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Join FL+G for a Branding Strategy Panel at Upcoming Denver Design Week

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Earlier this month, we brought you tips on building your personal brand. From identifying your strengths to publishing and sharing your own original content, there are a number of key components to establishing yourself as an expert in your niche. One way to continue building your own creative strategy is by connecting with top mentors in the branding space. This month, FL+G is proud to be creating an opportunity that will allow you to do just that at Denver Design Week this October 12th-19th. With FL+G’s own Brian Rogers on board, FL+G will be part of the panel “ More Than a Logo: How to Establish a Unique Brand in a Cookie Cutter World” on Thursday, October 18th. The focus of our discussion will be centered around how to set yourself and your brand apart from your competition, why your brand is more than your logo, and how to showcase your brand in the visual design world.

For this special event, FL+G is also bringing on industry expert Josh Taylor of SIXINCH® North America furniture. SIXINCH is not your average furniture company- their pieces are playful, unique, and whimsical while simultaneously having classic elements that keep them comfortable and functional. Their furniture has been featured in installations all over the world, and more recently, you might have even seen a piece like The Cliffy at a music festival! So how did SIXINCH brand themselves as a little more rock’n’roll than your average interior design choices? Josh will be sharing this with you, along with tips in his specialties of digital media, videography, design concepts, copywriting, brand awareness, and omni-channel marketing campaigns.

Along with Brian and Josh, the panel will also feature host Becky Mickletz (Remickz Marketing) and panelist Brandy Sachen (Sofar Sounds Denver). In the competitive marketing world, connecting with these mentors is exactly what you need to establish your own brand dominance.

Details for this Denver Design Week panel are below and you can snag $15 tickets here. Join our Facebook event for your chance to win two free tickets! Panelists are available for press and interviews; connect with us at publicrelations@flg.agency for requests. We can’t wait to see you October 18th!

Denver Design Week Panel details:

“More Than a Logo: How to Establish a Unique Brand in a Cookie Cutter World”

Thursday, October 18th 2018 at 1:30PM

The Yard at Denargo Market 2323 Delgany Street Denver, CO 80216

More About SIXINCH North America

Founded in Belgium in 2003 by Pieter Jamart and Michel Sels, SIXINCH was born from a passion for innovative materials and progressive design. In 2013, Peter and Michel partnered with U.S.-based Wieland Designs, a well-respected company in the furniture industry, and expanded the footprint for one of the most talked about furniture brands in the world. Their furniture has been featured in the international market at The Mondrian Hotel in Miami, The Centre Pompidou in Paris, Moscow’s Airport, and for commissioned installations in New York, Rotterdam, and Hamburg. With some of their more whimsical pieces, SIXINCH has even expanded their market into children’s hospitals, the aforementioned music festival space, and more. Earlier this year, SIXINCH North American opened their first showroom at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago during the NeoCon trade fair, the largest American trade fair for design professionals. One of the company’s most popular pieces, The Cliffy, has previously been the winner of a “Best of Neocon Editors’ Choice Award.”SIXINCH has a number of products newly available for 2018, from chic seated pieces like The Gnarly to the more fanciful and intriguing Tapa if you’re interested in browsing more.

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A Rose by Any Other Name

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME

“What’s in a name?” When Juliet, in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, originally spoke these words, Shakespeare was making the argument that language is random. Names are just labels used to distinguish one thing from another. To Juliette, the name “Montague” itself did not create worth or meaning.

 

Up until recently, FL&G did not have a name. We were an entity; a fully functioning company, however we had no set identity. If names are just labels, we shouldn’t need one to create meaning and worth, right?

 

Doing business with no name, however, was a challenge. Without a name, we had to navigate how best to introduce ourselves to prospective clients. We had no business cards, we used temporary email addresses, we couldn’t yet define our brand or our visual identity. We had less to fall back on and more to explain.

 

The sense of identity that a name provides is at the heart of why names are important to us as individuals and business entities. Names are descriptors that allow people to make quick judgments and assumptions about us. While we can understand the harm of assumptions (and the reasoning behind Juliet’s assertion), names provide the human mind a fast way to categorize a lot of information in a short amount of time.

 

Interestingly, names have also been shown to be a crucial factor in an individual’s internalization and development of their sense of self. Names help propel us forward on various paths of life and career. For example, a name can “exert unconscious influence over a person's own choices. Some scientific researchers contend that there are disproportionately large numbers of dentists named Dennis and lawyers named Lauren, and that it's not purely an accident that Dr. Douglas Hart of Scarsdale, N.Y., chose cardiology or that the Greathouse family of West Virginia runs a real-estate firm.”

