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Draplinspiration

Good designers know that there is always more to learn. It’s an interesting industry to be a part of, like a log rolling contest. The rules and methods are constantly changing, and designers are systematically challenging the status quo. You have to keep shifting your feet to keep up, otherwise you’ll end up in the drink.

One of the ways we do that is to learn from fellow designers. On Monday, four of our designers attended an intensive logo workshop at SUNY Adirondack with one of the greats, Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Company.

We filed into a tightly-packed classroom filled with computers, and waved hello to a few friendly designer colleagues and students who we recognized. The room buzzed with excited anticipation, wondering how many swear words and pearls of wisdom Mr. Draplin would bestow upon us.

Aaron Draplin running the design workshop.

Dressed in one of his signature trucker caps, full beard and sweat pants (he is a rockstar on the road, after all), he absorbed the energy in the room and began the workshop. He whizzed through Illustrator quick keys and stories about past clients as we fervently scribbled notes and sketches in our books. He told the story behind his work for President Obama and opened up his working files to show us how he works on a daily basis. “Don’t tweet this!” he’d proclaim, followed by “Keys to the kingdom!”

Aaron Draplin running the design workshop.

One of the most interesting anecdotes he shared was his journey from Michigan to Portland, Oregon. (He and Staci later shared a moment when they talked after the workshop and discovered that his mom hails from the same hometown that she does: Livonia, Michigan.)

Draplin's hand drawn map of Michigan.

After the workshop, the entire team sat in on his presentation—filled with the same heartwarming, hilarious and inspiring design stories, more swear words, and insight into the design industry.

Our team came away feeling inspired and refreshed, excited to have touched base with a designer we all admire. We laughed and shared, and came to work the next day with the tips we’d learned fresh in our minds.

Design is all about evolving, listening to the world, and moving people with the art we create. And when we learn and get inspired together, we benefit as a team. You see it in the work we produce. As he stated when he closed out the workshop, “I know this is going to sound really ‘Bob Ross-y’, but inspiration is infinite. Catalog those things around you.”

Draplin puts Rob in a headlock.

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Business, Blizzards and Birthdays

A Story in Photos
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Amanda, Cara and Kelli hit the road Monday night for (and in) a flurry of activity. The Adirondack Destination Marketing Summit was a success, with robust attendance in spite of the blizzard. We shared our stories and insight during the “What We Learned About Millennials” presentation. We were thrilled to hit the stage again with the inspiring Hillarie Logan-Dechene, Director of Philanthropy at the W!ld Center, with the addition of new voices—Stanzi McGlynn (Digital Content Fellow, W!ld Center) and Kathryn Reiss (Owner & Operator, High Falls Gorge) who both shared stories of how our Millennial Toolkit helped inspire their social media and marketing efforts, and the success that they’ve witnessed firsthand.

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We started the day by listening to the opening segment delivered by Jasen Lawrence from ROOST—the room was packed, just as the first snowflakes started to fall.

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Our neighboring booth at the Conference—it was great to see Shannon Oborne in attendance from Paul Smith’s College, and our collateral making a big impression.

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Meeting Stanzi McGlynn, our co-presenter from the W!ld Center, in person for the first time.

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Fierce women before a fierce presentation, just as the room began to fill. Hillarie referred to us as a team, which was a recurring theme through the Summit as speakers encouraged collaboration.

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The dynamic Hillarie, and soon-to-be birthday girl, opening the presentation, “What We Learned from Millennials,” as well as sharing new information about the China Ready initiative.

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Cara with Kathryn Reiss of High Falls Gorge, all smiles after our talk.

Snowflakes the size of quarters were falling from the sky, and we couldn’t resist exploring Lake Placid amid the flurries. We quickly slipped back in time, feeling like kids again, throwing snow in the air and laughing as we struggled through knee-high snow. We bravely trekked through drifts to meet Hillarie for dinner in celebration of her birthday—we enjoyed the extra time spent with her family, getting to know her as not just a client, but a friend. Sharing stories by the fire at The Mirror Lake Inn as we watched the unrelenting snow is a memory that we are surely never going to forget.

