Content marketing

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: 



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.



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. 



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.

Putting a smile on the National Trust's most famous faces

rembrant smiling gif

The National Trust South West has a rather impressive collection of artwork, in fact their £30million Rembrandt self-portrait might even put Vivid Tower’s collection Mondo movie prints to shame. While all these old portraits are lovely…many of the the subjects in these paintings don’t half look grumpy. 

In the spirit of the summer arriving and blessing the UK with plenty of sunshine, bringing with it much joy. We thought we’d take advantage of last month’s must-have new app ‘FaceApp’ to put a smile on the faces of some of the National Trust’s most famous works of art. 

We also used the app's ‘age’ feature on some of the Vivid Team and now none of us are talking anymore but that’s a story for another day. 

Click the logo below to check out the full set of smiley images. 


What marketers can learn from Aaron Sorkin

Vivid Content Marketing Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin is perhaps the best screenwriter in Hollywood today. He specialises in non-toilet-break drama – films and TV shows such as A Few Good Men, The West Wing, The Social Network and Steve Jobs that are so dense and compelling in story and dialogue that you have no choice but to 'hold it in' for fear of missing something. 

Isn't this what content marketing should strive to achieve? We know all about the importance of storytelling in marketing, but frankly most brands stink at it. Perhaps the advice of a true storyteller is a good place to start...

When a character is shoved against a wall, shove them against the wall harder.
— Aaron Sorkin
“Don’t be afraid to be guided by simple curiosity.”
— Aaron Sorkin
Smart people surround themselves with smart people who disagree with them
— Aaron Sorkin
Don’t ever forget that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Aaron Sorkin
Decisions are made by those who show up.
— Aaron Sorkin
Trying to guess what the (mass) audience wants and then trying to satisfy that is usually a bad recipe for getting something good.
— Aaron Sorkin
There’s a great tradition in storytelling that’s thousands of years old, telling stories about kings and their palaces, and that’s really what I wanted to do.
— Aaron Sorkin

The opening scene to Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom is simply gripping.

Just how did Kevin Spacey become Content Marketing's Hollywood poster boy?

Vivid Content Marketing Kevin Spacey keynote
Anyone with a camera and an idea can create an audience... get your minds to work... there is but one rule: hunt or be hunted
— Kevin Spacey, Content Marketing World 2014

Late last year the unlikely figure of Kevin Spacey delivered the closing keynote at Content Marketing World 2014 in Cleveland to 2,600 enthralled marketers. And he smashed it! 

Securing Spacey was quite a coup for Joe Polizzi and the Content Marketing Institute team, and a stroke of genius following 2013's barn-storming Spacey turn at the Edinburgh television festival.

So why Spacey?

What do Hollywood actors know about Content Marketing (you didn't ask, but we thought we’d save you the trouble)? Well, it's all anchored around innovation, creativity and the importance of conflict and authenticity – all of which Spacey is no stranger to as the Oscar-winning actor who defied critics by successfully becoming Artistic Director at The Globe and played a major part in the TV chord-cutting, binge-watching revolution with Netflix's House Of Cards.


The link between Kevin's world and Content Marketing is that we all have audiences, and audiences demand compelling stories. And any compelling story contains three key ingredients:

1. Create Conflict
"A great story creates tension... without it there's no driving force, no passion, no involvement... our stories become richer and far more interesting when they go up against the settled order of things". Conflict creates engagement. Take Nike as an example, as Spacey did, their business is built around our desire to be better, stronger and faster and the tension in the effort to achieve this. They build great stories that dissipate this tension.

2. Be Authentic
"Stay true to your brand and true to your voice, and audiences will respond to that authenticity with enthusiasm and passion". Discover what's unique about a brand and exploit it authentically – Spacey referenced the 'Think Small' Volkswagen ads of the 60s as a great example of authentic storytelling focussed on what's unique (in the face of a trend for larger and larger American cars). Be honest basically, but present your honesty creatively.

3. Give People What They Want, When They Want it
We all know this, right? There's no shortage of choice for any given audience, so you'd better make content compelling, entertaining and useful, and make it available everywhere or it will be ignored. "Anyone with a camera and an idea can create an audience... get your minds to work... there is but one rule: hunt or be hunted".

