In behavioural economics, carving out a niche in today’s oversaturated markets is no longer about having the top product or service, or the best price. And it’s even less about providing logical proof in a scholarly discourse… To ensure a continuum, businesses and brands need to bare their ‘face’ and show their human side. They must embody everything they stand for that is true, and good, and share their values, fly their colours and take a stand.
In an increasingly virtual world, things exist once they are made tangible. Once they can be felt, and shared. Jean Cocteau said : “There is no such thing as love ‒ there’s only proof it exists”. In this context, brands that show their authenticity and generosity in return reap their fair share of love. Particularly when 85 % of decisions, purchases and brand loyalties are ruled by emotion, while a mere 15 % is rooted in purely rational factors*.
For us, design is about making the intangible tangible. It’s about ‘constructive imagination’. It’s the idea crafted with dexterity. The word design originally meant “form following function”. Improperly used over time, its meaning was reduced to aesthetics. Today aesthetics alone can’t solve the issues facing businesses. Depth should override surface embellishment to express core values. Although we’re open-minded, we confess we prefer the word’s original meaning. Purists ? Perhaps. For us, design is innovation, solution, an engine that drives economic development and social change. More importantly, it’s a way of thinking and developing products and services, of building brands and growing businesses. For us, design is strategic and a strategy is always fueled by design thinking.
We think of ourselves in terms of a greater first person plural ‒ one that’s inclusive and encompasses both our in-house team (creatives, strategists, designers, computer graphic artists, project managers…) and our web of precious collaborators. Because every project we approach has its own particularities, now and then we bring in special talents that are essential in reaching the objectives. So we work in close collaboration with industrial designers, architects, market analysts, programmers, printers, writers, editors, illustrators, photographers, artists, etc. But in fact, it is only with the inherent involvement of the client that the ‘we’ takes on its true meaning and becomes what we like to call “the big We” or in more formal terms ‒ co-creation !
Helping is never an easy task, but that’s exactly what we do. For us, ‘helping’ doesn’t mean doing exactly what you want, or what we want. It means putting all the required elements in place so you can achieve your objectives, while giving you clear explanations on the fundamental principles. It’s not about flattery. And as hard as it might be, you do pay us enough to receive honest comments. But no worries, in problem-solving mode we remain human, diplomatic and empathetic. In the end, results will be convincing : we will contribute to your growth and share your satisfaction of a job well-done.
Business... is business. And everyone is making business. That’s why we use the term more broadly; from corporations to promising start-ups and coops to NPOs or even individuals. All these businesses, by way of their brand, share the same goal ‒ to generate profit, be it monetary, emotional, physical or collective. For us, entrepreneurship rhymes with creativity, although most entrepreneurs don’t necessarily perceive themselves as creatives. Yet, creativity is having the ability to see things differently, to think outside the box, to wrestle with new ideas, and put them to work. Consequently, that entrepreneurial ‒ or intrapreneurial ‒ spirit strongly appeals to us.
We do not talk to audiences or targets, and we don’t actually do B2B or B2C. Such buzzwords leave out a fundamental element : dialogue. We interact with people first. Then with employees, consumers, clients, buyers, business partners, investors, fans, bloggers, influencers… They’re unique, and they’re everywhere. They form organizations, markets, cultures, subcultures and societies. Our obsession with always wanting to find out more about your interlocutors, understanding what fuels their passion and tapping into their views stems from this absolute need to build powerful ties with them. And interacting with them. Together we’ll engage and excite ‘your’ people and stir up the communities they create.
Listen, observe, smell, feel, taste, flair, explore, search, unravel, analyze, enquire, question, discover... First we’ll examine your situation, keeping our minds wide open and without any preconceived ideas, to fully understand all aspects and every nuance. Granted, a little distance in regards to our knowledge base often guides us towards the most common sense approach. We want to find out everything there is to know about your business, your brand, your competitors, your market and its environment. So, whatever your challenge, opportunity or problem-solving, it becomes ours.
Reject models, convention and status quo, for starters… then brainstorm, think, rethink, disrupt, decontextualize, recontextualize, mull over, combine, play, create, idealize, exaggerate, dream, improvise, invent, speculate, extrapolate, transgress, innovate… until enlightenment, the big idea... a common thread arises.
Enlightenment (the big idea). Find, discover, see, visualize, produce... When completely immersed and invested in the creative process, stepping back is sometimes beneficial. The ‘big idea’ often occurs when we’re not mulling over your project. It might occur at the office over lunch, in the morning shower or on the bicycle path, watching a movie, savouring that third espresso or locking the office door a little too late at night. That’s when ideas spring to life.
Rationalize, build, rebuild, apply, plan, assess, verify, validate, create a model, design, depict, imagine, simplify, test, prototype, synthesize, perfect, crystallize... This is when ideas grow, becoming tangible and sharp, meeting strategic objectives, budgets and timelines. As builders, we see big and far into every detail. This ensures that an overall coherence prevails over your communications strategy’s multiple contact points, and the relevance of our joint decisions.
Astonish, intrigue, excite, surprise, motivate, awaken, sensitize, touch, emote, inspire, seduce... Connections that touch upon sensibilities and emotions fill people’s mind, going far beyond actions that merely serve to look cool, be seen or make noise. We’re trying to reach your people’s sensibilities, somewhere beyond their senses. Connectivity is their thing; they view, reply, comment, share, like, repost… They’re both editor and audience. When you move them, the conversation begins. You get acquainted with them and in return, you earn their respect, trust and loyalty. And share their consumer experience.
We don’t take part in speculative contests. It would be dishonest to let a client believe that an agency is capable of producing a “big ideaˮ or a “solutionˮ in rush mode (a.k.a. too hurried) without fully deploying its analytical, strategic and creative resources. Remarkable results are only achieved after a close collaboration between client and agency. To allow a rigorous, scalable and iterative process we must give pause for reflection, and validation, every step of the way. Plus, professional associations such as la SDGQ, the GDC, the AIGA and Icograda have all intervened to put an end to speculative work. It is in a client’s best interest to select an agency according to its experience, its strategic and creative skills and the eloquence of its client roster. Therefore : portfolio, recognition, references and results should provide solid credentials for an agency’s ability to meet client requirements.
A.k.a. asking our agency ‒ or any other ‒ for the impossible. Although we’re open to discussion, only two of these three criteria can be retained and excellence is never placed on our chopping block. When excellence is pushed up against a compressed timeframe, it translates into a higher price tag because the project requires a larger workforce and additional resources. On the other hand, a pro bono project means the client must accept being patient.
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