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Sydney
Australia

LIFE:CAPTURED began in August 2013 when we held our first full-day workshop at RAW Space in Sydney, Australia. Our mission is to help people document their stories and create tangible keepsakes to be treasured for generations to come. We offer intensive design, photography, and memory keeping workshops, as well as interactive online classes. We are advocates of honest photography, minimalist design, and memory keeping that's simple, beautiful, and tangible. We are the pioneers of the story book, and we offer flexible templates that enable everybody to tell their story. We believe that life is worth remembering and that it is never too early or too late to start documenting yours. LIFE:CAPTURED was founded by Rhonda Mason (of the Pink Ronnie blog) and Trish Chong (of Tealily Photography).

The blog

The official blog of LIFE:CAPTURED Inc, the modern school of memory keeping. We believe that life is worth remembering and that it is never too early or too late to start documenting yours. We blog about design, photography, and how you can preserve your story with timeless, tangible keepsakes.

Behind the scenes: The process of launching a campaign (Part 2)

Ronnie

Behind the scenes: The process of launching a campaign (Part 2) - A blog post by Rhonda Mason for LIFE:CAPTURED Inc (The modern school of memory keeping)

| Written by Ronnie |

This is the second part of a mini series that takes a behind-the-scenes look into the process of launching our #unravelyourphotos campaign. You can read the first part here.

The spiel

Having decided to proceed with the campaign, and having settled on a name, the next big step was to draft, edit, and nail what I refer to as "the spiel." In my mind, the spiel is like an unofficial press release that explains and describes what the campaign/fuss is all about. It doesn't need to be long - a few paragraphs (ie. 300-500 words) would suffice in most cases. The spiel is all about capturing the big idea and distilling it into simple language for everyone to understand. If done properly, the spiel is what you would then distribute to media outlets, send to your mailing list, and use as the basis of blog posts, social media posts, and emails to potential collaborators. Naturally, you would tailor the spiel slightly for those different channels, but having the spiel ensures that you maintain consistency throughout all your communications. 

I think, also, writing up 'the spiel' forces you to distill your exciting big idea into simple words. After all, if you can't explain what your big idea is about, then you won't be able to sell it.

This part of the process definitely took the better half of a couple of days. Thankfully, I have a cousin-in-law who's one talented freelance journalist and writer, and she was happy to take a quick look at my final draft and she made a couple of very helpful edits to my copy. I cannot recommend this enough - even if your cousin-in-law is not a writer, you can ask a colleague, a fellow creative, a friend, or a family member to be your fresh pair of eyes.

The timeline

Like the spiel, "the timeline" is an essential part of any campaign. Basically, the timeline is a calendar of mini-deadlines that encompasses your entire campaign: from the preparation leading up to the campaign, to the launch of the campaign itself, all the way to the conclusion of your campaign. Working out the timeline from the very beginning is essential for a number of reasons:

  1. It forces you to break down your campaign to actionable tasks.
  2. It gives you tangible deadlines to work towards.
  3. It allows you to communicate effectively and consistency with your collaborators, vendors, followers, and potential customers.

Sometimes it's necessary to work backwards to establish your timeline - for example, if you want to launch something in time for Christmas - but sometimes you may have the luxury of simply 'working forwards', which, theoretically, should allow a bit more flexibility. For our #unravelyourphotos campaign, it was a matter of working backwards, as I wanted to launch it a good couple of months before our Session 2 online classes began in order to promote sign-ups and registrations.

Once I'd drafted a rough timeline in Google Sheets and was happy with it, I entered all the mini-deadlines into my own work calendar as all-day events, so that in any given week, I knew what needed to get done.

The partner

Equipped with the spiel and the timeline, we were then in a position to start reaching out to those whom we wanted to collaborate with in order to make it all happen.

Artifact Uprising was the first brand that came to mind in terms of a suitable campaign partner. Not only are all our story book templates created with Artifact's photo book specifications in mind, we have also collaborated on a couple of giveaways like this one. Moreover, they are well-recognised in the creative circle, and I knew that if we had their support and collaboration, we would attract a larger number of bloggers and Instagrammers for the boot camp. With both excitement and nervousness, I reached out to Artifact using the spiel as the basis of my email. Thankfully, the guys there embraced our vision and Artifact was more than happy to come on board as a naming partner. Through a number of subsequent emails, we worked out the necessary logistics and what Artifact could realistically contribute to the campaign.

The most valuable advice that I can share when it comes to collaborations is to be as specific as possible in terms of what you plan to offer and what you hope the other party can contribute and, at the same time, be flexible and open to suggestions.  

The branding

The tricky thing with branding a campaign is that the branding needs to be unique in itself, but it also needs to be consistent with your main brand. With this campaign, I decided to stick to our usual black and white palette for graphics, and I chose a very classic serif typeface that I felt was also modern and contemporary. I settled on upper case for all the letters as this helped the words to stand out more, and I knew it would work better on Instagram posts. I ended up with this and am still very happy with it. It has carried over well to our physical collateral like the course booklets and the packaging for our new workshop-in-a-box.

The photo shoot

When it comes to any campaign these days, getting the photography right is downright important. The image is always the first thing people see on social media and in RSS readers like Feedly and Bloglovin. The more appealing your imagery, the more likely people will read the text and the more likely they might pin the image to their Pinterest board(s). Without having a physical workshop kit to photograph, I knew it would be a challenge to capture the essence of the campaign in an image that not only complemented the spiel, but that was was fresh, contemporary, and visually appealing to the masses. I didn't really use Pinterest much as a source of inspiration as I didn't want an image that looked too much like anything else. Instead, my focus was on creating something that would be consistent with our branding, and I knew I would also be limited to my own resources, as the impending deadline of the campaign launch meant that Trish and I wouldn't be able to get together for a collaborative shoot.

As with most of my conceptual work, I did multiple rough sketches in my trusty Moleskine notebook until I was happy with a basic idea to build upon. I went through my personal library and printed a set of square prints through Artifact Uprising. I then created a simple iPad graphic based on our campaign branding, and over several attempted shoots in a couple of different locations, I finally ended up with an image that was both professional and intimate, and which I knew would work well in both square and landscape format (for Instagram and for our blog/website respective).

The campaign launch

With all the above details and elements worked out, the launch of the campaign itself was quite simple and straightforward: a blog post, an email to our Newsletter subscribers, an Instagram post, and a Facebook post. The response was so encouraging, and it felt absolutely amazing to have taken something from a mere concept to completion.

* * *

This post was more fun than I'd expected to write, and I hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes glimpse into our campaign. In the next part of this mini-series, I'll write about the bloggers and Instagrammers that we chose, the boot camp itself, how the workshop kits came together, and the results of the campaign.

You can read all the other behind-the-scenes posts here.

p.s. If you're still brainstorming last-minute Christmas gifts, our Unravel Your Photos workshop-in-a-box would make a wonderful present for someone you love - it comes beautifully gift-wrapped and we can even ship it directly to your friend or family with a personalised message! Everything taken care of with one click. Plus, we've added DHL Worldwide Shipping as an option for the US and the UK, which means if you order by 18 December, you should still receive your workshop box by Christmas Eve. 

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