Surviving Instagram in 2018

Instagram has over 800+ million engaged monthly users. The photo-sharing platform is on track to hit a billion users this year, and currently boasts an estimated $100 billion market value. And while it falls behind its parent company, Facebook, in size and value, it outpaces Facebook’s engagement rates by over 15%.

While using Instagram may seem as simple as posting an image and calling it a day, the Instagram algorithm plays an important role in determining what each person sees when they open their phone. These parameters are an ever-changing puzzle, but if you understand how to leverage the rules you can take your Instagram—and your business—to the next level.

You won’t reach 100% of your audience. 

As a baseline, Instagram puts your content in front of a (somewhat) random grouping of users that make up 10% of your following. From there, it’s a race to get as much engagement as possible in the shortest amount of time. If your post shows an early burst of engagement, the algorithm determines that it’s content relevant to your audience, and puts it in front of more people. How do you get those infuriatingly necessary bursts of engagement? Read on.

Golden hour isn’t just for sunsetsBy posting at peak traffic periods, you increase the chances that your engaged followers will be online and ready to give your post the boost it needs to climb higher on the feeds of your followers. Users who regularly interact with your content are prioritized in the first 10%, so make sure you’re playing into their schedules. Trampoline’s prime posting time is Saturday at 1:00 pm, followed closely by Sundays at 2:00 pm. As a rule, weekday posts are optimal around 4:00 pm.

How do you know when prime posting time is? For the average user it’s as easy as trial and error. A safe bet for most accounts is early afternoon or late evening; times when people are taking a break or unwinding after a long day. Avoid the morning or right after the work day ends, people are traveling and not on their phones. Hopefully.

Shadowbanning; not as scary as it sounds. Ever wish you could put someone on mute? Instagram went ahead and did it. Shadowbanning is Instagram’s way of dealing with accounts that they consider spam. It’s a temporary ban that stops your content from appearing in search results and on most of your followers feed, a measure that the algorithm thinks will improve the average user’s experience. Engagement drops off dramatically, new followers will slow to a stop. Luckily, many of the ways you can avoid shadowbanning are also great for engagement (coincidence? Think not.), read on to find out more.

Think those hashtags through. The beauty and the nuanced headache of the new algorithm (which will probably have changed by the time I finish writing this) is the key role that hashtags now play. The days of engagement pods, purchased followers, and bots are screeching to a halt, and in their place rises the era of savvy hashtag leveraging. Where hashtags like #like4like #instagood #photography used to be a safe bet for legions of bot likes, now the only thing they’ll accomplish is a quick and silent shadowban on your account. A few quick hashtag tips below:

  • Five is plenty, less is better. Five relevant and well considered hashtags will do far more for your post than 30 irrelevant ones. The average amount of hashtags on posts made by accounts with over 100k followers is just two.
  • Don’t reuse hashtags too often. Want to gram something with #graphicdesign 12 days in a row? Instagram will flag that as spam, earning you a shadowban. 
  • There is strength in (small) numbers. Whatever you do, do not use hashtags that have over a million existing posts. There are few quicker ways to get shadowbanned, and by using a collection of hashtags with depths of 5,000–500,000 existing posts you drastically increase your chances of being seen in a search.
  • Don’t put hashtags in the comments. If you’ve been on Instagram in the last year, you’ve seen users commenting on their own posts with lists of hashtags. There’s logic in this approach—relegating the hashtags out of the caption and into the comments cleans up your post, diminishing the risk of a “read more” scenario. Starting in January of 2018, Instagram no longer includes images hashtagged in the comments in the search feature. All your hard work putting together strategic hashtag groups ends up wasted unless you keep them in the caption.

