May 18, 2007

Agency Understanding

The giant wave called “interactive” that has splashed on the shores of the advertising world has created many opportunities for a re-examination of roles and talent in the ad business. Interactive is a digital multi platform arena that offers advertisers the most impact and allows for the most engaging ideas to be developed. Integrating a campaign is no small task and requires a true leader who understands how to anchor the print, TV and other offline media with the strengths of what online brings to the table.

I work with many agencies, I manage many projects for the worlds largest brands, companies like Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, CITI, AXE and many more who rely on our abilities to develop an online strategy for their brands. We hold the key to the most intimate engagement that our clients have with their consumers and we serve as their navigator for the interactive platform.

One of the many challenges that I and many other people face today is the transition that many of these agencies are currently going thorough in order to fully comprehend and integrate interactive digital services with their more traditional approaches to advertising. Developing an online campaign is very different than the offline traditional print, TV and radio.

So I asked myself who's capable of managing these types of projects?

I understand that a person in this position is a rare breed at this very early stage; it is not a unilateral decision to become a leader in this field. A successful interactive producer requires the respect of those he manages, the various artists, designers, developers and motion graphic people who need to know that their fearless leader is someone who lives and breathes the intimate interaction that the web offers its users. If they don't attain that respect from their teams and people they work with then their teams are merely being managed and not being led. The various intricacies and combination of creative and technological understandings along with the cultural variations of the web require a real leader who knows how to combine all of these aspects and how to distill them down to him team and then across to the client.

A true interactive producer at this early stage of the web spectrum must in some way want to make a difference and push the limits of what people are doing online. They have to trust and know the team and their abilities and to know how to work with them as an extension of themselves. To imagine that this is something that can be done independently of others is foolish. To achieve true innovation and inspiration requires the cooperation, will, and desire of the entire team to follow their leader and to accomplish a larger mission.

The mission is not to simply produce a pretty website; it is to engage the user to fully connect with the brand and the environment that they are in when they visit the website or interactive installation. It means that a lasting impression must be made and that the user feels a sense of connection and affiliation to the brand and the overall message. Success is achieved when the user feels right at home every time they reach the destination and that they return to that destination as their main source of information for that particular brand, product or service.

In my experience the key to getting the entire team completely onboard (enthusiastically) is to first get them committed to the overall project idea. (And remember, before you can get others to believe in anything you have to first believe in it yourself.) The team is not just the interactive team but the entire creative team that will be working on all aspects of the campaign. This is very important because everyone needs to have a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities in order to have realistic expectations. Educating the print or broadcast team as to how the interactive works is the secret to getting everyone to play nice. Often times it’s the lack of understanding across the project lines that causes frustrations and slows down delivery of important assets that are being shared.

Once the idea is fully flushed out and the online experience has been completely finalized by the producer that is when the fun starts, you will suddenly radiate enormous enthusiasm as will your team because everyone has similar expectations and a unified goal has now been set. It is the producer’s job to keep up the energy and a clear plan for success this will keep the clients happy and your team committed.

The final key to success is never to forget to keep everyone up to date with how things are progressing; the client and other members of the team may not have the same understanding of the production process as you do so this should be set as one of your primary ongoing day to day tasks. Being a producer also requires personal responsibility; never ever make it about your own ego or personal spotlight. Educating your clients and team members is about listening and making sure they understand the processes involved and are clear with realistic expectations for delivery dates and the ability to change within the allotted time and budget. Remember these few pieces of wisdom and you'll continue to have your design and development team as well as your clients and fellow co-workers believing in and joining your efforts to take interactive into the mainstream advertising spectrum.

Due Process

The emerging state of interactive multimedia rises from the ashes that buried it during the dot com tragedy. This new media is the savior of the advertising world, the second coming of promises that were first glimpsed when life was given to the web. The early dot coms all died for the cause. It was a revolution that went into hibernation waiting for the speed of broadband to recharge its ambition. Amazonian expectations were set and now being fulfilled in only its second generation.

Digital trailblazers, men and women, boys and girls who traverse the gigs of terrain that lay before them contained inside of a simple box streaming through infinite amounts of information, art, organization, tools and environments that keep them soaking up culture like a sponge. I marvel at the accomplishments of the medium. The web has given us a universal platform that extends beyond any limitations. It is our interface to the world, the way we learn, the way we study, the way we search and the way we communicate.

Millions have found love, life and opportunity on the web. It has created a gateway to every corner of the earth. There is no place the web doesn’t penetrate. The web is clothed in technology and ideas.

The days of static sites are gone, interactive web design is now truly an art form. The ability to not only create something visually awesome but an application that has so much functionality and purpose. Be it entertainment value, information, commerce, communications or warning, the interactive realm has emerged the creators of this new world.

When I was in grade school I had always felt a sense of emptiness when learning about the famous explorers of the new world. Columbus, Pizzaro, Orellana and Cabeza De Vaca had all uncovered the final unexplored territories of the world. They created a new world; they expanded boundaries and were responsible for new life. I knew at a young age that I was never going to have an opportunity to sail the high seas and uncover the mysteries of the planet and a streak of jealousy would strike me leaving me to ponder more realistic employment for my future.

Become a doctor, a lawyer, maybe a cop or a teacher? I never entertained any one of those suggestions, I would rather do nothing. Always an artist I was never without a pen or marker in my hand. I would decorate everything and my eyes seemed to make everything move. If I could only push that, or pull that, if I could only see the next scene or adjust the color of everything I saw. I was desperate for something that didn’t yet exist but something I was very prepared for and when I found it I knew, I didn’t need any lessons as to what it was, I knew that this was my world and I was going to explore it.

My passion for online interactive multimedia is beyond any of the corporate sites that I produce. It just gives me an opportunity to think and live in my world all day. I create new trails and develop new ideas that push the web deeper and deeper. The impact of my involvement extends way beyond the limited borders of my city, state and country. My work travels through a new dimension, a new world that begs for beauty, knowledge, spirit, faith, and inspiration.

I am an explorer. I explore the web and uncover its potential, I push its limits. The message I chose to transmit over this giant pipe is inspiration. No greater message can be transmitted. Mankind needs inspiration; the television killed our minds, so passive and so dreary. It’s content to broad to comprehend yet simple enough for mass murder.

It no longer shapes our minds and our views. Everyone has a place on the web. Everyone is represented and everyone is honored. The ridiculous, the creepy and the sappy all converge here. No two sites the same, each one a digital representation.

On the web video and sound stream like the great untamed Mississippi River across the American landscape. This is the new frontier, the uncharted territory that invites the explorer to trek its terrain. It’s not the physical rather the mental wherewithal that the explorer must possess. Creative thinking goes into every search, every site, and every blog and every link.

I love this new frontier. Its capacity is endless and its potential is infinite. The tools have become common and now everyone has access, anyone can breathe new life and their own soul into this container and express their voice.

Inspiration is the new creative.

May 1, 2007

Its been a while...

Its been a while since I opened the doors of my mind here I have been busy with Microsoft

Just wanted to share some love and show everyone this interview i did for DevLounge

Enjoy folks and im about to bust out another killer article soon.