The mighty Matterhorn

Matterhorn

 

We just discovered the work of local London figurative artist Alex Chamberlin. Here is his gorgeous rendering of Zermatt’s very own Matterhorn. Discover his other work here.

 

You are the client. You are also the agency. What happens next?

 

 

You’d think creating your own agency website would be laughably easy – especially when creating sites is one of your day jobs. It seems like paradise: no one else to please except yourself, and an unlimited creative palette.

 

But the truth is, even the most rhino-skinned creative finds elemental paranoia rising to the surface when faced with the task of self-promotion.

 

So when we started creating the new welcometozermatt.com, we froze for a day or two and then did the unavoidable: we looked at what everyone else does.

 

We looked at the UK top 50, a mix of adland, digital and design agencies. We found some common threads:

 

– Practically every agency shouts that “we’re different!”. But the thing is, if you look at the first 5 sites and they all shout that, well it’s not very different.

 

– Next, every agency seems to want to look New Age Cuddly – with the staff ping pong tournaments, the agency dogs, the agency teapot, the team profiles either with a) childhood Polaroid portraits or b) goofy cartoon avatars. When you look at lots of cuddly sites like this, you start to encounter Tweeness Overkill.

 

– And finally, every agency seems to focus on a few words that pop up like Japanese Knotweed with alarming regularity. Here are 3 we would ban if we had the chance:

 

1. STORYTELLING:

 

This word is everywhere… and yet storytelling is the very thing most agencies don’t do. Picasso’s Guernica is storytelling. A David Nicholls novel is storytelling. David Abbott ad copy for Volvo is storytelling. The movie ‘Sideways’ is storytelling. A Johnny Cash song is storytelling.

 

Displaying your agency ‘likes’ on Tumblr or Flickr or or any other platforms (or should it be othr platforms) is not storytelling.

 

Storytelling is precious and, yes, rare.

 

2. DISRUPTIVE.

 

‘Disruptive’ is good, everyone proclaims. We agree, sometimes. But a freak hailstorm is disruptive, but not necessarily good.

 

Consistency is sometimes just as powerful as disruption. Witness Nike’s superglue-like adherence to its brand personality for 30 years. Apple’s design ethic. Lionel Messi’s ability to score.

 

Consistency can be wonderful, especially for brands.

 

3. CONTENT

 

‘Content is King’ is the mantra du jour.

 

But if you are creative, or even aspire to be, ‘content’ is the most insulting word you’ll ever hear. Content just implies stuff, great swathes of it, made to fill the vast voids of media space. “Let’s bung in some content”.

 

It’s a word that represents the very antithesis of creative ambition. “Daddy when I grow up I want to create great content” is something you’re not very likely to hear.

 

Halt! It’s oh-so-easy to criticise other sites, not so easy to create your own.

 

So parking the snark, we imagined a marketing decision-maker in one of our target sectors. What would she/he want from our site?

 

Presumably our marketeer is going to be uber-busy, and is going to want to see quite a few sites. So time is precious and the navigation needs to be simple.

 

Above all, they’d want to get straight to the agency’s work – because if that’s no good, it’s game over anyway however much you mask it with lots of creative-sounding social noise.

 

Having viewed the work – in a gallery that’s easy to click through client by client – they’d want to get an idea of the company’s tone and style and personality, to get a feel of how they’d get on with them in the real world.

 

And that’s it really – that’s all our client mystery shopper needs. She/he will probably be in and out of a site in a minute or two and that’s how long you have to engage them.

 

So we’ve aimed to build a simple, elegant site that connects, with nothing in the way. Of course, only you can decide if we have succeeded.

 

Welcome to Zermatt.