More Than Just an Office Move…Much More

IMG_0576Winston Churchill once famously stated, “First we shape our buildings. Thereafter they shape us.”

Last week, our UK healthcare marketing agency moved into new purpose-built offices on London’s South Bank, and for the first time we are alongside our colleagues in other Ogilvy agencies. I believe Churchill’s view on how buildings inevitably shape us, and our behaviours, is going to be particularly relevant during this exciting new phase of our agency’s evolution.

Much work and planning obviously goes into any major office relocation, but never has this been truer than of the journey we have taken in designing our new office environment. Supported along the way by experts in office design, human behaviour, space planning and collaborative working, we believe we have moved our team into an environment that truly has the ability to change the way we work.

Some of the main themes – observed here already in our first week – relating to the way our buildings and environment shape us and our work include:

  • New neighbour, new perspective: The office is designed with barely any ‘fixed desk’ positions. Everyone is encouraged to sit in a different place every day. This approach, although perhaps feared by some initially, has been a unanimous success. On a daily basis we hear about the benefit of drawing on new perspectives, “getting a different point of view,” or just learning from what someone else is doing. Fixed desking already seems a distant ”missed opportunity” from the past.
  • Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate: In our new space, IMG_0698gone are the days of endless banks of desks, replaced instead by a range of different zones and work settings: café tables, sofas, booths, work pods and benches. The single aim: drive collaboration. And it works. Provide people with the spaces to meet, share and grow and they do it…relentlessly. Already we see that what used to be achieved via 30 emails and half a day, can be improved upon by a 15-minute chat on the sofa.
  • Break the silos: Ogilvy Healthworld has long held the belief that the best work comes from channelling neutral thinking and big ideas that span all marketing disciplines. And yet the agency’s physical”geography” has in some ways lagged behind and remained siloed. Until now. The completely open-plan setting we now have does not speak of any ”divisions” or ”departments,” just of a truly integrated business. And it’s this integration that will in turn lead to even bigger and better thinking for our clients.
  • Be inspired: And finally, it’s amazing to see already the refreshed energy and passion that is derived simply by ”being” in a different place. We are lucky, yes, in being situated along London’s ”creative mile” on the South Bank, surrounded by leading arts and cultural establishments and an inspiring creative ”vibe.” And we are lucky too to have one of the most inspiring views of new and old London stretched out in front of us across the Thames. But these facts alone are not what drive the greatest levels of invigoration. The mere fact we are in a new space, with new and interesting stimuli, further supports the notion that new buildings, fresh environments, ”change” us.

So, in conclusion, we IMG_0607believe our new building genuinely has started to ”shape us” already, and will continue to do so. It feels like a rich and precious time for the agency and its staff to feed off each other in different ways and be inspired by our new environment to search for greatness for our clients and their brands.

We invite any current employees, future employees, clients and prospects alike, to come and experience this invigorating environment for themselves, and experience a little of what Churchill had in mind.

Check out more photos and videos of our brand new office here: Ogilvy Healthworld UK Twitter.

Questions? Comments? You can contact the author directly at blog@ochww.com.
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Woo Hoo!

Throughout our careers we all may come up with great ideas, but they don’t get too far if they don’t come across to our clients.

The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas, is a great read! Written by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa, the book offers a new approach to idea selling. The word “woo” in the book is defined as the ability to “win others over” to your ideas without coercion, using relationship-based and emotionally intelligent persuasion.

The Art of Woo has a four-step approach to their idea-selling process. 1) Persuaders need to polish their ideas for the social networks that will lead them to decision makers. 2) Confront the most common obstacles that can sink ideas before they get started. 3) Pitch your idea in a compelling way. 4) Secure both individual and organizational commitments. Throughout the book the author reference historical business cases that helps bring this approach to life.

As you can imagine, individual personality plays a key role in how you influence others. The book includes two personalized “diagnostic” tests that readers can take to discover their persuasion strengths and weaknesses (I won’t share my results!) One of the diagnostics is the “Six Channels Survey,” designed to help people learn which of the key channels of influence they feel compelled to use most often at work, and which they would prefer to use if given a choice. These channels include Authority, Rationality, Vision, Relationships, Interests, and Politics. Throughout the book you learn how to better understand these six channels.

The Persuasion Styles Assessment is in the book, and helps readers determine the degrees of assertiveness and natural social intelligence they bring to the idea-selling process.

The Art of Woo goes on to describe five distinctive styles:

The Driver—a highly assertive person who gives only limited attention to the social environment

The Commander—a grove-like person who has a quieter demeanor

The Chess Player—a quieter person who attends strategically to the social environment

The Promoter—a gregarious type who uses high levels of social intelligence

The Advocate—who strikes the balance among all the others

Definitely an entertaining read, and certainly relevant to what we all do every day.

Questions? Comments? You can contact the author directly at blog@ochww.com.
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Flexing Our Creative Muscles

flexing our muscles thumbnailIt takes lots of hard work and dedication to achieve your goals for a healthier lifestyle. It focuses on nutrition, physical activity and resiliency, and is individualized to your specific needs. Running the Ogilvy CommonHealth Imaging department is comparable to this in many ways, as I apply the same approach in servicing all Art and Creative Directors. Expectations are high, utilizing our confidence, capabilities and talent to deliver.

