Brand Content

What Marketing Directors Should Look For When Choosing An Agency

Whether your company is looking to create a TV advert for a new product, you feel like a bit of a rebrand complete with shiny new logo is in order, or just you just want a bit of help piecing together some copy for the blog. Deciding on the right agency to work with is rarely an easy choice. 

After all, the very thing creative agencies are there to do is to help brands understand, and engage with their audiences. It only stands to reason then, that these agencies are all pretty adept at utilising their skills to gain new business.

So with all the smoke and mirrors an agency could employ to impress you, just how can you be sure exactly which agency is best for you?  Obviously, the right answer would be to just get in touch with Vivid (we’re really not biased we promise…) but if you want to play the field a bit, here’s some things to look out for: 

 

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They don’t rest on their laurels

This is common among many of the larger agencies. Rather than pitching with enthusiasm and zeal about what they could do for you, they will instead talk about what they have done for others. 

While it’s an impressive boast to mention to your colleagues that one particular agency has previously worked with the big dogs like Coca-Cola or Virgin, that does not mean they are the de facto best fit for you. You don’t even know if that this particular agency was retired from its previous accounts for failing to deliver. 

Like  when interviewing a prospective employee, it’s good to know an agency has relevant experience in the field you operate in, this should not be the sole factor that you base your decision on.

Give all the agencies a chance when they pitch and really listen to what they propose they could do for you. 

 

A diverse team

It's all too easy to find yourself reassured by the assumed experience of a team of old industry veterans, or seduced by the trendy charms of a group of youngsters. It's better to  look out for agencies that offer a mixed bag of people with a wide range of ages and backgrounds. 

Team diversity is the secret ingredient when it comes generating original ideas that will really help your company flourish.

 

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You’ve got chemistry 

Ok, it’s all very good to have found an agency that you think will be able to help you generate the vital content you need to gain a competitive edge, but if you’d cross the road to avoid their account manager on your lunch break it’s just not going to work out well. 

Getting on with the team you’re going to be work with isn’t just an added bonus, they’ll work harder for you, you’ll be more confident in telling them what it is you’re looking for, and if you really hate something they produce, you'll be better prepared to tell them exactly what’s wrong with it. 

 

You have some shared values 

Now this one seems like a given, but it can easily be forgotten in all the noise and haste that surrounds a business when it’s looking for a new agency. Forming an alliance with a business that shares common values and ethics to yours, is more likely to result in a successful and long lasting relationship. 

If you’re a green consultancy you’re unlikely to want to work with an agency, that doesn’t even have a recycling bin. 

 

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They’re multi-talented

Ok, so there is much to be said about it being “better to do one thing well, than ten things poorly” but lets be frank, it’s even better to do ten things brilliantly than one well. There’s a vast sea of agencies out there who might make great print, digital, or video content. Having an agency that’s a bit of a Swiss army knife when it comes to what they offer gives to the versatility to mix up exactly what your content output is, after all convergence is the name of the game these days.

It’s also going to save you money, even if you think you only want to work on one channel. If you one day decide to try a new medium you’re not going to have to scour the earth looking for agencies all over again.

Vivid finalise Polystream website and branding

The wizards over at Polystream have conjured up something rather special — they’ve created the world's first 3D, pixel perfect, application streaming platform. Revolutionising how companies can reach their audience, completely free from the restrictions and limitations of existing GPU streaming technology. Allowing businesses to grow their customers from any cloud, at any scale, anywhere. 

With such a clever product they needed a suitably swish website and visual identity, which is why they enlisted our help.

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We worked with Polystream to design an entirely new website that contains plenty investor-friendly information about the company, wbhile still maintaining an air of playfulness and fun, representative of the backgrounds in gaming of many of Polystream's core team members. 

We also created an entirely new visual identity for Polystream including a new logo and aided them with their branding. We’re rather pleased with the results, but why not have a little look at the end result for yourself? Check the new website here

Vivid aid Tuella brand developent

Tuella have a pretty great ambition — to operate residential care homes for the elderly that truly feel like home.

In addition to offering the 24 hour a day care on which they pride themselves, Tuella have a philosophy of trying to provide enjoyment, fun and laughter to all of their residents. It was these core principals of the Tuella brand Vivid were tasked with exemplifying. 

