The Medium is the Message, but What is the Medium Anymore?

Pauline_Ploquin

 

Imagine this ­– operating systems are able to read our emotions and interact with us like a flesh-and-bone human. The possibilities of technological innovations explored in the movie Her may not be sociologically or psychologically realistic, but they do offer a dizzying picture of today’s marketers’ dilemma. As a modern-day marketer, what should I focus on? What is digital anyway?

The questions surrounding how we should be marketing and interacting with our audience in this digital era have become endless and overwhelming.

Freshly returned from SXSW, I find myself in an equally dizzying whirlwind of excitement, confusion and hope. Below are a few of my observations and my state of the union on our current ecosystem of marketing and digital:

Good News: Welcome to the Age of the Customer.

It’s an understatement to acknowledge that the so-called “Digital Era” has shifted the landscape away from mass communication and more toward customer-centered programs that are designed to serve the needs of the customers in a real way. What marketers continue to struggle with is the true ROI of these initiatives and the baffling ever-changing technologies that they require. If you need more confirmation that you are on the right path with your focus on your customers’ experience, I highly recommend that you read Forrester’s anthem about entering a 20-year cycle dubbed “the Age of The Customer.”

Bad News: Brands Need to Work Harder.

So, how is one to create meaningful, useful, engaging and emotional customer- centric programs? Read More »

#MondayMix

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Music is definitely the lifeblood of our offices and I think it’s pretty safe to say we’re all over the grid when it comes to taste. Here’s a small sampling of what we’ve been jamming to in SLC, LA, and PDX on this fine Monday.

Awake – Tycho

Losing You – Solange

Queenie Eye – Paul McCartney

Keep You – Wild Belle

19 You + Me – Dan + Shay (No judgement, some of us are getting ready for Stagecoach.)

Breath Me – SIA

Kevin Perry named to GD USA 2014 People to Watch List

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We’re all pretty excited over here at Struck for Kevin Perry, our resource manager, who has been named to GD USA’s 2014 People to Watch list. Kevin keeps us all in line on the daily, but is also a talented designer who has been in the industry for the last 14 years. He is actively involved with the AIGA as a national board member, was recently President of the AIGA SLC chapter, cofounded Salt Lake Design Week and currently teaches at the University of Utah, among other things. Needless to say, he’s a busy guy!

Check him out on GD USA and see what he has to say about the state of graphic design:

I feel optimistic about the future of design. The only thing constant in the design industry is change. That’s why it’s so exciting. Every day, design is more and more the topic of conversation. Kickstarter. Our devices. Healthcare. Design awareness is at an all-time high. As designers, we continue to evolve. The new designer thinks much more strategically than ever before. The craft will always remain an important part of our process, but we now create solutions in many different forms, including intangible items like experiences. Our process has also shifted from mass communication to something more personal. It’s more important than ever for us to have empathy so we can customize messages to specific audiences. As society becomes more aware of the value of design, we are seeing success with clients who recognize that design is no longer a service that comes at the end of the process. Designers are most effective as thought leaders when we can work collaboratively to solve complex problems. At Struck, we observe these trends and the ever-changing needs of our clients. We have evolved from a traditional agency to one that is insight-driven and multi-disciplinary by adding expertise in strategy, digital innovation and design expertise. We embrace the move toward co-creation, collaboration and integrative design.

CES 2014: The Real Value of Going to a Tech Conference

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Is CES worth going to? Yes. Why? Well, precisely because it is a terrible conference to go to. I hadn’t fully appreciated this point until recently.

You see, at CES the focus is on the connectedness of things, the interoperability of things, the wear-it-ness of things, the ability of everything to house data, to communicate data, to enhance life and so on. 4K/8K TVs show exceptionally vivid images of life on ever-thinner screens. 3D printers, software and hardware, useful things, useless crap. The point is, everything yearns to be digital and be connected to some semblance of the internet, or to facilitate that connection.

