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What’s it like to work with clients who understand design and how to get them?

In the 2.5 years we have been around, we at Outofbox have always looked forward to working with clients who understood design. Isn’t that the wish of all design agencies around the world? It could be. But we like to think that we wanted that more than anybody else. Largely because before we started Outofbox, we were part of few other agencies that, not particularly because of a fault of their own, dealt with clients to whom design is just another part of a list of services they were outsourcing. As people who love design and strongly believe in the power of design, it was frustrating to know that it was not given its due attention.

To our dismay, even after a year into starting Outofbox, our wish was not answered. We continued to meet clients, who although were great, never took design seriously. With them the farthest we went with a design conversation was about the font and the colour.

But working with such clients taught us one crucial lesson — to work towards fulfilling the requirements of the client.

But is that enough?

Calling ourselves a design agency does come with a lot of responsibility. We think it’s our duty to go beyond delivering to expectations. The client may always know what they want, but it’s the job of the agency to tell them what they need. Going beyond the ‘finish the work and get the cheque’ attitude is absolutely necessary if you want your agency to be taken seriously and be known for doing extraordinary work.

Calling ourselves a design agency does come with a lot of responsibility. We think it’s our duty to go beyond delivering to expectations. The client may always know what they want, but it’s the job of the agency to tell them what they need. Going beyond the ‘finish the work and get the cheque’ attitude is absolutely necessary if you want your agency to be taken seriously and be known for doing extraordinary work.

It is of course easier said than done.

When you are informing your client that they need to think about the bigger picture, to think outside of the box, that they should trust us with the work we are doing, it is always heard as ‘more money’ and ‘more time’ by the client. Can’t really blame them for that. And this where the challenge I mentioned at the beginning of the article arises.

Come once in a good Adam Sandler movie that we get to encounter clients who say “so if you are saying you will not only solve my problem but also transform my brand’s design identity for the better, of course I am willing to give you more time and a little bit of extra money”.

We had the good fortune of working with 3 such clients recently who had not only given us the freedom but also the confidence to do what we thought was best for their brand.

I will share more about these works in my subsequent blog posts this month. Please come back to read about it.

So now, how do you find such clients? Well, most of the times they find you. But you sure have to do your part in it. By

  • making sure that you put everything you got in every work you do
  • not being too calculative, but by being bold and willing to take risks, even though it means you end up giving lots of explanation and doing lots of convincing to the client
  • not worrying too much about the pay cheque — because if you want to do good work, you have to accept the fact that the reward is not always in the form of dollars

Practice these and you will in no time find yourself working with clients who allow you to experiment and explore for their benefit.

Outofbox is a design and digital agency always on the lookout to solve the next big problem for a brand. Do you have one to be solved? Email your requirement to think@outofbox.co. 

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An unlikely ambassador for TV ads

So here I am, referencing Breaking Bad again, as to why you, as a business owner, should include TV ads as one of your marketing strategies. This time only, instead of Breaking Bad, it is its equally splendid offshoot ‘Better Call Saul’.

Better Call Saul - Outofbox Advertising

Always a believer in TV ads (Courtesy: Netflix)

Saul Goodman, the titular character of the series, maybe a crook, but he does know how to sell. He has an uncanny ability to convince people to do what he wants them to do.

Throughout the last 2 seasons we get to see Saul Goodman aka Jimmy McGill use TV commercials to get clients.

Better Call Saul - TV Advertisements

Saul’s bunch of rookies (Courtesy: Netflix)

His methods can be quite random and not so professional. He goes around employing guerrilla film making, with a bunch of rookies. At this point, you might think he is destined to fail. But to the contrary, he is more than effective.

There is something enticing about the way Jimmy goes about his work. He is a master of spontaneity. Not having a plan is his plan. Well equipped with confidence and the ability to improvise.

Plus, he has an unwavering belief in the power of TV commercials.

We do too.

And so should all the aspiring businesses around the world.

If you want anything sold, you Better Call Saul. No. Seriously. Better Call Us.

Email your requirements for a video advertisement or UI/UX projects to think@outofbox.co.

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Iteration kills innovation

We’ve this client. Really nice, progressive thinking and ambitious. But they have this habit. Of asking numerous iterations for everything. Although we understand it’s not an unique case for an agency like ours, we don’t wish it on anyone.

