Scroll, Baby, Scroll

Whenever we’re creating a website that asks for some degree of scrolling from the user, clients usually have a number of common concerns. How much of the content will users actually see? How much will they interact with?

While conventional wisdom has long held that you want as much of your (important) content as possible “above the fold” — i.e. immediately visible on the page, without scrolling down — there’s a revolution happening in the way designers think about this problem. And it starts with a revolution in how people are actually interacting with content.

Because guess what? Your users are scrolling. Pretty much all the time. Pretty much right away. It’s the first thing they do on your site.

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The above image is from Huge, which ran a study involving 48 participants and cataloguing scrolling habits. The result was surprising (or not, depending on where you land on the debate at hand): almost everyone scrolled – not just part way down the page, but all the way to the bottom.

This has huge repercussions for designers and clients alike. Why cram a bunch of content above the fold when your users are already scrolling for what comes next?

More from Huge and Fast CoDesign.

The Weird, Icky Gender Messaging of Whole Foods’ New Ad Campaign

Earlier today we linked to a great summary of some of the shortcoming’s of Whole Foods’ aesthetically gorgeous new marketing campaign — namely that it still makes them look expensive and pretentious, two things they should probably at this point be trying to avoid.

Well, we missed something: the stunningly off gender messaging of some of these ads. For a campaign that is primarily about “Values” … Whole Foods’ agency, New York based Partners & Spade, messed this one up pretty bad.

The ads — all of which seem to feature women, save for the one with a possibly male farm worker shown in the distance, with his back to camera — pair whimsically typefaced headlines with an image.

Some are totally fun and great:

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Nice, right? Translation: Healthy food is yummy — and your family is a conscientious trend setter.

Some, though, are a little weird/off:

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Harmless? Translation: Hey girls, you can look strong, totally! As long as you don’t challenge the status quo or really assert yourself or anything.

And some are downright creepy:

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Translation: Your body belongs to someone else. You better take care of it better, so you can make them happy!

Yikes.

Values do matter to your consumers, Whole Foods. And your marketing agency is pushing brand messaging that is weirdly anti-feminist. Who shops at Whole Foods again?

Strategy Review: Whole Foods’ Bold, Beautiful, Message-Shaky Leap into Big Money Marketing

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We loved this review of Whole Foods’ first big agency-backed marketing campaign, written by the organic food giant’s 90′s-era head of marketing Joe Dobrow. Dobrow absolutely nails some of the campaign’s potential strategic pitfalls: slick cinematography that makes them come off as expensive; “Values Matter” as an out-of-date message that misses an opportunity to talk about value (what he argues truly sets them apart from other organic chains); etc.

We were also dorking out on some of the company’s marketing history:

As the first ever national head-of-marketing for Whole Foods, back in the late ’90s, I fought and lost a battle to make marketing relevant. Back then, the company treated marketing as purely optional, a “nice-to-have,” kind of like an in-store wine-chiller or a grind-your-own peanut butter machine: it might bring in a few more customers. To the extent it had a marketing strategy at all, it was the “Field of Dreams” approach: build it and they will come. But the problem in retail marketing in general is that while “build it and they will come” may sometimes work, “build it and they will come back” never does. With so much attrition and competition, you have to keep pushing the brand to generate loyal, repeat business.

So I tried to launch targeted direct mail programs, radio campaigns, print campaigns, a glossy magazine, a sophisticated loyalty program, a co-branded credit card–all were greeted with suspicion and rigorous tests for proof of concept, and were ultimately rejected. I spent more time marketing the idea of marketing within Whole Foods than marketing Whole Foods outside of Whole Foods.

Great stuff.

Here’s one of the (admittedly beautiful) new ads. What do you think?

Awesome Ideas, Small Agencies

Today we’re sending out some small agency love to 11-person Parallax, who have instituted an absolutely brilliant policy: a $1500 travel budget for all employees. Say what?

travel

The rules:

  1. You have to go somewhere you’ve never been.
  2. You have to go between September and December.
  3. It has to “push your comfort zone.”

And yes, that appears to be it. All employees. Anywhere in the world.

We love this idea because it recognizes your team members as whole people — who are sustained and inspired by experiences outside of work, and yet are always bringing that inspiration into work with them. Encouraging (and funding!) trips like this says more than just “we care about our employees.” It says our employees are brilliant, creative people whose personal development want to invest in.

More from Fast Company here.

How do agencies self-actualize?

If you’ve worked in the marketing world — especially as a creative — you know it involves a high degree of compromise. You compromise on the original concept for one that you know will get chosen. You compromise on your favorite design for one that makes the client happy. You compromise on something that’s perfect for something that works. In fact, one can argue that it’s that very process of modification and feedback — with clients, with each other — that makes the collaborative process meaningful.

But we also know that if we’re all stuck doing something we don’t like 90% of the time, that doesn’t work either. This is as true for agencies themselves as it is for the individuals who work at them.

venn diagram

A great agency is able to find the sweet spot in the diagram above: taking on work that a) it does well, b) it can be paid (well) for, and c) it wants to be doing. When you’re in that sweet spot, there’s nothing better.

However, even the best agencies won’t always land all three. At LogicTrail, we get plenty of offers for work we can get paid for, and that we do well…but those are not always the jobs that we want to be doing. As a small, talented agency working with a wide range of clients big and small, part of our growth process has been to recognize when we’re in a situation like this — being offered a job we don’t actually want to do — and start saying no. Even if it would make us a lot of money.

We’re also constantly learning and improving as an agency. If we want to do cutting-edge work in, say, 3-D animation or apps, that doesn’t mean we have the capacity to do it right at this moment. If that’s something we want to be doing, we have to build our way there. And there are things we do really well currently — high-level brand strategy, design, etc. — that we can monetize further.

Check out the graphic again. How does it apply to your agency?