 

If choosing a name would inevitably have external and internal influences, choosing the right one for our new agency was one of the most important decisions we had to make to date. This decision was one that would shape how we were going to be perceived by society and how we would perceive ourselves.

 

As an agency, however, there were other things we had to consider during the naming process, too. For example:

  1. How would our name influence our brand? We had to consider Brand Law #5, “The Law of the Word”, which dictates that a brand should strive to own a word in the mind of the consumer.  

  2. As a creative agency we had to be unique, and being unique in a world full of creative agencies who had already called dibs on certain words proved to be a challenge. Finding a name that wasn’t already taken while concurrently connotating the right message and voice meant we had to dig far and wide for ideas.

  3. We had to simultaneously find a domain name that 1. paired well with our choice, 2. was available, and 3. wasn’t exponentially outside our budget.

  4. We all had to agree. With five founding partners all located on different parts of the “purely rational” to “out-there creative” spectrum, we were all driven by different reasonings.

 

As we struggled to narrow down our ideas, we decided to let internal and external forces intersect. If society was going to judge us based on the name we chose, then why not include them in the process?

 

Working with Campaign US, we started by choosing five options that we believed we could internalize as we developed our agency’s identity. Then, we left it to society to chose one of those.  

 

As a result, we got the best of both worlds.

Check out the Campaign US articles to see how the process unfolded!

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My career in 5 executions: Vann Graves

From Mr. T to driving on Mars, FL+G's CEO and CCO practices creative alchemy

Name: Vann Graves
Title: CEO and CCO, FL+G
Years in ad industry: 20+
First job in ad industry: Creative Intern at BBDO

Vann Graves began his career under the tutelage of Phil Dusenberry at BBDO. He moved up quickly through the ranks before heading to McCann, McCann Worldgroup and then Fancy Rhino in Chattanooga. Earlier this year, Graves — remaining in Chattanooga after leaving Fancy Rhino — helped found full-service shop FL+G. In an unprecedented move, he let the ad industry at large choose the name of his new agency.

He says being a creative was simpler a decade or two ago, when good work alone could carry a career. Today, though, "you must be an alchemist," he says, "finding the right mix of storytelling, content, technology and relevance."

"It’s not just about the content you make, but how you connect the elements of your work. Every client is different, and each project needs to be approached in a personal way."

Here are the executions Graves says mean the most to him and his career.

Brand: M&Ms
Client: Masterfoods
Agency: BBDO
Work: "Groovy Summer"
Year: 2003

https://youtu.be/9q6B8wPb-1w

This was the first CGI project Graves worked on. "I quickly learned that technique doesn’t garner immediate results," he says. The process took some getting used to.

"On the stool sat a big mirrored ball that, through the magic of post-production, would become the cool and laid-back Green M&M," he says. "It was amazing to watch it all come together and to hear for the first time the magical yet sometimes horrible words, ‘We can fix it in post!’"

Brand: Motorola ROKR
Client: Motorola
Agency: BBDO
Work: "Phonebooth"
Year: 2005

https://youtu.be/8JuMM5OlkqM

This spot featured a large roster of musical megastars and was shot in under a week on two different continents. It was a crucible that "taught me the importance of collaboration, timing, logistics and great production," Graves says. He lauds producer Paul Feldman (who made a cameo as Beethoven.) "Now, like then, I know to rely on my producer," Graves says, "because a great creative idea executed poorly is a missed opportunity."

Brand: Mastercard Prepaid Debit Card
Client: Mastercard
Agency: McCann
Work: "Bodyguard"
Year: 2010

https://youtu.be/F0gblY7_gpA

This multicultural spot was a big hit in the general market, too. But it was tougher sell behind the scenes. "Sometimes it is easier for clients and agencies to want do work that is less creative and fun and default to familiar approaches to multicultural work," Graves says. Getting innovative work approved can be "an uphill battle."

But he learned how to defend the work he believed in — a lesson he uses on every project now.

Brand: Torch
Client: Torch
Agency: Fancy Rhino
Work: "Remember When?"
Year: 2015

https://youtu.be/QkFSkJY23WE

During his time at Fancy Rhino, Graves worked with the tech startup Torch to launch its new brand. "Creating everything from the messaging, to the logo, to the content was amazing," he says. "With startups, you are not just building a brand but working with the founders and innovators to create the brand."

He also learned to stay flexible during the project. "Everything has the potential to change on a minute-by-minute basis," he says. When he started his new agency, FL+G, Torch followed him, becoming the agency’s only launch client. 

Brand: Lockheed Martin
Client: Lockheed Martin
Agency: McCann
Work: "Field Trip To Mars"
Year: 2016

https://youtu.be/ssk5mn19cpM

Graves had long since left McCann by the time this work came out, but such is the pace at which highly technical work sometimes gets made.