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High kicks and hijinks as we romped in the snow, which you should know was not uncommon on the streets in Lake Placid.

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Cara’s striking resemblance to the snow atop the staircase at Mirror Lake Inn.

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Looking in amazement at the parking lot Monday night, wondering which car was ours and how exactly we were going to get out in the morning.

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Winter Wonderland, as we took a (very) slow descent down through Keene Valley.

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Feeling thankful for our safe and successful time in the Adirondacks. Not without a significant amount of gratitude to the workers who cleared the roads, the travelers who stayed off the roads, and to the hosts in Lake Placid who welcomed all of us with open arms.

International Women’s Day

Last week rumblings began around the internet about plans for “A Day Without a Woman,” which would highlight how much women do, at the same time that the celebrations of International Women’s Day were being planned. Neither has been without controversy, which actually seems to be par for the course for days-of-awareness and grassroots initiatives lately. Writing this as a business owner, mother of three daughters, and married to a man who was raised by a single mom, I have some opinions on all of it.

I’m not here to pick fights or sling harsh words, I’d really like to just talk about women, not because men don’t matter. I want to talk about women because our agency is women-owned. This isn’t lip service or “abusing the system” as I once had a man say to me. The reality is that of the 12 people who work here, 6 are women. Two of those women, Staci and Leslie, have been hired within the last six months. We didn’t set out to hire women, but as candidates for the open positions, they exemplified the skills and character traits needed in the mix at that time. They could not be more different from one another in how they design and think. I laughed at great length when Staci said, “I do none of the cooking and very little of the cleaning at home. Karl and I like to challenge gender roles.” Leslie talks about parental responsibilities over the dog she and her husband share.

I enjoy having women as a part of our team and I am proud to be a woman in a position of power who is able to open doors for other women. This doesn’t mean that I coddle women on my staff or set different expectations for them, in fact, I may be considered the least nurturing of anyone in the office. It’s ok.

I spent last week out of the office in order to be with my children during the school holiday. I haven’t always felt comfortable doing this and earlier in my career I chose not to a lot of the time in order to project a “professional appearance.” I understand, particularly as I follow the discussions online about participating in A Day Without a Woman and how someone women who have to work feel left out, that the flexibility and autonomy I have to take the time is not something that everyone has. I also know as a business owner that the work is still there to get done when I return, it’s really just delaying what needs to be done.

My business partner is out for a few days to spend time with her daughter who is away at college. Her absence in the office will be felt, but it is also understood that we all take time off and that we have different things that fuel us and root us. As a result of our personal lives and professional decisions, we bring different things to the business.

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Grace Bonney of Design Sponge and author of In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs said in an interview with Business Insider about women and work-life balance:

“… I think the biggest sort of eye opener for me was realizing that almost all of these women had in common the idea that they had given up work/life balance, because I think that it’s a concept that doesn’t — it is not rooted in reality. I think that life and work are constantly in flux, and the market in which we’re all working is constantly in flux.”

Everyone is looking for balance, personal fulfillment, and professional growth. I happen to believe that the more we surround ourselves with people who have different perspectives and desires, the better we are able to navigate the world, service our clients, and define our roles.

This morning a friend of mine with a fierce digital business included Trampoline in a round up of women-owned businesses. The article below highlights women in the design industry who are making waves, gorgeous, bold waves.

 

33 Women Doing Amazing Things in Graphic Design

Today we sit at the precipice of more hires. Maybe they’ll be men, maybe they’ll be women, who knows? What I can say with certainty is that the jobs are available because of the contributions and sacrifices of women. I am grateful for the women and open minded men who came before me and made it not so outside the realm of possibility that I do what I do. It’s because of them that a meeting in 2005 played out in this way:

“Uh, hi, I’d like to speak to a manager about some work I’d like done.”

I smiled as I stepped forward with an outstretched hand and said, “You can talk to me.”

He did a double take and said with a laugh, “They let the women do the meetings here?”

