Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Monday, March 10, 2014
5. How many agencies? Getting the lay of the land is important in terms of evaluating whether an agency proceeds with the RFP process or not. It's a lot different situation if the RFP is going out to 20 agencies as opposed to 4 - 5.
6. What is the budget for the assignment? Ah yes, the very uncomfortable topic of money. This is key to an agency in determining whether we move forward or not. Even a ballpark range is always helpful.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
1. Who are you? Having as much background about the marketer is very helpful to agencies, even if the subject is a well known brand. We may be familiar with your product/service but hearing how you see yourself is just as important as knowing the basic facts.
2. The Why. What is the problem you're trying to solve and what are you looking for? Just listing out a scope of work isn't enough. We need the motivating factors that have caused you to search for an agency that can assist in coming up with solutions to your challenges.
3. KPI's. What do you see as a measure of success? Knowing the end goal is crucial to an agency in crafting their response to the RFP.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
this article by Phil Johnson on writing the creative brief is focused mainly on putting together an internal document within an agency, I think it has some lessons to be learned for marketers on constructing a better brief to prospective agencies during the RFP process.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Friday, February 28, 2014
I posted this a few years ago but I think it still holds true.
1. The scope of work hasn’t been defined. A thorough discovery phase will allow you to establish the business, creative and technical requirements of the project.
2. You’re engaged with the client sooner. If the project’s scope hasn’t been established in detail, signing an agreement for discovery allows you to start the relationship rather than having to wait for someone to figure it all out.
3. It’s a great way to become immersed with the brand. You’re way ahead of the game if you can become an expert in the client’s business.
4. You can test the waters to see if this is a client you want to work with. A discovery phase is limited to a relatively short period of time so you’re not committed if you need to bail. Likewise, the client can see how wonderful you are to work with.
5. You may discover other business problems that need to be solved.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Friday, September 9, 2011
“We’ll always have Paris”, Humphrey Bogart tells Ingrid Bergman in a classic scene from Casablanca that illustrates how a place can be instilled with such a very powerful emotional connection. I’ve been thinking about that now that Firstborn will be moving on September 19th from the only location we’ve ever known to our awesome brand new digs in Tribeca where our new parent company Dentsu is headquartered.
And so, we’ll be saying goodbye to the neighborhood that some people call Clinton, others Midtown West, but mostly it’s known by its dangerously evocative moniker - Hell’s Kitchen. Looking back at the past eleven years that I’ve been with the agency, it’s pretty clear that both Firstborn and Hell’s Kitchen have come a long way over the past decade.
In particular, we’ll bid farewell to our home in the Film Center Building on 9th Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets, a very interesting art deco building designed by Ely Jacques Khan and constructed in 1929. You can see why the place was recognized by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission every time you walk through the lobby where you’re surrounded by gold-painted highlights on the entrance way, ceilings and elevator doors as well as the mosaics that adorn the walls. Even the mailbox is a work of art.
If you time travelled back to the Film Center in the year 2000 and took the elevator to the 6th floor, you’d see a small digital design firm of 10 people huddled around a small office space. There wasn’t much room to move around and some areas served dual purpose – the kitchen table which could seat about 5 people at a time also served as our conference room. Regardless of the cramped quarters, it was exciting for everyone to be in on the start of the digital era.
Not so exciting back then was the fact that Hell’s Kitchen was still somewhat of a sketchy part of town and hadn’t yet shaken off its rough and tumble heritage. You didn’t want to walk alone after hours and you got a lot of practice looking over your shoulder. This was well before the eventual big cleanup of the Times Square Area.
