When we first started Blak Labs back in 2010, we couldn’t afford an office. Our workspaces were coffee shops in Dempsey and dining tables in our homes.
We didn’t know what the future would hold, or if we would be in business long enough to have our own address. So our first business card just featured mobile and email.
As luck would have it, things started to happen for Blak Labs. Clients took a chance on us. From Maybank to PayPal, we picked up projects and started growing the team. We needed somewhere central to meet and were lucky that a mate had some desks free – which we willingly borrowed.
And while they were at the top of three flights of stairs, those desks and facilities were invaluable until we needed space of our own.
Finding the right place for your gang can be tricky. Especially when each place on property sites can be so misleading.
What one person likes, another finds inconvenient. And what pictures online fail to show is actual size and usability. When we eventually found Pahang Street near Arab Street, we all agreed it was a space to try. Simple – wood floors, shophouse location, an upstairs unit with a mezzanine floor, tiny kitchen and a single loo. It was perfect – a space we could all live with. Until we outgrew it once more.
Our next space on North Bridge Road was twice as big. Two shophouse upper levels side by side. Meeting rooms, a pantry and dining area. Chill spots and workbenches. Plenty of room for growth. Until we were almost sitting on each other.
Luckily for us, the partners had put a deposit on two adjacent units at a new development. We’ve invested in comfort and utility. There is still room for growth. And experimentation.
How will we perform in this new space? Will it be filled with ground-breaking ideas? Will clients be clamouring to come through the front door? Will they like the vibe?
Here at Blak Labs HQ, we had a very serious session digesting all that Prof Ritson has to say. And we’d like to know what you think.
Better still, if you’re searching for answers for how your marketing should deliver in 2018, then please get in touch. With 5 creative partners, Blak Labs is the only Singapore creative agency that provides clients with Creative Counsel, delivered with Creative Care. If you would like to know more, then drop us a line here
The Blak Labs Grad Challenge continues in 2017. If you’re a recent NAFA Graduate, we’re throwing you a bone. The chance to win an 8 week internship in one of Singapore’s leading independent creative agencies. Fetch your 5 best pieces of work and submit them to: firstname.lastname@example.org before end of day June 1, 2017.
The web has empowered so many individuals in so many different ways. And now the social web has truly exploded that potential.
YouTubers, Instagrammers, Facebookers and all sorts of other-ers (including the Chinese We Chatters and Weibo-ers) have sprung up everywhere. They appear in your feed like uninvited guests occasionally. And while their posts are pretty inoffensive, here at Blak Labs, we think clients are wasting their money paying for their influence.
A few recent examples.
The first, a humorous take down by Aaron Wong, suggests better ways for influencers to earn airmiles – that’s his thing. You can read it here.
The second? We’ve observed that influencers who post about how much they love travelling with a particular credit card tend to drop followers per brand post.
Posts either side of these endorsements have at least 3K likes or more and numerous comments. The brand-related posts lose at least 2k followers.
Last but not least – the fashionable instagrammer. Again, a store signs on a bunch of influencers to lend some sparkle to their charity shopping event. Among them, one very fashionable instagrammer who shall remain nameless.
Thing is, beyond the two posts about said charity event and an appearance in one paid-for promo piece, there was no ‘real love’ for the client, nor evidence of actual brand loyalty. And again, the posts for this brand fared less well than others.
Followers see through these thinly veiled endorsements and IMHO, each goes against the grain of ‘authenticity’ that these influencers purport to offer. And while like celebrities, we have to marvel at their ability to be “famous for being famous”, we find ourselves wondering what credibility do they offer?
And when you know that certain influencers receive huge payouts for a single tweet or post (up to US$100k or more), then this form of endorsement just looks even more ridiculous.
Because in the blink of an eye, they’ll stick something else up to get more thumbs up. And your post will disappear down their feed into social oblivion. #justsayin
Today is “Brexit” voting day in the UK. And after a week of jury deliberation, discussion and impassioned defences, we have just witnessed the effect our votes had on the winners of the 2016 Cannes Cyber Lions awards show. Before we get to the winners, let me take you back over the last couple days of being in the room.
Of those that made it through, you have already achieved something truly significant. Your work beat some world class crud. Our final list of golds looks like this. Not nearly enough from Asia.
And after one round of voting for the Grand Prix, we have eliminated all but two pieces of VR. We pause and take a moment to discuss what that outcome would say about the category and our industry, not to mention our collective reputations. We vote again on just keeping these two exceptional pieces as golds. It is just too early for VR to lead the way. The craft has a long way to go. The experience needs to be more inclusive.
