Crafted is a full service digital creative studio located in New York City. Greg Valvano and Peter Mendez, Co-Founders & Creative Directors of Crafted, spoke with TIA about their more important projects, the importance of manual skills, digital marketing’s future and the advantages of leading a team. “We’re big thinkers with a passion for creating beautifully crafted, digital experiences”, says Mendez and Valvano.
In your opinion, what is the strongest digital marketing channel and why?
Branding is more important than we’re consciously aware of these days. A strong brand can make a statement about who you are and where you’re going. It can captivate an audience through a beautiful visual identity and well-defined, relatable voice. A brand’s perception will usually make or break your trust in their product or service. First impressions go a long way.
What advice do you often give to people who are starting to work in your same field?
Don’t give up, no matter how difficult it may seem. There’s a lot of ups and downs and constant sacrifice while starting a creative agency. Just know that if you keep at it, it all pays off in the end.
Which are your principal words of motivation to your team when you start a project?
With each project, we always want to push the creative forward. We say to ourselves, “let’s make this one better than the last”. If there’s an opportunity to try something new or implement the latest technology out there, we’ll make it happen.
Do you have any tips to guarantee a project’s success?
We’re always looking out for the best work. When we collaborate with our clients, we want to make sure both sides of the equation are feeling comfortable and excited about where the work is going. At the end of the day, if the client is happy with the performance and we’re happy with the creative, then everybody wins. That’s success.
What are the advantages to leading a team and why?
Our team is everything. Without the awesome talent that we’ve built around us, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do every day. Over the years, we’ve handpicked only the best Creatives to join our team. Each member brings something new to the project as it makes its way down the pipeline. We’re very close with our staff here. It’s like a family that speaks one language when it comes to the work.
Making a reflection and imagination exercise, how do you think digital marketing is going to be in 10 years?
Based on where it is now, it’s looking as if digital marketing will become more and more interactive and less and less disruptive. People really don’t want ads forced down their throats anymore. They want to engage with a brand and feel some sort of payoff or purpose. Social will definitely continue to be a huge part of marketing with smart applications that bring people together.
Which brands do you think are going to be the most important in the future?
Well, there’s the obvious ones, Google, Apple, Facebook. The best thing about digital today is that you never know what’s going to pop up next. We’re all on a level playing field now. If you have a great idea, you can get funding, build and MVP and be on your way to becoming the next successful brand out there. That’s what is so great about this industry. Anybody can be somebody.
We know you have managed a lot of projects/clients, could you tell us which one represented the hardest challenge and why?
We just wrapped up a redesign of Sean “Diddy” Comb’s Revolt TV. This was both exciting and challenging at the same time. While we knew we’d knock it out of the park on UX and UI, we had to make sure we were reaching a diverse audience of socially active teenagers and millennials in their 20s to early 30s. This is the sharpest, most tech-savvy, digital crowd out there today. We knew we had to nail this one or else they’d be on us about it right away. All in all, when the dust settled, we think it turned out pretty well.
How important are the manual skills in this digital world from your point of view? If they are, in which way do you apply them in your daily work?
Having an understanding and appreciation for the traditional arts is huge. Although we’re in a digital age, being able to understand the dark room process in photography or the 3 dimensional space in a 2 dimensional medium is so important. These instincts act as a base to our craft in everything we do. All of our team members have a background in the studio arts, music or photography and it really shows in our work.