KITESTRING (@KITESTRING) multiplies creativity with strategic thinking for resonating branding results. Creative Director Chris Farias (@ChrisPaulFarias) talks about KITESTRING, branding, Hamilton and the upcoming The Right Angle event being put on by KITESTRING on May 21st.
Tell me about yourself and KITESTRING.
My name is Chris Farias and I am both Creative Director and partner at KITESTRING. We’re an agency comprised of strategists and creative inventors who solve brand equations.
Why did KITESTRING rebrand itself recently?
The agency is now in its sixth year, and just like the world around us, weâve changed a lot in that time. The evolution of our brand reflects the caliber of work our team is creating for our clients.
What happened to Ben?
His internship came to an end and he moved on to a career in theatre. He came to visit recently and told us he was working with Hammer Entertainment on a production of Avenue Q. You can find out more by visiting: http://www.kitestring.ca/social/blog/community/ben-follows-his-dreams-and-hits-stage
What is The Right Angle?
The Right Angle is a KITESTRING event focused on strategies to help communicators and business owners engage in the conversation on social media. Attendees will learn from experts in the field how to manage your message online, protect your brand image, and problem-solve with confidence and creativity.
Why should web, mobile, and video game companies in particular care about social media management?
Itâs up to innovative businesses to lead the way in terms of adopting and understanding new technology. Web, mobile and video game companies need to lead by example. If youâre positioned as a knowledgeable expert, your clients are more likely to follow suit.
What are you most hoping participants take away from The Right Angle?
Weâve noticed a big shift in attitudes about the relevance of social media in the eyes of regional organizational leaders. Leading up to this shift, we were often asked in a presentation or workshop, âWhy is social media relevant?â
Now weâre consistently being asked, âHow do I make my brand relevant on social media?â Iâm hoping participants leave with an idea about how to accomplish that for their brand.
Hamilton in particular seems to have really embraced social media, between the popularity of the #HamOnt hashtag and the relevant communications and business courses at McMaster. Why do you think this is, and are there ways our community should be taking advantage of this strength?
There is a groundswell of citizens doing some amazing things in support of their city within our community. Of course, engaging communications are a part of making these incredible ideas sprout into mini-movements. The reason for this is complex; the perfect storm of timing, economics, culture and spirit.
Last summer we did an experiential meets social campaign at Art Crawl involving a new hashtag. We were shocked by just how encouraging the flood of response was. Three years ago, doing a similar self-promo campaign at Supercrawl garnered completely different levels of engagement. Itâs clear to us that this city is now ready for more.
What trends have you noticed lately in social media marketing and branding and where do you see it going next?
I donât have a crystal ball (Although some days I wish I did!). So, it wouldnât be prudent for me to guess what the future holds. Whatâs really got me excited about the industry lately is a turn towards elements of social good becoming a natural part of any organizationâs marketing mix. When a brand can create a hybrid of social good, digital engagement and a relevant connection to the everyday lives of its target audience, thatâs something to take notice of. These principles have been guiding a few of our newest campaign strategies for our top clients.
Some people in the tech / startup community believe that the best product development talent is in Waterloo, and that the best sales and marketing talent in Toronto. Google has followed this sort of model, with a development studio in Waterloo and advertising / sales in Toronto. I think it’s great for the different cities in Southern Ontario to specialize and have strengths, but it’s concerning to me when it leads to people thinking there is a magic wall that somehow stops world class product development from being done in Hamilton. Is there a similar concern for somebody working in creative branding?
Of course! That may be a tired perception, but that hasnât stopped us from working with the regionâs top health care, education and innovation technology clients. A lot of people are surprised to know that weâve also created campaigns for international clients. KITESTRING has created a niche for itself, and more and more our location is being viewed as something that is in our favour.
Can “big league” world class marketing be done out of Hamilton?
Yes. We have a close-knit community of talented marketers in this city. Weâre a fierce bunch who isnât afraid to change the landscape for local organizations and make a name for ourselves beyond the 905 area code. Itâs going to be our ability to support one another and be proud of one anotherâs successes that will define the next while in terms of local progress for our industry.
Has KITESTRING worked with any tech companies in particular?
Weâve collaborated with Innovation Factory, the local technology SME hub, on a really neat integrated campaign. The STARTOFF campaign was a contest for local Innovation Factory clients, which involved videogame themed digital engagement in collaboration with Orbital, and pop-up 8 bit art installations around the city. We also work with EllisDon, an innovative, international construction company, helping them to define a new software launch set for the summer of 2013.
How did that work out for them?
Innovation Factoryâs campaign has come to a close, so I can share these results. Combined with the engagement campaign, STARTOFFâs digital execution in mobile, social and desktop online developments were explored by laptops and computers, by iPhone, Blackberry, Android smartphones, and had been accessed through 2913 social media buzz mentions on Twitter and 17,102 visits from Facebook.
Where do you see Hamilton in 5 years? 10 years?
I know I would like to see Hamilton become a more walkable city. It would be great to see more people living and working downtown. Iâd love to see a Yogen FrĂźz in walking distance from my house. Thatâs just me.
Hamilton has a lot of hidden gems. There’s different blogs and websites devoted to spotlighting them. What’s your favourite hidden Hamilton gem?
Itâs hard to keep hidden gems a secret in Hamilton because of the widespread adoption of the #HamOnt hashtag on Twitter. Iâm not complaining, itâs actually a good thing. I think a great hidden gem is the Ottawa Street strolling district. The Ottawa Street BIA is a client of mine and I love when I get to get down there for a visit. There are great restaurants, a farmers market, fabric and crafting outlets, antique stores and clothing boutiques.