LGND is built on the cornerstone that through unique storytelling we can help good ideas win. It’s the bet we’ve collectively made and continue to make. Our foundation relies on collaboration between folks with differing skill sets working towards a unified goal.
Storytelling comes in many forms, video being one of the most obvious but difficult to execute well. Part of believing our own ethos is embracing challenges and driving towards bettering the products we create. We simply can’t rest on our past successes and keep doing what’s comfortable. That’s how innovation dies.
Above: Watch the LGND Video teaser trailer.
We’ve been using live action video in our work since the beginning of LGND. Usually these videos were provided by the client from an old campaign. This is where the problem arose: when we couldn’t control the creative assets we’re designing or strategizing around, we lost our grip on the outcome. There was always something off. Maybe the creative tone was slightly mismatched or it didn’t meet the goals set after doing an in-depth discovery process. Without a holistic approach we simply can’t create the best possible outcomes for our clients.
A few years ago we had a client ask if we could produce a video for an upcoming campaign. She knew we didn’t have the in-house capabilities, but between my past agency work, experience at NAV, and time in the Obama White House, I personally had extensive video experience, primarily as a producer or art director.
Reaching out to some trusted friends for director-producer recommendations, I found a portfolio that stopped me in my tracks. I immediately reached out to Stellar—a video production house led by the fantastic duo of Hadi Dimachkieh and Patrick Hunt. Previously in-house together at a global agency, Hadi left to shoot amazing videos for drone giant DJI in China while Patrick honed his truly unmatched post-production abilities for clients in DC. Upon Hadi’s return they linked back up and started Stellar.
From that first shoot, I knew we’d found a special team. We worked on a variety of projects, shooting across the United States, Canada, South Africa, Senegal, and Thailand. Over time our teams developed a unique cadence and trust to work on these intensely cinematic projects. We pushed each other to turn what would have been just ordinary video into something extraordinary. I’ve been working in the creative field for a decade and a half and know how difficult it is to cultivate a relationship like that. Partners that tell you straight up when an idea isn’t quite fully baked, and likewise ask for their own ideas to be strongly critiqued in an effort to create the best end product possible. Stellar became more than just a vendor or a partner to LGND. They were a creative equal—always pushing our concepts and ideas even further until we could try to meet Patrick and Hadi’s uncompromising standards of authenticity and quality. I loved every minute of it, and our clients benefited greatly.
Earlier this year the guys asked me to grab lunch. LGND co-founder Patrick Sims shot me a direct message on Slack before the meeting:
We sat down at a favorite low-key spot in Frederick and they launched into a rehearsed storyline. I saw the arc coming and stopped them halfway.
“Yes. I don’t know how yet, we can work out the details, but yes. Let’s do it.”
Over the course of the next few weeks we worked out the deal. By the end of Q2 2019 they were working out of our offices as full time employees of LGND.
With video 100 percent in-house, LGND is able to take our collaborative storytelling efforts to the next level. We’re turning it up to 11. From concept to color correction, it’s all in house—we control the whole process—and that’s just where the improvements begin. Having video veterans sitting with our product teams, involved at every stage of the project from proposal to final upload allows us to improve all of our existing product suite.
Animated video has already been impacted by their experience. Both websites and communications plans are starting to develop even stronger story arcs and are becoming more well-rounded. It’s all part of the plan we set out to execute on just three years ago when LGND was just a couple of vendors partners who worked with Matt on the Distressed Communities Index.
The plan is so important because in 2019 successful experiences aren’t just single-channel deliveries anymore. You can’t just stand up a website with pithy content and expect people to connect emotionally enough to take action. You can’t just create a PR and communications plan without creating the products to help pitch and sell the ideas you’re putting out into the marketplace. Press releases and Times New Roman PDFs are dead; it takes a full suite of capabilities to create the best and most cohesive campaigns. You have to integrate practices that seem like mismatches–like data and video–to create that compelling story and hook your audience. You have to utilize platform channels like Instagram and LinkedIn so you meet people where they are, then drive them to your content. We’ve spent our first two years as a company assembling the best team of storytellers we could find: designers, developers, writers, strategists, data scientists, visualization experts, illustrators, animators… and now video.
The long and short of it is we’ve doubled down. We’re jumping in the deep end of the pool. And it wasn’t even a question for us because we’re committed to helping good ideas win. This is just the logical next best step.
I’m truly so proud of the team we’ve built. Adding LGND Video to the roster gives us incredible perspective and a skillset we previously didn’t have. It’s an exciting time for LGND, and I can’t wait to see what stories we get to tell next.