The outcome included the design of two completely new websites, one for the umbrella Tuella brand and another for Brookdale House, the first care home to be operated by Tuella. We also worked closely with the team at Tuella to conceive new logos and slogans for their brands, and finished aiding their brand development by designing new signage for Tuella’s sites. 

Take a look at Tuella’s new website here, and the one we created for Brookdale house here

Vivid completes rebrand for Quadrise Fuels

The boffins at Quadrise Fuels have a pretty impressive product. Their exclusive MSAR® technology allows companies in various industries from marine shipping to refining and even power-generation to use the muck at the bottom of an oil drum (our words not theirs), cleverly blend it with water and chemicals and create a fuel source! All of which incredibly reduces costs and is kinder to the environment than many other types of Heavy Fuel Oil. 

With such an innovative product Quadrise Fuels has understandably set itself the mission to be the world’s leading oil-in-water emulsion fuels company, and they enlisted Vivid to give them a little helping hand on their way. 

We started by giving their website a complete overhaul, redesigning and rebuilding from the ground up. The new site has a whole host of new content and incorporates interactive infographics, case studies and high-quality images and sparkly new renders like the one below – all designed to simply and clearly express to potential investors and clients alike the key benefits of MSAR® technology. 

We also helped with brand development and rollout across it offices and sites, but let's stick to their lovely new website and how they now tell their story. Take a look for yourself.

New client alert! Orwell Design Associates join the Vivid family

Orwell Design Associates is a specialist consultancy providing world class refrigeration system design.

ODA provides world-class independent refrigeration design services that push the boundaries of current practices with rich, innovative designs supporting cutting edge technologies and the demands of the modern customer.

To reflect this new approach to design consultation, ODA worked with Vivid to create a cutting edge brand identity, new messaging, a responsive website and all client collateral.

See ODA's new website here.

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Why 2015 is the year of authentic storytelling

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Last night was date night and rather unromantically I took my wife to see Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation. I know, I know, we're late to the party. Romance-appropriate or not, it's surprisingly good! Name another movie franchise where each sequel is better than its predecessor. It's also very 2015 somehow. Which got me thinking on the way home – just what makes it so 2015? And then it hit me. It's the lack of computer effects, the real stunts, the long takes – the sheer physicality of the action. It's old school. It's authentic. Like bearded Hipsters switching to vinyl because Spotify somehow doesn't match their craft beer, this year Hollywood is moving away from CG effects and building sets, strapping actors to things and generally embracing the dust and dents of the real world after so many years of computer slickery.

Just a few weeks before Mission Impossible premiered, another franchise was stealing the show at Comic-Con 2015 by showing a video with absolutely zero new footage of its upcoming movie. It was Star Wars Episode VII, due out this December and helmed by uber geek J.J. Abrams. The subject of the video that caused nerdgasms throughout the crowd? A real desert, a real Millennium Falcon, real latex, real robots, real dirt – it was focussed on how they're making the movie with as few computers as possible to accurately match the analogue universe created by 1977's 'western in space' original (rather than the plasticy, computery 1999 second trilogy).

Watch the two videos below...

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Keeping one foot in the pre-digital world, J.J. Abrams' Comic Con showreel teaser (above) for the most anticipated film of 2015, focusses beautifully on real sets and practical effects – "everything's changed, but nothing's changed".

Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation Why do the stunts look real? Because they are real! Watch the video featurette above to see Tom Cruise really hanging off an airborn cargo plane – eight times!

Compare that to...

Game Of Thrones  The infamous 'walk of shame' scene spliced actress Lena Headey's head with a naked body double.

Game Of Thrones The infamous 'walk of shame' scene spliced actress Lena Headey's head with a naked body double.

... the fanboy outrage thrown up by the infamous Game Of Thrones 'walk of shame' finale scene earlier this year. Fans felt cheated by the computer trickery that so convincingly blended Lena Headey's head with the naked body of a stand-in, as her character walks nude through the centre of town to atone for her sins. The motivation for filming the scene twice, first with the main actress (clothed) and again with a naked stand-in was actually honourable – Headey wanted to concentrate on her emotional performance (it is quite painful to watch) and not let the self consciousness of being starkers cloud that performance. Even with the best of creative intentions, the fans' reaction of "it's not real, we've been betrayed!" is fascinating. But what about when more than just a scene lacks authenticity?