Lockheed’s acclaimed virtual field trip was only possible because the creative team took a risk with the pitch, and the client saw its value. "It reminded me that creatively we have an obligation to be more than a vendor to clients," Graves says, "but a true creative partner."

That kind of partnership fosters open dialogue and greater creativity, Graves says. In this case, it resulted in "an entirely new technology platform."

By I-Hsien Sherwood published - Campaign US - June 9th 2016


 

 

Ads Are Coming To NBA Jerseys. Here's How Agencies Would Handle Them

Advertising creative directors speculate on how it might look when the NBA starts putting sponsor ads on jerseys in 2017.

 

Back in April, the NBA announced it would begin putting sponsorship logos on player uniforms in the 2017-18 season, a move that could generate at least $100 million per year. Commonplace in all sports around the world, monetizing uniforms is a move major American sports leagues like the NFL, NHL, and Major league Baseball have yet to make.

The revenue numbers might have team owners salivating, but the prospect of adding logos has some fans worried their hoops heroes will look more like German hockey players. More realistically, the NBA is imagining a future in which fans will accept (and buy) jerseys with brand logos, just as world soccer fans still scramble for the newest kits of Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Barcelona.

European soccer clubs have practically made selling uniform space into a capitalist art form—they sell the front of the shirt rights, they sell the back of the shirt rights, they sell shirt rights for different tournaments, they sell the warm-up shirt rights. Everything is for sale. They must look at the real estate on NBA shirts and wonder, 'Why are the numbers so big on the front?'

In anticipation of the NBA's first foray into brands on player uniforms, I asked some of the people brands will be talking to about their potential jersey sponsorship strategy, and asked them to speculate on how marketers may be approaching this new sports sponsorship opportunity. Creative directors, art directors, and executives from six different ad agencies weighed in on everything from placement to specific brand/team partnerships that would make sense.

Some are realistic, some are ambitious, and some are just batsh*t brand crazy. Check them out in the slide show above.

CUTWATER ASSOCIATE CREATIVE DIRECTOR GONG LIU, AND COPYWRITER JAY BROCKMEIER

Golden State Warriors and Twitter: "The best partnerships are going to come from an idea that helps all parties involved and feels smart. So for Twitter, we’ll put players’ Twitter handles on their jerseys instead of their last name—something that will make Twitter, the Warriors, and the players happy."

Chicago Bulls and McDonald's: "Americans don’t agree on much, but there’s one thing we can all agree on: McDonald’s fries are delicious. To remind people how much they miss them we will create a jersey with a pocket made of their iconic fry container and more ventilation for a completely new look."

Atlanta Hawks and Brawny: "For the Hawks, we’ll work with Atlanta’s own Georgia-Pacific—owners of Brawny—to create a jersey featuring the iconic red and black plaid pattern of the Brawny Man."

Atlanta Hawks and United Airlines: "We’ll work with United Airlines and the Atlanta Hawks—both know a little about flight—to re-imagine their uniforms. We’ll use the simple and familiar flight pattern motif as a design element in the fabric and the Hawks logo and uniform number will serve as the 'hub.'"
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FL+G CEO/ CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER VANN GRAVES

"Creating logos for NBA jerseys comes with a lot of pressure. You have to strike the right balance between staying on brand while not annoying the millions of basketball fans that will be ready to pick your work apart the second it walks onto the court. The solution is to use icons that are quickly recognizable yet add a fun component to the game."

FL+G PARTNER/ CREATIVE DIRECTOR JOE SCALO

"For brands like McDonald's and Starbucks, we wanted to branch out from using their typical logo and put the focus back onto their most iconic items. Who can resist the nostalgic image of the yellow fries or the classic coffee cup? They bring an unmistakable symbol to the jersey, a tactic that will keep the NBA happy while offering something that fans can get excited about."

GYK ANTLER BRAND AND MARKETING EXECUTIVE LUKE BONNER

"There’s a reason we’re attracted to—and turned off by—brands. Branding creates value and loyalty when we feel it shares and reflects our core beliefs. Otherwise, it’s just crass corporatism. So, as the NBA dips its collective toes in the world of co-branding, remember, fans don’t like crass corporatism. Luckily, we’re in the business of keeping everyone happy, so here’s our $0.02 on well-aligned co-branding."

Boston Celtics and Dunkin’ Donuts: "Pride. To Bostonians, it’s what separates them. It’s what unites them. It’s also what makes them care more about triple doubles than triple ventis. Whether it’s their sports teams or their breakfast, Boston fans are rabidly loyal to brands steeped in tradition. Born and bred in Massachusetts, the Celtics and Dunks go together like coffee and donuts."