What’s so wrong in iterating, you ask
Nothing much, except that we believe it kills innovation and subdues the will to take risks. Because we know at the back of our minds that no matter how hard or deep we think and how accurately we execute, it will end up getting changed. Inadvertently, the people working on the project would want to come up with something that the client might like, not what’s right and appropriate.

It’s not that the first deliverable is not always our best work. In fact, more often than not, we end up reverting back to the initial design or idea, albeit after making dozens of iterations, in the process wasting valuable time.

So what should be done?
We are not anti-iteration at all. We know that it’s inevitable. But it shouldn’t be done for the sake of it. There should be an understanding that every finished work can always be made better. Ask the designer of a famous logo, or a writer of a best selling book, deep down they wish they had done something different. But that hasn’t stopped them from putting out their work for all its worth.

There is also this other factor of delaying the launch of a product just because we are trying and waiting for the best output to arrive, while ignoring the fact that the best was 10 iterations before.

And by the time you have come up with something you consider the best, you find that it’s already too late. The design trend has changed to something else. Your competitors have launched their product and are many steps ahead of you. Nothing is more frustrating to find out that while you were busy working to arrive at the best, your demographic has moved on and that no matter how good your product is, it won’t be welcomed the same way it would have been 1 or 2 years ago.

Uber’s new logo and app icon received so much flak despite the fact that it took 2 years for their lead designer to come with it. Same happened for Instagram’s. This proves that time taken for an output is directly proportional to possibility of failure.

It’s essential for the client to fully trust the expertise and capabilities of the agency they have given the responsibility to. Trust them to bring you the best product. Trust them that they have your best interest. Otherwise what’s the point in having them.

The mantra should be to put all the effort and time into ideating and conceptualizing at the beginning, uncompromising execution, do minor corrections if there is really a need, launch it quickly and let the world decide whether it’s good enough or not.

Outofbox is a branding, UI/UX and advertising studio based out of Bangalore. If you have a project to discuss or willing to collaborate, please mail to think@outofbox.co.

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The dying art of ‘UNBOXING’ in ads and why it should be revived

During the 90’s, the golden decade of Indian tv ads, the element of surprise was the key to making ads memorable. I believe that art is slowly dying in the current flamboyant ad space, largely because of the slapdash working methods of agencies and the desire to one up the rival, not in creativity, but in timing, impact and leads.

What is Unboxing?
Unboxing is a method of giving the audience a sense of anticipation, triggering their curiosity and revealing a surprise at the end in the most unexpected way. The surprise when revealed offers joy and excitement…
…brand retention and brand awareness, which leads to increased sales.

Clients don’t prefer to play the waiting game anymore. Quick results is what they seek and the agencies have to adhere to their preferences in order to survive.

Back in the day, the focus of almost every tv ad was on telling stories, not on selling products. The effectiveness of the story and the creativity with which it was told took care of the selling. Stories that were deeply rooted in society touched the chord of the target audience, which they instantly related to, ideas that penetrated even the most stone hearted.

In those days, ads were written for people not for algorithms like it is today. Ad makers trusted and followed their instincts. Statistics, data and analytics of the past were just minor parameters in their decision making process.
Ads were so good, they were not considered as interruptions. People looked forward to it. Ads became a part of conversations. Bad ones were mocked. Good ones were embraced. It drove up sales and brand value.
I see this essential part missing in today’s tv ads.

The current situation is in fact grim. I may sound too pessimistic. Maybe I am. But not without reason. Here’s an example.

Who would have predicted what this ad was about? And what it was plugging? Up until the end?

I can still vividly recollect the first time I saw this ad on our CRT tv (remember those?). Even today, I watch it with the same childlike curiosity the ad allows us the luxury of.

Now take this ad for example,

The element of surprise is absent. We all instantly recognize that this ad is for a fashion entity.

It is not a badly done ad. In fact, I believe it achieves what it intends to. The ad is the result of a client who wants to announce people that they are a brand for the daredevils and the rebels.

I imagine this is how the conversation between the client and the agency would have transpired.

C: Get me a TV ad that shows how hip and rebellious we are.
A: Certainly, let me think about it and get back to you in a week’s time.
C: No. We need the ad done in 5 days.
A: We need time to strategize.
C: Heck with that. Just show young men and women wearing things we normally won’t see them wearing.
A: But that would be too cliched and too derivative.
C: Who said that’s not what we want?
A: Alright, we will get it done.

