Archive for the ‘connecting’ Category

how to give creative feedback

April 15, 2013

“Not only were all of your ideas lame, but you know I hate the color pink!”

So began role-playing for our creative feedback workshop. Yes, this was the “bad” example.

Food Network’s marketing team wanted to hone their communication skills. So there we were, two groups of thirty marketing and creative folks, crowded near the crackling fireplace at the Maritime Hotel, role playing, creative briefing, and — between laughs over lukewarm coffee and cold danish — applying a new process for creative feedback.

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We call it CRAFT.

C   Criteria

R   respect

A   actionable

F   focus

T    truth + tact

As one person put it at the end of the day, “The team at Tooth and Nail brought together our creative and strategy teams.  Their leadership, encouragement and guidance provided us with the tools to continue to produce great creative work.”

Giving feedback is as much an art as writing and designing.

What’s your favorite feedback story?

cooking lessons

June 22, 2010

Ever have an over-achieving sibling? Then you probably know that being born under the shadow of greatness can stink. Just look at Cain and Able, Jimmy and Billy Carter, or Marcia and Jan Brady.

My point is this, when one sibling is a star the other kids can have a tough time keeping up.

On the other hand when family dynasties work, they’re a thing of beauty; The Medici’s. The Kennedy’s. Venus and Serena Williams.

So when Scripps, parent company of Food Network, decided to birth a second channel dedicated to food and cooking, they faced more than the usual launch challenges. They had to find the sweet spot for viewers, advertisers, and affiliates, of course. But they also needed to create a sibling Channel to Food Network that carried a distinct personality without stealing Food Network’s thunder or encroaching on its loyal niche.

And they wanted to launch the network in five months.

It might have been impossible but Scripps put the seasoned pros from Food Network on the case; Michael Smith, Susie Fogelson, Patalia Tate, Katie Ilch, Joanne Harmon, and team. They knew to build Cooking Channel from the personality up. At the foundation was a distinct point of view, clear attitude, and language that resonated with the new audience.

Given our deep love of Food, and our passion for branding, being invited into the new network delivery room was a pinch-me moment for the Tooth+Nail team.  Early on we explored personality directions, clarified the target audience, honed in on a single voice, and crafted brand guidelines, language, and a tagline that captured the battle cry of all Food People, “Stay Hungry.”

Foundation in place, internal and external teams were off and running. The new network flourished: affiliate and ad sales marketing, graphics, packaging, the launch campaign, topicals, and the million other details. Creative partners included Leroy and Clarkson for the image campaign, Trollback and Co. for on-air graphics.

Enjoy the collected works of the Cooking Channel team. Think of it as a birth announcement. We’re so very proud.

Food Network, meet your younger sister, Cooking Channel. She’s so cute, and just the right kind of feisty.

writing bootcamp

May 26, 2010

This June we’re packing up our gear and heading to bootcamp in the tony jungles of LA.

Promax/BDA, the organization of TV promotion execs, invited us to put TV novices and honchos through some basic writing drills. Because, frankly, promo writing has gotten listless and lazy. Time to lose the love handles around the verbiage.

Ready for a bootcamp preview? Check here over the next few weeks. You’ll find out how to:

-Kick your spots into award-winning territory

-Pack muscle onto your prose

-Settle the showdown between pictures and words

-Tell a competent story, soldier.

And if you’ve got a spot that you think would be prime example of any of these topics, we’re paying attention and we love showing you off.

At ease.

kicking ash

April 19, 2010

Airport shut-downs across Europe, thanks to a moving cloud of ash, seemed surreal. So much for being in control, with travel apps, Google maps, and carry-on luggage. The volcano was laughing.

While our European friends faced cancelled flights and airport slumber parties, we lucked out with a direct shot across the Atlantic. Momo and I arrived in Lisbon at the Promax/BDA European marketing event and discovered not everyone was put off by the hassles. Vanessa, who runs Promax Europe, hitched a 31 (not a typo) hour ride with the tech crew. She was waiting for us, bright eyed and lively as ever, to run our rehearsal.

Giant hassles are just gentle reminders that the only thing we control is how we respond to the curve balls that come our way.

How do you cope with the cabash on your well orchestrated life plans? Can you overcome the simple setbacks or, as the spot above shows, the major ones?

Tell us–what did you rise above to be here today?

endings+beginnings

March 22, 2010

3 brilliant spots.

Each makes a different point about beginnings and endings.

The first celebrates the end of a soldier’s tour of duty. I love how honest and simple the execution is.

The next is the perfect sequel ending to one of the most popular viral videos ever.

And the last sparked imitators world wide because–in a brilliant twist–the ending is the beginning. (Stay to the end, it’s worth it.)

All three  spots move me in different ways. Two of them cost almost nothing to produce. They inspire by strong writing and unexpected twists.

Flannery O’Connor once said “Beginnings+endings are critical moments . . . the shorter the narrative, the more important their function and their import.” These short ads make the most of both.

I hope they start something in you.

good morning, sunshine

March 15, 2010

We love spring.  Crocuses nosing up from the earth. Sunshine spilling onto the sidewalk when you leave work.