I smiled again, “Actually, they let the women do the owning. What can I help you with, sir?”

 

 

 

Root for Recruitment!

The Collegiate Ad Awards were just announced for this year, Trampoline and our university counterparts are celebrating in gold and silver.

College is competitive, and we don’t just mean being accepted. Our work really hones in on the critical nature of recruitment materials. While they often get delivered by mail, we cannot mail it in if we hope to help our clients be contenders. Our approach to recruitment is completely custom, what works for one institution will not immediately work for another. Understanding the audience, the campus, and, ultimately the spirit of the faculty and alumni, is what allows us to create materials that will make prospective students, from high schoolers to transfer students and on through graduate studies, look forward to as they enroll.

Colors, contacts, communities, and legacy. We listen to students and professors, collaborate with the teams from Admissions to Athletics, we consider Institutional Advancement and Travel Teams. We don’t set out to make viewbooks or mascots, we go in pursuit of hearts. We aim to win them for the school, but more so for the student, because if we do our job right, it will mean the best decision of their lives.

We are proud to share the award-winning work we’ve created on behalf of the people who are meant to love SUNY Geneseo, Paul Smith’s College, and the University of Maine at Augusta.

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First & Repeat Impressions

We have a long history of accepting interns at Trampoline. We’ve had high school students come for short stints, college students stay for durations designated by credits they will earn, and we’ve even had people between jobs who want to dip their toes in the agency waters. We try to make sure it’s worth everyone’s time, which means interns get to participate in the design and crit process, they get to experience client meetings, and their voices are genuinely considered.

Last year three of our employees were people who began as interns and, at the end of their internship, were offered a position. Then in the fourth quarter, we brought on two people who had both been interns years ago and then came back to Trampoline with years of design under their belts.

Today’s post is something that they wrote at our request. We talk so much about impressions, whether it’s repeat impressions, first impressions, or lasting impressions, we thought it would be great to hear some different impressions on Trampoline. Here they are, Rob and Leslie, inadvertently twinning as they rock bold glasses, neutral tops, and mild consternation at being pulled off projects for yet another photo opp.

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Trampoline in Leslie’s words:

First, Second, & Third Impressions

The first impression I had of the world of graphic design is when I visited Trampoline when I was a student at Glens Falls High School. Susan Botch, the art teacher, created an initiative where students had a chance to see “art in the real world.” Wide-eyed and excited, we were led up a set of narrow stairs in a downtown Glens Falls building at 196 Glen Street. There we met with the Tramp team, who were enthusiastic and ready to share their work with us. I remember the space well, long and narrow with the conference table up-front by the windows, client work on the walls and desks going all the way to the back. What a fun space to work in. The Tramps were legitimately excited about being there and talking design.

I was thrilled. We can create art for a living?! Graphic design? What is this? I didn’t know, but I was sold.

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Graduate GFHS? Check.

Graduate The College of Saint Rose with a BFA in Graphic Design? Check.

Second Impression.

After graduation, I interviewed and accepted an internship position for the summer at Tramp. This time they were located down the road at 166 Glen Street on the second floor above their retail space, Nine Authentic Goods. To get to their studio space, you walked through the store past an almost entirely local inventory, designed and crafted in the Adirondacks, and up the stairs in the back. I jumped right into working on packaging, signage, t-shirts, logos, map illustration… you name it! It was an invaluable experience to work up designs for merchandise and then to be able to walk through the store to see them on the shelves, let alone see people purchasing them! An internship with Trampoline wasn’t about making coffee, it was about creating and collaborating.

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That summer I won a Nori Award for a personal branding project and the Tramps were there by my side to congratulate me. The feeling that they were genuinely excited about my win made my night. But what was even more touching was that prior to the awards event, Trampoline handed me my own personal “something about being a super awesome intern” Tramp award. While it was an honor that The Albany Ad Club recognized my work, the personal recognition by the Tramp staff, who I worked with every day, felt personal and noteworthy.

Internship ends. Five+ years pass.

Third Impression!