It Starts With Healthy Living
Just as in planning my daily and weekly workout routine, the Imaging team prepares by being mentally and physically fresh. It’s important to keep up with the latest technology and current software and hardware upgrades. Every day is a learning experience, especially in the CGI environment.
Wellness in the Imaging Department
The team keeps in top shape by utilizing powerful 3D graphics and software. This has allowed us to take our imaging capabilities to the highest levels conceptually and to produce final printed or digital art.
Increased Strength and Endurance
Creating and conceptualizing art for new brands and new business pitches requires an extreme amount of strength and endurance. We take creative teams’ and individuals’ ideas to a whole new level, allowing them to achieve their visions and ideas, and bringing them alive through the Imaging team’s strength, expertise and resources.
Preparation and Mental Toughness
It takes extreme preparation and execution from our digital artists to create that perfect and unique piece of art. Understanding the “why” is more important than the “how.” In order to create a realistic 3D image, it requires an understanding of why an object looks a certain way in the real world or in specific environments.
Connect With Us
We have evolved traditional retouching into a combination of digital imaging, 3D modeling, animation and motion graphics, to create dynamic, compelling still and motion images. Our strength is in our passion to move ahead and be the best in our industry. Other agencies can’t keep up with the healthy lifestyle of the Ogilvy CommonHealth Imaging team and that’s why we’re flexing our creative muscle.

Questions? Comments? You can contact the author directly at blog@ochww.com.
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Finding the Right Balance

PaperOne day, you wake up and you are an Art Director. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, you have the Icona Pop song stuck in your head. You realize that you are exactly where you want to be—in the middle. Some people may want to be a little to the right or a little to the left, but I personally like to have my cake and eat it too. I started out my career with a big slice of interactive pie. For the past 4 years, I have worked for Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide’s NJ-based interactive marketing group. My key role was to work on various interactive projects (websites, iPads, banners, e-mails). I learned so much from my amazing co-workers. Some of them have left to find a different path in their design careers, but I still hold them all close to my heart. I will never forget the teachings of those from my past.

Today is a new day. I am pulling the cobwebs out of my brain and refreshing myself to the world where I began: PRINT! I went to college at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. I remember spending my grocery money on expensive paper for my design projects. There is nothing better than walking down the north side of 18th Street toward 6th Avenue to Paper Presentations and then spending an hour feeling textured paper. I can still smell it. (Everyone close your eyes and smell the paper with me). In college, I mostly studied print. We all need to acknowledge and appreciate where we came from, because it made us into the designers we are today. Over the past few years, I have been lucky to help out with some print projects. I have been moving back and forth between print and digital for years now.

My new role as an Art Director for a women’s health client is like sunshine on a cloudy day. I am lucky enough to be working on both print and interactive design. For this particular project, we are working with another multimedia agency, located in NYC. My Art Director partner and I do a lot of traveling back and forth from New York to Jersey. Our collaborators hold most of the digital work, but now that I’m in town, we are bringing some of the interactive work to New Jersey, Ogilvy style (not to be confused with Gangnam Style). As we all know, it is hard to be the new kid on the block, and the agency has a wonderful, tight-knit interactive team. The more that I go there, the more I feel like a member of the design gang. The other day, the SVP Creative Director gave me an e-mail design test. He threw me some copy and a logo and let me at it. I came up with a few concepts that I felt confident about. When I met up with him the other day, we discussed the designs and it turns out that he really liked them. He said that they had a good balance of design and easy development. I couldn’t have been happier! It is always an exciting feeling when someone has seen your work for the first time. Each time is like a new chapter in your life, another page has turned where you get to prove yourself.

I think we all need to achieve a good balance of interactive and print. Most of us come from a print past and we need to look to the digital future. Print isn’t going anywhere. I still love paper, drawing in my sketchbook, and cutting things up with scissors. We also need to embrace the technology ahead of us. There is a lot of fun, innovative work coming our way and we all need to get excited about it! Let’s all strive for balance, because that is where we will be strongest!

Questions? Comments? You can contact the author directly at blog@ochww.com.
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Function Over Letterform

We now live in a wondrous digital world of endless interactive possibilities, but doesn’t everything come at a price? HTML. CSS. iOS. GUI. OMG. In this abundance of letters, what has become of the art of typography? I am referring not only to calligraphic styling, but also to the creation of perfect “visual spacing” in every paragraph and letter pair.

The decline of this craft actually started with the advent of “desktop publishing.” The miracle of creating a composed layout that appeared onscreen, in front of your very eyes, brought about the extinction of the typography department in ad agencies around the world. The artistry of the professional typesetter has been replaced by mathematical application defaults that provide decidedly inferior results (the “professional” programs do allow overrides, but they are not always used).

Today, digital programming often requires font restrictions and templated copy styling, sacrificing even more typographic control. In return, we get a feast of living, breathing interactive treats throughout a magically connected world. So I am not saying it is not worth it. I am just saying we should not lose appreciation for the beautiful presentation of words.

I was happy to see Communication Arts come out with their first Typographic Annual in 2011, celebrating great letter design. There were 2,135 entries and 179 winners (of note, however, is that only 3 of those winners were in the Digital Media category). I was disappointed to learn the 2012 issue reflects only 1,723 entries and 150 winners (the Digital Media category did take 4 of those spots this year).

So, is there hope? Absolutely! We can start by discovering (or rediscovering) what can be accomplished with the simple alphabet. Just go to www.typographyserved.com or www.welovetypography.com to see some great work being done today. And, yes, there is irony in the very same digital space being both party to typographic restriction and portal to typographic beauty.

Also, the optimist in me fully expects that as digital programming evolves, we will see more and more capabilities for manipulating type. In the meantime, my fellow designers and I will still bring our typographic senses to both traditional and new media, be it in the form of unique headline treatments, custom logotype, or just a properly kerned “1.”




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