Tag Archives: constant engagement

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.

Could VR Save Your Corporate Comms?

Corporate communication has had a certain reputation for being dry and unengaging in the past. But new technologies like VR are now increasingly becoming part of the modern business world, and companies are catching onto the benefits of integrating them into their corporate comms strategy.

VR, AR and 360 videos are just some of the ways businesses are connecting with their audiences. And not just for external communication, but for business training purposes and internal campaigns too. The innovative use of tech like this gives companies a new way of creating immersive training experiences and unforgettable comms pieces. All powerful stuff when you want to drive engagement.

How can VR fit into your comms strategy?

Strategic content creators are now opening the doors to fresh possibilities in VR and 360 videos. Providing brands with a platform to visualise the future of their industry, or engaging with a holographic executive delivering a comms message are just some of the opportunities it offers. VR is also incredibly freeing as it enables companies to put people in impossible situations in a controlled way.

For example, with one of our recent project, EDF Nuclear Symphony, we helped public audiences and stakeholders to understand how a nuclear reactor works through a VR experience.

Screenshot from EDF Nuclear Symphony

Adapting this to your particular business and needs is key to making it work. Essentially, the user can walk through a digitally rendered environment, allowing them to react to a situation as it unfolds. For training in areas like first aid, operating machinery and policing, VR can be an invaluable tool. By creating the right kind of experience for the user, companies are in stronger position than ever to engage with immersive, educational interactive experiences.  

Is VR a cost-effective training tool?

When it comes to investing in new tech, it’s important to know how it will benefit the business as a whole. Another core use of VR for corporate comms is to let people travel without moving, which presents exciting cost effective training and learning opportunities. As opposed to hiring a trainer or arranging a specific location for the training to take place, users can hop online and start learning.

For example, Unit 9’s project Lifesaver VR aimed to teach CPR skills to the general public through a VR app easily downloadable from any phone. The results? In tests with a selection of schoolchildren, teenagers’ confidence in performing CPR increased from 38% to 85%. And all those tested said they were more likely or MUCH more likely to perform CPR in a real emergency.

Students testing Lifesaver VR

This makes it an accessible tool to be sure, but the ways of engaging with tech like this doesn’t end there. Now, you can find VR and 360 capabilities everywhere, including platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo, making reaching your intended audience easier than ever.

Are VR’s possibilities limitless?

The short answer is, not yet. Understanding the power, uses and limitations of VR will stand you in good stead if you’re keen to integrate the tech into your corporate comms. Don’t forget, VR is a great hook, but it’s an individual experience and users will need to plug in with a headset. So, you can see how reaching a big audience could be problematic.

Using VR in tandem with other digital content such as video and infographics are the best way to encourage interaction. You can also broadcast 360 videos of real life action to larger groups to give them a similar experience. This will give you the thrust to engage with a mass audience, while creating an invaluable additional touchpoint for VR users. 

We used this approach when working on Innovate UK’s Predictions: Day in a Life 360 video for the organisation’s trade show by creating an immersive experience inside a dome. This experience allows Innovate UK to engage with its industry partners and the general public on the subject of technological innovation.

Predictions: Day in a Life 360 – Inside the dome

Using VR and 360 videos as a smart element of your communications toolkit, is certainly the way forward.

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.