Is there something about being on the second floor that just works? Who knows — but I made my way up, this time via elevator, to the second floor at 11 South Street. For what can be nerve-wracking for a lot of people, my portfolio review and interview felt very comfortable and welcoming. I was excited to share what I had worked on and was eager to learn what future possibilities could be with the team. It felt like coming home.

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Yes, websites upgrade, logos evolve, offices move… but good company sticks around. What has endured over these past 10+ years and has kept me coming back to Tramp is the sincere passion and care for what the people at Tramp do, all the while staying grounded. The love for design is strong within the family that Trampoline has built. Not only does it show in the great work that is produced, but the ability to enjoy the process of creating together as a team.

 

And now, Rob’s perspective on returning to Trampoline:

Jumping on the Trampoline…Again

In spring of 2012 my Pre-Press Production class had a guest speaker come in. The speaker showed examples of work, talked about the day to day office life and gave insights into running a business to a room full of mostly exhausted second year students (The class was 6 pm – 9 pm and primarily file preparation, mind you). Despite the lingering fog of late nights in the studio that hung over the room, the presentation was not lost on us. 16 heads attentively bobbed along to a story about planning a new business and the weight of jumping off on your own. “Ooo”s and “ahhh”s slipped out at slick images of newly designed beer labels.

After the presentation the guest speaker went to each student and critiqued their current projects, a logo suite for a restaurant that would be expanded into packaging and advertising. When my turn came I presented an admittedly half-assed attempt at a hand done logo featuring a far too (and yet not enough) detailed luchador. It was met with the kindness of a pro speaking to a student, but yet again the lesson was not lost. It needed work, if not to be reconsidered over all. The perfect metaphor for my skill level at the time.
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That speaker was Derek Slayton and that logo certainly didn’t make it into my portfolio when I applied for an internship with Trampoline exactly 1 year later. I, to my own disbelief, secured said internship and was excited to be spending my summer a mere bike ride away from home functioning in an office and making the quality work that one might expect only happens in trendy urban environments, not a sleepy mini-metropolis at the base of the Adirondacks.

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The exposed brick walls and a giant piece of sheet metal we hung our critique pieces on were just half of the charm. The team was warm, welcoming, talented and not short on smack talk. Jokes hurled over the office dividing walls as often as music filled the rooms. Critiques were quick and to the point, yet informed and entertaining. Ideas bounced like excited kids on the company’s name sake. The insights provided that summer served as a macro version of that first critique in Pre-press and I felt as though my skill set grew 10 fold in just the three months I was there.
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After relocating post-graduation, I moved home in July and was lucky to reconnect with the tramps at an AIGA event. The event was at a café that I had been using as my base of operation for freelance. After 6 months of borderline badgering on my part, they reached out about the possibility of doing some work together (imagine full on Tiger Woods fist pump levels of excitement). The interview felt more like catching up with old friends or teachers than a business ordeal. At one point a certain logo in my portfolio caught Derek’s eye. It was that same restaurant piece revisited after my summer at Trampoline.

The vibe is the same, the client list is ever-expanding, the team is more than double the size, the office is new and the work flow is a little different. The jokes still fly, just over the top of computer screens instead of divider walls. The giant piece of sheet metal is now a standing table. I felt the same sense of excitement I did as a college junior walking in on my first day, still ready to learn, but this time as a contributor and not just a student. No matter what is changed and what is the same it feels good to be back…bouncing on the trampoline.

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6 Ways to Turn Data Into Content

Last week Derek sent me a link to an AdAge article about consulting companies like Deloitte entering the industry, armed with data, determined to compete with math. Hiring someone to run numbers for you is a great idea, and can provide insight into who cares about your organization. Consultants are a great lens to view a given marketplace through, but that perspective doesn’t matter much without execution.

Accurate research can certainly inform your message, targeting individual segments. The AdAge article seems to take for granted that concepts will simply present themselves when the numbers have been crunched. I think there’s a lot of daylight between agencies on this point.

