Saturday, November 21, 2009

Francomedia Celebrates Birthday!

It was 6 years ago that we began our creative journey at Francomedia.

Our business plan is simple and has been right from the beginning: low overhead = less cost for customers.

It was our mandate to provide top notch creative services for small to mid-sized companies for less money than traditional advertising agencies.

When we planned the business, we saw a huge market to serve, if done right. There are a large number of companies that can't afford the rates of traditional advertising agencies, but need more expertise and support than a stay-at-home graphic designer can offer. This is the space we intended to fill. And, because most of these companies don't have the budgets for big ticket agencies, we wouldn't have to worry about competing head to head with them, we could operate under the radar.

It seemed quite simple, offer creative design and marketing support at a fraction of the cost. We set up shop in an industrial park, opted for no middle-men and don't surround ourselves with unnecessary luxuries (3-ply toilet paper aside). A lower cost structure would enable us to operate efficiently and helps take the pretentiousness out of the daily grind.

We've done everything according to plan, so things should be on target, right? Not exactly. What we didn't account for was the amount of large sized companies wanting to do business with us. Our target audience went from start-ups and family owned businesses to billion dollar enterprises.

So much for staying under the radar.

Our reputation has grown considerably as an inventive marketing shop with highly talented staff and a penchant for creative thinking. This has resulted in the acquisition of some pretty high level projects with some fortune 500 companies.

So, what do we attribute this success and profile to?

First of all, we have taken our time in hiring the right people, each one hand picked and based on potential, not on previous experience, academic achievement or even their portfolio. Creative thinking, rationale and understanding our clients is what is needed and what each of our staff brings to the table. Our staff are some of the most creative individuals available and always bring their 'A' game. Secondly, we have always been selective with who we work for and what projects we do - we like challenges and we need diversity. Each new project leads to another. Thirdly, is our reputation, which we couldn't have built without the first getting the right people and then completing the right projects.

It truly is amazing what hard work mixed with talent can accomplish in just 6 short years. We still enjoy working with start-ups and small sized companies - sometimes, these clients can be the most fun.

I predict a great year ahead for Francomedia and would like to thank each and everyone of my staff for their contributions, hard work, ideas and attitude. I would also like to thank our clients (large and small) for the opportunity to work on some great projects!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Francomedia Wins International Awards

Francomedia received notice today that it won 2 international marketing and communications awards - MarCom Awards. This, of course, was met with some excitement and a feeling of validation for all the hard work that the entire Francomedia team put into these projects.

Here's what we won:

Platinum Award, the top honor, for the development of the Alternate Reality Game (ARG) called, 'Experience the Node', an interactive game we created to launch a new LAN Gaming Centre in Calgary called, The Node. Players registered as agents and were given clues to solve 8 missions in total - clues were distributed or planted througout the internet in various places like Facebook, Youtube, Craigslist and in blogs - the mission: to find the location of The Node and win a invitation to the opening. This turned out to be a rather international hunt, players chatted on numerous bulletin boards, IRC chatrooms and through forums to help each other with each series of clues. It got increasingly hard until the last challenge which was a ge0-caching exercise to find the rogue agent in a parking lot in Calgary - he awaited the players arrival in a stretch limosine. Overall the ARG was a success and many of the players from around the world provided us with positive reviews. It was a hell of a lot of work, but well worth it.

A Gold Award was bestowed upon the design of our business cards - they have been featured all over the world in various blogs and design forums and will be part of an upcoming book on business card design. The Gold MarCom Award is a nice addition to the Platinum Hermes Award we won earlier this year for the same project.

The MarCom Awards are administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. AMCP is an international organization consisting of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production and free-lance professionals.

As a rule, we typically don't enter client work into advertising design competitions, because the basis for the awards is so subjective and it takes away from the purpose of the work - to drive sales, not win awards. However, in the case of Experience the Node, the project was so complex and the work so compelling and high profile, we really did need to enter it, for validation and to further promote the success of the campaign.

We can't wait for the hardware to arrive - we will definitely need a large trophy case now!

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