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March 28, 2017

written by Adam Faust

Lose Yourself in Protocols

Nothing gets me jacked up like processes. I think any agency owner would confess that’s why he got into the creative biz. When I work on our protocols and the documentation of said protocols, I put my headphone on, the volume up, and press repeat on the explicit version of Eminem’s Lose Yourself.

That’s not true. I am using sarcasm to better illustrate my point.

Alas, processes and protocols are necessary. I have read some smart human beings that stress the importance establishing and implementing a defined process. This is a good excerpt from one of them.

Great systems without documentation are only rumors about the way you do things in your business.

Agency guru-grower, Jason Swenk, opens every podcast by saying,

Systems outperform talent every time.

I don’t know if that is 100%  true. But I have found the more clearly we define our process, the smoother everything seems to run. I have been putting off writing down processes and protocols for about a year. Here are my excuses for avoiding this worthwhile task:

  1. It’s wicked boring.
  2. No one will bother to look at it.

But then I remember that we don’t do boring stuff. We’re supposed to make things fun and good and different. So, here is the solution:

  1. Don’t make it boring.
    • We avoid boring by taking real pictures of real people really doing it.
  2. Share it with everybody.
    •  We avoid no one seeing it by sharing it outside the company to every friend, client, potential client or any ol’ looky-loo who stumbles upon it.
    • This also holds us accountable.
      • We can avoid making boring posts by using numbering and bullets.
        • People like bullets.
        • I like bullets.

The following is our process from signature to success. Ideally, everyone who works with us should have a similar story to tell once the work is complete. And if we do it like this every time, that story will be a good one.

1.Get together and talk about the project and what it can and should be. The goal is to try and get everyone on the same page and produce a clear vision for the project.

The Kickoff Meeting with your assigned team.

2. Research and Information Gathering. Make sure that all necessary team members can meet with the client prior to commencing work. This process consists of summarizing the goals of the project and receiving a sign off from the client on expectations.

Information-Gathering Process

3. The project manager will set the schedule based on current workload. Ask your coworker what is realistic. The first round should take about a week and then after that we should be able to set it in decreasing increments of 4,3,2,1 days to keep the momentum and the client fully-engaged.

Set the schedule and stick to it.

4. Get to work. There is no one correct approach. Whether it is pencil and paper or computer, this is where the concept begins to take shape.

Smart work for cool clients.

5. Lets review and compare our work as a group. Also, we should look back at the original plan and make sure all work reflects the goals we set out to achieve.

Lets collaborate to achieve the best possible work.

6. Repeat until we get it right. Even if we have to eat (that) lunch at our desk.

What is that? Chili?

These pictures were taken with an old Polaroid. Actually, it is a knock off Fuji Film version.  But, I think it gave the photos just the right concoction of cool meets creeper.

This is the jist of our process. There are some more nuances to it, but you get the main idea. When you have a clearly-defined process it allows you to focus on what matters: the client and the work. And, your sad little chili lunch.

 

March 9, 2017

written by Adam Faust

This is an ad.

You’re probably aware that marketing and advertising is changing. It happened quite suddenly with the arrival of targeted ads, retargeting and sponsored content. The genius creators of South Park devoted an episode entitled Truth and Advertising to this new wave of ads that are generally regarded by most people as just plain creepy. Ads were once something you could spot as easily as a sign, because billboards are literally signs. With the surfeit of data that Google and others have on us, it is increasingly difficult to know what is an ad and what is not.

Um…bro?

People don’t hate advertising as much as they hate how ads disrupt their lives. Commercials delay their programs, pop ups block their browsing, and sponsored content often tricks them and leaves them feeling manipulated. However, ads aren’t going anywhere. Remember how TiVO was going to be the end of commercials? How many of you use an ad blocker on your browser? Alas, they still exist. I can’t say it any better than South Park;

But the ads adapted. They became smarter. They disguised themselves as news. All around the world, people read news stories, completely unaware they were reading ads. And now, the ads have taken the next step in their evolution. They have taken human form. Ads are among us, they could be your friend, your gardener…

Last week, I realized my favorite follow (@fjerry) on Instagram was pushing Burger King. What a sell out, right? He earned my trust with his funny posts and now he was tricking me in to eating Jalapeño Chicken Fries™! Well, it turns out they have been posting on behalf of Burger King since 2014. How else are these guy supposed to make any money? That’s America, and that’s ok. People don’t need Jalapeño Chicken Fries™, but people do need money.

So, what’s my point? I don’t really know. I think it’s just that ads are not going anywhere, and we have to be aware that just about everything we consume has an agenda. Keep in mind that not all agendas are equal, and we must consider the source. If you believe in the author of the content, then I think it is ok if they are being paid to generate that content. Otherwise, they’ll have to stop writing content and get a real job, and then they’ll be nothing for you to read while you avoid work at your real job.

But, don’t trust me, this whole post is an ad for Umbros, anyway.

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