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How to Create a Great First Brand Campaign? With Creativity, Chemistry, and Flexibility


Other Half’s Cara Scott, founder and creative director, Brian Riley, VP of business and operations, and Dustin Grant, executive producer, share what makes a first campaign tricky and how to make the impossible happen

How to Create a Great First Brand Campaign? With Creativity, Chemistry, and Flexibility

Brands will typically spend years preparing, researching, and making a product before going to market, which doesn’t leave a lot of room to think about the first campaign. It’s no wonder these campaigns tend to be the trickiest for all involved - brand, creatives, producers, and post production. Like a first date, there are a lot of expectations to live up to and everyone’s hoping that the chemistry will be just right. 

“With a first campaign, it’s not just about the product itself - it’s about the brand, their identity, and their image as a whole. The challenge is centred around articulating that identity, hand in hand with the client and, in the process, setting the tone for the brand’s future,” says Dustin Grant, Other Half’s executive producer who, alongside his colleagues, has worked on numerous launch campaigns for emerging brands.

One of the challenges facing brands on their journey to creating an initial campaign is finances. That’s both in terms of budget and the ROI brands expect campaigns to yield. While understandable, it does create a delicate environment for everyone involved. “We see a lot of brands come in with a sales-first mentality. It’s not something they’ve spent money on before and they want the investment to pay off. As it’s their first appearance in the world and in front of their target audience, we try to coach them to shift their mindset a bit, ” says Brian Riley, VP of business and operations. “Your first impression must have longevity. We focus on longevity because it creates a deeper connection by being less sales-centred. If you make an impression and create a connection to your customer, the sales will follow.”

Doing too much at once

There’s also the danger from the brand side of expecting a campaign to accomplish too much at once, with a scope so broad it loses focus. “Sometimes the concept is too ambitious. They’ll want it to communicate everything about the brand, the ethos, the product, the aesthetic, all of which is more than an audience can quickly digest. That’s where the right creative partner will step in and try to distil the message. We’re there to ensure our conversations are focused on the client’s end goal. By keeping both sides focused on those end goals, it’s easier to deliver something that is clear and powerful rather than being muddied by superfluous details,”  adds Brian. 

Roxanne Assoulin's first campaign video by Other Half Creative

The Other Half team recently worked with Roxanne Assoulin, a jewellery brand, on a beautiful first campaign to showcase the designer’s fun and wearable pieces. “We spent a lot of time with Roxanne both from a brand and a personal side, getting to know herand what she wanted this campaign to convey. We really understood her core values and then found a way to incorporate that into the campaign, whilst making it all work for the  budget and timeline,” says Dustin. 

“Where many luxury fashion campaigns tend to lean more into a maximalist aesthetic, we went with a more honest approach closer to the brand’s original core values.,” he adds. The final campaign imagery (photography by Johnson Lui, film by Cara Scott) is bathed in soft light - no shot is overstyled or trying too hard; the jewellery shines through naturally, and every shot carries an air of ease and sophistication. The team credits the campaign’s success to the time invested in first getting to know Roxanne and her company.

Colleen Allen's first campaign video by Other Half Creative

Cara, Other Half’s founder and creative director, notes that the process of developing a first campaign requires “patience and flexibility while removing expectations given it’s going to be a unique process.” Other Half helped fashion designer, Colleen Allen, stage her first fashion show at the New York Fashion Week at the start of 2020. Colleen, herself an artist interested in the intersection between technology and fashion, knew she wanted her presentation to do something different and break away from the existing trends of previous shows in the industry. 

Together with Other Half, they came up with an idea of how to make it happen. “In collaboration with Colleen, we had this idea to render all the looks digitally and create avatars of the models. A lot of research went into it and we had to find the right artists, creatives, and animators to make it a reality. While the ultimate vision was Colleen’s, we helped her realise it, and used the expertise of those around us to best fulfil it,” says Cara. With a first campaign, brands are taking a leap into the unknown. In recognising that, the Other Half team aims to push the client beyond what’s immediately comfortable, but in a way that ensures their voice is heard, and trust is earned. 

The right creative support

Is there a secret to getting the first campaign right? “It really is about creating chemistry. From a creative standpoint, the right creative director will be able to support the client through the process, encourage a nuanced conversation, and push those creative boundaries while actively listening and making their vision come true,” Cara adds. 

Despite the natural bumps in the road, Cara says working on a brand’s first campaign “is a very special process. You’re building the foundation of what can be a fruitful, long term relationship. Getting the first campaign right means you can collectively mould and evolve what you do in the future with the brand, to start thinking beyond essential production needs and more about how to elevate their voice across all marketing initiatives as a whole. It becomes a more organic conversation and that’s the beauty of it, but it takes a lot of investment upfront.”

“That first job together is a nerve-racking time for all involved, but especially the brand. At Other Half, we’ve been down this path many times before and know how to adapt, remain flexible, and execute. We’re there to help the brand, to guide them creatively and logistically, so they feel supported and informed at every stage. Replace rigidity with flexibility and anything is possible,” concludes Brian. 

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OTHER HALF Creative, Tue, 25 Oct 2022 15:12:00 GMT