In this day and age of disruptive marketing, I find that EVERYWHERE, the social media agency I co-founded is being asked to stretch the boundaries of the term “disruption” in the most interesting ways. By the sheer nature of what it is we offer I find that my team must be prepared to meet client needs in wide variety; though at the end of the day it can all be called communications whether internal or external. There are the basics of helping our clients with developing their social media strategies, writing governance policies, implementing digital pr and even creating content that lives in Web video. However, last month when our newest client SWAGG/Firethorn asked us to change the “vibe” in their office, I had to reach into my Hip Hop/B-Boy backpack and tap into the world of Graffiti as a solution for their needs.
What our client wanted was an attitude change in the form of an art project. Currently they are working hard in their Atlanta offices launching SWAGG, a smartphone app that will tip the scales of today’s mobile shopper. Their offering of “smart” technology allows users to purchase, share and exchange gift cards, receive and redeem offers, view loyalty card points or balances, share content and more–straight from the convenience of a mobile device. In order to be successful in this highly competitive mobile app market they needed to change how their employees felt when they walk into the office, which in turn would change the way they think. We were charged with creating a movement that caused an attitude change and inspired the team to communicate with each other on a whole new level.
We wasted no time and hired Totem, one of the best and highly regarded Graffiti artists out of Atlanta, GA. His mission was to create art out of the white walls across the entire office. The project would be a complete secret and none of the employees were aware this was happening. Totem planned to use a weekend to start and finish his work gleaning many of his inspirations from employees who left interesting clues about who they are in their offices. As a graffiti artist, he is no stranger to this type of work. In the streets, the ability to plan and work undercover is normal. Totem has translated his work to the corporate world and also done murals for Coca Cola, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Nike, Sony PlayStation, and Red Bull.
The employees were shocked and amazed on Monday morning when they returned to the office. Their corporate offices which for so long had been stark white, with no life had been transformed to a stimulating visual experience. The graffiti art actually had a positive effect almost immediately bringing people out of their cubes and offices and into shared spaces to talk amongst each other about the work. Employees who had never said much to each other were now engaged in deep conversations. With inspired thinking, changed attitudes and a great product, management is more excited then ever. For our agency we were given a project that allowed us to show the depth of a “disruptive” communications firm. This was the purest form of Social Media; art that inspires people
Today we as agencies must provide value for our clients and become partners not just vendors. As stewards of social media strategies we are often in the role of educator, counselor and personal brand builder because the medium offers so much depth. Today’s digital landscape offers opportunities in marketing, pr, customer service, product development, human resources and yes even corporate culture.