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Shared Perspective

Building lasting agency / brand relationships.
Matt Capozzi
By Matt Capozzi
Director of Product Experience

The idea that brands and agencies can work better together to create unexpected, profoundly intuitive products and experiences isn't necessarily a new one. Our belief at Cinco, however, is that by sharing perspectives, goals, and expectations with our clients right from the beginning, we can lead to the way to smoother roads ahead.

Being on the same page from the start helps to create a greater amount of creative flexibility through the life of a project and/or creative partnership. Placing strategic alignment as a top priority sets the relationship up for success by facilitating open and honest conversation about roles, timelines, and deliverables from both parties. This common footing, when established, leads to freedom of creative expression and discussion as deadlines approach, important milestones are reached, or things change and plans might need to be adjusted.

“At Cinco we believe that a shared perspective is about so much more than just the tactical aspects of a project.”

So, what is a shared perspective? We see it as a mutual understanding of not just the tactical aspects of a project (dates, gates, deliverables) but a deeper understanding of why we’re joining forces and why our client partner is doing the work at hand. Getting to a shared perspective takes time, but at Cinco we find that it’s always worth it. When both our teams are using the same language to describe the deepest center of their brand we know that we are well aligned in sharing views on what the right path looks like.

A major key is to look at agency / brand relationships as a two way street. From the brand perspective, spending time to workshop your brand ethos and mission is critical. Doing that strategic thinking in partnership with your creative agency only makes the work more valuable. For a brand, the experience of working with a design resource that has taken the time to understand your position, distinction, and attitude can completely change the way that you think about who you are and what you're offering.

From the agency side, it's critical to start by understanding and evaluating what makes each client unique in the world, where their opportunities lie in the short and near term, and what their vision is for the future. That leads to not only an opportunity to do great work for a client, but to help them to gain a fundamental understanding of not only what their business needs, but what their customers want.

For our team at Cinco, a prime example of this philosophy in action has been the process of working with our friends at Smith. A little over 3 years ago they came to Cinco with a challenge to help clarify and sharpen their brand position. After unpacking what has made Smith unique for the past 50 years and having honest and open conversations about their vision for the next 50, we’ve been able to work together on wide range of projects.

“We need to not only do great work for our clients, but also gain a fundamental understanding of what their business needs and their customers want.”

Re-imagining their brand identity led to connecting the design ethos we established from packaging, to retail, TV commercials, and eventually into product design. Through all of this work we continue to lean on our core understanding of the Smith brand and a shared perspective on their mission to deliver products that allow you to focus on experiences beyond walls.

Working with the team at Smith has been an amazing experience from the beginning, and our relationship has grown stronger over time. So much so that we teamed up for Design Week Portland 2016 to create an event drawing on our collective strengths. The goal was to share a few insights into building stronger relationships while bringing a fresh approach to the DWP programming.

We got together as a team to discuss the event and quickly settled on something that was fun to attend, creative at it’s core, and showcased how a creative partnership could lead to a fun experiment. Something new, fresh, and unexpected. Between Cinco and Smith we have an amazing roster of photographers that we admire and love working with. We wondered if we could create a simple way to have some of our favorite photographers shoot through the Smith ChromaPop lenses and document some of their favorite moments beyond walls.

We couldn't be more stoked on how the event turned out. If you're in Portland during the month of May stop by EVO Portland to see the shots. If not, check out our recap here.