Engagement goes both ways. The best way to drive engagement is to engage in-kind. Spending an hour or so each day interacting with your followers through likes and comments is essential to a well-rounded social presence. While likes are great for getting the burst you need to climb the feed, genuine comments are even more valuable. In an effort to cut down on bot comments, the algorithm has deemed comments less than four words to be spam comments which don’t count toward engagement in a valuable way. If your followers are commenting less than four words, it’s no big deal, you can boost your own engagement numbers by replying back to them within the first hour with a four-or-more reply. Bonus points if your reply facilitates a conversation in your comment section. YOU get a comment, YOU get a comment, EVERYBODY GETS A COMMENT!

Utilize the valuable tool that is Stories. There has never been a better time to use the Instagram Stories feature. Instagram has positioned itself as one of the most valuable tools on the market for businesses, and Stories are more important than you may think for keeping your engagement numbers up. The new algorithm rewards accounts for posting stories, so dust off that iPhone and get to boomaranging!

  • Temporary by design, permanent by choice. The introduction of the Story Highlights feature took stories from a 24 hour blip to a permanent feed of dynamic content. Take your audience on a tour of your office, show them the behind-the-scenes process, or let your staff take the Story for the day and give a birds eye view of what it’s like to be part of the team. Want to feature a glimpse of everyone on the set of a video? Let it live for 24 hours. Want to give a tutorial that explains the basics of logo design? Save it to your Highlights—your followers and your engagement will thank you. 
  • People will watch, and that matters. Instagram Stories don’t live in a vacuum from the rest of your account. More stories equals more engagement, which in turn equals a higher placement on the feed.  
  • Prioritize interactivity. Tools like polls and hashtags allow you to get more engagement from each audience member, utilize them!
  • It’s all trackable. Like every other aspect of Instagram, Stories are trackable. Experiment with different tactics and styles and keep track of the swipe-through rate for each. You’ll be amazed by how much of what you thought was boring content is actually engaging, and vice versa.

Post it and leave it alone. One of the easiest ways to ruin your feed positioning is to edit your post in the first 24 hours. Making any changes to the caption will automatically kick you back to the bottom of your audience’s feed. You have two options if you spot a typo: ignore it and pray everyone else does too, or delete the post and repost it with the edits. Third option: proofread.

Happy Trampsgiving

We enjoyed a bit of time off for the Thanksgiving holiday. As a matter of fact, on Wednesday we all walked out to our cars together. We swapped stories, shared plans, and maybe talked about the quirky relative we were looking forward to seeing (misbehave). Traditions, though they vary, offer a common thread. It’s often that connection we seek to unearth in the design process—creating unity through an unexpected, familiar, or striking element in communication.

Design can bring a community together, forward a mission and do good. Streamlined communication helps organizations to cut through some of the commercial clutter to deliver messaging that hits the mark.

Below are 10 non-profits that Trampoline has contributed to in 2017. As a group we’ve proudly donated design, funds and volunteer hours to assist as needed. Our reward has been seeing the impact of the effort. Whether the result is improved awareness, or an uptick in gifts—we’re on a mission (pun!) to have an impact on our region.

1. Double H Ranch

The Ranch was one of our very first clients, circa 2003. Maybe that’s why working for Double H always feels like coming home. Our team spent some time on campus in the fall, cleaning and preparing for an October Survivor’s Weekend. Getting our hands dirty in a brand always makes the design mean more. This year’s biggest triumph was a 25th Anniversary book that chronicled a quarter-century of camping and caring. Currently: drafts for the Winter 500 event branding!

2. Canal Street Marketplace

A Farmer’s Market in-the-making needed a representative logo to communicate the rehab of an unused barn in downtown Fort Edward, NY. We’re big fans of using what you’ve got, so the whole concept of placemaking was exciting on a number of levels. The lead designer was a Fort Edward native and Rob poured some local love into the creation. Next harvest: Merchandise!

3. Glens Falls Community Theatre

The Magee family’s involvement in the Glens Falls Community Theatre production of Oliver! The Musical led to the creation of a series of videos that featured cast members and costumes. This actor-friendly, community based content was shared hundreds of times and the series of vignettes racked up over 20,000 views in the week before the show.

