25 / 02 / 2019
Why did we rebrand? PART 1: Crack under pressure
A short series of articles on why we chose to rebrand. Our 'WHY-fueled' journey to actually looking like the agency we became over time, about learning as you go, about the magic of teamwork... and how procrastinating turned out to be a positive thing for once.
It was a Friday, late afternoon, early September 2016, and the end of the summer was upon us. I was standing in the green and spacious garden of a friend. Glass of Chianti in hand, taking a deep breath after what had been two relentless weeks. My phone rang…
Our company name was still ‘Video4commerce’ and two weeks prior to that day, one of our corporate clients set us quite a challenge: they needed a high level ‘sales pitch’ video about a new software solution that would give them a direct competitive advantage. And because of certain stakeholder’s wishes it should be ready in less than two weeks, so it could be premiered during an upcoming event. Also the production value would have to be top notch, impactful, eye catching and visually rich…
When working for corporate clients, time critical projects with tough deadlines simply occur sometimes. In a large organisation, with many departments, stakeholders and interests things can change very quickly… and if you want to work for clients of that size and complexity, you need to be capable, you need to deliver… or simply go home.
The client understood how time critical this project would be and provided us with sufficient budget. This was much appreciated by us. However in a situation like this you can have the biggest budget in the world, but if you don’t possess the creative power, decisiveness and determination.. if you crack under pressure (much like Jeffrey often does during on our, alarmingly competitive, ‘Foosball Fridays’..) nothing will save you.
...if you want to work for clients of that size and complexity, you need to be capable, you need to deliver… or simply go home.
We had a team meeting to discuss the matter, to assess if we could deliver something in the given timeframe that would be up to par with the client’s expectations. Also I had to keep in mind that the team had been under quite a lot of stress that summer, in a good way, with great projects, but that still doesn’t mean people are robots. Also we had other ongoing projects. Somewhat to my surprise, it was a very positive meeting, everybody thinking in possibilities rather than limitations, sharing initial ideas and suggestions of how to go about it. We decided to go for it, from concept creation to high end sound design and everything in between, knowing very well it could get tricky… really tricky.
We started working, long hours, thinking on our feet, trying to kickstart the creative process to come up with a strong concept. It was based on a black room setting, an actor and this visually rich holographic gesture based interface. It was a trade off really, a compromise if you will, as concept wise we had to choose between either multiple shooting days and settings, but very limited time for post-production, or just one shooting day and go more ‘post-production’ heavy. We figured that eliminating as many external factors as we could would be the most sensible choice. If we would for example mess up the edit or the CGI part, at least we had nobody but ourselves to blame… So in addition to creating the concept, that same week we completed the script (including the gestures the actor would have to make, with no visual reference but our ‘pantomime-ish’ instructions), wrote and recorded the voice over, casted the actor, booked a make-up artist, scouted and rented the location AND did the actual shoot. In reality we only had a couple of days left for post-production and especially for Jos those days turned out to be relentless… a non stop effort of creating the visuals, motion tracking, compositing, doing edit tweeks (because we messed up some of the gestures in shoot). We had to nail the CGI part as fast as we could, because the sound designer needed his time too. It was no fun… but it had meaning to us.
It was a matter of complete trust, in us, in our ability to understand the product proposition, the sales message and build from there. It was both flattering and frightening.
Fast forward to the end of that second week… the visuals looked superb, the sound designer (we worked with Arjen Jongeneel for that project) did a stellar job, the voice over turned out to work well, the actor had done a great job… it all seemed to click. The video was done, just in time to send to our client, right on the deadline on Friday morning.
So back to that moment, That Friday afternoon, standing in that garden with a glass of wine, when my phone rang… We didn’t hear back from the client yet so seeing the name on my phone screen was sort of a relief. At least now I would hear if we had nailed it or totally screwed up in the eyes of the client. Mind you, we had gone completely off the radar during those weeks. Our client did have a hint of the concept we had in mind, but that’s it. It was a matter of complete trust, in us, in our ability to understand the product proposition, the sales message and build from there. It was both flattering and frightening.
I picked up and said “Hello”. After a short silence our client replied “Hello Ian” followed by silence. Trying to get the conversation going I asked “How are you doing today?”. He said “I’m fine, thank you. And you?” I answered “I’m good, just a bit tired”. “Did you see the video”? I asked him. “I did .. “ he replied. Silence again. I could now feel my heart beating in my throat, not being able to detect any sentiment in regard to the video as of yet, I was preparing for the worst news. Ok, let’s get this over with already, I thought, and asked him “What do you think of it?” After another short silence he replied, and I quote: “I was gobsmacked”.
“What does that mean? Is it a good thing?” I asked him…
I can assure you that after that phone call, my glass of Chianti tasted even better than before.
Would you like to know why this moment was significant for us moving forward? Stay tuned for “Why did we rebrand? PART 2: Learning as we go” Follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn . We’ll post it there for you!