Co-create: A Personal Account of Collaboration in the Branding World

I am not a traditionalist by nature. In fact, I have always pushed and sometimes rejected the boundaries and theories of traditional brand thinking. I don’t like to focus on turning a brand into what I think it should be. I’m a realist, and I like to follow a more organic process, contemplating where a brand will live in the outside world. Perhaps this is why I was so uncomfortable with the great disconnect I used to see between the traditional and digital space.

When I first started my career, agencies would often specialize in a particular area. Even if an agency was full-service, people still tended to work in silos. The makers of brand, print, and digital rarely met, let alone shared ideas, thoughts, or work spaces. I never understood why. Didn’t we all have the same final goal?

And because of this disconnect, the work suffered. When a brand experience moved from department to department and from agency to agency, I found it could easily get lost in translation. I know it wasn’t intentional, but I often felt that no one else cared about all of the small little details, over which I had painstakingly sweated.

A few years ago, I made the move from traditional branding to a predominantly digital space. And now, my work is a mélange.  I comfortably walk the line between designer & art director, strategist & storyteller, brand & digital. This is partly due to my nature, but I also think it’s a sign of the times. Brands are stories, and a good story captivates your attention from beginning to end. Digital is pervasive, and it has become a vital component of the story. Now, I am finally able to sweat the small stuff, all the way to the end, and focus on the experience rather than the canvas.

Of course there are differences between brand & digital and print & digital. But I choose not to look at these differences. Instead, I see endless opportunities, allowing us to co-create, collaborate, and build cohesive brand experiences that are stronger and more exciting than ever before. Now that inspires me.

 

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