The strength of our work is our people

We’ve been talking about focus this month. It got me thinking about how and why we focus on certain things. There are areas where we are deliberate, methodical even and others where our focus on one thing makes us miss something else. It’s why I like the idea of having a word for a month, it’s a mechanism for revealing stuff we might otherwise wholly gloss over.

The last year or so we have talked a lot more about a process. Before we kick off a project, we gather background information and relevant context to make sure everyone understands the objective, budget, and timeline. We talk to the client to get a sense of their attitude and how to best arrange the team and process. When we get a quote on a print job we take into account paper stock, extras, pricing, and timing. The same attention to detail happens in the hiring process—what are this person’s strengths, how will they integrate into the current workflow, will they create new opportunities, and can we offer them something meaningful.

These are all great things to do, but something stopped me in my tracks about a month ago. I was walking to my computer, and I passed Staci’s desk. It’s beside a huge window, the sill of which is lined with photos of her family. Her desk always has some sort of snack. On this day, there was an avocado which reminded me of how during Staci’s pregnancy she sat next to Allison, who signed up for emails describing the approximate size of the baby on a weekly basis. One week he was the size of an avocado.

 

Work space with personal items, a baby bottle, documents, and food.

Her chair was empty as she leaned over a proof on the work table with a junior designer. I could hear her characteristically thoughtful feedback on the layout and the way she presents a balance of constructive criticism and praise. Her son Kaiser, who just turned one, was sitting in his stroller flirting with two or three Tramps.

I am guilty of not always remembering just how much Staci has going on, or John, or Megan, or Oliver. I looked at the bottle on her desk, the datebook open with a girls’ night scheduled as well as a chiropractor appointment. These things were alongside ad layouts with notes and her computer screen open to an InDesign file brought into focus how much each person has influencing their perspective. It’s easy to get distracted by the client, the work, and the push to get things done. Nothing happens without the person.

The holidays, in particular, can be a time when each day carries the weight of family obligations, poignant memories, and extra to-dos. I can appreciate the idea that personal issues aren’t for the workplace, but in so many ways we can’t separate a person and the rest of their life.

A mom holds her baby

I am grateful for the way that the people coming into Trampoline each day are unafraid to reveal their entire selves—dysfunction, delight, and massive distractions. When we are able to focus on lifting one another up, whether it’s creating a lactation room or giving advice on how to contest a traffic infraction, it strengthens our team and our process.

We’re planning a lunchtime visit to Mik and Milo, Friday we’ll be brewing a custom beer with Staci’s husband guiding us along with our friends at Mean Max, and on Fridays, we’ve started a tradition of walking down the block to take aerial yoga classes over the lunch hour. The work is essential, but it’s nothing without the people.

 

Two Tourism Excellence Awards & a Davey!

The New York State Tourism Industry Association has awarded Trampoline in two destination marketing categories.

GoNorth: The sights, shops, and stories of Northern New York won in the Public Relations category, and the Hunter Mountain: It Gets in Your Head campaign win in the Niche Marketing category.

The Go North campaign was the result of regional collaboration across communities and counties in the upstate region. The W!LD Center’s leadership (and grant-writing prowess) allowed for the inclusion of many cities and towns to benefit from tour visits. Businesses, Museums, and Destinations from Saratoga to Tupper Lake agreed to participate and extended special offers to tourists.

Hunter Mountain’s season campaign ran in the New York City Metro market as an effort to entice skiers away from Vermont resorts and into the Catskills. Hunter is the closest mountain to New York, and this campaign reminded skiers in the city just how nearby adventure is. Ticket sales improved 15% as print and digital ads made their way into the marketplace, supported by TV spots, social graphics, and print collateral.

The Hunter: It Gets in Your Head campaign was also awarded Best in Show at the American Advertising Federation’s ADDY Awards.

NYSTIA is organized for the purposes of bringing together New York State tourism industry interests to raise consumer awareness and appreciation of travel and vacation opportunities in New York State.

Trampoline’s Award-winning work shared the stage with other incredible campaigns for destinations throughout New York, including Binghamton’s BING concept, the Niagara Falls USA rebrand, and the Unexpected Buffalo, among others. Each winner was beautifully designed by organizations and creative agencies working to say how much We  New York.
The family of Mean Max craft beer cans and the silver Davey Award their label design won
A few days after the NYSTIA event we got the word that the Mean Max Brew Works crowler suite received a Silver Davey Award. Our partnership with Mean Max has been a labor of love and hops. Designing these, as well as yet-to-be-released barrel aged series in glass bottles, allows us to continue supporting this region. We’re also able to offer guests at the studio exceptionally fresh beer.
Cheers!

Trampoline Transformation

We’re dedicating the month of October to transformation. Because we’re creative types, each person’s interpretation of transformation might take its own shape. Next month will mark 15 years since we received the seal of incorporation and began the Trampoline story.

When we incorporated in 2003 we had two full-time employees; today we have 18. Our specialty was branding when we started, fifteen years later destination marketing is our sweet spot. That said, every new brand that comes into the shop is lunged at like a tray of gooey-fresh-from-the-oven-chocolate-chip-cookies.

 

There was a time when we thought we had to change who we were to make it, turns out the most important asset has always been who we are. This isn’t to say that we haven’t had to learn new things or make adjustments, because we have. What I mean is that the partners who started this agency made it because we had skills that complemented one another.

Numbers, design, strategy, and language—threaded together with a fondness for solving problems. These elements carried us from our first client to our current professional relationships. It’s these same strengths that have helped drive our growth. Looking back there are visible periods of expansion, as well as times that we’ll always remember with a wipe of the brow. There comes a time when you have to reevaluate the business plan, not just to update it, but to make sure it reflects who you are and where you want to go.

 

More significant than the influence digital had to print or that social media had to communication, employee additions have demanded the most transformation.

Today the reality is that we’re having a lot more of the meetings we used to scoff at, “Another meeting? Just get it done.” We’re talking about objectives and inviting conversations about leveraging individual strengths. I watch headlines publish that I didn’t write, our Art Directors approve projects they otherwise would have designed. We don’t sit in on every meeting, and we don’t take every job because we’re doing what makes the most sense for the entire team.

A few weeks ago, everyone in the office selected their favorite completed projects and we had them printed. Our impetus for doing so was a desire to make the studio represent the people here. Watching the enthusiast suggestions was unlike anything I’ve experienced.

Some days I catch myself looking at the office, the workspaces decorated with snapshots of pets, children’s handprints, and souvenirs from vacations people have taken and I am moved to silence. We started a business for us, but we have built a life for many more. It’s an honor and a responsibility.

Here’s to another 15.

 

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 .

Design delivered from the 518

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