Rock-solid data doesn’t guarantee that the needle will move, as referenced by this article on Millennial preferences online. Campaigns need to have staying power, based on the research that digital advertising isn’t a transactional experience, it’s often a long-game. We’re all looking for something to share, an affirmation, or a way to define what is important.

When it comes to communication, the best ideas win. Concepts that make people consider a point, 30-second football spots that are so well done that they bring people to tears…these are what we talk about. Comedy, whether it’s slapstick or storytelling, unites a room with a laugh—and builds the rapport that we’re all in search of.

> Audience reaction, applause.

Someone wrote that joke or choreographed a pratfall, and it’s that work that’s easily overlooked or overpowered by big data. Ideas are subjective and therefore their effectiveness isn’t easily quantified. Having said that, everyone seems to recognize a good one.

This is all terribly self-serving, a blog post about the importance of creativity on an agency website. Probably a bunch of graphic design snobs in love with their own ideas.

…True.

There are other ways that we tackle a problem that have little to do with design. Decisions we make, as a group, to determine what the best course of action will be. Ultimately there is a visual component, but there are a lot of decisions (based on data) that inform what the best course of action will be. Here are six different approaches that we stand by.

1. Customized Messaging.
Create something unique and specific to an audience that reinforces a brand, even on a local level. Don’t rely on stock content, which can be terrible to begin with. What makes you different? Does a free typeface or a system font really work to communicate that?

Custom

^ The crew at Hunter Mountain are creating a 70’s skateboard-themed event at Empire Parks. Inspiration came in the form of Steely Dan tracks with a sprinkle of Hall & Oats. We named the event for the locale, and for the competitors—who will be judged on style points.

It’s very specific, it won’t work for another mountain, and that’s the point.

 

2. Consistency.
Keep things familiar at each brand touchpoint with the public.

Consistency

^ Big Slide Brewery & Public House contracted Trampoline to create a logo for the restaurant, some help with an exterior sign design, and a sticker. I wish they’d used us for more, but the reality is that we provided a flexible system of artwork that they’ve been able to use in their own executions from neon to socks. They have stayed true to the artwork, and have built a successful suite of repeat impressions.

 

3. Positioning, relation.
Aligning your brand with similar, successful entities. This falls into the category of Use What You Have.

^ Peak Resorts knows (data) that the strongest brand in their northeast portfolio of properties is Carinthia. The size and features available, content in its own right, puts the terrain park at the top of the list for skiers and riders in the east. Our strategy was to build on that brand equity and extend the imagery and color palette—black on black on black—to other mountains. The decision was a communication response to Peak’s assessment that terrain was the area that represented the most growth from a strategy standpoint. There was no need to reinvent the wheel, and ultimately it was an image pivot that embraced existing success.

 

4. Editing.
Classic less-is-more. Be selective and segment messaging.

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^ How quickly can you make a point? What is necessary and what is just noise? Druthers’ culinary chops are showcased here. Briefly.

 

5. Information Architecture.
Be clear and concise in delivery.Information

^ Design decisions certainly do factor into this category, but figuring out what goes where and how elements can be arranged to make communication easy and effective has to happen before layout. Understanding typography and how a [Western] eye accesses information on a screen or a page makes a difference to the success of a piece. Iconography, groupings, visual breaks, color coding. Decisions. Revisions.

 

6. Timing.
Be nimble with your messaging and you’re already relevant.

Timing

^ Communication built around events, or current events, can be some of the easiest to relate to or participate in. Real-time responses and interaction can convert fans faster than the most strategic media buy, or the wittiest headline. These events for the Lake George area are specific (see #1 above) customized communication that creates a sense of importance and helps to establish immediate demand.

We have a healthy respect for data, and have been actively measuring the effectiveness of our own work, to make our subjective industry a little more certain, particularly for clients new to Trampoline. Research is crucial to getting the creative right.

We’ll dig in ourselves or partner with great organizations like Schireson in New York City or Mt. Auburn Associates in Boston to make sure we understand our challenge. Follow-up, interaction, A/B testing, responsive design all matter and improve the customer experience, but they’re nothing without a concept.