Outside of those three, and one piece of Spacey advice that really resonated with the Vivid team (in a reference to the third golden age of television that we're experiencing right now) was "give the creatives more power." He knows his stuff! Meanwhile we've got a revolt happening in the office. Watch Kevin’s highlights followed by his brief Q&A below.


Keynote highlights and Q&A

The best bits from Content Marketing World 2014

Full (shakeycam) Keynote

Content Marketing World keynote in full

2013 TV Festival Keynote

2013 Edinburgh TV Festival keynote in full

9 brilliant brand storytelling TED talks every Marketing Director should see


We love a bit of TED here at Vivid. A few of the team worked for founder Chris Anderson in a previous life so we've always had a soft spot. And besides, the world's cleverest people sharing their insights, experience and inspiration for 15 minutes - really, what's not to love?  

After much debate, we've cherry-picked the nine (started off as five, but to avoid a saloon fight we had to expand) best brand storytelling talks that all Marketing Directors and Content Marketing types must see. Enjoy.

Master storyteller J.J. Abrams on how an unopened gift from his grandfather fundamentally shaped the way he tells stories from Lost to Mission Impossible 3 to the upcoming Star Wars VII.

The Super Size Me creator tells The Greatest Story Ever Sold with lessons learned from trying to engage with brands in order to get sponsorship for his movie all about getting sponsorship. 

The author of The Tipping Point and Blink amusingly explores the nature of choice and why one size doesn't fit all. Oh, and he says: "to a worm in a horseradish, the world is a horseradish".

Renny Gleeson on how the lowly website ‘404 content not found’ page presents an opportunity and demonstrates that little things done right matter because well-designed moments build brands.

What’s the pattern between all the great brands in the world? What is it that they and their leaders do, the exact opposite way to everyone else, that makes them so successful?

The writer of Pixar's biggest hits shares how making the audience care with a well told promise that delivers the '2 + 2' (while allowing the viewer/reader to arrive at the '4') is the key to true engagement.

Ad man Rory Sutherland’s spellbinding observations on how the most potent ways to have impact with your audience are often really small and inexpensive. Love the Virgin Atlantic example!

Dan Colby reveals how the rules of physics affect the marketing of brands including BP and Tiger Woods and David Cameron. Admittedly, that synopsis made this sound pretty dry. It’s not.

A clever, really short talk that quickly makes us realise that assumption we have are not necessarily true - from street names, to blocks, to the role of a doctor. The same can be said for brand ideas.

Vivid is open for business! Let the brilliant content commence!


Hello and welcome to Vivid, a new kind of content marketing agency with a boutique approach to creating brilliant content for brands.

Vivid creates magazines, apps and the things the internet loves for some of the world’s biggest brands. After years of big agency experience, the Vivid team stepped away to set up a modern, agile content marketing studio that offers a more passionate and personal approach to world class content creation.

We hope you like our shiny new website. Have a look around and do let us know what you think. Or better still, get in touch right now – we’d love to chat about your brand.

17 Content Marketers you really should be following on Twitter


The Content Marketing world moves pretty fast. As Ferris Bueller once said, "if you don't stop to look around once in a while, you might just miss it". Want to see what's going on right now? Following the Twitter accounts below is a good place to start.

This list is far from complete. So who did we miss? Let us know your favourites in the comments below or @TheVividTeam

Seth Godin @ThisIsSethsBlog

Joe Pulizzi @JoePulizzi

The CMA @The_CMA

Tim Tucker @TTucker23

Vivid @TheVividTeam

Content Marketing Institute @CMIContent

Anne Hadley @MarketingProfs

Contently @Contently

McMurry/TMG @McMurryTMG

Newscred @Newscred

Sparksheet @Sparksheet

Jesse Noyes @NoyesJesse

Fast Company @FastCompany

Ad Week @AdWeek

Hubspot @Hubspot

Jay Baer @JayBaer

Rory Sutherland @RorySutherland

The rise of the boutique agency

Click on the image above to read Brolik's full article

Click on the image above to read Brolik's full article

Imagine our delight when, after setting about modernising the content marketing agency with our boutique approach, we stumbled upon a spookily like-minded US-based marketing agency. It's as if they bugged our boardroom!

We just love Brolik's blog post: 'Why big brands should use a boutique marketing agency'. We couldn't have said it better ourselves! Well worth a read by anyone in marketing.
Great minds and all that.