Yes, there is a lot of derivative crap. There is a lot of first-mover crap too. Both have a place, but everyone is still figuring out what will break wide, how ubiquitous it will become, and what the cheapening of components means in terms of access. No one has figured out how to use this stuff to facilitate a better world just yet, and we’ll need lots and lots of minds to look at it to draw that random connection.

My final parting thoughts? It sucks to go to CES. But you should go, because it might change how you view the world, and you can see the world’s hive mind trying to improve it in real time.

Read the full article on Medium…

 

Snoopin’ Out OR

So being headquartered two blocks from the Salt Palace in downtown SLC means that twice a year we’re at the epicenter of the outdoor community. The Outdoor Retailer Show (or OR Show for short) is the premier outdoor retail event bringing the best of manufactures and retailers all under one roof. We’re lucky to have great clients like PROBAR (thanks for the pass) in the mix, but it’s also a chance to catch up with friends both old and new.

This year we met some new friends from a longtime partner of ours called Fashion Snoops. Fashion Snoops is a trend forecasting agency in NYC who has supplied us with amazing trend insights over the years for numerous clients. The Snoops delegation consisted of the ever effervescent Kristin Petrizzo their active + street wear editor and the smoother than smooth Adrian Curiel Fashion Snoops’ menswear editor.

It was so interesting to walk the floor with them and see what they were attracted to and man, could they ever sweet talk the folks at the front desks of each booth. Me = Jealous. Here are a few of their thoughts, forecasts and some of my insights that can maybe extend beyond the apparel world…

Read More »

Borking the Big Game

It’s year three for STRUCK in the world of Jack in the Box digital Super Bowl (ahem… BIG GAME) campaigns. If you need a quick refresher on the last two, well… we’re more than happy to oblige. See the 2012 Marry Bacon work HERE and the 2013 Hot Mess extravaganza HERE.

This year, we were tasked to build engagement around the new Bacon Insider™—the first burger to mix bacon RIGHT IN the patty. Yup. Three full strips of bacon and bacon mayo to go along with the bacon-infused burger. It’s pretty much the greatest thing ever.

Capitalizing on the flexible structure of the new JackintheBox.com, we crafted mobile, desktop and tablet experiences that showcase the burger, drive engagement with the television campaign and deliver snack-sized bits of content.

As an added bonus, we also designed and built a retro arcade-style game, “BORK BLASTER” (Bork = Beef + Pork) that helps fans blast sad burgers with bacon—turning them into delicious and amazing Bacon Insider burgers*.

Well? Get to it.

*We can neither confirm nor deny if the Konami code will give you 5,000,000 points and Bork Overlord status.

Struck Expands Client Services and Production Teams

SALT LAKE CITY, January 8, 2014 – Struck, a digital-forward creative agency, today announced three key promotions within client services and production. To help solidify growth and scalability in 2014, the agency has appointed John Gross as director of client services, Jeremy Chase as group account director, and Katherine Cochran as director of production.

“As we continue to align ourselves to larger client engagements, our client services and production teams will become even more essential to our overall success as an agency—in equal partnership with our continued creative excellence,” said Pauline Ploquin, chief operating officer of Struck.  “This increased leadership across our accounts will better position us to achieve even greater success in 2014.”

In his new role as director of client services, Gross will be responsible for maintaining client satisfaction and growing business with new and existing clients, as well as increasing retainer client relationships. In addition to client responsibilities, he will focus on expanding the digital and strategic abilities within the organization.

As director of production, Cochran will oversee the agency’s production team and work to align their efforts with larger organizational goals of efficiency and profitability. In her new position, she will also work closely with the executive team on implementing new agency-wide processes.

Chase, a key member of the client services team, has been promoted to group account director. As part of his expanded responsibilities, he will oversee the agency’s Salt Lake City-based clients and lead the account services team, focusing on service excellence, team mentoring and strategic initiatives for 2014.