A Look Back

January is always a chaotic time, so many of us puffing up our chests and pledging to do things differently—to be better, thinner, smarter, stronger, kinder, leaner. It’s easy to get swept up in solving the next communication challenge or meeting the next deadline, not to say that they aren’t important, but sometimes all you really need to do is take a minute and honestly evaluate what worked and who mattered. We thought we’d spend a bit of time reflecting on the work we did and the impact we had and if we’re being totally honest, the impact the work had on us.

What we do is a lot like cooking, it isn’t about how the table looks or how perfect the meringue is on the pie, it comes down to knowing we fed someone with things we made and that in that transaction we created a connection. We don’t work with students and come away not having learned something, or help raise money for a cause and not feel changed.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-20-49-amOver the course of 2016 we donated a portion of our time to organizations near and dear to our hearts, as well as some we’d only just met. These hours were spent cranking designs for Churney Gurney and Brant Lake Bike Park, bringing stories to life for ATF and Breathing Lights, creating a face to match the good accomplished by North Country Ministries, helping to spread the word for Double H Ranch (not to mention lending a hand at camp and the Winter 500), cultivating a new look for Pitney Meadows Community Farm, caring for Hudson Headwaters Health Network, and finding the way with Rensselaer Plateau. The work was challenging and gratifying, allowing the different people on the projects to feel that they were making a difference.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-21-19-amPublic speaking has done the same thing, it’s a lot like living out an afternoon as a brochure we’ve created or a video we’ve shot—seeing people’s reactions in real time, having our voices crack without the option of recutting, and building off the energy of the crowd informs our understanding of what matters to people. We were lucky enough to speak close to home and on the road,  from Oneonta to Old Forge, and auditoriums to art galleries.

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screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-21-07-amHigh Falls Gorge, a classic Adirondack roadside attraction, offers travelers a chance to get up close to a series of thundering water- falls that cascade through a canyon near Lake Placid. Trampoline rebranded the destination with a logo that was both classic and modern, embracing the history and topography of the gorge. Redesigned collateral and an updated property map followed, and a campaign of new advertisements launched in regional publications. The updated look and signal art, combined with photos and video from the property made up a social media campaign that helped to build the new brand and create a sense of place. The strategy and design had an impact on sales, and awareness increased as well, with a 51% increase in Facebook followers and 455% more followers on Instagram.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-20-41-amTrampoline began handling the social media accounts for Warren County Tourism on June 1st 2015. We took their existing presence on Facebook and Twitter as the Lake George Area and expanded it to Instagram and Pinterest. With a focus on a  consistent identity across all platforms, we were able to gain a significant number of new followers in the first month. Custom content engaged users and invited them to comment, retweet or share. By actively responding to posts and tweets about the area, whether positive or negative, we ensure that Lake George is more than just a place, but a special spot that carries memories, with people who truly care about your experience. Their Instagram presence has increased by 3,794 users since the start of the agency’s involvement.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-20-31-amWhat city are we in? We’ve crisscrossed the northeast for work in recent months—visiting some of our favorite cities, including Boston and New York, but also retreating into the woods of the Adirondacks, and the areas of intercostal Maine. We worked from the summits of seven different peaks. This graphic needs revision, as it happens. We were also in Westport Connecticut for meetings with SerioüsFun Camps. And IKEA in New Haven, natch.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-22-02-amA big project for us in 2016 involved the rebrand of Paul Smith’s College. Deliverables included a completely new approach to communication. From the establishment of brand pillars, to a logo redesign and a collateral overhaul, we worked with the administration, faculty and students to represent PSC in the best possible way. Ads, merch, campus signage and social content continued to tell the story of what it means to be a Smitty.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-21-34-amIt was fun to tell the story of a place in the Adirondacks that belongs on anyone’s destination list—knowing that the end product of all that selling and storytelling, the place itself, could deliver on what we were promising. A big shift in strategy included segmenting the PSC message by major, and creating content tailored to a potential student’s interests. The media buildout, and social strategy was also informed by likes, and worked to forward the focused, major messages to potential students. The results were immediate and significant, Paul Smith’s has measured online interactions and interest in the school continues to grow. Admissions saw a 16% increase in inquiries from zip codes where their new view book had been distributed.

