Like many businesses, this past year has turned our regular methods for working upside down: remote working, Zoom presentations to clients and digital interfacing with partners around the world became the norm. Challenges or not, we feel very fortunate to have been busy during this time and grateful to have helped our clients build their brands as we have in years past.
Across every luxury industry we worked with this past year (fashion, home goods, spirits, jewelry, hospitality and real estate), our practiced methodology for crafting client content had to be revised and reworked in order to “get the job done” while meeting the high standards of excellence our clients require.
The overlapping issues of COVID 19 safety protocols, national and international travel restrictions, team logistics and budget constraints could have killed any number of projects. Any one of these hurdles could have created a major roadblock to a project; all these happening at once forced us to become exponentially more creative and collaborate even more seamlessly with our partners.
Here are our top take-aways from this year of innovative collaborations.
- THE “PERFECT LOCATION” COULD BE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU.
The luxury Italian linen brand Mascioni came to us when launching their line of home bedding and bath products and needed all new original images of their products. This project came along right at the beginning of the pandemic when many states had established stay at home orders, including New York City, where we work. Instead of creating a home environment to shoot the entire line, we reached out to three sets of photography teams and stylists around the county to shoot the product in their own homes. Each group had their own unique regional take on the brand (west coast, southern and east coast) but the luxury linens ended up looking more authentic and fresh when they were shot inside actual homes. We also had an abundance of unique images from a diverse collection of content creators. This resulted in the brand launching with increased visual and life that was needed to connect to a home-focused luxury audience.
- COLLABORATING AT A DISTANCE ALLOWS YOU TO SEE LIKE A CUSTOMER.
Often when we are in the middle of creating a piece of communication (in any medium) it’s easy to get lost in the act of craft and detail. This year we were forced to collaborate in new ways – looking through our screens, many miles away from where the act of creation was taking place. This happened when filming a brand video for a spirit client and it was not possible for us to be on set. At first, we thought this was going to be a huge challenge and risk the creative output. What we learned however is that by watching the video being filmed at home, through our own devices, we were in fact seeing the content as our customers would be seeing it, not on the set’s large video production screens with impossibly high resolution and professional sophistication. This method allowed us to see the message more clearly and helped us edit the brand’s message to be more direct. When seeing the content as consumers would, we could more easily change what was unnecessary or took too long to get to the point. The end result was tighter and required less post-production – a substantial “win” for everyone involved.
- GETTING OUT OF THE WAY ALLOWS OTHERS TO DO THEIR BEST WORK.
Like most creative agencies, we like things done our way. You could call us control freaks but really, it’s about seeing a vision brought to life in as much detail as possible. What we have learned in this year of letting go and not holding on so very tightly to every last detail is that when you trust your creative experts to do their best work, they certainly can do that, but can also exceed your expectations. This year we had the opportunity to create a major national ad campaign (with photography and video) and for the first time in our 30+ year history – we (and our client) were not physically on set. The crew had to create a real-time digital interface so everyone at home was able to see the work as it was being generated. It also meant we were not “contributing” to every single aspect of the very busy day, allowing our crew to get everything done efficiently and also allowed us to see the big picture and desired results more clearly and quickly.
We’re certainly used to exploring new methods of improving and refining how we work with clients and partners along the course our branding projects. This past year has been exceptionally inspirational for us in developing fresh collaboration pathways, and many (we are happy to report) will be here to stay for years to come.