In the spirit of the Lionel Bart’s opening song: Food, Glorious Food, the production set a framework in place to donate items to the Open Door Mission. Cast members led by example, arriving at tech rehearsal with over 200 donations, but that was surpassed by the Glens Falls community who attended the performances. Social media messages encouraged audience members to donate items as well, and at the end of the run, over 600 non-perishable food items had been collected and delivered to the Mission.

4. The Open Door Mission

A new facility—still under construction—and a recommitment to the homeless population in our region, meant that the Open Door Mission was ready for an updated identity. Staci has managed a team of designers since the summer to create and develop a mark that will connect with users and donors alike. There is much in store for this organization, and their good works in Glens Falls. We’re honored to have a role in their process.

5. Queensbury Schools

Music is a big part of everything that we do at Trampoline, and music education is something we’re passionate about. We’ve contributed to the orchestra and band programs at Queensbury, where our own artistic children play, creating wearables that make the musicians the envy of the school. Crescendo: we’re at work on merch for the Select Show Choir.


6. West Mountain School

As passionate as we are about the arts, the outdoors might matter even more to this Adirondack Agency, and skiing is at the top of our activities list. Local learning programs and access to training are essential to the future of the sport. To help put planks on kids we turn to West Mountain—their after school programs and ski-team development help to instill a love for the sport, and the season. The expenses associated with skiing and riding can be prohibitive for some, but the West Mountain School is doing all that it can to make the mountain accessible to as many families as possible. Oliver is working hard to create marketing pieces to help support the school. In the race gates: Snow!

7. SerioüsFun Children’s Network

Paul Newman’s legacy lives on at camp. The parent company of Double H Ranch, SerioüsFun, along with their sister organization: Newman’s Own Foundation, operate camps around the world—offering unforgettable experiences to critically ill children and their families. It’s important work, and cannot happen without support. This year’s annual report, designed by Leslie, will help deliver the SerioüsFun message, and show their effective use of donated funds. Next up: the SerioüsFun Gala in New York. Save us a seat (and a pint of The Tonight Dough or Marshmallow Moon) Fallon!

8. The Rotary 5k

Each and every April we lace up our kicks and hit the pavement for the race that raises money. Glens Falls Rotary uses the event to generate donations (there’s a different beneficiary each year). We’ve worked with Jim Goodspeed and company since the event began, and have had a team in place to run it every year, as well. We rub shoulders with some of the community’s best, and sweat side-by-side with clients and friends including teams from Mannix Marketing, Hudson Headwaters, and Glens Falls National. Pro-tip: bankers talk a surprising amount of trash during, and after the race. Here’s to healthy workplaces, and healthier donations!

9. Pitney Meadows Community Farm

Access to fresh food and the knowledge of how to grow it is an important issue in Upstate New York. Families continue to struggle with availability of produce and the understanding that some of the best food available can be grown, not bought. Pitney Meadows in Saratoga Springs is a farmstead that was rescued from the sprawl of development in order to help educate and inspire a new generation of agriculture.

For Trampoline, the project was a natural evolution from our work in the Capital Region with Capital Roots, and other agri-brands for small businesses like CLS Farms in Moxee, WA and Lakestone Family Farm in Rochester, NY. The project became a tapestry of old friends and new clients as familiar faces like Kim Feeney and Kevin London mixed with the Arnold Family and overlapped with the butchering program at SUNY Cobleskill. Give thanks for good food!

10. Paul Smith’s College

The College of the Adirondacks produces a different breed of graduate—leaders, doers and resourceful entrepreneurs. Smitties are the stuff of legend, and we’re proud to tell the story of the college. Recruitment materials for PSC continue to tell the story of Adirondack ingenuity and drive, and the staff at Trampoline is ready to jump to the task—no matter how immersed in the St. Regis they become. Next semester: A pro-bono logo for the Osgood Pond Program. In the classic words of John Cougar: “Yurts So Good.”

