There’s been a lot of changes in the last 25 years, not only in the agency business but in business in general. I will be predictable and say it has all come about because of the computer. That would be right to a certain extent. However, I believe it’s the way in which business and people have embraced the computer and its technology that is responsible for the majority of the business shifts.
Here’s my list of what has changed at 3H over the last 25 years:
The space a designer needs: It really seems like yesterday I was trying to fit one more large drafting table in the studio… let alone purchasing one more Art Director Marker set and art pads and sketch pads to bring in a new designer. Gone are those days!
Our inspiration tools: Gone are the days of flipping through Creative Source or Illustration Guild books to get inspired for the next big idea. At 3H, we use to have a library of creative and resource books… now we have half a shelf…and that’s going too! Image banks are the tools of inspirations nowadays and there’s nothing wrong with that… until those images become the concept!
How concepts are presented: With the advent of the computer and printers, now mock ups seem complete and already done. Clients have a difficult time in processing that what is in front of them is “conceptual”… not complete. That even if we could purchase the image on our mock ups, artwork has to be created, images have to be prepped, copy has to be finalized… etc… At times, I lament over marker renderings where it was obvious the person in an ad was a place holder for an image of a person that was yet to be casted, chosen and photographed!
Time to develop: If the speed of business is fast and faster… the agency business is at warp speed! There’s a belief by business in general that since everything is computer driven, it should take less time. That is very rarely the case, if ever. Computers in the creative world have provided creative types and agencies with the ability to expand on the possibilities and to show them in more concise ways. It still takes the time it takes to come up with an idea and to develop it!
The definition of a designer: What really is a designer? In my way of thinking, designers need to be conceptual thinkers in the visual medium. This is just my opinion… but find, many designers today know technology and yet have no conceptual vibe. They rely on image to create a concept rather than using the image as a resource too. More and more the designers out of school today think inside the screen and not inside their minds! Again… my opinion.
Relationship building: Time is at a premium. With the speed of business coupled with, restructuring, right-sizing, down-sizing or whatever hip term is currently out there… clients don’t have the time nor the inclination to go for lunch. But for those of us who do have a relationship with our business partners (yes, I mean clients!), the relationship is stronger… texting, emailing and yes even face timing. It has allowed us to reach out in snippets…by the sentence, being integrated in the day to day fabric.
Cold calling: Cold zinging you mean! Getting someone on the phone to talk to you when they don’t even know you is more difficult. How we get leads… and follow up on them is totally different. On line lead generation, web site lead generation and e-zines are now the “in” thing to do in cold calling. That means efforts can be more streamlined both in time and money. A warm lead is much better than a cold one…so rather than spend your efforts and money on cold and warm alike, you can double your efforts on the ones that have expressed an interest…or following.
Brand reaching capabilities: The ways in reach we reach our target markets… and how niche we can go is astounding and becoming more so each and everyday. Through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, tumblr, Youtube, Linkedin), online properties, blogs, blogging, traditional media the options available to local, small, big and global advertisers are numerous and very exciting! Some of these channels don’t require design, but all require time and know how…that hasn’t changed a bit!
3H launched in 1988 with its corporate logo in Purple and Mustard. We had become synonymous with Purple because of our Mustard accents… and then we changed our accent to Titanium to speak to the digital and technology…to change our clients’ perception of what it is we do… but still remaining in the Purple so to speak. I am not sure what the next 5 to 10 years will hold, but I have often been heard saying “Complacency in business means death”… and I believe it.
Over the last 25 years, the ability to change has changed. Businesses are constantly looking for the new opportunity and are more than ever, open to the next best thing… even though embracing it still takes a little time.