THE BLOG

After six years in a beautiful office in west midtown Atlanta, we finally decided we had outgrown the space. We witnessed a lot of growth and change on the west side. We loved the walkability of our neighborhood. We enjoyed having Octane coffee a block away, the Atlanta Humane Society across the street, our favorite TV editing company a stroll away, and more restaurants than we could possibly ever have lunch.

Two weeks in, the move has been great. It’s a time to recharge and design inspiring new creative spaces for our team and clients. We’re enjoying new neighborhoods and getting the synapses firing differently in our brains. Change is good. Always. It makes you see and do things differently. Years ago I remember thinking, after four-plus years at BBDO, that if I had to drive in circles up the parking ramp one more time I was going to go insane. Change is good.

We are now in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood on the east side of Atlanta. We’re a block from the famous Virgina-Highland neighborhood, a few blocks from Inman Park, Little Five Points and Old Fourth Ward neighborhoods. We can Bird scoot, Segway or bicycle to a million things including the Beltline, and Ponce City Market. We’ve gone a little more upscale than our old neighborhood, but our team deserves the improved quality of work life and we’re excited for the next chapter at Seed Factory. We hope that you’ll come check us out when you’re looking for a new project, or retainer agency. We promise to take you somewhere delicious for lunch. And of course, whenever our interior is up to our standards, we’ll invite you to the open house. Until then, enjoy our Agency Moving video. We had fun making it.

Atlanta: Moving Our Agency East

You’ve probably heard that YouTube and Facebook are selling six second ads with FOX, the first TV network to experiment with the format. So how should marketers think about this new format that will gain steam in 2018? For one, don’t think of it as new. Anyone remember print advertising? Anybody remember Vine? Yep, the platform that Twitter bought and shortly thereafter closed, is now the “new” format for advertisers to embrace. How long do brands have to catch the average consumer’s attention in print? Two seconds. Most of the media buys on YouTube allow users to skip your ad after five seconds of watching. And have you looked at your data analytics on those ads? Not many people continue to watch your commercial in its entirety unless it’s very relevant to the viewer. Maybe YouTube is actually giving advertisers an additional second with this format. Now you get six seconds instead of five! Hopefully the format will force advertisers to again be disciplined about messaging, ideas and storytelling.

Here are some ideas to help marketers think about the new six-second format:

  1. Focus on a moment, not an entire story. There’s no time for a traditional set up, arc and resolution in six seconds. Show how your brand helps or relates to a situation, leaving viewers with a strong connection to a relatable moment.
  2. Think of this new format as you would a great print ad. With only six seconds it can almost be thought of as print with motion. Of course, like with print, more value will need to be put on the simple, pure IDEA for it to get etched into consumers’ minds. If you think about some of the best visual-solution print ads or strong headlines coupled with amazing visuals, it tells a story quickly, succinctly and memorably. On average, consumers spend 2-3 seconds with print ads and decide if the ad is relevant to them within 0.3 seconds. Maybe smaller, independent agencies that were traditionally great at print ads, will shine with the new format.
  3. Create a Brief specifically for this format. Or at least give it clear definition within a campaign brief. It’s not a :30 that’s cut down to a :15, that is now cut down to a :06. That won’t work here. The Creative Brief needs to clearly state the goal and mandatories of a six-second commercial. It needs to have real expectations on what can be communicated. It needs to be signed off on by all internal decision makers, otherwise you will do yourself, the brand and the agency a disservice.
  4. Cut the clutter. The six-second commercial will be great for pure branding and for marketing messages related to a certain event or day of the year. Again like all great advertising, it will need to have one simple message and can’t be cluttered with too many mandatories, explanations or lengthy CTAs.
  5. Contrary to what I say in point one, if you want to tell an entire story in six seconds you should consider using time lapse, hyper-lapse, stop-motion, jump-cuts and fast/slow speed video techniques to tell your story. Many brands are already successfully using these techniques in social media and these formats may not be that different from your social content efforts if you already take these storytelling approaches.
  6. Of course, this format will be best used as part of a larger campaign. It will have definite messaging limitations and it should probably have budgets more on par with social content or print ad creation. In fact, as agencies and marketers begin to experiment with the format, you may realize it aligns more with your social media or print concept efforts but that doesn’t mean the brief and approval process should be handed of to an in-house social media coordinator.
  7. If it doesn’t “give away” the idea, quickly show your logo at the opening of the video. Sony was brilliant with this on all of their Playstation commercials in the past. You can also consider as an option, watermarking your logo on a bottom corner of the video (like a station identifier), although we prefer the opening blip instead of a continued “distraction”. We also believe the blip creates better brand recall with viewers.

Have fun, think differently and be disciplined in your approach. It will take the expertise of creative agencies and disciplined marketers to do it well, but it’s exciting to think about and get ahead of the curve as it may become a part of your media plan in the near future.

Tips for creating six-second commercials

It might be a total rebrand or it might be considered more of a brand update or refresh. Either way, it’s probably one of the most significant marketing challenges the company will face in a given year and it’s important to get it right. Here are a few tips from our experiences.