But up in Inuvik, the Canadian Artic, sunshine has an even greater power. For sixty-six days of winter, they’re encased in darkness. Which makes this documentary style spot, from Tropicana Canada, so charming. And their message about brighter mornings so meaningful.

Find a story. Or make a new story that meshes with your brand. Tell it honestly. You invite people to experience your message, instead of bracing themselves for your sell.

What story is waiting for you?

a fitting experience

November 19, 2009

The movie Amelia starring Hillary Swank opened to mixed reviews this month. However, that didn’t stop the NYC discount retail chain Daffy’s from turning it into a hit.

Before the screening of the film at the Ziegfeld Theater in Midtown Manhattan, a music video became the genesis of an experiential ad for the retailer.

Dancers on the screen were upstaged by dancers on the stage as all the performers acted out how shoppers try on clothes in “Fitting Dance”.

Find your fans and create an experience that delights them. Zappos does it with customer service, Daffy surprised the Ziegfeld crowd and T-mobile rocked a crowded train station.

Ask yourself how your brand can bring joy to your customers, then ask your customers for their business.

We’d love to know what groups you’ve been thrilled with and why. Is there an agency, a freelancer or a consultant that over delivers and is rewarded with your loyalty?  Do tell.

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the real work of brands

November 14, 2009

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Tomorrow I lead 25 TV executives through an all-day brand workshop in Dubai  at the DMI studios.

We’ve never met, but already I know this: they’re managers, directors, art directors, and producers. They’re young, creative, opinionated, curious, and ambitious.They’ll be shy at first, and open up as the day goes on. We will laugh and disagree, we may have misunderstandings.

By the end of the day, they will amaze me.

We spend a lot of time preparing our workshops:  pulling examples, creating exercises, and laying out the concepts that make brands work.

But the miracle always happens in the team work. When the language of the day isn’t job titles or meetings. It’s ideas. When people jump in and try things out. When they don’t fear failure.

What will amaze me tomorrow? I can’t wait to find out.

What’s your best workshop experience?

everything I know about social marketing I learned from my taekwondo master.

November 2, 2009

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Grandmaster Kim may not tweet or post his favorite kicks on Facebook. But he has mastered Social Media and, in the process, built an internationally recognized school, Jae H. Kim Taekwondo Institute.

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Build Community

The school, a stone’s throw from Fenway Park, plays host to Korean surgeons, clerks from Ethiopia, French chefs, and students from Boston University. But, in uniforms and bare feet, we’re members of the same tribe, thanks to the community that Mr. Kim has built.

He hosts an annual holiday luncheon, expects every black belt to teach other students, and encourages us to visit sister schools around the world. Jet-lagged in Singapore, I still found a home and welcoming instructors at the JHK dojang.

This year Master Kim is throwing a Hanmadang to celebrate the school’s 35th anniversary. Visitors from the other schools will come for a day of competition, showmanship, demonstrations, songs, and, yes, eating.

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Think about the communities in your company. Are they welcoming? Passionate? Open and well organized?

Tell your story

A beautifully hand-painted scroll, a gift to Mr. Kim from the founder of Taekwon Do,  General Choi, greets everyone who enters the dojang.

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In the visitor’s area, next to the cushy sofas, are booklets packed with moments from the school’s history. Events like the “Friday Night Fights” and the showdown between Mr. Kim and his top 3 students against a competing school, are told with full relish.

The message is clear to every member, you’re part of something great.

Story fills your brand up with meaning. It lets consumers know they’re part of something more than a business transaction. So, what’s your story?

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Keep talking and tinkering

Every week Master Kim sends emails updating members on the school. He’s not a chatty guy; every email is an enclosure and written formally. Mr. Kim changes up class schedules and shifts the focus every year to reflect student input. He takes risks on a daily basis.

Embracing change every day in your business may seem overwhelming. But, just like a turning sidekick, exercise those muscles and it becomes fluid.

Black-BeltAre you ready to kick your social marketing up a level. What are great examples in your own life?

a song, a message, a movement

October 17, 2009

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It was a tremendous conference. Presenters from all corners of the globe and I was honored to be among them; marketers, designers, even a futurist with a fabulous accent.  Still, the highlight for me were the attendees; passionate, gracious and hungry for information.

With the conference over I said good bye to colleagues and friends, and welcomed my family who flew in from Boston.

Back in my hotel room we watched the DVD of the previous evenings award show winners. All the winners were inventive and shared world-class production values but one campaign was more than branding.

Channel O aspires to be an Original African music channel that delivers world class content. Its ‘Young Gifted and Black’ campaign as its Facebook fan page announces is nothing short of ambitious.

“It’s a song. It’s a message. It’s a movement. Join up and Wear it Loud!”.

Taking impetus from the 1970 Nina Simone song ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black’ the network created a music video, a fully integrated ad campaign, a T shirt contest, and full range of 2.0 efforts that celebrate the musical talent that is found in Africa, both historic and current.

We began the day walking through Soweto where I struggled to digest the horrors of apartheid. It’s too fresh to even be called history, apartheid is a current event. We ended the day watching the YGB music video and the FB fan page was not ambitious it was right.  It’s a song. It’s a message. It’s a movement. And, it is as current and relevant as any campaign I’ve seen.

The music video below.

What do you think?