2016 was a year of metrics, not something we have traditionally been focused on, and boy did it change things for us. The work we do in our relationships has been strengthened by the accountability and the value of examining metrics and recalibrating the creative and message to yield the best results.

A Year in Review

2016 has been a whirlwind of activity here at Trampoline. Not only have we added some amazing new clients; we’ve also barnstormed across nine states for photo shoots, meetings and book tours; saw the launch of two websites; built our relationship with longtime clients; and stacked our team with three new Tramps: Staci Oswald, Rob Hendricks and Leslie Buccino. Oh, and we may have put down a few cold ones along the way. Here’s what that looks like by the numbers: 

2016 at Trampoline

We’ve seen unprecedented growth and feel incredibly fortunate to put out work that we’re proud of for some of the best clients you can ask for.

Here’s to hoping the New Year brings you and yours health and happiness. Cheers!

 

Now More Than Ever

‘Tis the season of sales alerts, event invitations, and fundraising. Understanding and appreciating your audience is always important, but as the holidays and the accompanying obligations hit, it’s more important than ever to not get lost in the noise.

We all enter into it with the best of intentions. As consumers we think monitoring the sales will help us be more efficient, as marketers we think a sale will make us stand out. We agree as consumers to be added to the newsletter in exchange for a discount, a discount we marketers have carefully crafted with clients to make sure it’s enough, but not too much. Charitable donations take the edge off spending hangovers, and end-of-year goals push non-profits to reach for whatever last gifts they can.

There seems to be a kind of collective amnesia that it all becomes too much right about NOW. We hiss at another Gap email, roll our eyes at the second West Elm email of the day, and the Change.org capsules make us wince. December and January we clean house, but by July we’re jumping back in to saying yes.

How do we fix it, both as consumers and as communicators? If you ask me it comes back to consideration. You don’t have to sign up for every email. Say no to the club, don’t give your email to every clerk that asks.

Wait, what are you saying? Are you saying stop accepting new information?

Maybe.

Trampoline is an agency, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t people. We have always believed in doing what works, not just copying what everyone else is doing.

What is the goal?
How do we make it easy for people to do what you want them to do?
How do we not panic?

We consider—don’t broadcast a message, share a story. Don’t cut prices, enhance value. Don’t build a list, grow a network.

Is this all just industry spin? No, it’s the difference between saying something to someone over the phone and saying something to someone over the phone as you smile. Creating communications that are built around an idea that is mutually beneficial are more sustainable and defensible then blind marches toward hitting goals.

Perhaps the answer is instead of a perfunctory, end-of-year thank you, we brainstorm a vibrant and compelling message for mid February. We really think about how the person opening the email is going to feel. Are we doing this for them or for us?

We ask it of ourselves as an agency every day, is this design for our client or is it for us? The answer is that when we do the best for our client, that ends up being the best for us, and, with any luck, these are efforts that pierce the noise and put messages in hearts, heads in beds, and kids in the classroom.

A Week in the Life

(as told by an Owner and an Employee)

What’s a typical week like at a typical agency? We’re not really sure. We rarely have typical weeks here at Trampoline. Sometimes we will spend most of our week in our studio creating, writing, planning, communicating, strategizing, and collaborating while other weeks will find us traveling for meetings, pitches and video shoots. Two weeks ago, the partners were in multiple locations presenting and pitching Trampoline’s services. After 13 years at this we are getting more streamlined but each potential client we pitch requires an in-depth research period to prepare and usually an intense 1-2 hour sit down, or stand up meeting with stakeholders.  At once both time consuming and stress inducing. But, the office still needs to continue to run at full steam and that’s where it gets interesting. How do we keep going? It’s a mixture of people stepping up, or over, to fill in or help out, morning traffic meetings (we call them scrums), a little stress, more laughter, and grocery day. Want to know what a not very typical week at Trampoline is like? Paula Slayton, Partner and Business Manager and Cara Greenslade, employee and Director of Media Services will give you a glimpse into a week in the life.

