Tag Archives: communication

5 Pieces of Advice to Grow a Content Agency

Last month, our team once again collaborated with D&AD, this time for their New Blood Festival in celebration of new artistic talents. As part of the event, we met with 20 young creatives for a talk on Nucco Brain’s 5-year journey as an agency.

We discussed some of the pitfalls to avoid and pointers to strive for in creating and growing a content production agency. So, here were the takeaway points that we believe will allow every content agency to flourish, and get its story heard.

1. If you are for everyone, you are for no-one

It goes without saying that you are founding a content agency for a reason – you have a story to tell, or the tools to tell one – something special that sets you apart. The first thing you need to do when growing a content agency is to focus on these key business values that you bring to the table and consider how you plan to use them to make a name for yourself. What is your unique selling point? Can you meet the needs of a niche customer base with a particular point of view?

For example, here at Nucco Brain, we combine intuitive storytelling with innovative technologies in animation, VR and AR to visualise brands’ messages in a memorable way. It’s important to know how your agency makes its mark, because if you haven’t nailed down your own unique value, how are you going to sell it to clients?

2. HR & processes matter

As a content agency, your team is going to be made up of creative souls – we get it, we’re the same. However, you have to make sure that, amidst all of the brainstorming, crafting and creating, the operational side of your businesses doesn’t get lost. HR and processes matter, and it will take time and effort to get them right. This will develop as you grow as an agency – at first, everyone in your team will have to multitask and play more than one role, but as you expand, it’s important to ensure that everyone is clear about their individual role and responsibilities.

This will ensure that externally, the client knows who they are talking to, and internally, there is no breakdown in communication through the production process which could harm the quality of your projects. The magic is in the process, not just the end product. With each project you take on, pay attention to your process and adapt it based on what works and what doesn’t – and then ensure these changes are implemented throughout your team.

3. Stay Up to Date

Whilst it is vital to know what sets your agency apart, it is also important to root yourself and to know your place in the market you are entering. With no sense of your wider creative environment, you will become lost, and struggle to signpost your presence to clients navigating the market.

So, stay up to date with market and global trends in all areas – not just your niche, and practice the art of adapting what you know to capitalise on current trends.

4. Don’t Mistake a Spike for a Trend

As we’ve said, it’s important to be plugged into market trends, but at the same time, don’t mistake a spike for a trend. Agencies that constantly try to remodel their entire process to match every fleeting viral obsession lose their sense of identity and struggle to survive in the long term.

Agencies can grow and die off of one account – don’t build your business model over one project alone, without thinking of the journey that takes you there. Similarly, be wary of serving that one client that eats up all your resources and finding yourself with no project afterwards. Treat your agency holistically, and always keep an eye on the long view.

5. When Business is Good Don’t Forget About Business

This leads us to our final point: when business is good, don’t forget about business. Creatives can often be tempted to lose themselves in their art – but you must resist this urge in order to keep growing as an agency! Don’t become absorbed within a single project, remember to keep the practicals in mind.

This means marketing your services, networking with other companies and industry figures, and taking every opportunity to grow your resources and nurture your talents. And, of course, don’t forget about new talent – new blood brings new perspectives and opportunities to innovate.

Toronto & Chicago Trade Mission: How’s business across the Atlantic?

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking part in a trade mission to Toronto and Chicago, hosted by the Mayor’s International Business Programme (MIBP) and London & Partners (L&P). The aim, along with my trade mission brothers and sisters, was to scope out North America and see whether our fast-growth start-ups (with turnovers of £1m or more) see value in expanding across the pond. Fourteen UK-based businesses, on a mission to take over the world… well, not quite, but you get the point. These businesses were split between the two broad categories of Edu-Tech and B2B-Tech. Nucco Brain doesn’t fit specifically well into either of these, from a tech point of view, but we certainly work with clients in both sectors to produce content for their platforms, apps, experiences or general marketing. Broad scope, for Nucco then, to see whether there are North American partners we could collaborate with in the future. The sun was out, the skies were clear and the people (as expected) were extremely friendly and accommodating – all things looking bright to kick off what would be an eventful week!

Tuesday 

We started off at Toronto Region Board of Trade, where we heard what Toronto had to offer as a city for startups – excellent talent pool, easy trade throughout Canada and only a hop, skip and a jump from the US border. Canada has some great incentives for businesses who are innovating (with things like the SCHRED tax incentive for R&D) and trade agreements with the US means that the border is pretty invisible when it comes to providing services. There was a panel discussion with the leading Edu-Tech businesses in Toronto, as well as key stakeholders within the education sector, giving their views on the pros and cons of the Toronto market as a whole. Needless to say, there were far more pros than cons!