After the struggle, and the respectful discussion on our choices, we review, debate and vote on our final Grand Prix contenders. When we’re done, there is a huge cheer and lots of hugging followed by champagne to celebrate.
We realize what we have just achieved. And in record time apparently. So we head out to celebrate.
After the intro from Phil Thomas, the Cannes Lions CEO, Chloe Gottlieb, our jury President and a Grand Prix Winner herself, takes the mic along with the President of the Innovation Lions, apparently the ‘fun’ jury…
Chloe kicks off the press briefing with an update of the key trends.
With the new filters that the jury has defined over the past week, we think that the biggest ideas deliver on several levels.
They are seamless in how they travel between the cyber or digital world and the real world, i.e., no clunky tech getting in the way of the storytelling.
They’re beautifully crafted and above all, the thinking and approach deliver magic in how they touch people’s lives and move us towards ideas, brands and causes.
We decided to award gold to ideas that are game changers. To achieve a Grand Prix the thinking has to be iconic, enduring, universally appealing and live seamlessly in whichever part of our connected world you experience it in.
The two Grands Prix are quite ‘amaaaaazzzzing’ as Ignacio, everyone’s favourite Argentine from Google, occasionally says.
One of them showcases how tech and AI has helped create a new Rembrandt centuries after his death. It’s brave and beautifully crafted.
The other is the unbelievably charming story of Justino. He is the night security guard who engages the staff he never sees with simple beautiful stories and pranks told on Instagram and Facebook. The quality is Pixar-level, and the individual stories just make you laugh, cry and much more. (I am a huge fan, having followed Justino on his Instagram during the campaign.) ICYMI, it’s for El Gordo, the Spanish Lottery. Take a look http://www.canneslionsarchive.com/winners/entry/756159/justino
This is where ‘Cyber’ has its true strengths. As a means to connect and unite people behind a single possibility over a variety of digital and ‘real world’ channels. Which of course is the point. The category has evolved so much that the best work is alive wherever you experience it.
We hope you’re happy with our votes. It was exhausting, exciting and eventually extremely rewarding. Thank you to my wonderful fellow jurors, thank you creativity and thank you Cannes Lions and Mediacorp.
And congrats to Team Singapore for winning the Young Cyber Lions!
I get a ton of emails every day, most which I just delete after a cursory glance. But newsletters from the chaps at Bluewire Media always get read. The reason? I often learn something new. Plus they believe in the power of sharing and the “thank you economy”. They freely share their own social media planning tools and templates, which I find useful and they also do a bunch of podcasts, webinars and monthly giveaways. Which are also filled with good usable stuff. My advice? Check them out!
Yesterday Bluewire Media turned 10. So congrats to Adam (@Franklin_Adam) and Toby (@Toby_Jenkins) on achieving that milestone, from an independent agency owner here in Singapore! Your reach extends way beyond the shores of Oz, and your monthly competition does too!
Which is why I’d like to say thanks to Adam and Toby for letting me win their December competition.
The prize? Their top 25 marketing books, including their own publication.
Here’s my reading list for the next few months
The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott
Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah
Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
Trust Agents by Chris Brogan
Platform by Michael Hyatt
Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk
The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi
Youtility by Jay Baer
Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
Content Rules by Ann Handley and CC Chapman
The New Experts by Robert Bloom
Content Chemistry by Andy Crestodina
Reality Marketing Revolution by Mike Lieberman and Eric Keiles
Spin Sucks by Gini Dietrich
What’s the Future of Business by Brian Solis
Power Stories by Valerie Khoo
Unknown to Expert by Catriona Pollard
Love At First Site by Jon Hollenberg
microDOMINATION by Trevor Young
Become a Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestley
The 7-Day Startup by Dan Norris
Engagement from Scratch by Danny Iny
And of course their own book…
25. Web Marketing That Works by Adam Franklin and Toby Jenkins
I’ve no idea how much this competition set them back in terms of book purchases etc. But I do know that Adam and Toby have created something of real value with Bluewire News. If you’re interested to learn from a couple of chaps who’ve done it for themselves, then you can sign up for the newsletter here. I hope you enjoy their content as much as I do.
And here’s a couple of little flipagram thingies I made over lunch using nothing but an iPhone, a pair of scissors and some sticky back plastic.