#techingyouout with Pink Squid


How does a creative agency simultaneously rubber-stamp its digital credentials and keep its team members engaged? In the case of Pink Squid, it involves two very eager colleagues, a bespoke social campaign, a specially-created hashtag – oh, and Apple Watches.

In the build-up to the launch of the much-anticipated Apple Watch in May, Pink Squid art director Louise Organ and project management lead Taelon Vorster – along with plenty of other people - were keen to get their hands on a new Apple Watch. But at Pink Squid, they were given the opportunity to do so – provided they could put together an argument for it.

“The whole Squid culture is ‘life is what you make it’ – so, anything you want, you’ve got to go out and get it. And that was the case with the Apple Watches,” says Vorster.

As with most companies, Pink Squid requires tech requests to be submitted if a member of staff needs a new bit of equipment – usually along the lines of a mouse, keyboard or monitor. So, when Organ and Vorster hinted that they wanted Apple Watches, they were encouraged to put a case together – although perhaps with a bit more effort than was usually required for a mouse.

The brief on this occasion was to convince the agency’s co-founders, creative director Manjoor Azizul and technical director Tsz Wu, exactly why they needed Apple Watches and what benefits they would bring to the business.

Self-confessed Apple junkies Organ and Vorster grabbed the brief with both hands. With a weekend to prepare a joint presentation, sleep was happily sacrificed as they joined forces to put one together.

As Vorster says: “On Monday morning we gave our presentation, which we approached exactly like a client presentation.

“And, just like presenting for a client we had the perfect combination of a creative and a project manager. Louise found information relating to design and aesthetics, and I looked at the functionality. Strangely, pitching to Tsz probably felt harder than pitching to a client, and we obviously wanted it to be perfect.”

Organ adds: “Thankfully he said yes. But the next challenge was how to get hold of the watches. After a bit of research we found out Apple’s Dover St Market store was the only place where we could go along and get our hands on one.

“The first time we turned up, we were turned away,” she continues. “But, we went back the next day at 8am and were eighth in the queue. However, even then we didn’t know what happened at the end of the queue – whether we’d be able to get an Apple Watch, or just be able to order one.”

From the start of the process, the duo maximised the social potential of their quest for the devices. They developed a hashtag and posted across social channels, even before they’d got their hands on the watches.

Vorster says: “If Pink Squid had a personality we’d say it was a cheeky, flirty one. So we developed the #techingyouout hashtag – a play on checking you out - to mirror that.

“So, we were tweeting and Instagramming over the previous weekend, and in the queue we ended up being at the heart of our own social buzz, with people all around the world asking us where to get an Apple watch.”

 “We also queued with our GoPro,” adds Organ. “So we’ve got footage of the whole process – even people looking on disapprovingly at the queue at that time in the morning!”

“Then, when we brought them to the office you could see the difference in how the various team members were looking at it – the creatives were all swooning over the packaging, whereas the project managers just wanted to rip through it to reach the watch.”

Perhaps given the challenges they faced in getting their hands on one, as well as their professional use for the watches, Organ and Vorster have put the technology under more scrutiny than the average consumer.

“We’ve already identified a few limitations with the watch,” says Vorster, “but these will all be ironed out in the next gen models. The average person on the street might have just thought ‘wow, this is really cool’, but we’re looking at them in a bit more detail.”

“It’s great for things like Uber – which we use a lot, as well as things like Trello, which we use internally here. And it’s great for things like grabbing a coffee – although we’d like a few more fast food apps on there please!”

The pair also point out how the watch and its capabilities tie in nicely with Pink Squid’s work. One client, Shazam, was one of the first companies to create an app for the Apple Watch, and another client, Jaguar Land Rover, will be watching closely at apps such as the one that enables Porsche users to unlock their cars using the device.

And from the view of another client, game giant King, there is of course huge potential for games on the device.

And from a day-to-day point of view, the watches are already proving their value. As Organ says: “We’ve been looking at how it can help our productivity. Taelon can set her team tasks when she’s out of the office, and we can contact each other more quickly if one or both of us is off-site.”

“From my creative perspective, it’s been great for productivity. It helps to reduce the amount of time spent responding to contact or other distractions. I can access everything from my watch and can decide what’s worth my attention at any point.”

Vorster adds “And from a project team point of view, it’s definitely helped. It’s all about working remotely and on-the-go, so even in client meetings I can keep up to speed on what’s going on. It keeps me in touch with the team here and means there’s so much more that can be done and managed.”

There has also been a significant degree of social currency about getting their hands on the watches; thanks to the hashtag and social activity, people across the world – as well as Pink Squid’s clients – have become aware of the exercise.

“Every time we post on Twitter or Instagram, we end up getting loads of contact from people across the world,” says Vorster. “Even brands like Starbucks and thetrainline have been interacting with us via the hashtag.”

“It’s created a buzz, not just among our colleagues and clients, but also with people across social networks who we’ve never met. And the fact it’s all tied in to our roles at Pink Squid means it’s great for the agency.”

Crucially – neither has become annoyed by the devices yet - and Vorster even points out how the watch’s heart rate monitor means she can flag up when the agency's directors are stressing her out too much…

Clearly, Organ and Vorster are making the most of the devices, both personally and professionally, and they can see further benefits if the devices were rolled out across the entire Pink squid team – when that happens we’ll let you know.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

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(Showing 1 - 3 of 3)

Marcus Body Date: Jul 13, 2015

This has inspired me to requisition a calculator watch for use in my job. I'll keep you posted on how I get on.

GW Date: Jul 17, 2015

Why does the last sentence fill me with dread?

Anonymous Date: Jul 31, 2015

I saw someone paying for something with an apple watch recently. I won't tell you what I thought. Suffice to say it was similar to my thoughts the first time I saw someone wearing a clip on bluetooth device in the street and thought he was some mad person talking to himself.

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