‘Tis the Season at The Grand America

There are a few key staples in our culture that signify the holidays are on the way. Suddenly everything (literally) is pumpkin flavored, you get a healthy dose of cheery holiday tunes everywhere you go, and those iconic red Starbucks cups are in the hands of about 90% of the population. Here in Salt Lake City, The Grand America‘s Holiday Window Stroll has become a holiday tradition for many. Each year, the five-diamond hotel invites the community to share in the holiday spirit by visiting 14 meticulously decorated windows throughout their property.

Over the past 4 years, we’ve had a hand in bringing the holiday spirit to life by designing the concept for the window stroll. The theme this year is “Santa’s Workshop”, a story that chronicles Santa’s helpers and the gift-making process at North Pole Industries. Each window features a different aspect of the journey, from the Quality Assurance Department to a mystical yeti cave. We also wanted to incorporate the element of motion in the designs this year, so with some crafty work by our lead production artist (and magic maker!), Monte, we were able to bring the windows to life in a way that had never been done before. The finished product is 14 stunning windows that truly capture the holiday spirit.

Throughout the process we kept a running list of fun facts about the Holiday Window Stroll this year…

Read More »

Overcoming The Block

Writers block, creative block. It’s pretty safe to say we’ve all been there at some point and it just may be one of the most frustrating things ever encountered. Right up there with bad kerning and 3,876 unnamed Photoshop layers. The worst part is, it often comes just as you’re about to buckle down and start working on a project. As we were pondering the topic, we decided to ask our team what they do when they encounter a creative/writers block.

Alex Fuller, Creative Director: Walk away. Physically, as a way to get there mentally. It’s best if I go do something active and hard enough to make my brain shut up for awhile, somewhere that I can’t multitask in any way. Then I can come back fresh to the creative project.

Abe Levin, Interactive Design Director: A good cry always helps. JK. But maybe not…

Jennifer McCallum, Producer: Clean. De-cluttering my physical environment helps me declutter my brain. Plus, if you hate cleaning, you’re even more motivated to get over that creative wall just so you don’t have to scrub the toilet anymore.

Jeremy Chase, Group Account Director: When I hit the wall, I usually find myself doing two things: 1. Work somewhere other than Struck. Usually Carlucci’s does the trick. Or Sam Weller’s bookshop. Or sometimes working at home. I find a change in the environment is all I need. 2. Put on the headphones and listen to music. The more instrumental/orchestral the better. Both of these activities are also usually, if not always, accompanied by a cup of coffee.

Matt Anderson, Executive Creative Director: I love post-it notes. Usually when I hit a block, I just start writing whatever comes into my head on a post-it, then I stick it on the wall. Sometimes, it’s a list of words (loosely) associated with the problem I’m trying to solve. Sometimes, it’s nonsense about what I’m going to eat for lunch or a movie I just saw. And occasionally, it’s a string of ideas that might actually be useful. I guess what I’m really looking for is a way to get my brain unstuck, a way to clear out the garbage. So I just write things down as fast as they come… Hoping that I get unstuck before I run out of post-its.

Dave Bunnell, Senior Art Director: I’ll delve into other mediums that have nothing to do with the assignment to see if there’s a crossbred solution, or I go outside. Nature is pure inspiration… even if you’re thinking on Jack in the Box.

Rebecca Clayton, Interactive Designer: I try to do something that scares me. Something I’ve never done before, like speaking in public or skydiving, or sometimes I just go for a run to clear my head.

Heather Holt-Lister, Producer: I find that the best way to clear my head is, oddly enough, to delve into the littlest of details. When I hit a wall with a project, I need to break the project’s components down into their smallest parts. Once I’ve determined how a job can be compartmentalized into pieces, I’m able to get out of my paralysis and join the parts back together into a whole.

Nate Williams, Art Director: I change my environment, listen to new music, or exercise.

And last but definitely not least…

Chase DoutreCopywriter: (In true Chase form) Respond to e-mails about how I overcome a creative block.