17 September 2008

Grady Britton gets a move on

What more fitting tribute to Labor Day weekend than... actual labor? After 18+ years on SW Washington, Grady Britton made the leap to Portland's bustling Eastside to SE Washington over the long weekend.

We've been looking to change things up in our workday world for a while now; the big yellow Olympic Mills building with its focus on sustainability and creative industry, alligned perfectly with where we wanted to be and what we wanted to associate ourselves with.

Months of preparation and packing – recycling and rehoming old materials – became a reality when the moving trucks pulled up. In true "because we can" fashion, several of us decided to make the adventure more adventurous by loading up bikes and bike trailers for the move across the river.

Still somewhat of a work in progress, our new space is awesome and promises to be a stimulating new environment for us to shape our next 30+ years! Progress reports to come... but meanwhile, check out a sampler of the activity.

17 July 2008

COLABORATORY interns rule

In addition to providing our world with sparkly new rays of advertising sunshine, they make great extras in your commercials. Your attention please at :35 in...

Rough cut in progress– incomplete, unadorned and presented in all its disclaimered nakedness. Our way of saying thanks to Bryan "What Talent Release?" Davidson and his two weeks with us. (First round's on GB, BD.)

09 July 2008

Your audience says "Hi!"

A slowdown like the one we're in isn't fun for anyone. But it has inspired some interesting possibilities for how savvy marketers approach campaigns. If what we've been spending on is coming under such scrutiny, what better time to put how we spend under the microscope? All of this to ultimately connect better with our audiences (and prove our budgets' real worth.)

For instance: First Independent was eager for new clients who'd open new checking accounts. As engaging as checking accounts are in and of themselves, we tweaked First Independent's offering to be a checking account for Control Freaks.

A mobile texting campaign, initiated by a strategically placed outdoor board, along with TV spots on local cable, each prompted viewers to unleash their inner Control Freak online. All to spark engagement, connection with a brand – that paid off in new numbers for our client. It wasn't about a blast of big budget; it was about applying the budget more creatively.

Another quick example: ICS, a company who makes concrete cutting chainsaws (yes, chainsaws that. cut. solid. concrete.!) needed help in getting awareness and acceptance in their construction market. Our solution: a viral web video twosome, along with real attention-getting print ads, that self-selected an audience who'd start the chatter after visiting the companion sitelet we developed. Dark, funny, and just right.

The point? You don't have to hammer a medium to be effective; use each channel for its greatest strength. Create the right message for each channel. Then connect the dots. Connect one message to another, to another, to another so that each one spins up the momentum of the campaign effort, and ultimately, of your brand.

Cutting budget and going dark to your audiences is really not the relief you need in a tight market. Your audience is still there, and they're looking. For engagement, for brands who get them. Understanding who your audience is, where they are, how they interact with your brand is where real creativity is today. Less wiggle room in a budget requires you to work a lot smarter – and potentially look even better than before.

And we can work with that, bigtime.

02 July 2008

Mixin it up in the COLABORATORY: fresh juice

Much like a good margarita, our recipe for top-notch creative juice is always open to tweaking. An addition there, an experiment there. That's why we're participating in an innovative internship program via the Portland Ad Fed called the COLABORATORY. For six weeks, we'll have three different interns in the nest, as they learn the agency ropes and prepare a pitch to a local clothing design company.

We've already been following our first intern, Bryan Davidson, but it wasn't til we found him on twitter that we really geeked out.

In most other cities, agencies don't play well together. COLABORATORY is different, bringing 11 local agencies together to provide the best internship experience possible. It's about celebrating our unique strengths, and playing nice together can only bring in more creativity, more inspiration, more of what keeps us all in the business. Cheers to that.

30 June 2008

Local non-profit about to become not non-visible

Trying to pick which local charitable organization is going to get your commitment of $25,000 of in-kind marketing services isn't easy. But the winner of our first annual Grady Britton Grant has been picked... just not announced. Yet.

June 12 and 13 brought a flurry of applications for our way of giving back to our community. That type of last-minute drive brought a smile to our faces here; so very reminiscent of, of, of ourselves, really. We knew it would be hard to go wrong with our choice.

But choose we did, with the grand proclamation to come very soon, as early as even this week. To all of the applicants, thank you. You showed what a wonderful community we live in, one lucky enough to be served by you, and we hope to work with all of you someday soon.

01 May 2008

We're back & we're stoked: 4stars for the 4A's

The Ritz at Laguna Niguel isn't likely to disappoint. (It didn't.) And the AAAA Leadership Conference there sure didn't either. Not by a long shot.

I'll spare you the mental grumbling of walking to your first big dark ballroom at 7:30am, noticing the surfers already out on the breaks lining up their rides, reminding yourself that surfing all day long probably gets really old–right?–right–and you're here to learn great things. Right?

No doubt those surfers envied us.

The 3-day conference was all about how consumer behavior has changed because of technology, how advertising as we know(knew) it must/is/has changed, and how agencies who could change with it all – and accelerate it, lead it – were gonna be the lucky ones, indeed. (Cutting to the chase: on Day 2, Lee Clow said we are sitting at ground zero of a creative revolution, as essential and paradigm-shifting as the great Bill-Bernbach-60's. Enough for me. But if you want more, read on.)

DAY ONE: for small to medium size agencies
TITLE: "Planning tools for tomorrow: Chaos to nirvana in six hours."

