Thursday, March 22

Receiving Recognition: Kamikaze


The reason we're sometimes referred to as hired guns in communication-related fields (advertising, marketing, public relations, political campaigning, publishing, social media) is because we're very adept at meeting specific needs (filling niches no one else will) under the umbrella of strategic communication.

Some advertising agencies hire us for copywriting, creative direction, and public relations support; some public relations firms hire us for advertising support and overflow work; some companies hire us direct to fill mini-niches for departments or to provide overall communication consultation and implementation, helping top executives align their communication.

It seems like a mixed bag to be sure, but I like to keep things interesting. I also fully admit it sometimes mangles our message (are you a public relations firm ... um, no, but we can support your public relations efforts), but we've grown comfortable with front-end confusion in favor of serving select clients. (Don't get me wrong. We have a message and you can find it at Copywrite, Ink.) The result is always interesting and the diversity of work keeps things engaging.

Kamikaze provides an excellent example because, for the most part, they feel very comfortable in managing most of their communication (eg. they designed their Web site). However, they wanted some very specific help in developing a new logo and stationary package.

When judged by major market advertising agencies, they said my work with Seattle-based designer Curtis Sharp was spot on, earning a Bronze Addy Award last Saturday at the Las Vegas Advertising Federation Addy Awards. We're honored, mostly to maintain our presence in the market and to provide our client additional exposure.

To appreciate the logo, it might help to know that Kamikaze is the divine wind of worldwide entertainment, aerial acrobatics, camera mounts, and rigging. The mark is the culmination of "flying people, the rising sun, and the first letter of the name." The mark can also stand alone, works in one color, and easily imprints itself as a recognizable icon.

More importantly, Trent Sherrell and Virginia Reddin are great people. In fact, they were one of the first to fly in on our online merchandise concept Back Lot Projects, allowing us to add their logo to giftware. The store is still in development, but we already have signed a sponsor agreement with a very visible in-market non-profit organization.

We're about a month out from adding five designs to help them raise funds; tomorrow I'm meeting with another not-for-profit prospect. As the product lines grow so will the potential for all our participants.

All in all, regardless of the strategies and tactics we're asked to assist with, there are common denominators that stand out. We apply strategic communication to everything we do (whether or not we tell the client that is what we are doing). That means everything from designing a logo with an assist from an out-of-market designer to developing what we call a core message system that would make tactical decisions (like how to employ social media) super easy.

In closing, I would like to again thank Kamikaze for being a great forward-thinking client and receptive to a brand-driven mark that drifted away from some early ideas. Also, a big kudos to Sharp for not exhibiting any designer ego in jointly developing this logo that will help take Kamikaze internationally. Great ideas. Great results. That's what it's supposed to be about. Thanks and congratulations!


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