For a long time, ad agencies have become increasingly popular as employers. Popular reasons for young employees are the closer connection to the product you create and flexible working times. But for a lot of people, the working atmosphere is even more important: familiarity, and being part of a team. We talked with Michael Frank, CEO of a modern ad agency, about his “Crew,” making clients happy, and challenging Bosch with… cordless screwdrivers?
A Crew of Professionals
The Crew is a German high-class marketing and brand agency located in the lively city of Stuttgart. For over 30 years, they have been creating brand personality and marketing campaigns for all kinds of clients—from customers like the pharmaceutical company ratiopharm to local law firms.
Among their team of about 50 professionals are branding experts, content producers, and, of course, consultants. “But we are also so much more than that! We are listeners, optimists, doers, dreamers, artists, and critics. Exceptional people work here. We’re not just called “crew”; we truly are one,, says Michael Frank, CEO of The Crew.
Behind every customer and product lies an interesting story to be uncovered. Telling these stories to create a brand with personality is part of their day-to-day business. “We combine unique ideas with perfect execution to achieve success,” says Michael.
The Idea that Led to a Viral Video Series
“Bosch wanted us to design some form of promotional campaign at local retailers that should be more than just a showcase of Bosch Professional tools,” explains Michael. Obviously, creating buzz and media attention was also part of the core idea. So Michael’s Crew was confronted with a challenging task.
After a lot of brainstorming, coffee, and sleepless nights, they came up with a nifty idea: “Is there a better way to get attention than giving customers an opportunity to challenge Bosch, the engineering giant?” queries Michael. But how can this thought be put into reality?
The concept Michaels Crew came up with was the “Bosch Pro Challenge.” It was designed as a contest for professional customers to participate in. The goal: In a carefully prepared challenge room and in teams of two, tighten 20 screws with cordless screwdrivers made by Bosch Professional and beat the best time: 111,17 seconds. Michael’s team designed the entire campaign from the ground up. All visual assets, including videos, banners, and even the website, were created by The Crew.
Watch the explainer video (German):
Passion Alone Is Not Enough
”With everything in hand, we can ensure that we meet our client’s expectations,” explains Michael. This obviously meant a lot of work for his Crew. “But we can handle that. We are a great team and have a lot of passion for our work!” he adds. But sometimes, passion is not enough.
One of the biggest challenges they faced in this project was creating and finalizing the various videos used to explain and advertise the challenge: “The review and approval processes for videos have always been an issue for us,” explains Michael.
The reason for that lies in the philosophy of The Crew. “We don’t work for our clients; we work with them. We will only be content with our work when they are,” Michael continues. To get there, you definitely need a lot of reviews and feedback.
“In our team, we used to write complicated emails, in which we tried to explain certain scenes and elements. Or we created Powerpoint presentations with screenshots and annotations. It was truly a mess,” explains Michael.
But fortunately, The Crew had a useful tool for overcoming this challenge. “For the Bosch Pro Challenge, we used Filestage to coordinate our work and review videos. It’s a great tool, and our team loves working with it,” explains Michael. “It makes approval processes transparent and well-structured. For us, Filestage is the best way to ensure high quality in our work.”
How Filestage Helped to Get Work Done
“I’ve been in this business for 20 years, and quality assurance has surely changed,” explains Michael. Back in the Age of Paper, this process used to be rather easy: “You printed out your draft and gave it to your client, and he ticked it off or scribbled his annotations and remarks directly on your print.” In the Digital Age, things are different. Especially non-static media (such as videos, music, or even animated web banners) are hard to comment on. “Vague descriptions and time codes are no big help,” says Michael.
“In this day and age, you need a way to standardize quality assurance and review loops,” clarifies Michael. That’s where Filestage comes in. It structures and streamlines the entire process. “It kind of works as a checklist for us, so there’s still some ticking off going on,” he jokes.
And what about the Bosch Pro Challenge? With a burning ambition, over 1,000 teams have faced the challenge at 80 local events, and almost half of them have managed to beat the best time. The videos created by Michael’s team have over 1,000,000 views. “This project was a huge success for all of us, and it’s a perfect example of our credo: Brand. Content. Experience.”
With an open mind he tries to bring a little creativity in everyone’s life. His credo: Communication is key to success.