Editors’ Note: Neither of us are designers. Want to know what the typical week of a designer is? It involves beer, beer labels, micro-naps, and mooning over typography. 

Monday

Paula: Ok, Monday, let’s dive into research for tomorrow’s meeting in NYC, meet with the partners to talk it through, come up with potential scenarios and answers to questions they might have, confirm our travel on the train and figure out what time we need to leave to get to the train on time and to get to the meeting on time.

Cara: It’s a week full of pitches with almost half of the team attending so Monday means it’s time to get organized. What’s going to happen when the partners are out of the office, who needs to get what done, what will need to be shifted, and what disasters could potentially happen? Not only will they be out, but they can’t pick up the phone in the middle of the pitch so we need to be ready for whatever.

Tuesday

Paula: Here we go Tuesday, up at 4:30am, out the door at 5:30am, on the train at 7:00am, cover pitch on the train ride in, 9:30 grab breakfast and find shelter from monsoon rain, 11:30 find pitch location, prep for pitch, 12:30 pitch, 2:30 beer & lunch, 3:45 back on train, catch up on all emails from Cara (& staff), 6:30 drive back from train station, 8:00 home.

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Cara: Partners were in NYC so we just hung out around the kegerator and pretended we were working whenever someone called. Just kidding, when the partners are out it often means we need to do what they normally do on a day to day basis and make sure we are hitting deadlines and putting out the best possible work we can.

Wednesday

Paula: Wednesday. Is it really Wednesday already? Get caught up on what was missed, research for the pitch on Thursday in Albany, rehearse the pitch, figure out the travel plans down…Is this Groundhog Day?

Cara: Another whirlwind day and a hump day that sits in between two very important pitches. Time to catch up with the partners and make a plan for the next two days. I’m bouncing between my social media accounts, production management and account management.

Thursday

Paula: Thursday starts with a cancelled meeting which means more time to prep for today’s pitch and catch up on everything else. Leave at 1:00 for the pitch, park and wait, see the previous agency who just pitched walking out of the elevator (cue extra nerves), pitch for 45 minutes, drop shoulders, drive north back to the office.

Cara: I’m not even on the pitches and a canceled meeting is a sigh of relief. At 1pm an ad sales guy lets me know about a pretty awesome placement available for a great cost for one of our clients. Oh, and its due yesterday. It’s the one time I wish I was a designer so that I don’t stop them from working on other projects to do this for me right away. Luckily, they say no problem, like usual, and the day goes on.

Friday

Paula: Friday. Already? Grocery shop, one of my most important roles (snacks = happy staff), brief everyone on how the week went, check in with my business partners who are at yet another new client pitch and try to catch up with everyone who ran the office this week.

Cara: It’s grocery day, by far the most important day. It’s like a work holiday. As soon as Paula calls and gives us the cue that she’s about to pull in we spring into action and meet her with dollies and carts to bring up the groceries. About five of us will circle around the kitchenette and organize the snack drawers, baskets, fridge, and jars to perfection. What do we open first? The Twizzlers. Never start your diet on grocery day. Later on, a production hitch sends to me Joanne’s for twine, a circle cutter and small hole punch so that we can produce some hangtags in house and we launch management of a new social media account.

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Cara: Trampoline was the first agency I worked at and I started here right after college. I’ve always known is was great, even though I have nothing to compare it to. But the Tramps that have come here from other agencies have always said that the willingness to help each other out is something they’ve never had. If your plate is full, you’re not going to be alone. Whether it’s Paula stepping in to help with managing various social media accounts or designers rearranging their schedules to take a project off your plate, the teamwork at Trampoline is what gets us through the crazy weeks.

Paula: Moral of the story, everyone’s job is important. We couldn’t be doing what we do without a competent staff to run things while we are out. We need to be out building the business to keep the work coming in and our employees working. We must grocery shop. It’s a win-win-win.

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