It’s called a brief, so let’s keep it that way.

mens-underwearOkay people, let’s get down to business here. How many of you have written creative briefs for your agency that included page-upon-page of research, data, analysis and much more? I’m assuming most of you. Now, this is NOT a bad thing. In fact, it’s a GREAT thing to provide. So we applaud you for overdelivering on the background info we might need.

BUT… when it comes down to the heart of what you want the agency to deliver for you creatively, it’s best to keep it short and sweet. The immersion is the key area where we intend to learn anything and everything about your brand, business, category and consumer. This is where the data-dump should take place.

Whereas the actual initiative we are working on should be able to be interpreted in one-page or less. References to examples that you’d consider benchmarks are always a plus.

If you do this and hear crickets, then the agency just doesn’t get it and maybe the long-form is necessary. However, more times than not, the agency will appreciate the synthesis of your objectives, and be able to move ahead much more efficiently with the task at hand.

So the next time you’re getting ready to pull the trigger on that brief, try and remember this tip. It will save you time on both ends.

Thanks for reading, and let us know if this was helpful, or if you need help crafting that brief.

Creatures of Habit

Brands and marketers spend a lot of time and money with “new and exciting” initiatives based purely on trends that are influencing their consumers. But what they should be doing is improving their existing products and marketing efforts based on consumer habits.

As consumers, we are programmed to intuitively select the products and brands we need based on what looks familiar (e.g., the easiest decision to make). And as marketers, “the goal is to make consumers repeat their purchases by matching the value proposition to their needs.” Consumers don’t want to spend the mental energy when shopping (online or in-store for that matter), so why make them?

Branding, Design, Advertising, MarketingThe solution for brands lies within understanding the habits of their consumers, and evolving or improving upon them based on what their brains are programmed to be looking for. And unless consumers are absolutely screaming for a change, and the return is solid for your business, then making a dramatic change is no bueno.

Brands like Coke, Tropicana, GAP, and many more have undergone redesigns in some capacity over the years. Consumers didn’t demand it. They weren’t educated on the change, nor provided a real rationale. The result was backlash, and even a decline in sales, which pushed the brands to quickly go back to the original. A lot of time and money lost. However, sometimes it pays off (only if the demand is there), but often times it doesn’t.

There are more examples and insights we could share, but we simply don’t have the time, nor blog post space to do so. That said, we want to leave you with this very simple message: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if you decide to fix it, make sure you do it in a way that doesn’t disrupt the habits of your consumers.

The Best Group Task Management App

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There are many task manager apps out there but Wunderlist remains our favorite with its eye-catching design and a set of handy tools. The option to assign tasks to specific people and monitor all parts of your team’s projects alone makes Wunderlist arguably the best task management app out there.

Wunderlist is simple and comes with a minimalistic interface to help you create as many lists as you need that instantly sync between your phone, tablet and computer, making them accessible anywhere. In addition, the app makes it easy to start conversations about your to-dos with family, friends and colleagues. Also, you can attach photos, PDFs, presentations, and Dropbox files to share your work and delegate to-dos. Finally, Wunderlist is equipped with a reminder function to ensure you never forget important deadlines ever again.

Wunderlist is free to download and Wunderlist Pro is available for under $5 to help you experience even more: unlimited access to files, subtasks, etc. You can find the app for  iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, Windows Phone, Windows, Chromebook, Kindle Fire and on the Web.

Last week, Wunderlist introduced Wunderlist for Chrome. With this new functionality, you can replace your new tab page with a lightweight version of Wunderlist that lets you quickly add new to-dos straight into your Inbox.

‘Ideas can strike like lightning. Now when they come to mind, you can instantly capture them just by opening a new tab’. -Google Chrome

What Sparks Our Fire: A simple tools for team collaboration and task management.

Have you ever tried Wunderlist? Share your experience.

Need a Hand?

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Sometimes you find yourself in need of a little help. And when your network of friends who are skilled enough and willing to lend a hand runs out, you need another resource on where to turn. Fiverr has raised around $30 million for their website that can simply lend a hand when you need it.

Fiverr allows you to hire someone to help you with a specific service, starting at just $5. Need someone to design your business a logo? Record a jingle for you? Or review your resume for you? All of these services can be found on Fiverr. If you choose to pay more than just $5 you can get even more extensive services.

We aren’t suggesting you rely on Fiverr for every service you need. But, it’s great to know that for just five bucks, you could easily find someone to lend a hand.

What Sparks our Fire: Seeing new services that can ultimately help with anything

What would you use Fiverr for?

Write On

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While reminiscing about your childhood I’m sure you have fond memories of digging through the biggest Crayola box to find that perfect color. Now, as an adult, you may not be digging through that same crayon box, but if you’re a designer we’re sure you wish you could.

Scribble is the pen that changes how we interact with color. All you do is hold the back of the pen up to a surface and the pen will scan and reproduce the color within seconds. Most graphic designers would love this capability to be digital in order to replicate the color onto their computer rather than paper. No problem, there is a scribble stylus that functions the same way to easily translate the colors from the world around you, digitally. This pen makes designing and recreating colors easy. The scribble also has an associated app where you can find colors you previously scanned to use again, or share with others.

The Scribble recently started funding on Kickstarter, so if you’re ready to bring some more color into your life, go ahead and contribute.

What Sparks our Fire: A great design tool that is fun and easy to use.

What’s your favorite color?