Wednesday 

We went to one of the WeWork’s in Toronto, to investigate one of the sites where startups have flourished already in the Toronto scene. We then headed to our respective airports to catch flights over to Chicago, the second stage of our mission. After arriving and checking into our hotels, we went to a lovely evening soiree, hosted by the British Consul General, at his residence in Chicago. All I can say is WOW – his residence was amazingly impressive and it was truly an evening where great connections were made (I won’t go into too much detail about the amazing Friday night I had with someone I met here… maybe for another blog that 😉 )

Thursday

 Our final full day on the mission started with a trip to 1871 – Chicago’s very own center for technology and entrepreneurship. Here we were given similar treatment to that of the Toronto Region Board of Trade – this time from World Business Chicago. Speakers told us the major benefits of expanding to Chicago: there are a large number of Fortune 500 companies HQs in Chicago, it’s in the Midwest so connected easily to both the East and West coasts, there is already a mature startup scene with open doors to newcomers. All sounds good to me! Next stop? The Motorola HQ and the Google offices, to see the space they had both developed in Chicago – super impressive spaces, for sure! The final stop of the day – WeWork Chicago: this time to pitch in a ‘Shark Tank’ style environment (Dragon’s Den for any UK readers). It was somewhat nerve-wracking to pitch your business to a panel of 3 successful entrepreneurs (as well as attendees of the networking event that followed) but everyone on the mission did an excellent job. If nothing else, it was a great experience to be a part of (and I think we’d all spieled about our businesses enough by that point to be pretty clear on what we needed to say). Another great day in another great city…

Friday

 Another colleague and I traveled to a film, media and entertainment incubator called 2112. This was an awesome part of the trip for me, as a big fan of music and film production – it’s 160,000sqft of filming, audio recording, mixing and production studio space, with a startup incubator at the heart of it. Words can’t describe this place (it took us about 3 hours to get the full tour) but the sheer scale of it blew my mind. They’re doing awesome things at 2112, facilitated by the founder Scott Fetters (who is a great mind and took me on the unforgettable Friday night out I mentioned earlier). Worth checking them out, for sure, if you’re ever in Chi-town!

In summary 

The trade mission was a great explorative experience, where I met loads of businesses Nucco Brain could collaborate with in the future. Chicago, particularly, left an impression on me and made me think it would be a great place to expand our business into North America, eventually. The guys at L&P were a great help and organised an awesome week of activities. On top of that, the people I was on the mission with were a great bunch of people and I hope to see them at some point in the future on that side of the pond, expanding our businesses together – here’s hoping that’s sooner rather than later! 😀

By Mark Kershaw

Client Engagement Director at Nucco Brain

(photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash)

The Power Of Effective Explainer Videos

Corporate comm. often involves complex information spanning dry topics. Making this info digestible and accessible without turning your audience off in seconds is the challenge!

Explainer videos are one clever way of getting points across in an engaging way. Structure and style play a big role in effective explainer videos. But with the right creative approach you can tap into your audience’s imagination and create a communications piece that’s set to grab attention, even across the trickiest topics.

Making it accessible

Our brains work in a certain way when it comes to processing information. The more intricate the subject, the bigger the need to break it down and make it easy to digest. Think from your own point of view. Everyone’s been in a situation at one time or another where they felt overloaded with information.

To work effectively, explainer videos can’t simply dump huge amount of detail within the first few moments. Instead, they need to follow a clear structure to guide the viewer through the points one at a time. This all starts with a hook. Forget about conveying a range of messages in the first seconds.

To really engage your audience, you’ll need to grab attention with something that’ll pique interest. From there, you can guide them through a journey of awareness, moving onto basic information, then delving into the more complex core of the piece once the viewer is comfortable and engaged.  

Let’s take as an example the latest explainer video we have produced for the European Space Agency on 5G technology:

Find out more about this project

Within the first few seconds the narrator states a fact relevant to all audience members: “being connected is everything”. Through this one sentence, the audience is able to relate to the video’s topic – a hook prompting them to keep watching until the end.

What about style?

Style matters in explainer videos. Because they’re all about appealing to viewers in a novel way, the look and feel of the video will be an important factor in grabbing attention and keeping the audience involved.

Stylised characters are a tried and tested way of enticing an audience to identify with scenarios in explainer videos. Adding a personality to the comms, animated characters, such as the ones created for the 5G video,  open doors for people to relate to the complex topic of the video.

Make the story feel personal

 A narrative with a personal angle is the best way to create a link with your viewer. That means developing a specific story with a certain point of view that’s likely to appeal to your audience. But it shouldn’t end there.

Tying this in with your personal angle as a brand will help you bridge the gap between audience and message, as well as conveying your overall identity. In the ESA video for example, following an explanation of the 5G network and its benefit to the public, the video highlights how the European Space Agency is involved with the technology – thus bringing back the discussion to its core business.

Do it right, and this is what will really make your explainer video stand out from other content pieces.  Interested in learning more? We’ve previously written about our production process for explainer videos on our blog:

Complex ≠ Complicated: 4 Best Practices To Turn B2B Communication Into Exciting Content

Nucco Brain’s Recipe for a Successful Branded Content YouTube Series

 

The Future of Healthcare: Communicating Innovation

A few weeks ago I attended an event that held the title “Innovate or Stagnate: Can Technology Keep the NHS Healthy” – it was an interesting evening of talks from some of the leading experts in the field. I came away with mixed feelings though – hope at the thought of technology saving our beloved NHS, despair at the thought of how or whether they’ll implement it all in time.

