National Write Your Story Day: The Story of Trampoline

Today is National Write Your Story Day. As a partner at an agency that specializes in storytelling, through visual elements and words, I can’t help but approach this day with delight. We’re celebrating our 15th year in business and I want to take the opportunity to look back on all that has changed around us, personally and professionally.

It was late fall 2003 when we incorporated. We shook hands as newlyweds and new parents at a campground in Dorset, Vermont, pledging to create a company that put family first and would have an unerring focus on design and communication that hit the mark. The early months were lean, with late nights and light paychecks (if any). Two of us held full time jobs to keep us all covered by health insurance, the books were done after bedtime, headlines written before sunrise.

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Music, Monsters, & Jedi Wisdom

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” (Side note—obscure tidbits about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off here.)

Theatre is a great excuse to stop and look. Here, we can help, sit back and watch the trailers we created for the upcoming Adirondack Theatre Festival season.

See, didn’t it feel good to just slow down for a minute? Do yourself a favor and go order tickets to make sure you slow down this summer.

 

Called Out on Your Own Turf

Departing a bit from straight up ad talk and addressing the danger of bandwagons without forethought. This goes into the #MeToo movement and related topics. Read or click away as feels right for you.

Twitter released what is unequivocally a gorgeous spot during the Oscars as a contribution to the #MeToo movement. The execution of the vision—the range of faces shown, in age, ethnicity, and size, is exquisite. The poem, performed in the voice of its author, Denice Frohman, is powerful and relevant.

The participation of Ava DuVernay, Issa Rae, and Julie Dash suggests that the ad is supported by an understanding of the #MeToo movement and a genuine commitment to the #HereWeAre idea. And yet…

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Here Through It All

Communicating a message seems straightforward until of course, you add in the noise, competition, misinterpretations, and fleeting attention spans. The ability and willingness to refine a message, as well as the presence of mind to make it about the audience, is imperative.

Glens Falls Hospital wanted to use the Olympics as an opportunity to speak to a happily captive audience. Using lush imagery that fit within the epic winter vistas of PyeongChang, a message of rebounding from injury much like an athlete, and concise iconography to illustrate the services that Glens Falls Hospital offers, this general awareness spot communicated without interrupting, because there is a time and a place for disruption.

 

We enjoyed creating this spot, but even more than that, we enjoy seeing it as we cheer on the fearless athletes.

Resolve to Be Your Brand

As the calendar flips from December to January, the internet fills with articles on critiques, primers, and how-tos about branding. If the articles work for you, high-five. If they don’t, it’s ok. Here’s a small contribution from us and if you are a tl;dr type:

You are your brand, not the guy pontificating on LinkedIn or the x,y,z experts.
Decide who you are, what you want, and make sure other people understand that.

We like to say, “We’re with the brand.” It’s a little bit playful and also very true. Like the people who’ve committed to trekking, trucking, or thumbing across the country to follow they’re favorite bands, we match pace with our brands. Weaving through glades at Attitash or walking the halls at Glens Falls Hospital, traipsing through hop fields and boning up on the periodic table.

Our approach to creating, supporting, or strengthening a brand will always be rooted in really getting to know it. We also retain an outsider perspective because even the most focused among us can fall victim to forgetting how things look and feel for someone outside of the brand.

Personal Brand

On Brand

Corporate Brand

The phrases are real, the potential is significant, and the power is yours. Your definition of your brand and your execution are completely up to you. It’s important to consider things from the outside in, which is why getting outside help can be productive. It’s a little like the friend you know will say, “Yeah, navy isn’t your color.” That said getting too wrapped up in how people say it must be done can ultimately do more harm than good.

Our advice to you is in 2018 be proud of your brand—play with it, own it, and share it.

Join the Team-UPDATED (a second time!)

Summer is winding down and things are revving up here at Trampoline, which is why we are here sharing this throwback commercial from Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It’s time for us to find that perfect mix as we grow our team. This clip will demonstrate that we aren’t afraid of a little bit of low-res cheese. It’s also foreshadowing that we are looking to do more than staff an open position, it’s to connect people and ideas in a way that strengthens our team and gives you an opportunity to sweeten your skills.

 

 

Ideally, you will be open to learning new things, being flexible to adapt to changes in workflow or assignments, and also a fan of this area.

Things we aren’t: a massive agency, a huge town, users of words like maven, thought leader, or ____-preneur.

Things we are: Passionate about design, solving communication riddles, flaky pastries, craft beers, and kombucha. Ok, so that last one may only be Megan and Amanda.

Graphic Designer

We don’t take adding designers to our team lightly, but the time has come. We are looking for someone with 3+ years working as a designer. We value opinions and confidence, particularly when they are paired with an appreciation for design, typography, process, and clear communication. The process at Trampoline involves collaboration between the different members of the team—one of the reasons why we do require that this position be on-site.

Designers (we currently have 8) work with clients as well as production vendors. The work in the shop ranges from branding projects and ad campaigns, to print magazines and annual reports, with a bit of social media and digital advertising thrown in for good measure.

Fine print: Must have a mastery of Adobe Creative Suite, Word, ability to do battle with Publisher through clenched teeth and a smile. Some familiarity with HTML, video, and photography would be swell.

