Approaching an outside agency for work can sometimes feel like engaging with dark sorcery. You whisper the incantations of your brief and summon the most enchanting marketing wizards you can find. Then, when the moon is full, your partner disappears to perform the ritual sacrifices to produce the creative you need.
Lightning flashes. The ground shakes. And in the end, one of two things happens: magic…or its opposite — the kind of drab ideas you could’ve found anywhere.
Whether the end results are right for your brand, you’re right to have questions. Why did your agency need to know that before getting started? Who are those people? And why did their work take that amount of time and cost that kind of money?
First, damn you mortals and your incessant questions. But second — and far more seriously — you should understand how your agency operates. What we do isn’t shrouded in mystery; it’s a proven process designed to deliver the right solutions to your brand’s problem.
Because in the end, you shouldn’t feel like you’re working with magicians who have to cast a spell to promote your brand. You need to work with experts.
Understanding your agency is essential to a strong creative partnership
Competing channels, products, and overall noise are all clamoring to capture your customer's attention. You can’t stand out in today’s digital landscape by launching a single website. At We The Collective, we want your brand to get the most value from the time and energy it takes to create a complete digital experience.
Over the past 15 years, we’ve developed a playbook behind our process for creating digital campaigns. We know who we are, and just as importantly, who we aren’t. We can’t create our best work when functioning like:
- A high-speed production house: We’re flexible about timelines—but great work takes time.
- Short-term hired guns: Creative problem-solving improves by building relationships. We want to tackle your brand’s problem and then keep refining the solution.
- A single-channel shop: The world has plenty of agencies that specialize in channel-specific solutions for brands. We’re not one of them.
So what does that leave? We The Collective is an agency dedicated to applying strategy, design, and development to build digital campaigns that will drive your business forward for the long haul. But to better understand how we work, let’s examine the four phases of our process.
4 phases of a forward-thinking digital campaign
Creating a digital experience requires a wealth of expertise. We enlist project managers, UX and UI designers, visual designers, copywriters, production artists, developers, and animators. Every expert who touches your project makes it better. And every idea we pursue passes through multiple refinements to better target your brand’s needs.
Called the Double Diamond process, our structured framework for iterating on a solution to your brand’s problem incorporates 4 stages:
1. Understanding the problem — and its underlying opportunity
We dig deeper into your project to ensure we understand what our work needs to resolve for your brand. Put simply, we can’t provide the right answer if we don’t fully understand the question. Before a project can start, we have to do our research.
For example, imagine a gaming company wants a rewards program for its website. Rewards programs are a great idea, but we need to ask about the problem behind the request. If the company explains that engagement with their core audience is down, we would dive into audience behavior and feedback to find out why that is.
If research finds the brand’s audience doesn’t recognize the company’s characters, which then impacts console sales, then it has much larger issues. We need to resolve their inability to connect fans with its characters much more urgently than building a rewards program.
2. Defining the creative solution
Once we’ve identified the core issue for your brand, we start looking for creative solutions. The notion of “brainstorming” often equates to people in a room throwing out ideas that sound cool but aren’t always useful. For us, this stage is more of a focused effort to define a solution.
We get as many people together in a room from our team and your organization and create a safe environment for generating ideas. With a clear workshop structure supporting divergent (free, expansive) and convergent (objective-oriented, logical) thinking, our workshop thrives on generating a diversity of perspectives.
The end result delivers more than a targeted creative solution. The dynamic between the agency and client grows stronger as well.
3. Executing on the creative solution
The Double Diamond process incorporates broad, idea-generating stages balanced with periods of focus to test the thinking behind the solution. And, once we identified a solution, our design, development, and marketing teams expand the idea even further and pursue new directions.
The more design permutations we develop, the more unexpected solutions we organically find to suit your brand. These ideas aren’t derived from a need for us to show off, and they don’t replace solutions more aligned with your brand’s comfort zone. But with the backing of the same thorough research and thinking, they offer potential new directions among your options.
Uncovering an unexpected solution to your brand’s problem is often where the best work lies. And it would’ve never been uncovered if we simply built what was asked for in a brief.
4. Tracking the solution to verify it solved the problem
Once we’ve worked with your brand to deliver the solution you need, we don’t consider the project complete. Throughout any engagement, we apply a Test & Learn approach to verify we’re headed in the right direction — including after launch.
Our projects are informed by a four-step problem-solving cycle sometimes called Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA). Driven by the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement, PDCA sets aside the idea that any solution is perfect. Instead, once a project is complete, you check the results and act to fix any aspect that didn’t meet expectations.
The right creative process generates the right results for your brand
Viewing these multiple stages, you may be thinking, “Why not skip all the improvements and just get the solution right the first time?” But the fact is, even if your campaign launches and immediately moves the needle, there’s always room for improvement.
PDCA provides a way to make a good idea that much better. When you’re working with the right creative partner, they’ll have the humility to recognize the need to respond to how their work is ultimately received.
If this sounds like the way you’d like to resolve a problem for your brand, we should have a conversation. Let’s find out how far we can go from there.