The Fantastic Four  A festival of CG effects and the lowest box office opening of any superhero movie of the modern era.

The Fantastic Four A festival of CG effects and the lowest box office opening of any superhero movie of the modern era.

This year's computer effects laden The Fantastic Four has been the biggest superhero disaster since 2003's Catwoman. Costing $120m to make and $80m to market, it grossed only $26m in its first weekend which effectively killed it dead. Why? 'Soulless' has been the main theme of the critics' mauling. The sets, the scenery, the characters and the relationships all feel artificial and so, surprise, surprise – the audience couldn't care less.
 

So what does that mean for brand storytelling?

Well nothing – if that it is, it's being done right. This is just a case of Hollywood catching up with the power of authenticity. But if content isn't being true to its brand (yes, we're looking at you rival agencies!) this trend demonstrates the positive power authenticity can have in Content Marketing and all spheres of audience engagement. In short, keep it real people.

Honey I shrunk the content – what the Apple Watch means for content marketing

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Here's the thing, Apple Watch isn't out for a month yet. Sales predictions swing wildly from one million units in year one to one million units on day one. And nobody, outside of Apple, has lived with the thing and formed patterns of use or utility yet. So, should brands harness the world's first significant wearable for first-mover advantage or wait and potentially miss the 'shiny new thing' boat?

Small display, always on (and always 'out'), wrist-activated, seven second interactions, glances, digital crown control, fitness focus, Apple Pay, taptic engine – just what the hell is the Apple Watch going to mean for the world of content marketing? Let's explore what we do know and the impact that this will have for brands and marketers.
 

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The new 'Sir Glance-alot' generation will just want the facts.

The new 'Sir Glance-alot' generation will just want the facts.

In the beginning there was just content – big books, fat mags, epic movies and paperboy-crippling Sunday papers. In '97 the smartphone arrived and content quickly became ’snackable’; a couple of years later Twitter introduced us to ‘micro’ content and now, at the dawn of the ‘wearable’ age we have ‘glanceable’ content – meaningful information that only flashes up for a few seconds and must fit stylishly onto a 4cm glass rectangle. Tone of voice is about to become something of a luxury as we become experts in distilling down sheer information to its core elements. Yes, brands are going to have to become more disciplined with their messaging if they want to genuinely engage with the new 'Sir Glance-alot' (Ithankyou) generation.

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• E-Newsletters need a text version to be seen on Apple Watch.
• Emails must get the the point bloody fast.
• More content, across all channels, will be episodic.
• 'Below the fold' is likely to occur after 15 words.
• Twitter will be the number one news source for wearers.

• Visual tweets will take a back seat though
 

Even the simplest of apps will need to be super-economical with language and episodic with content.

 

Beacons Go mainstream
(where did the 'i' go by the way? Did we miss a meeting?)

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IBeacons, or just Beacons as they now seem to be called, have been the 'next big thing' for three year now without ever really breaking though. These hyper accurate, hyper local little Bluetooth transmitters were supposed to change the way we shopped, bombarding our smartphone with irresistible in-store offers and info. And here's why the technology hasn't broken through, drum roll, we keep our phones in our pockets and bags.

With the Apple Watch constantly in contact with our skin and only a snap of the wrist away from view, those Beacon alerts might just work. Expect product information, sales offers, up-selling, cross-selling, coupons, loyalty points, free downloads all triggered from in-store Beacons to your Apple Watch. 

This personalised, intimate contact with customers is where the biggest opportunity will lie for content marketers. But it has to offer instant benefit. Regardless of the minuscule character count, any content interaction will have to inspire, inform or educate the wearer. It has to be hyper-relevant and pertinent if it hopes to trigger customer action from just a glance. But when it does – the rewards can be instantaneous thanks to Apple Pay. Picture yourself in a cinema with an Apple Watch. You're about to buy your ticket when your Watch flashes up 'Hello you, fancy two free popcorns just by pre-ordering for the new Bond film now?' You press yes, swing your wrists close to the terminal and pick up free munchies having paid for a film you were going to see anyway. You win, the cinema wins, Apple wins! Hang on, that can't be right.

We'll have more, less rambling, thoughts when Apple Watch is launched in April.
Can't wait until then to fool around with an Apple Watch yourself? Then have a play with all the apps right now thanks to the good folk at WatchAware.

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