19 Dec 2017: A Year in Review
It’s been one heck of a year at Imaginative Group. So much has changed since the time we did this last year, from some of the faces around the office to there being a shift in workflow, and beyond. We also have a nearly complete, new storefront, which we’ll get into in more detail below. But for now, we’d just like to give a warm thank-you to everyone who’s been with us from the early days. You’re a huge part of why we are entering our 13th year in business.
The New Stuff
The London Branch
Well, the cat is definitely out of the bag now: we’re branching out into the Forest City! It’s so exciting to expand just in time for the New Year. Our new building is located on one of London’s coronary arteries: Downtown Dundas St. This means we’re within walking distance of a bustling metropolitan area and a massive park. Plus, the building itself has been refurbished to the nines by our very own Greg, so it’ll look swell for its grand opening in 2018.
Nothing makes us more overjoyed than seeing our community flourish. In 2017, Imaginative Group had the chance to co-direct a few major campaigns designed to help the city and its surrounding area flourish. The largest of these was More Windsor, a cross-border marketing initiative that encouraged American visitation to Windsor-Essex. With the help of nine local BIAs and two tourism organizations, we lifted More Windsor off the ground and into the eyes of over three million people over the span of four months. More Windsor also allowed us to flex our technical muscles as we managed and designed its website, social media, and search engine marketing campaigns. You can learn more about how we put the campaign together here. But most importantly, the project brought lots of much-welcomed attention to Windsor-Essex. We’re very proud to say we have more exuberating plans for More Windsor in the New Year.
Another community project that was dear to us was One Road for All, a campaign that advocated for the implementation of bike lanes along some of the city’s most economically occupied roads.
Sharing Our Voice
In 2017, we hosted some sweet seminars. The first of these was our Lunch and Learns. Held in our office for a couple of weeks in June, our Lunch and Learns helped educate local business owners about the benefits of having a complete marketing package. We held four weeks’ worth of Lunch and Learns and got to meet some awesome bizes along the way.
More recently, we co-hosted a more in-depth seminar about the benefits of social media marketing in a modern business world. With the help of Blab Media, our co-coordinator, this event was also a smash, and not just because it was held at the Walkerville Brewery. If you didn’t get the chance to attend, you can read about it here. Hosting a community event allowed us to network like never before and we are definitely willing to host another seminar in the future.
In 2017 we wrapped up our For Gratis poster series. These monthly posters allowed us to creatively represent Windsor-Essex and give back to the community. Even though we are no longer making our For Gratis pieces, we are selling our Windsor posters on our online shop for a limited time. You can buy your own Dawn or Dusk style poster today.
The Improved Stuff
More than in any other year, 2017 has been about brand creation and refinement, especially regarding community projects. This allowed our design team to shine and some of our finest work was done for projects such as the Riverside Miracle Park and the City of Windsor Sculpture Park. Other undertakings, such as One Road for All, also occupied a lot of design time since the task of representing such a major, political issue had to be done carefully. But as always, our team pulled through.
Our design department’s management structure also experienced some changes. The biggest of these involved Emily becoming our new creative director. Even though transitions can be a little rocky for anyone, she pulled through smashingly.
This year, our social media department grew in all the right ways. We are now confident Facebook Live users, which opens up the whole new realm of social video marketing to us. Considering how huge social video is supposed to be in 2018, I’d say we picked up this skill at just the right time. We have also started expanding our social site repertoire. We spent a lot of time exploring the benefits of advertising on platforms such as LinkedIn, SnapChat, and YouTube.
Our video department has always grown in spurts. Just like in 2016, we made some substantial video advancements in 2017. We now have two staff members qualified to manage production, allowing us to create more quality ads of this nature than ever before. Using state of the art software and cameras, we’re now able to compose commercials, video testimonials, video for web, and animations. It’s great when things come alive.
Web is always changing, so it might not come as a surprise that our department has evolved a lot since last year. One notable difference is that we introduced a new web development process that allows our clients to be more involved in their site’s design phase. This streamlines the process since it means we can spend less time on revisions and more on creating sites.
We are also delighted to announce that we are now hosting with Amazon Web Services. This means our hosted sites now have increased speed, security, and reliability. Pretty snazzy, I’d say.
Living Large in the Large Format Print Department
Lots of equipment is needed to keep our large format print department going. That’s why Jeff now has a ton of new, rocking machinery to work with. These include a latex machine, which also happens to use environmentally friendly inks, a custom cutter for all our label and decal-cutting needs, and a plotter. With growing demand for posters, canvases, and other large format pieces, we’re now truly armed to take on 2018.
Fulfilling a New Year’s Resolution
How many of you actually stuck to – or remember – your 2017 New Year’s resolution? Well, our web developer certainly did! Since our first day back to the office last January, Cole has abstained from dining at restaurants for lunch during work days. For a guy who used to stop by Subway or McD’s every other day the year prior, this is a pretty big deal. Even though the rest of us slipped out for a bite throughout the year, he didn’t waver. Cole, we don’t know how you did it, but you’re an inspiration. Now go out and buy a burger already!
A New Team Member
This November, our project manager, Nate, and his wife became proud parents. Their son is now a month old, has a head full of hair, and is completely, uber adorable. We’re not sure if he’s decided to become a designer, developer, or copywriter yet but he’s definitely welcome aboard the team.
Congrats, Nate and Talia!
We learned a lot in 2017. Some things didn’t go as planned or simply needed to be changed because we outgrew them. Other things worked astonishingly well. We are so grateful for both experiences though, since they allowed our team to build endurance and creativity. We’ll be entering a whole new phase of development in 2018 but we couldn’t do it had it not been for 2017’s accomplishments and challenges.
However, as of now, it’s time to kick back and enjoy the rest of the holiday season. We look forward to seeing you next year and hope you have a safe and delightful New Year.
~The Imaginative Team