In-House Design Awards Judge on His Team’s Award-Winning Project

Ed Roberts is no stranger to in-house issues and design. You’ve probably read an article or two by him, as he’s a busy in-house management expert who is also a regular contributor to HOW magazine and online. Along with his writer role and day job, Roberts is also director of marketing on the InSource board, and he’s co-program director of the In-House Manager’s Conference for the 2015 HOW Design Live.

Despite a busy schedule, Roberts — who always wears a smile — will also be a judge for the In-House Design Awards, bringing along his contagious enthusiasm. Roberts took the time to tell us about his team’s project for NC Public Power that was one of the award-winning projects last year (winning competitions really does raise your profile, putting him on our map), and, as an in-house guru, he shares his advice for in-house managers and designers on how to keep creative, motivated and organized.

 

Calendar campaign, print tactics

The printed tactics included actual calendars for the 2013 NC Public Power Calendar campaign.

Roberts: One of the projects I’d like to share with readers is our 2013 NC Public Power Calendar campaign. My team created this campaign for our company’s Economic Development division. The calendar was selected as one of the 86 award-winning designs featured in the 2014 HOW In-house Design Annual. The campaign included print, mobile, website and a tradeshow giveway.

For many years our organization produced a calendar that looked like a family photo album and waned dramatically in popularity among our stakeholders. It lacked engagement with our members. In 2011, I had an idea to bring a more strategic focus to this print tactic by partnering with our Economic Development team and assisting them with making sure our member communities were top of mind with site selection consultants regionally, nationally and internationally.

The best way to do that was to create a calendar so enticingly beautiful and informative that the consultants would want to hang it in their offices for an entire year. Site selection consultants receive hundreds of promotions each year requesting them to visit and locate their businesses in communities all over the United States and beyond. The fact that our communities are top of mind with these folks 365 days a year is priceless.

More of the calendar campaign

More of the calendar campaign

We started this new strategy by featuring twelve BBQ joints in our member communities the first year, followed up by 12 amazing bed and breakfasts in 2013, and this year we featured 12 epic adventures like flyboarding and skydiving. My team wrote and designed every component in the campaign.

We went on each photo shoot and just about every photographic element you see in the campaign was custom photographed at the bed and breakfasts. The 2013 NC Public Power calendar campaign was a massive (and I mean MASSIVE) undertaking that began with me weeding in my garden one Saturday morning thinking, “What next? … B&Bs!”

 

HOW: Your team is definitely creative! What tips do you have for in-house designers and their managers to keep creative and to continue to produce top-notch work?
Roberts: Spend some time outside the “house” playing! Seriously. I’d like to suggest that in-house managers encourage their designers and copywriters to step outside their familiar work group and immerse themselves in the thriving local and national creative community surrounding them.

That can translate into taking time off to finish a woodworking project, develop creative for a new mentoring program with friends, joining a local art museum or professional organization like AAF, AIGA, AMA, DMI, IHAF, InSource or PRSA. When you join these organizations, attend their skill-sharpening creative and professional development programs, too.

Remember to bring all those rewarding experiences and fresh creative perspectives back with you in-house, share them with your teammates, and let them inform your creative problem-solving.

Finally, one of my favorite visual artists, Romare Bearden said it best, “The artist has to be something like a whale swimming with his mouth wide open, absorbing everything until he has what he really needs.” I believe this is a vital component for the in-house creative to continually produce top-notch work.

Calendar campaign, promotional tactic: eye pillow

One promotional tactic were these eye pillows filled with lavender and flax seed to soothe and relax the user, fitting into the B&B theme.

How do you keep your creativity charged? Where do you go for inspiration?
Hands down, my garden. It’s a constant source of creative inspiration for me. When I’m in the garden, no one pays me to make decisions nor do I have to justify those choices. If an evergreen or a perennial doesn’t prosper in one location, then I get my hands dirty and move it to another. On good days or bad, my garden is always there to provide me with a little extra breathing room, a place to sit and soak it all in … a spot to think, “What next.”

erves on the board of InSource as the Director of Marketing. He recently developed, along with several insightful advertising professionals, a summer internship program for high school students that received the prestigious American Advertising Federation’s Mosaic Award.

Along with Andy Brenits, Ed will also be acting as HOW’s partner for the In-House Manager’s Conference for the 2015 HOW Design Live Conference. Follow Ed on Twitter

– See more at: http://www.howdesign.com/in-house-designer-blog/meet-house-design-awards-judges/#sthash.VyGHmWeD.dpuf

In-House Design Awards competition judge

Ed is a designer, writer, speaker and award-winning creative director based out of North Carolina who leads a high-performing corporate in-house team of creative superheroes.

Ed is a regular contributor to HOW, and you’ve probably read his in-house posts or HOW magazine articles. He enjoys exploring topics on creativity, design, strategic thinking and corporate creative management. Ed has interviewed some of the industries most forward-thinking leaders, such as Chermayeff, Geismar & Haviv Partner Sagi Haviv, Richard Turley’s in-house team at Bloomberg Businessweek and Garden & Gun magazine Art Director Marshall McKinney. His latest article in the July issue of HOW is “Taking the Brand Outside,” where he features the collaboration between the in-house team of White + Case and Pentagram.

Ed serves on the board of InSource as the Director of Marketing. He recently developed, along with several insightful advertising professionals, a summer internship program for high school students that received the prestigious American Advertising Federation’s Mosaic Award.

Along with Andy Brenits, Ed will also be acting as HOW’s partner for the In-House Manager’s Conference for the 2015 HOW Design Live Conference. Follow Ed on Twitter @InHouseObs.

– See more at: http://www.howdesign.com/in-house-designer-blog/meet-house-design-awards-judges/#sthash.VyGHmWeD.dpuf

How do you stay on top of all of your and your team’s projects?
Great question! The short answer is I set clear expectations for myself and for each member on my team. Plus, it doesn’t hurt having access to a great workflow management system like Robohead and meeting regularly with a professional organizer like Emily Parks.

 

Calendar campaign, mobile/digital component

The digit component supported the rest of the campaign materials.

 

As a leader whose team has created award-winning work, why is it important for teams to enter competitions?

My personal experience with entering design competitions like the In-house Design Awards is that I’ve found them to be valuable key performance indicators. Indicators that an in-house manager can use to measure the creative effectiveness of their team against similar corporate teams across America. I also believe recognition in HOW magazine—for in-house teams in particular—can be used to build a reputation of creative excellence within the national design community and leverage greater credibility and respect within each teams organization.

Roberts is excited to see your in-house work, explaining that:

“Although I’m an in-house manager who can be found sitting in umpteen operational planning meetings during the week, at my core lives a creative. So, I’m looking forward to reviewing the results of solid strategic thinking and creative problem solving. Truthfully, I can’t wait to absorb the copywriting, relish in the beauty of the well-crafted design, and award the very best work.”

2014_inhouse_logo_web_200x200Impress him and show how solid your team’s work is by entering the In-House Design Awards today. Hurry – the competition closes on July 18.

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