This position will report to an Art Director and assist in mentoring junior designers.

Please respond with work samples, availability, and references.

 

Junior Graphic Designer

We don’t expect you to be an expert, but we do expect you to be proficient in the Adobe Creative Suite. You can anticipate acting as a support for our current design staff. This could involve re-sizes and re-prints, assisting with proofing and research. If you have video/animation skills, or an interest in learning, all the better. We love a well-rounded, knowledge-hungry designer. As a member of the team, you will participate in creative concepting sessions and the crit process. There will be times when you go on-site for client meetings and events. Our clients range from higher-ed and health care to ski resorts and non-profit organizations.

You’ll have a senior team member who will serve as a mentor. We understand that there will be times when you have questions or need guidance; there isn’t a day at Trampoline when someone doesn’t learn something from a co-worker. Our goal is to have you grow into a larger role, but to do it at a managed pace. There are opportunities to allow everyone a chance to spread their creative wings.

We hope that you will be someone who wants to be here for a while.

When you respond, please send work samples and references.

 

If you think you might be a fit for either of these positions please send us an email with your resume.

 

It’s Up to You

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People like to give advice, sometimes it’s a gift, other times it’s predictably hot air. 

Specialize in something.

Establish your niche.

Narrow your focus.

Stay in your lane.

The tricky part of navigating life, relationships, and the marketplace is to know when to listen, when to nod politely, and when to trust your instinct. Over the course of our nearly fourteen years in business we have heard a lot of advice, some we quote greatly for its evergreen brilliance. 

“If it doesn’t work, kill it quick.”

“If you don’t love it, don’t show it.”

“That’s not how the internet works.”

There are other moments we look back on and realize we should have listened to our gut. This is a long-winded way of saying that no one knows what’s best for you, but you. Have some fun. We guarantee that when you enjoy what you are doing and who you are doing it with, it comes through in the final product. 

Listen, keep what works, and move along.

Building a tower of TP for Morcon at the Wood Theater in advance of the Adirondack Theatre Festival‘s production of  The Boy in the Bathroom .

Branding Fun

“That’s work?” is something we hear a lot as we post snippets from our days. It’s undeniable that we get to do some pretty fun stuff in pursuit of the shot.

Putting a face on things is something we love—that can be places, products, or even events. Is it luck or strategy that so much of we get to brand are activities we love? It’s both. Combining work and play means that the passion we have will translate to the mark that’s created. This isn’t to say that non-playful projects get less passion, in fact, it means that our satisfaction keeps us alert, hungry, and game to push concepts to make them stronger, whether it’s an annual report or an ad campaign.

Here are a few identities we’ve created for activities that take you from bike seat to chair lift, from river rapids to mountain peak (on foot, Jeep, or wheels), and maybe—when you’re all done—to a nice hammock. Read more

Go North: an Adirondack Invitation

“We have a story to tell and a vacation to market, but no name or look…we would like you to create that.”

It’s kind of the ideal scenario when the story and journey are situated in one of the most picturesque regions of New York State and the client is someone you enjoy and admire. Working with the Wild Center in conjunction with the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council, Warren County Tourism, the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau , and I Love NY, on this project was exciting.

The goal was to package a tour-based itinerary that would loop through Saratoga Springs, Lake George, Tupper Lake, and Lake Placid to be presented on an international stage. For us, this meant creating something that was not rooted in insider language or regional specificity. Consideration was given to translations and scalability to include other parts of the region at a future date.

We presented half a dozen name options, each with its own spin. The concept that was selected, Go North was followed by the simple line: The sights, shops & stories of Northern New York. Read more

The Luxury of Pickiness

Picky

Selective

Discerning

Choosy

Overparticular

Opinionated

Fickle

As we all participate in the sprint/marathon/obstacle course for people’s attention the truth is that consumers, with very few exceptions, have the luxury of pickiness. They get to go full on House-Hunters-judgey and define their own expectations and reasoning.

 

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They can tune you out, be drawn to new things by a fleeting sparkle, or even change their minds without explanation. Being sneaky, disingenuous, or half-hearted is no way to win someone over. So what the heck are you supposed to do when algorithms constantly change, ad rates soar, the market gets crowded, and something like a fidget spinner comes along and makes your product or service as appealing as week-old potato chips in a bag that wasn’t properly closed?

 

We would suggest that the first thing you do is laugh. We’re all misunderstood, burned, and wounded from time-to-time, and the stories are often amazing. Honestly, finding true love is hard and the pitfalls along the way are inevitable, brand love is every bit as tricky.

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If consumers are picky, let yourself be upbeat, undaunted, and unyielding in your offering of your service or product. Remember that what you offer is something of value, it serves a purpose, produces an emotion or an outcome that is desirable. When people try to define you in a way other than that, go back to center.

We sell candles—-> We deliver light.

We write copy—–> We bring stories to life.

We have cabins for rent—–> Your yet-to-be-made memories live here.

It isn’t necessary to be like everyone else or to feel it’s a failure if you don’t appeal to all people. Be you and for the right people that will be more than enough.

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