Can you see my screen? You’re on mute. What color is that supposed to be? Can you hold that closer to the camera? Sorry, my dog’s barking.
We’ve officially shifted to that ‘new normal’ we once fawned over when the pandemic forced a rapid shift to remote work. Digital fatigue is real. Today’s marketer hears these comments on a near-daily basis, and it signifies a larger dilemma for how agencies operate.
“The flexibility is nice at times, but there’s no substitute for a proper studio setting,” said Fay Latimer, a lead designer for a New York City-based agency working remotely in New Jersey on returning to the office. “Our work is tangible and literal. We give clients something to feel and experience firsthand. That’s just not easily replicated over Zoom.”
This is a paradigm shift for the modern creative agency, especially for those who built their business models on collaboration. Even the agencies that are back in their offices are likely working with clients that are still based remotely.
With staff and clients scattered about, how can agencies spark new life in their creative processes?
These tips and tricks should help your team navigate some of the digitally induced obstacles and highlight the importance of having the right tools and technology to deploy them effectively.
1. Elevate the digital meeting room
Video conferencing is here to stay, whether we like it or not. Zoom. Teams. Google Meet. They’re all prerequisites for a marketer’s toolkit. Have an agenda with a clear purpose and intended outcome for each meeting to not only maintain focus from all participants, but to motivate everyone to even attend the meeting in the first place. Integrate a virtual whiteboard into the meeting too; this mirrors an in-person environment, fosters collaboration, and adds a colorful touch. Don’t be afraid to spice up an otherwise drab video conferencing screen with a fun, branded background. It’s always a potential icebreaker and is another way to showcase how else you can add value to your clients’ business
2. Remember the difference the right technology makes
Your clients who are working from home likely review pitch decks and design mockups on tiny phone screens or monitors that are not properly calibrated. Key components of color and format lose their luster when viewed with inadequate technology, and this diminishes the impact of how your work is received. “Without high-resolution monitors, clients miss the details we spend so much time perfecting in layout,” explains Latimer. Agencies who help clients adjust their monitor settings give design materials the most optimal environment for being reviewed digitally.
Having designers back in the office also presents the opportunity to tap print technology that they don’t have access to at home. With a professional-grade printer at arms-length, you can now send printed layouts to clients ahead of review calls so they can see and feel the vibrance in a color palette, the exactitude of vector layout, and the important nuances of your design work. “No matter how precise my team renders in 3D, nothing replaces the tactile experience of a physical printed piece in your hand,” remarked Alysha Burch, a New York City ad agency owner. “When we get actual samples in clients’ hands, selling the overall concept becomes that much easier. That’s the difference our in-office setup makes. We have two Ricoh color production printers, which we use to create comps and proofs for sign-off.”
3. Know what’s next
No matter where clients are working from, they’ll always rely on their agencies for new ideas that capitalize on emerging concepts. With many consumers being burnt out from constant digital stimuli, print trends such as short-run direct mail and cataloging have made a huge comeback for their ability to deliver personalized, targeted messaging. This presents the opportunity for agencies to help clients close the gap between their digital and offline programming. “We’re now designing branded magalogs for our clients that they are versioning on press,” continued Burch of her agency’s print work. Collaborating with your clients on campaigns like these is much smoother when all the mockups and materials are shown at once. This is another reason why having print capabilities in-house is clutch. Designers can test substrates, build comps and see actual colors without incurring the time and expense of outsourcing to a print vendor.
Integrate these tactics to better engage clients with more efficient design processes.
Having access to a professional-grade printer that’s affordable, easy to maintain, and delivers amazing color can inspire your designers, excite your customers, and meaningfully contribute to your agency’s bottom line.
Wondering what media trends and technologies are in vogue for 2022?
Click here for our white papers. We’ve included funky Zoom backgrounds to add some color to your web conferences too! You can also request a free print sample pack.
RICOH Graphic Communications is committed to supporting the vitality of the graphic arts community. Your brilliance continues to drive us and the products we create. This ongoing series explores the role, resurgence, and retro appeal of paper for creatives in today’s digital age.