What a difference 11 years makes! Firstborn has grown into a 65 person agency that will now be housed in a luxurious custom-built 25,000 square foot complex. As far as our soon to be former neighborhood goes, let’s just say that they’ve finally taken the Hell out of Hell’s Kitchen. Today you can’t walk ten steps without facing another restaurant, eateries of all stripes and they’re everywhere and full of people. (Of course for those who still prefer the original Hell’s Kitchen experience there’s still Rudy’s Bar & Grill where a sampling of their hot dogs has been a Firstborn rite of passage/feat of bravery). Who would have thought at the beginning of the millennium that in 2011 there would even be retail stores on 9th Avenue?
There’s a lot I’ll miss about the old neighborhood. Nick the barber gives the best $10 haircuts in the city. Terrell, the Film Center’s security guard always wishes you happy Friday even when it’s only Monday. And of course all the restaurants and the fact that we’ve been a stone’s throw away from the theater district. Mind you Tribeca is no slouch; we’ll make it our own and are excited about all it has to offer. And we’ll always have Hell’s Kitchen.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Thursday, October 29, 2009
As a rule, there are 2 types of contracts that we work with. A master services agreement (MSA) is what we usually sign when we’re an agency of record for a client or will be doing ongoing work with a particular company. We then sign off on individual statements of work (SOW’s) for each specific assignment that comes up and the terms of each SOW are governed by the MSA. For work that’s on a project by project basis, the terms and SOW are combined into one proposal document.
Scope of work
The SOW contains a detailed and unambiguous description of what it is we’re delivering to our client. The format may vary and could include a content outline, set of wireframes, creative brief, illustrations or a combination of the above. This is the road map that will guide our work and provide the reference point for both parties should any items fall outside of the initial scope. In some instances, defining the scope of work is part the assignment and in those cases, we charge a fee for an initial discovery phase, out of which a detailed scope, cost and timeline document is delivered.
Limit of Liability
We ask that there be a cap to the amount we’re liable for, usually the amount that we’re paid for the project. Having an open ended liability puts us at great risk, especially a relatively small company such as ours that can be put out of business by frivolous lawsuits.
Indemnification, Representations & Warranties
As a creative agency, Firstborn warrants that our work will be original. However, we need to be very specific about what exactly we’re liable for. In many cases we may be using materials ideas or product claims that are supplied to us by our clients and so we make sure there isn’t a broad representation that would include those materials we’re not responsible for.
The payment terms and schedule are clearly laid out in all our agreements. It’s Firstborn’s policy to receive 50% to start work and the rest paid out during various milestones in the production timeline.
Since what we create for our clients is a work for hire, our clients own all the deliverables. We do, however, retain ownership of our source code, the reason being that we have a right to the methods and knowledge that we use in the production of work for all our other clients.
If the contract is cancelled for a reason other than our negligence or misconduct, it’s only fair that we be given reasonable notice so that we can re-assign the team that was allocated to the project.
The ability to showcase our work is very valuable to us and so we ask that we be able to publicize our participation in the project subject to, of course, our clients’ permissions.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I was saddened to read about the death of Lou Albano recently. Lou was most famous for his appearances in a Cyndi Lauper music video but made his living in the world of professional wrestling. Back in the '70's pro wrestling wasn't the huge juggernaut of the current WWE but was still very much a fringe entertainment. It was even hard to find on television back then since the "sport' was often relegated to UHF channels that were hard to tune into as opposed to the regular over-the-air stations that had the monopoly of programming before the age of cable. As my friend Roger said to me recently, before the WWE, wrestlers weren't all the steroid-built hulks of today but in large part were just a bunch of fat guys from New Jersey. Enter Lou Albano. Like Freddie Blassie and The Grand Wizard of Wrestling Lou's role was a manager of various villain wrestlers such as Ivan Koloff, the Valiant Brothers and the Wild Samoans. Lou's modus operandi was being totally off the wall during matches and interviews. I think what appealed to us about wrestling when we were kids - and of course we knew it was fake - was the sheer wackiness of it all and it was kind of cool to follow something that was out of the mainstream. Being a manager of a bunch of "bad guys" is not a role to aspire to, but the self proclaimed Captain sure made me laugh a lot.