Communicating innovation is one of the more challenging adventures in the marketing industry – people want and fear change at the same time. They want it because the future holds exciting opportunities; they fear it because they may not understand the implications, costs or impact it will have on tried and tested circumstances.

To get it right, businesses who are innovating have a need to be constantly engaging the parties who are implementing these innovations and aware of how they communicate with their many different audiences. In the case of the NHS, it is the government, health trusts, payers and healthcare professionals who need to understand how these innovations save money, time and, most importantly, the lives of patients under their care. Further even, it is the patients and the general public at the end of the line who are directly experiencing the ease and improvement of experience that innovation in healthcare could bring, and the future potential it has.

On Thursday,  June 21, we are hosting an event called the Future of Healthcare: Communicating Innovation where our managing director Stefano Marrone will be discussing how brands can and should build a consistent narrative on innovation and sensitive health topics to different audiences across different visual assets. A focus will be on strategies to overcome some of the main challenges associated with public health communication campaigns such as finding ways to both raise awareness and drive behavioural changes within multiple audiences.

Tickets are available here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/future-of-healthcare-communicating-innovation-tickets-46326935110?aff=es2

Communicating innovation to different audiences requires special skills and unique approaches. Let us teach you how.

-Mark Kershaw

Client Engagement Director

How can marketers use new narrative trends to create constant engagement in 2018?

 

FORGET NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS – START YOUR YEAR WITH A STORY

 

At Nucco Brain, we believe that storytelling allows great marketing content to generate a response and get repeated. Why? Because stories have proven to be the most effective communication tool since the beginning of times.

Let’s travel back in history. In ancient times, civilisations made extensive use of mythological tales to explain the world around them. This oral tradition of telling stories enabled our ancestors to both teach and remember – two goals still relevant for brands to achieve today. Over time, the evolution of storytelling has always followed technological advances. Many compare the impact of the Internet to that of Gutenberg’s printing press invention in the 15th century, which enabled the written word to surpass the oral tradition of storytelling as a mass communication tool. Now roughly 20 years since the Web’s commercialisation, what impact is it having on our ways of telling stories today and how can brands use new narrative forms to their advantage?

Understanding modern audiences

Successful storytelling always explicitly or abstractly reflects the times we live in; and so should today’s marketing campaigns. More than ever before, we, as audiences, use digital technology extensively in our daily lives. Mobile and wireless technologies born out of the Web have revolutionised not only the way we communicate but also the way we think and perceive reality.

According to media theorist Douglas Rushkoff mobile and wireless technologies fracture our perception of time to only value the present above all by allowing us to communicate in multiple virtual spaces at the same time from one real life location. There is no beginning or end to notifications or the quantity of content available online. As such, past or future become meaningless compared to the present of: what can I watch on YouTube right now? Messenger alert, who can it be? What’s the latest news on my Twitter feed?

Within this context, the challenge for brands is not only to compete with other brands, but the entire media landscape. Creating content that stands out of the crowd is therefore crucial, and using new narrative forms is the best way to ensure constant engagement through marketing campaigns.

Moving towards the post narrative form

Whether it be movies, novels, or even adverts we are accustomed to the classic linear form of storytelling. Something along the lines of: a relatable hero with a goal in the beginning, undertakes a journey full of obstacles in the middle, to finally fail or succeed at achieving the goal by the end. Rushkoff argues that the perpetual state of “now” we experience through our regular use of mobile and wireless technologies is shifting the types of stories we are interested in away from this linear format. He refers to this emerging narrative format as the “Post Narrative Form” where the aim is to expanding on a fictional universe and characters rather than concluding the story of a single protagonist.

Hollywood’s reboot of Star Wars, the increasing popularity of TV & Netflix series, Game of Thrones and its multiple storylines, these are all examples of the post narrative format resonating with audiences worldwide. Satisfying stories nowadays don’t have a resolution but give us a sense of continuation through the perpetual growth of their fictional universes.

How can brands use this new form?

The post narrative form is perfectly in line with modern audiences’ desire to keep the “present” going and have access to multiple points of view from one location. Applying this to a marketing perspective, brands should aim to produce content that satisfies this need for continuation and as such, expand their own identities through different media experiences.

This is already happening today, where marketing a brand across different social media platforms is common practice. However, brands should push this even further by approaching content not just as a way to tell stories but as a way to offer a variety of experiences to immerse in. Augmented and virtual reality technologies now offer such possibilities. By approaching content production as “experiences” to build on and expand, brands will prompt their audiences to interact with them regularly and thus ensure constant engagement.

By Alizee Musson

Marketing & Development Executive at Nucco Brain