We sat down with Julia Cames, Brand Operations Lead, and Claire Davidson, Director of Brand and Creative Studio, to learn more about the newly-formed Creative Studio, how they work together, and the exciting projects ahead.
Claire: Creative Studio is a collaborative group that brings together all of the creative disciplines working on marketing and brand topics. This includes designers, copywriters, and the visual team. Everyone can bounce ideas off each other, which fosters creativity.
Julia: We’re responsible for high-level TV campaigns, tactical campaigns (everything we spread to digital brand channels), and brand advertising assets for all departments. Our tasks range from designing uniforms and offline billboards to working with the Display team on digital advertising and designing merchandise for the People team.
Julia: A brand is only strong when all of its touch-points are consistent. Following the rebrand, we wanted to make sure our brand was unified in every channel, so customers would recognize us. Now we have a team of creatives producing content that fit together and is on-brand.
Julia: As an organization, our priority is customer-facing: we're focused on being visible, engaging, and ultimately recognizable as a brand. We evaluate all projects with this priority in mind. Once we receive a brief, the team works similarly to an Agile team. We use JIRA, sync weekly, allocate resources, set deadlines, ensure communication, and do stand-ups to make sure production is not blocked. After a project’s completion, it’s also important for us to understand the performance results from a creative perspective so we can improve from there.
Claire: We work closely with the Brand Marketing team and they share all relevant data insights with us. This helps us improve our creative going forward because the whole team can iterate.
Claire: Following the rebrand this summer, we pursued TV heavily with the goal of boosting awareness. Although we were successful in building awareness, the ad didn’t necessarily drive travelers to consider us the next time they went on vacation. Going forward we want to optimize this by really looking at who our target audience is and meeting their needs.
Julia: One of the biggest challenge is building up our authority within the organization and ensuring all brand assets go through Creative Studio. Teams and departments should involve us in their processes earlier. This help us identify potential bottlenecks, and when or what to prioritize. We also want to find better ways to hold stakeholders accountable for feedback on production—with data, so we understand the power of what we create—whether it’s recruiting banners or sales flyers.
Claire: Before we founded Creative Studio, the Brand team was involved in setting the whole look and feel for how the product should appear. We also developed the key pillars underpinning Originals. We did a lot of work with the rollout team to see how we could bring the brand to life in the beta. Following the beta, we’ll roll out our learnings to the rest of the destinations. From there, Creative Studio will be in charge of designing all uniforms, giveaways, and merchandise in preparation for the rollout from 7 to 100 locations in 2019.
Julia: This is where we ask ourselves what scale means for the whole brand world of Originals. It’s an opportunity to tell a whole new story—to do our part to create the ultimate tour experience. Originals show the world who we are, so what are the words we want to use? What is the art direction around it? How do we want to translate this to the customer? Where can we spread the story?
Claire: Creativity, efficiency, and scalability. When we’re all together we’re faster and the communication is better. We’re all on the same page about what we’re trying to achieve with the brand and everyone feels more ownership, which delivers a better quality result. The vision of Creative Studio is to become the creative hub for the organization. People in every department will want to work with us because we can exponentially improve their projects, which in turn elevates the brand.
Julia: Regarding personal development, the entire team is able to work outside of their discipline silos. They gain a 360° understanding of what they’re creating, the channel they’re creating for, and the performance of the creative within the channel. Everyone on the team is also looped in with the data—what’s working and what’s not—which pushes everyone to improve.
Although the Creative Studio might sound similar to an agency, the beauty here is that each designer, writer, and visual editor is only working for one brand. This means that we all grow much stronger in our disciplines and brand understanding over time.
Julia: We value positivity and flexibility highly. We produce a lot of content, so it’s important to understand our stakeholders’ needs and see the big picture, not just individual pieces. Regardless of discipline, every single person on the team should have the authority to explain the reasoning behind an asset to anyone in the organization.
Claire: More generally, we also value a love for the brand and a passion for where it’s going. We don’t just have a vision of the brand today, but of what it will be next year, and beyond. Everyone on the team continuously pushes the brand forward: everything we put out is better than the last. If we aren’t driving the brand forward, then we’re failing the organization.
Claire: We’ve spent 2018 really figuring out what brand means for an organization that hadn’t been heavily branded before. We’re finding our rhythm now and the company as a whole recognizes its importance. There’s a desire right from the top of GetYourGuide for brand and creative to have a stronger voice across the organization.
2019 will be our year for great projects. For example, we’ll be consulting on all of the hero spaces in the new office: the reception areas, the town hall, the tower cafe, and the meetup space. Every day in Creative Studio, you’re working on something different. One day you’re working on uniforms, the next day a display ad, and the third day you’re designing your office’s new cafe.
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