Atlanta Hawks and Delta Airlines: "Above the sky or above the rim, these two Atlanta-based franchises know a little something about pushing the envelope. The Hawks have seen serious lift-off connecting with millennials through engaging game-day experiences, while Delta continues to carry more passengers annually than any other airline in the world. Plus, the Delta widget fits perfectly into the Hawks’ design. Together, there’s no telling how high they’ll fly."

INNOCEAN USA CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER ERIC SPRINGER, AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR SHANE DIVER

McDonald’s and LA Clippers: "As McDonald’s shifts away from its traditional fast food menu, the brand can only benefit from reaching a broader, healthier audience. So it only made sense to create something that represents McDonald’s future and marry it with the NBA style and aesthetic. We mirrored the famous NBA logo and created a more athletic version of Ronald McDonald to make it clear that you can "Be Like Mike" (or Steph) if you eat McDonald’s."

MONO SAN FRANCISCO MANAGING CREATIVE DIRECTOR PAULA BIONDICH, AND DESIGNER BEN JOHNSON

Logo Fantasy Leagues: "Let's have different brand items or icons represented on different players' jerseys, and turn it into a 'fantasy' game, in which people can draft their 'team' based on these different logos. For instance, let's say I draft the McDonald's Hamburger, and my friend drafts McDonald's fries—if the player with the McDonald's hamburger logo scores the most points, I win a coupon for a hamburger on my next visit."

United Way: "A jersey is a personal object, to both the players and the fans who wear it. Why not give that space to some of the fans who'd appreciate it most? Each player represents a local individual child 'sponsored' by the United Way. When that particular player is the leading scorer, a matching donation is made to that particular child's name. For example, if Kari-Anthony Towns led the team with 27 points, $270 would be given from the Wolves to The United Way in the name of that particular local child."

American Express: Let's spread the local love and have teams sponsor businesses, not the other way around. In partnership with American Express, each NBA player 'promotes' a small business in their market by donning its logo on Small Business Saturday. It's a small gesture that will go a long way on such an important shopping day."

By JEFF BEER Published - Fast Company - May 5, 2016

How to Fix the Agency Model

Four Reasons Why a Production Structure Will Help Agencies Succeed

The idea that the agency model is "broken" is something that's been kicked around the advertising world for a while now, with few concrete ideas to suggest what might replace it -- until recently. During a spirited speech at the Association of National Advertisers' Masters of Marketing conference this October, PepsiCo president Brad Jakeman called out ad holding companies' lack of interest in acquiring content studios and the apparent reluctance of advertising veterans to move away from traditional platforms like TV.

While I'm not on board with the argument that the advertising world hasn't caught up to our digital reality, I can't disagree that the agency model is overdue for a full overhaul. It goes without saying that the days of producing a TV spot with some print and digital work to back it up are over, yet this is the workflow many agencies are still structured for. Brands are now expected to produce thousands of pieces of content in an endless cycle, on a fraction of the budget they might have had for a campaign 20 years ago. This is a state of affairs that most agencies completely understand, but are not set up to accomplish in the most effective, efficient way.

It's time for a better, smarter way of doing business. Today's client needs call for a model that grafts the creative assets of the traditional agency onto the structure and technical capabilities of a production company. Where planning was once integral to the usefulness of an agency, these days things move so quickly that the ability to be flexible and react instantly is often a more valuable and useful skill. This is what the production structure and mindset allows for. Here's what else it brings to agencies:

1. A production model allows agencies to bring content to market quickly. There's no waiting for back-and-forth with third-party production companies. There's no drawn-out approval process, no time spent briefing someone else's creatives, no worry that your team won't mesh with someone else's. You control the creative process and the production schedule, from start to finish.

2. It enhances the creative process by allowing for experimentation. Just as startups innovate through rapid prototyping and endless testing, agencies with production capabilities built in can keep pushing their ideas forward, and discard what doesn't work, without paying a third party for the project.

3. The agency production model allows you to produce a huge variety and volume of content across platforms. Delivering beyond the brief and showing your client that you're capable of iterating and pushing your creative in many different directions is hugely valuable.

4. It allows agencies to react to what's happening in the news and in culture in real time. It's not enough to just create content for your clients -- it needs to be relevant. This is crucial for brands trying to gain earned media and have a voice in the larger cultural conversation.

The agencies that are well placed in this era are those that were born from production companies in the first place, and later evolved into creative agencies. They have built their creative process off a production foundation and now are finding that they are well-suited to the current climate. But that's not to say that traditional agencies can't catch up. In fact, some larger agencies are wisely beefing up their production capabilities by building studios and hiring in-house production teams. In the coming years, those that don't or can't do the same will likely find themselves left behind.

By  Vann GravesPublished - AdAge - November 04, 2015.