Making Payroll in the Gig Economy

There’s a thing that happens in our studio. Inevitably, someone ends up dressing like a coworker. We all point and laugh. Knowing that next time it might be us. With an ad agency in the Adirondacks, there’s bound to be repeat flannel.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

This anecdote illustrates that our shop is full of creative professionals, every day. Some of us have worked side-by-side for 15 years, others have contributed for 15 months. We look out for each other, riff off of one another and rely on the strengths of our cohorts.

Our studio is 3,000 square feet of open space, dedicated to design, production and concept sessions.

The staff trades barbs, album reviews and Stranger Things commentary as we tackle communication campaigns for clients.

The partners arrive with groceries and everyone works together to fill up the fridge and stash chips in cupboards. What does any of this have to do with business? Why should you care that a designer is setting type while crunching on agency-bought Doritos?

Camaraderie, culture and support make for better ideas, that’s why.

Stability helps to create an environment where concepts can flourish. These people are familiar, they’re regular. Each talented in their individual ways, that contribute to what we do as a team.

Why risk it?

At creative conferences and in business pubs, we’ve seen the gig economy celebrated. The flexibility of low overhead, the freedom to dodge and weave around process as it suits.

The gigpreneurs guffaw and hook their thumbs at agencies like we’re all wearing the same outfit.

Lunch & Learn at Staci’s station.

“Why would you pay for that office space? I have meetings in cafés. No rent.”

“Why pay all those people when you could contract out?”

It’s a fair question, and a tough one to argue, from a savings standpoint.

Then again—soloists are, by nature, accustomed to a singular perspective. The benefits of staff and space are seen from a client’s viewpoint: where issues of timing, volume, and consistency are every bit as important as design.

Back when we started out, the advice was “Be brave enough to hire people who are better than you.” Now it seems to be “Make sure you have them fill out this W9 form.”

If being a free agent is so great, why, I wonder, do so many virtual creative companies take great pains to appear as robust agencies, with a deep bench of talent?

Halloween 2017

There are freelancers, and LLCs that are true to their size. Partnerships who don’t misrepresent themselves as more than a dynamic duo. There’s something confident and wonderful about that. Those who are successful, and selective, have had the talent and dedication to take a client to market and rise to the deadlines.

At Trampoline, having dedicated pros to the left and right of us is inspiration to do better. It’s a push. You celebrate wins together, and when a difficult situation arises, there’s support.

There’s always more inspiration to be found, though. And so, we happily announce the addition of Mikaela Shea as Marketing Production Specialist. Mikaela’s creative path has been a Long Trail that winds from Burlington, Vermont, through Purchase College and television networks to Glens Falls. She’ll help to manage the design workload, and see projects through production, packaging and merchandising.

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.

 

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.

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.

Les1

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.

Les2

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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Releasing Millennials into the W!ld

Entitled. Broke. Lazy. Glued to their phones. That’s us. Who wants that? Millennials tend to have a bad rap. But we’re also sharers, we prefer experiences over things, some of us are parents, and there are billions of us.

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So how do we convince our own demographic to choose the Adirondacks as a place to spend time and money?

The W!ld Center hired Schireson Associates in New York City to do a study on millennials and the Adirondacks. They approached Trampoline to interpret that data and asked if we could take the study and create a guidebook with strategies that would help businesses, organizations and TPAs reach millennials and get them to the Adirondacks. It was an exciting opportunity for all of us, and for the owners it was a convergence of all the things they aimed to do when they founded Trampoline 13 years ago.

To be honest (TBH), there was a small panic between millennial staffers at first. I hadn’t posted to Instagram in a year, Kelli hadn’t logged into Facebook in months, John had trouble wrapping his brain around the fact that some people don’t want to spend a week in the woods. But that wasn’t the point, there are stronger themes that are the core of this project.

The end result covers more ground than we could ever have imagined. And it’s not just the book itself, it’s the re-emergence of the information and solutions it holds for businesses in the Adirondacks and beyond.

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The guidebook addresses some obstacles that exist in the Adirondacks and offers communication strategies to overcome each of them. We used a variety of already existing businesses and organizations within the Adirondacks to show how these suggestions could work to combat issues identified in the Schireson data. Wild1Wild2To celebrate the wrap of the guidebook the Tramp millennials, Matt (millennial at heart) and friends hiked up Noonmark Mountain in Keene. It was also National Trails Day, so why not? #NationalTrailsDay

Group

GUIDEBOOK SPOILER: Everyone’s seen the stereotypical beautiful mountain top shot and sunrise shot from the kayak. It stirs interest, but it’s not getting people to the Adirondacks and it’s not getting people to spend money here. We need to appeal to the “indoorsy”.

It was a great day and only enforced a lot of the main issues we addressed:

Connectivity: We lost service in Keene Valley and one of the cars got lost. (I was driving, I own up to the fact that I have zero sense of direction and mostly rely on my phone and Google Maps to get me places, typical Millennial.)

Food & Beverage: Food and beverage is an experience for us. One guy in the group would have traveled all the way to Keene just to go to the Adirondack Cafe for their really fresh and locally sourced food. One car stopped at a food truck on the way back (side note: Food Trucks are awesome and we want more in the Adirondacks). We also talked about heading up to the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery for a couple brews but the need for showers and naps triumphed.

Overwhelmed: “This is a high peak right? No. Seriously?” Being a 46er is not going to be in all our futures.

Options: We were super thankful that we were in a place with options that day. We originally planned to hike to Rainbow Falls but had a dog (FYI, no dogs allowed on that trail) with us and had to switch plans last minute. There were a lot of trail heads in the area but I got very nervous that a couple of us would have to stay behind with the dog and wouldn’t have anything to do. And that would mean separating from the group in a place that doesn’t have cell service. Also, my body is still tired from that hike but I want to take advantage of the Adirondacks and all it has to offer since it’s in my backyard. What else in the Adirondacks is worth the hour or two drive for the day or weekend that isn’t a big hike or camping trip?

Endorsements: We chose this hike based on a recommendation from a friend. Then we talked to other friends and ended up with a group of nine. Afterward, photos of our trip ended up all over Facebook, Instagram, blogs, Twitter and Flickr.

Amenities: We were pretty concerned about finding a milkshake. We ended up driving back to Glens Falls before we got one but if we knew about a shake place on the way back we would have stopped. We’re also all familiar with the Adirondacks so we made sure we had Motrin, bug spray, plenty of water and food with us but a group of millennials not from here may not have been as prepared.

Vastness: Just look at this. How do we combat the sheer vastness of the Adirondacks?

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We also address lodging and worth in the guidebook. A compilation of issues and solutions for all generations in the end. The only difference is that millennials demand (maybe feel entitled?) while other generations want.

Kelli spearheaded the design of the toolkit, her thoughts summed up:

There has been a lack of understanding about all the Adirondacks has to offer… if we can all work together to frame the Adirondacks as an accessible, shareable, exciting place to be we can build a promising future. Not just for Millennials, but for generations to come.

 

Out & About Online and in Person

Late this spring Warren County Tourism selected us to manage social media for Lake George Area on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We dove right in.

Lake George Dive In

We all call Warren County home and love it. Representing Warren County allows us to combine what we love in the office and what we do for fun outside the office. Five months in and our team has hiked, biked, fished, gone swimming, made like foodies, worshipped the bounty of local craft beer, and applauded musicians.

We’re not complaining.

Along the way we’ve met some interesting people, like Bella, the winner of her division at the King George Fishing Derby in July.

King George Fishing Derby

We’ve zeroed in on events that draw thousands of visitors, snapped locations that are a stage for engagements and weddings, and set famous words to incomparably beautiful settings in the area. We have appreciated the little things and captured the smiles that the Lake George Area inevitably brings:

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Leaves changing as the temperature drops.

Lake George Area Smiles & Stewarts

Enjoying a free scoop from Stewarts Shops.

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Fishing on the Hudson River.

What’s next? Summer’s over, and let’s face it, winter is coming, so it’s time to share how the Lake George Area is more than a summer destination. Let’s capture how awesome it is in the winter. We’re sharpening our skis, digging our boots out of the basement, and scouting events and the best places to go. We’ll also be offering up contests over the Lake George Area Instagram, Twitter and Facebook in the coming months for when the fireplace calls to you more than the ski trails.

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Share your Lake George area photos with us. We’d love to see them. Tag @LakeGeorgeArea in the photo or use #vacationeer.

People & Places

It isn’t fair or effective to have one designer always work on charts and lists or to reserve digital creative for one person. The strongest creative comes from a collaborative process and a bit of variety in projects. There is also an element of chemistry that contributes to the process, making sure that the right people are paired with the right projects is an important part of the mix.

We talk in the shop about dream projects or companies we’d love to have as clients. The pursuit of those opportunities is something pride ourselves on, because it means that we are hearing and supporting one another. It also means that the eventual work that comes out of it will be something we celebrate more poignantly than we might something that happened by chance.

Today Matt Britt is on the road with three other members of our team for the kick off with his alma mater, SUNY Geneseo. I don’t think he’ll mind me quoting him here:

“On a personal note, the last line of the Geneseo alma mater—“with our lives’ work, we’ll repay”—rings very true for me today. I speak for all the Trampoline team when I say that I’m very excited for the opportunity to work toward sharing the Geneseo story, past, present and future, with prospective students and families.”

Go, Knights!

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A Night to Remember

Last Friday, the Trampoline team stepped out to Michael’s Banquet House in Cohoes for the Albany Ad Club’s 2015 ADDYs. This year’s theme was PROM, billed as “just like High School, but with no class.” Never ones to shy away from a chance to dress up, we dusted off our fanciest duds—after we spent the afternoon listening to Journey and Phil Collins and sharing old photos. Three of us (Kate, Cara and I) were first-time attendees, and while John was in attendance at last year’s awards, this was his first year as a finalist. Dressed to the nines, we brought ten awards back up the Northway to Glens Falls.

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Photos by the Albany Times Union http://www.timesunion.com/seen-events/article/SEEN-2015-Addy-Awards-Dinner-6120797.php

Here is the work behind our new glassware:

Our posters that now adorn the walls of Raul’s Mexican Grill took home the Gold ADDY in the Poster Campaign category.

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The Finch Opaque Brochure was our first silver ADDY winner of the night for Collateral Material – Brochure, Single Unit.

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The New Year’s Eve materials we created for Loews Don CeSar Hotel landed a silver ADDY for a Special Event Material Campaign.

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SUNY Plattsburgh‘s Acceptance Packet and Hashtag Directive found acceptance of its own as the silver winner for Non-Traditional Advertising, Single.

User-Generated Content

The Giving Report for 2012-2013 at Paul Smith’s College won a silver ADDY for Digital Advertising, Online Publication/Annual Report.

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In addition to the 2015 Educational Advertising Award that it won earlier this month, our student recruitment campaign for Paul Smith’s College was a silver ADDY winner for Advertising for the Arts & Sciences, Single Medium Campaign.

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Our four-season outings with the Town of Newcomb won silver in the Color Newspaper Campaign category, completing a nice circle around the sun after the Newcomb logo was a winner in 2014.

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Our work for CLS Farms in Washington State was also a winner for the second year in a row, with the Medusa Logo joining the CLS Farms parent logo with a silver ADDY in the Elements of Advertising: Logo category.

Print

This year’s Trail Map for West Mountain was a silver ADDY winner for Elements of Advertising, Illustration.

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And last, but certainly not least, we were honored in the Color Photography category for last summer’s staff lumberjack photo (Photo by Rachael Leigh Rodenmeyer, ser.en.dip.iti photography). Seeing our staff projected onto the big screen was a nice curtain call to end the evening.

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It’s a meaningful experience to gather together with exceptionally talented advertising professionals and celebrate quality work—it’s even better when you’re doing so at your own table as well as across the ballroom.

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