Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
While we do engage in social media and email marketing with Rule29, 60-70% of our work is print, which is much harder to judge in terms of ROI.
I can gauge success from a customer feedback standpoint, as well as based on the awards we've received from the ADI Awards and other design competitions. These are people judging outside of the world of people, so our material was held up to the same level of quality as with other bigger firms. We've won tons of silver and gold awards. From a quality of design and level of engagement standpoint, our work sits very high.
How did Rule29 Creative perform from a project management standpoint?
Rule29's speed of execution is truly unparalleled. We have lots of revisions, which is something not all firms handle well, if at all. Rule29 remained hands-on in the best possible way and also responsive and sensitive to the need for change.
Communication levels are extraordinarily high and transparent. Rule29 is extremely good at project scoping, making estimates, informing us whenever we go outside of the scope, and telling us what the re-estimated amount will be. Rule29 has never blown a deadline. Overall, there is a high level of account handling through a dedicated manager. We also work directly with Rule29's principal and with the designers themselves. We have a very good back-and-forth. Our project management tool is Basecamp.
What did you find most impressive about Rule29 Creative?
"Excellence" is a term which can be used to an excess but isn't heard as much currently. It is the quality I like most about Rule29. Every facet of what we're working on and how we're working on it, in terms of communication creative aspects, questions, and execution, is handled flawlessly. Rule29 also has extremely high accountability. I've worked with firms which decided for themselves when the work was done and refused to make changes.
Prior agencies we've worked with were staffed with members in their 50’s, within the managerial level and with account managers, creative directors, and art directors in their 30’s and 40’s. The age of Rule29's team skews down by 6-8 years. They're a younger crew, which gives us insight into that specific age group and how they view our work and products. We almost have a built-in focus group. I often tell Rule29's team that, if they can make the work make sense to themselves, it will make sense to our audiences. The clientele for paper and the graphic design for it can be old, but we also engage with people in their 20’s. Rule29 is wonderful at capturing this and distilling out the 3 paragraphs which were typical for older material into a few bullet-points. I've challenged Rule29 on this, and they've delivered well.
Are there any areas Rule29 Creative could improve?
The only area in which we've seen improvement is print production. Most agencies don't do print at our high-end level. No errors are acceptable, which is something we've had to teach to every firm we've used. Rule29 has been very good at adapting to our standards and has shown a good retention of the principles we've outlined.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Rule29 Creative?
Account management is one of the keys to a relationship. I have a weekly standing meeting with our contact from Rule29. For any clients running as many simultaneous projects as we are, a regular meeting should be standard operating procedure. Our account manager knows exactly who is working on what, how busy they are, and so on. There is a great degree of transparency with Rule29, which was often lacking on the ad agency side with our previous partners.