A panel of like-minded speakers shared personal learnings around crafting compelling content, and discussed the modern purposes in doing so.
With spring in full swing, we visited Amsterdam to host the first in a series of events in the city. We began by exploring how agencies, publishers and brands are smartly reacting to the modern appetite for 'content' within their campaigns and communications. We' explored what is meant by content in contemporary communication contexts — and toured some effective (and dreadful) examples of its production and distribution.
Joining our panel to share some visual work, followed by their own learnings — and to take part in a moderated discussion — were James Chambers and Tom Judd, founders of London based animation studio Animade, and Rob Alderson, Managing Editor at WeTransfer, whose team is based in Amsterdam.
James and Tom have evolved a remarkable creative business — in earlier iterations a broader digital studio offering, but today focussed on creating 'content not containers’, and producing animation-led output that will dynamically and effectively engage with the different audiences coveted by its clients. Producing content to promote their own culture (and to engage their peers) has also been inherent since launch.
Rob has recently joined the team at WeTransfer, a significant earlier role being editing the digital and print output of creative publishing powerhouse It's Nice That.
Here's three things we learned:
Animade’s James and Tom encourage their team to take the time to develop their own personal projects — making content that drives, inspires and connects them to new audiences (made up both their peers and potential clients). One of Animade’s most successful projects, Frankensim, was actually born out of a personal project of one of their young designers.
2. Be confident
Having shared a project he'd worked on which hadn't quite turned out as he'd hoped; Rob stressed the importance (and difficulty) in keeping everyone aligned (from the creative team to the client) when setting out to produced some branded content. A message directed more to clients than to the creatives was: do not waver when you have a brilliant idea. Make sure to follow your lodestar — find a guiding principle for the content you're producing and then have the confidence to turn this idea over to the right team who can interpret, embellish, twist or even subvert it to make content that stands on its own two feet. A perfect example, according to Rob, is Schweppes’ Knapsack Bartender campaign made in collaboration with Vice. Work can be spoiled when a brand's image is 'forced' in; and modern audiences are much more likely to respect engagement that resists traditional temptations.
3. Make it relevant; and find an audience repeatedly
It goes without saying that content should be appropriate, unique and of high quality — and the more evergreen the better given the longtail of internet browsers Rob urged us to avoid throw-away content, and instead to focus on lasting value citing The Happy Reader by Penguin in print and The Creative Class project online.
Thanks to our hosts at the Hoxton Hotel, to attendee Angel Trinidad — an editor, writer and creative strategist based in Amsterdam — for contributing the learnings above. Previously the editor of KLM’s Holland Herald and Arts Holland, Angel writes for clients including Gestalten, Victionary and TrendTable. Photographs by Francoise Bolechowski.
Amsterdam, 1016 BJ,
Start:24th May, 2016 at 7:00pm
End:24th May, 2016 at 9:00pm