For a couple days last month, Launch was short two Art Directors as Richard Wezensky and Reuben Miller expanded their horizons and got fired up about digital creativity at the annual HOW Conference in Austin, Texas.
Each year, the HOW Conference acts as a reminder of how rapidly interactive advertising is changing. Two years ago, Flash was the big ticket for most agency sites, but now its popularity is fading as strategy and content management become the new heroes. Like the revamped Modernista! and Crispin Porter + Bogusky beta-style sites, there’s been a breakdown of all things ornate and more focus on simplicity, substance and social media. To prepare for this evolution, Richard and Reuben went to two web-focused seminars: “Web Strategy That Works” and “Print to Web Breakthrough”; presented by Mark O’Brien, President of Newfangled.com.
Web strategy that works
In this seminar, O’Brien played up the value of making creative content and strategy, not cool design and visuals, the main focus when creating a great marketing website. If the purpose of a creative website is to “inspire and inform,” then it’s critical to strategize the site with content to bring people in, and develop a stronger point-of-difference from the competition. Along with valuable strategy info, Richard and Reuben were given tips on search engine writing and making the best use of platforms like blogs, newsletters and webinars. Reuben describes this type of search engine optimization strategy as “writing for Google.” The big takeaway—using a content strategy would get people to their site faster, easier and more frequently.
Print to web breakthrough
In the second seminar, O’Brien covered several principles and best practices of web design, and how to cut through the clutter with attention-grabbing work. To successfully shift from a print focus to more of a web focus, designers need to “give up control.” To illustrate the relationship of print versus web design, O’Brien used the analogy of music, where print represents a symphony and web design is jazz. “A symphony is crafted with complete control over all aspects of the piece – with very little flexibility. Jazz often starts with a baseline where other varying components are added more fluidly, giving each piece a different personality as it grows.” Bottom line, you need to be conscious of flexibility when creating for the web.
Tips to ensure search optimization and better viewership:
-Focus on content strategy.
-Write about your niche. People will find you most likely by content, not by name.
-Set up a sort of monthly/weekly/daily deadline for blogs, newsletters and webinars, and get more information on the site more often.
-“Give up control” and make a web plan with flexibility.
-Allow for content management, allow readers to contribute, and use tags.
-Stay informed with web updates and know a little bit about the medium.
-Remember that web developers are your allies. (Help them out by working in layers, providing template options, work on a grid and keep up the dialogue).
-Keep all you assets under your domain. Ex: http://www.yoursitename.com/blog
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On your mark, get set, Fiesta! With the Fourth of July weekend looming, the team at Launch showed off their creativity in the kitchen with a Tex-Mex Taste-Off contest, featuring recipes in three taste-tempting challenges.
Battling in the GuacOff® were Aspen Taylor, Alison “Kansas” Hamilton, and Richard Wezensky. After a close vote Alison took the Championship, with sour cream as her secret “not-in-Kansas-anymore” ingredient.
Next, with two entries in the Queso Contest, Ashley O’Beirne was crowned Queso Queen.
Finally, Ashley and Launch Principal, Michael Boone, went head-to-head in the Salsa Showdown where Michael took the title.
Kitchen creativity was also taken to a whole new level with KC Defranco’s 7-Layer-Dip (which resembled an American flag) and Megan Kelly’s Mexi-Cake (which resembled the Mexican flag).
Hungry yet? Feel free to contact any of our team for their winning recipes.
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Our work for smart center Dallas also won Gold ADDY Awards in the Collateral Material category and two additional Gold trophies in the same category for the “status thimble” and “carmeleon” posters.
To cap off the night, Launch took home two Silver ADDY Awards in the Consumer/Trade category, one for an ad touting Brazilian steak house Fogo de Chão and another for Park Place Dealerships’ “Website Grand Opening.” Among the Launchers who contributed to the award-winning work were Richard Wezensky, Alex Slotkin, and Launch Creative Principals, Diane Seimetz and David Wilgus.
Next, the smart campaign went on to regionals. At the Tenth District ADDY Award Show, we walked away with three trophies for the smart center Dallas work: one Gold ADDY Award for the poster campaign, another Gold for “status thimble” and a Silver for “Carmeleon.”
See below for the Launch winners: