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.
Over 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.
Public 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.
High 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.
Trampoline 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.
What 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.
A 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.
It 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.