  1. Get decision makers involved early and often. This might be the most obvious one, but it’s the most crucial. For example, if we talk with a potential client and a C-level executive isn’t a part of the process in some form–from giving us time for discovery interviews to signing off on direction and potential positioning statements, we’ll pass on the assignment. This isn’t a process a company’s communications group should undertake in isolation.
  2. Define and understand all your potential audiences. What do they like about the current state of the brand? What do they dislike? If it was their brand what would they do differently? What’s sacred cow that the brand shouldn’t touch without audiences taking their loyalty elsewhere? (New Coke anyone? O.com instead of Overstock.com…)
  3. Test multiple directions with your audiences. Internally, you may have drank some of the kool-aide, and the agency may have blinders on from being the “makers” and knowing what the message or creative is supposed to communicate. Most importantly, you need to know if the world is going to see or interpret something completely unexpected, which may not be the intended message at all. Consumer’s can see things a brand and agency may miss. Some audiences may even see something bad, funny or negative in a brand refresh (Airbnb logo anyone?)
  4. Rebranding isn’t just a new logo and tagline, it’s defining your authentic tone and voice. It’s finding a positioning that will resonate with your current audiences and allow for future growth.
  5. A brand is a living entity, therefore it needs updating and adjusting as sentiments and styles change. Going through a brand update and exercise is good to do at least once a decade, even if the adjustments end up seeming minor to you and your external audiences barely notice. The process will at least give you peace of mind that your brand currency is relevant and will (hopefully) continue to be, all other factors aside.
  6. If you partner with multiple agencies, be open to sharing the process with all of them. Not that you need feedback from other agencies, but everyone will need to work with the update and it’s important that they feel it has the legs to work how they need it to.

 

At Seed Factory, we consider ourselves an advertising and PR agency that often starts the process with a branding exercise. We understand brand positioning and real-world applications of branding across advertising, PR, social, digital and of course, design. Let us have a holistic conversation about your brand’s needs even if it’s a small project. Sometimes the “refresh” comes from a website update to keep it current with the ever-changing digital landscape. Take a look at the largest two rebrands we have done: CDC Foundation and Navicent Health

Rebranding, or Brand Refresh, Here Are Some Tips to Consider

We’d like to happily announce our newest rock star employee, Allison (Alli) Stover. She’s joined us officially as an Account Director and New Client Relations extraordinaire. Prior to joining Seed Factory, Allison served in an Account Supervisor role at BBDO ATL, where she oversaw all aspects of the day-to-day relationship with Norwegian Cruise Line including creative and account oversight of digital, radio and TV campaigns. During her career she has worked at agencies and media companies in LA and NYC, with experience in aviation, technology, finance, travel/lifestyle, sports, luxury and entertainment categories.

Alli has quickly gotten up to speed and is already making a great impact on our business and client relationships.

Seed Factory Hires Account Director

Interbike Badge

The ever entertaining and fun crew at Vintage thought it would be good for me to walk around as an “Athlete” for an electric bike co. Funny.

 

I’m back in Atlanta from Interbike and recovered by doing a real road ride and also a fun ride on Sunday. It was one of Atlanta’s “Streets Alive” days so I went out with the urban masses to celebrate human powered transportation in the ATL–biking and walking.

But back to Interbike.

Even though we used to have Wahoo Fitness as a client and designed some of their trade show graphics, along with packaging and advertising, I had never been to the greatest trade show on earth before this year! Turns out that some of the biggest brands decided not to attend this year. Specialized, Trek and Giant were no shows. It’s probably hard to justify the hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses when they already have direct access to all of their dealers.

I don’t think I did a very good job at the show for the one day I was there. I didn’t get to half the booths I wanted to and I didn’t have a game plan. You need a game plan at this thing–it’s huge! The amount of companies there is overwhelming. The amount of amazing products is overwhelming too. Unfortunately, I also didn’t think Interbike did a good job with the map. The numbers on the map were absolutely tiny and to cross-reference the booth numbers to the companies in the long list below the map could have taken me 3 hours to create my own walking map. Maybe they’ll get to the point that they offer an interactive, customizable map online. Or maybe they did and I missed it.

Anyway, we picked up a bicycle client shortly before Interbike so I was glad to have already booked my trip there. It was nice meeting the clients in person and help with some of the media briefings. I think things went really well for them at the show.  They have an amazing electric bike company and the team was so nice. They seam to be very hard workers, sweat the details and have a vision for the growth of the electric bike market. Check out their amazing bikes here – Vintage Electric Bikes.

Vintage Electric at Interbike

Thomson is a local GA bike parts manufacturer who Seed Factory needs to reach out to. Honestly, I haven’t seen a more boring and visually underwhelming booth than theirs. I’m wondering if it’s part of their brand persona to be completely anti-flashy, but it seems a bit extreme and counter-productive to selling more of their beautiful bits. I’ve always believed that if you’ve created something beautiful, then you should present it beautifully to help create an aura and emotional connection to it.

Moving on, there were so many other booths to see. I literally got lost at one point when I was trying to get back to Vintage Electric’s booth. I loved Pivot’s bike line up, the Alchemy bikes, Industry Nine’s trick bits, the Bell helmets booth and tons of others. Renovo Hardwood Bicycles caught my eye as one of the most beautiful frames out there, but then again, I’m a sucker for anything well crafted from hardwoods.

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Seed Factory would love to work with more of these companies in the bicycle industry. Of course we’re super stoked to be working with Vintage Electric Bikes as they’re poised to grow into a huge company. Others such as Kuat racks are beautiful and smartly designed.  Being in MO, it’s close enough to our time zone to work together easily. Phil Wood has such trick bits and they supply the hubs for Vintage. Litespeed is just up the road from us in Chattanooga. 6D Helmets are really onto something with the shock-absorption layer. G-form’s protective equipment looks great. Crank Brothers, Stan’s NoTubes and the list goes on.

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Bell Helmets - Interbike 2017

Jimbo Phillips one-off painted helmet for Bell.

 

Interbike 2016