital content we are working with doesn’t fit the (Lorem Ipsum) container in the design it is destined for. I am then expected to chop that carefully crafted message in two, or make it longer to fill the blank space and in turn force the user to read more.

Why do we work this way, leading with design and leaving content as an afterthought, something to be cut and pasted in? It’s time to stop that way of thinking and give content a central role. After all, with so much content directed at us, the message has to be clear.

Lorem Ipsum has been used as filler text for centuries by typesetters and designers. But it’s meaningless Latin gibberish, which holds no value for the user. 

The rationale behind using Lorem Ipsum is to focus people’s attention on the design, and stop them from reading the text. But users aren’t drawn to design, they come to websites and apps for information, for content that is delivered through design, UX and technology. Yet we prioritise design and technology and leave content as an afterthought. 

LORUM IPSUM MENTALITY

To create a content centred approach we need to journey from content immaturity to content maturity. I’ve devised three key rules to make it a success.

Rule no 1. Use a content professional
Years ago, while hiking in the Rocky Mountains, I saw tourists run towards a bear that had appeared from the forest. I didn’t hold out much hope for their surviving a bear encounter. I believe some things are better
left to professionals, that includes wild animals and writing content.

Strategising, planning, and producing useful, usable content requires professional skills.
You must;

  • Understand your brand’s users and business goals.

  • Identify the right subject matter experts.

  • Incorporate brand messaging, tone of voice, style guides, SEO, technical requirements and stakeholder needs.

So why would you use professional designers and developers but give the content work to non-professional writers? It doesn’t make sense.

THE CONTENT JOURNEY

Rule no 2. Prepare for an early start  
Content can be the grizzly bear of a digital project. This means that work can be moving along nicely; UX research done, designs signed off, and development underway, when this grizzly bear called content appears out of hibernation to cause chaos!

To avoid this scenario you need to start content work early. This means content specialists are involved with the rest of the team from the very beginning. Then you can understand the content maturity of your organisation, the issues you are facing, and create the content strategy you need to take your brand to the next level.

These three rules will help your journey from content immaturity to content maturity. And taking this journey is more urgent than ever. Why? Because businesses are publishing more content than ever. Unless you put a strong content culture in place the pressure to publish will result in content chaos. 

BUILD A CONTENT CULTURE

This quickly leads to content chaos and poor governance. It is easy to spot the signs of this: blank, thin or duplicate pages; out of date, low-quality content; typos, 404s, and inconsistencies. All of which damages the brand and the user experience. 

We can combat this by giving content a central role, and recognising it as a building block for a successful customer journey. Embracing content can make everyone’s lives easier. For example, designers know what they are designing for, project managers have a clearer time frame, and your brand understands the skills and resources needed. This in turn makes for better, more customer-centred products and services. 

Rule no 3. Ask the right people the right questions
In digital projects, we often avoid asking hard questions about content. It can be easier to assume that the content we need will be delivered on time, signed off, fully proofed and formatted. That’s never going to happen. It’s important to ask a lot of questions at the beginning of a content project such as:

“Do know how much content you manage?”

“Do you have a documented content strategy?”

“Do you have an agreed publishing workflow?”

“How are you going to manage the content once it is live?”

And these questions must be directed at the right people, including subject matter experts, editors, and stakeholders. Their buy-in and knowledge is critical to success.

So let’s stop with the Lorem Ipsum mentality. Let’s send it back to the age of the printing press where it belongs. We are in the new digital reality. Where our role is to connect, communicate and converse. 

And when you are making the content journey remember these three rules. That way we can stop the grizzly bears dancing all over our work and leave them in the forest where they belong.