Here, you might think the fault starts with the client. It is not. The agency should always know better. Clients are of course result oriented. Agency shouldn’t be. They should educate and inform clients of doing things right.

The ad itself is actually well made. The music and the extremities displayed are brave. The only thing that’s missing, which I think is extremely important in ads, especially video ads, is the element of UNBOXING.

If the client wants something, it’s the agencies job to get it done. But not by ignoring their instincts. It is also the agencies job to educate and make the client understand the usefulness of UNBOXING in an ad.

If you call me old-fashioned then you should also call those who still use toothbrush, pillow and staircase.

So here’s a shout out to all the ad men and women, to bring back the element of surprise in your thought process and help make ads as memorable as the ones we still remember.

We are Outofbox Advertising. Based out of Bangalore and Chennai, India. We can help you with your website, mobile app, UI/UX, digital marketing and ad film. You can reach us on think@outofbox.co.

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2017 is gonna be a good year for advertising industry

The last couple of months of 2016 showed many signs that the advertising industry, especially the online medium, was prepping up for a thorough catharsis from the inside and outside.

Facebook owning up to the flaws with its algorithm and its encouraging promise to fix the hole is refreshing to see.

Twitter has finally realized its business model is not set for the long run, shot the messenger in the heart, and now contemplating whether 2017 will be the year when it finally starts to cave in.

For personal reasons, I really do hope and wish 2017 will be the year of the resurgence of print advertisements. After having been let down by the candy land of social media, businesses might want to give the more tangible and human form of advertisement another chance.

But without a doubt, my money is on video advertising to rule this year. TV ads, cinema ads, ads specifically made for online streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, ads for social media etc will gain traction and see an exponential increase.

Agencies will be hiring film makers, editors, scriptwriters, VFK and SFX experts in droves. Starting a dedicated wing for video generation will become commonplace.

Virtual and augmented reality will be tried by progressive clients and agencies, but the effectiveness of such ventures will be limited. It will take another 3–5 years for this medium to be used on par with others.

Hollywood will begin to outsource their marketing activities to agencies, largely because of the immense affect we got to see it had on last year’s US presidential election.

Overall, the ad industry will be a thriving place for creativity and risk taking. The shock and awe tactics will be taken to new mind-blowing heights.

We at Outofbox wish to be at the thick of things. Email if you want to collaborate or hire us — think@outofbox.co.

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What does Walter White teach us about starting a business?

Last night, I was watching one of the most famous scenes of Breaking Bad on YouTube for the umpteenth time. The scene in which Walter White truly becomes Heisenberg. Unlike the previous times, something dawned on me. I began to think, how can a 50-year old man, who couldn’t hurt a fly, whose entire life was a bundle of missed opportunities, a timid, self-confessed loser transform into the most dangerous man in America, making millions of dollars and run an “empire business”?

The answer, I thought, is quite simple and apparent, Walter White had a REALLY AWESOME PRODUCT.

To start with, he used his inherent skills. He didn’t go experimenting, nor did he try doing things differently. He just did it the only way he knew how. That way, he, literally, cooked up a product that was unparalleled. That turned out to be something people would pay anything for. Because the product was so damn good, its demand, as it always does, rose exponentially.

But the real deal is in the fact that Heisenberg saw the need for something that he could offer in far better quality than what was out there. He hired, if not the most capable man, but someone whom he could afford and trust. Who shared his passion. He hit the jackpot there.

He sure did face problems, both from his family and from various nefarious sources, but he kept at it. In fact, his resolve only got stronger. Because of his product, he won the interest of powerful people who could afford better equipments, which led him to increase the output and in turn, the returns.

Within few months, he became a millionaire.

That also led to him losing his family, his peace, his reputation and in the end, his life.

He was cooking meth, what else would you expect?

Of course not everyone of us wants to make a living doing illegal stuff. But this is not about what he chose to do, it’s about how he did it.

The story of Walter White, at least his rise, is the best fictional case study ever for aspiring entreprenuers and business owners.

These are the lessons I took away from the guy who knocks,

Build an awesome product | Hire the right people | Collaborate with those who understand and align with your aspirations | Find your own solutions for problems | and Never stop.

Do you concur with my opinion? Let’s fight it out in the comment section shall we?

Outofbox Advertising helps startups and established brands with their design, content and digital marketing needs. We are good at Branding, UI/UX, Content and Mobile App and Website Development. Reach us at think@outofbox.co | +91 9884061496

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