David Freedman, contributing editor Inc., Newsweek, etc etc.
- speaking all about 'relationship'; that consumers are seeking deeper informational relationships
- agencies must operate fractally: continually trying news things, opening to new possibilities, technologies, connecting the dots in untried (for us) ways
- BLOGS (oh gawd, here we go...): people are not using blogs as authorities (though they are a trusted source, above "marketing") but they are using them to TRIANGULATE on what is useful / relevant / right for them. (interesting p.o.v.)

Brian Brooker, Barkely, agency in KC
- speaking about recruitment and retention
- as a way to make sure your brands remain relevant: "I can't imagine my life without __________."
- Every idea has an expiration date. (great place to stand to always uncover new opportunities.)
- "Digital Ninja"– they've created this job function internally as a continuing source/curriculum that ensures their staff is fluent on what's new in technology (and potentially relevant to clients and projects.) Happens every Thursday.
- Chinese proverb: Change favors those in motion.
- Barkley is sponsoring a cycling team (Hincapie) to gain insight/learning about the fitness category they can leverage with new prospects, etc.

Bruce Carlisle, A-Team Advisors
- creative power resides with the group
- set expectations & contingencies for project's change in scope of contract
- the Big Idea is not the Ad Idea
- strategy is paramount when you work with a "networked ideas" approach vs. simply advertising ideas
- build proof points in early to strategy; establish measurement rules. OUT-ANALYZE YOUR CLIENTS. (I think they would be grateful to have us doing this for them.)
- agencies may have to develop their own software to do this; agencies become software developers
- participate to understand (love this phrase!); don't fear change--audition it, try it on, even if you don't embrace it yourself...

Mark Schnurman, Filament
(45 min wasn't nearly enough for the smarts this guy imparted; my notes are pathetic because I was too busy nodding)
For being such specialists in communications, agencies repeatedly make basic and fundamental mistakes when pitching new business:
1) Difficult to follow
- have an agenda; don't lose them at the beginning
- understand your all your proprietary processes and structures are interesting probably only to you
- have ONE primary takeaway from your presentation; what are you standing for? (so that your prospect can argue on your behalf.)
- one point per slide; two to three points per section
2) Too many small ideas
- have ONE pitch leader: a benevolent dictatorship
- this person facilitates the process, gets everyone's thinking onto the table in order to...
- FOCUS the message-- into a singleminded presentation
- put a stake in the ground; stop backing yourself up. If you don't you will lose anyway.
- review the pitch before you find out if you won or lost; what would you change either way?
3) Better vs Different
- differentiate; make it supportable. We are not the most creative; the best; the ____ -- and if you say that, what supports that?
- make supported statements
- talk about strategy, creative or media -- or how we can influence their brand (no idea what he meant here, but I starred it several times. Nice.)
4) One presentation style
- give presenters IDEAS to present, not words
- allow presenters to own their slides
- give junior staff opportunity to success-- enough time to practice-- let them look smart when presenting
- if they attend, they talk. Give them enough time to build up their momentum; 4 - 5 min.
5) Too much talk, not enough practice
- work in pairs, not individually, not too many
- no going back into an office; stay in a conference room or away from work
- PRACTICE THE OPEN AND CLOSE more often than the middle
- know each slide's main takeaway
- don't stop after every slide
- limit amt of time discussion each section
- rehearse transitions-- go one slide into each section before stopping to discuss
- time each section
- trim the fat
- do not defend slides
- bring the presentation into focus-- a good point may not be a relevant point
- remove words; economize on words
- no large changes 2 days before presentation
- no stopping, no commentary, no changes. Do it twice.
- BUILD MORALE; feel good about the presentation
- not easy to win in Q/A; easy to lose in Q/A
- let the client finish asking the question; pause before beginning your response
- it is about the team
- be brief; 60-sec or less
- be aware of time
- one answer to one question from one person; be careful not to erode credibility
- discuss answers and practice the answers; and team practices being quiet

DAY TWO: the big guns take the stage

Tom Carroll, Pres-CEO TBWA Worldwide, incoming chairman of AAAAs
- great speaker; a guy you want to have beers with
- "That was then. This is now." Get on with it. How much longer are you going to bemoan "the good ol days"?

Irwin Gotlieb, global CEO, Group M
- stop referring to traditional media and new/digital media-- new is not new anymore
- today's definition of new media is irrelevant anyway as devices blur lines and channels
- Three forms of media: LEAN FORWARD= computer; LEAN BACK= tv; MOBILE
- each form will have linear and non-linear consumer-driven consumption
- targeting will move from predicting behavior to reacting to intent
- reach/engagement: not one at the expense of the other
- technology improves relevance: people dont avoid commercials as much as they avoid what is not relevant to them
- "multiple chapter storytelling"-- print dift than tv dift than mobile dift than online... the messages intersect and share threads but are not identical lifts

Lee Clow
- we are in the business of Media Arts: that is the product and the passion of our company
- everything a brand does is media and a brand experience; find the idea that centers them, then express it as vividly and broadly as possible
- idea is liberated by how we tell the brand story
- Apple = computer company = technology-that-changes-your-life company
- put media out in culture so it is loved and celebrated
- BRANDS WILL BECOME MEDIA that you interact with
- EXPRESS THE BRAND; don't make ads

[ more to come ]

03 March 2008

There are 4 better companies to work for than GB*

Oregon Business just ranked Grady Britton as one of Oregon's Top 100 Companies to Work For in 2008. But not just one of...
Number +FIVE+!

And to think we were satisfied with being #8 last year. Psssshht.

*W+K London gets credit for this headline. (Although they were ranked #31 out of their 100 companies...ahem...which is great. But we were, you know, #5 in ours. Just saying.)