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The Road to New Ventures: Now We Have To Eat

Posted on March 21, 2012 and read 1,427 times

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chukaejeckam The Road to New Ventures: Now We Have To EatChuka Ejeckam
Co-Founder
Rain Dog Creative

As the old adage goes, “you have to see it to believe it.” A cliché? Quite so, and not always the case. But as we watched our agency’s visual identity come together, we couldn’t help but be energized. From a comical notion to a registered business, a faceless endeavor to a distinct and branded agency, Rain Dog Creative was becoming as real as we imagined it could be.

But that makes the process sound far smoother than it actually was.

A makeshift neon sign, disproportionate street lamp, and 300% zoom in Adobe Illustrator – after hours of trying to make Rain Dog’s logo come to life we realized something: we needed a graphic designer. It was essential. As writers, we didn’t have the chops to create a logo we’d be happy with, or that would succeed in expressing what we wanted it to.

We had a spot of luck here. It turned out that hiring a graphic designer was beneficial in a way we hadn’t anticipated; it provided us our first experience as clients. Sitting on that side of the table illuminated the process a little more, especially since we weren’t exactly sure what we were asking for. We knew we needed a logo; that much was clear. It had to be a tad rough, of course, but still clean and professional. A shade off the wall, but still inviting enough to not ward off business. Simple, right?

We supplied sample visuals to indicate tone, selected a few key colours, and provided a written description of the brand. We also suggested she listen to the song that gave us our name. But even with all that, we knew it was a lot to ask. All we could do was cross our fingers and hope she understood our garbled, albeit enthusiastic descriptions of what we wanted Rain Dog to look like.

RainDogBlackLogo 250x121 The Road to New Ventures: Now We Have To EatShe did, it turned out. What she came back with blew us away. She designed all the required branded materials; business cards, letterhead, envelopes, etc. For our own sake, we’ve decided to imprint the logo on two more pieces vital to operation – matchbooks and coasters.

Playing the client role couldn’t have come at a better time, as we’re now venturing further into the world of client work. As a small start-up agency we’re eager for business, and are actively attempting to create it. We know now the thrill of pursuing potential clients. That invigoration you get when you see a business or organization that excites you, one that you immediately want to work with. That first time you sit down and try to figure out how to get their attention, a mention, a meeting. Being a small shop, and pursuing small local businesses, we’re not responding to RFPs. In our case, there isn’t a customary method of engagement. You can of course simply walk in and present yourself, tell your story and try to spark interest that way, but there’s always the desire to do something cool to draw eyes. That opportunity hadn’t arisen just yet, however. We’ve toyed with ideas, but the setting’s never been right to put anything into motion. For the white whales though, the pipe dream clients we aspire to work with, that’s another story.

When we first proposed this project, one variable was whether or not we’d be able to secure clients by year’s end. That was far more focused on our status as students and small amount of industry experience than it was the client pool in Winnipeg. The two areas of the city we are focusing on play host to dozens of small, odd businesses that generally aren’t targeted by larger agencies. While opportunities are numerous, one lesson that we are being forced to learn quickly is understanding our own capacity.

It’s fretfully easy to get carried away and try to take on too much. From the outside, you see a business and get excited and imagine the sort of work you could do for them. But when actually going through the process approaching clients, setting meetings, and producing and proposing ideas, one realizes how intensive a thing it can be. The funny thing is, one thing we really looked forward to was self-promotion, and we’ve largely had to postpone it. Being creative shops, it stands to reason that an agency should be its own best client, that there are far fewer boundaries when advertising yourself. I recall an ad for Leo Burnett Budapest by Leo Burnett Budapest, the ‘Music Awards’ spot. It depicts a man rudimentarily tuning an assembly of advertising awards, and then striking them in sequence to play a portion of an instantly recognized classical piece.  It’s one agency ad I’ve always thought succeeded in saying, “come here if you want to make things.”

We’ve imagined our first real foray into self-promotion as something in the real world, something people can interact with. While we are endeavouring to have our name said, there hasn’t been time for the ambient attention-getter we’ve sporadically spoken of. Between coursework and client work much of the hours are eaten, but one never stops wondering how to get mentioned.

There are still some administrative technicalities to take care of, and still a ways to go before we’re settled in, but we’re legitimately playing the game now. It’s a larger and more elaborate game than we realized, that is for certain. However, we’re not hobbled yet, and I’m still excited to see what becomes of us. That was the first step.

Now, we just have to eat.






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