Creative Director of Aragon Advertising Talks Ads Design Process

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How do you establish the creative process for an advertiser?

I spend time with the brand and their competitors, looking at creative assets, their current landers, their sales funnel, whatever I can to understand what they are doing right now. I try to understand the kind of relationship they are looking to have with their customers and where in this process I can limit friction. At the same time I am looking to establish the right tone to increase motivation, trust and authority. Most of this can be achieved by apply Aristotle’s three persuasive appeals (Logos: appealing to logic, Pathos: appealing to emotion and Ethos: appealing to ethics, moral and character) to the conversion funnel. This is often achieved with some pretty standard elements like facts and statistics (logos), emotional language or stories (pathos) and testimonials, track records and recognizable partner/client logos (ethos).
We have also found a lot of success when we incorporate social proof, just like we choose the better restaurant by how packed out it is, we chose our digital products by who is using them. This technique combined with several other classic psychological and more modern UX best practices has helped me establish a creative process that can be applied to any brand or business.

How do you manage to keep your approach so effective?

Leaning on my startup experience in UX design (and my obsession with understanding why and how we use technology) I think my approach puts the user at the center of all my decisions. Ultimately I am trying to create a product that is pleasing to use; whether that be a browser toolbar download or a click-to-call home improvement service; I want to ensure that the user feels comfortable and safe when engaging with what I’ve built. Don’t get me wrong, I try to incorporate all the proven methods for creating high converting pages (which traditionally are quite obnoxious), but at the same time I try to keep it clean, modern and aesthetically pleasing (something that in my opinion is lacking in the performance marketing space).

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What ad format(s) do you find to be the most effective?

I’m not sure I can necessarily say that one particular ad format is more effective than any other. It really is so much more multi-faceted then that. Especially when you consider what has and is bookending that ad, on the upfront there has probably hopefully been target and audience research and strategy work done to place the ad and then on the other end a landing page and/or conversion funnel. But to answer your questions, I am really enjoying watching the evolution of advertising online. I think it is really exciting to see the ways content marketing is being used. From simply incorporating a brand logo into a captcha form to products being central to the plot of a movie. I’ve been really impressed to see brands producing rich and engaging content that focuses more on entertaining then selling the product. I think this creates a stronger and longer relationship with the consumer.

What do you think about Virtual Reality and what possible ad formats for it may look like?

It’s certainly exciting to consider the immersive experiences that will soon be achievable. I guess in the beginning I imagine that advertising will be very similar to what we have now in actual reality. However if my imagination can wander… wouldn’t it be cool if you are playing in a Virtual World of Warcraft and you get an in game mail (because you have connected your phone’s SMS to forward to your virtual mailbox) and the message is from your partner asking if you could get dinner ready, they “feel like a burrito with sustainably raised ingredients” . You head on over to the town market in Stormwind (Human city in WoW) and walk up to the Chipotle sponsored burrito stand where you order yourself and partner some dinner. Your in-game gold is handed over, which is actual credits you have purchased with your credit card. You can head out, kill a few baddies, collect some epic lootz and 30 minutes later your food will be delivered right in time for dinner. Or maybe just banner ads ;p

What is the most fun about the creative build?

Every day I get to spend my day discovering, learning, understanding and ultimately solving a new challenge. I’m asked to bridge marketing, sales, psychology and technology into a final product that is as close to tangible as you can get in a digital world (or at least this current digital world). Most of all I think I love that it is so unpredictable. From creative assets to technology solutions each day brings a new set of challenges and sometimes the right idea pops in your head immediately, other times its days later while playing on the playground with my daughter that I feel inspired. It’s exhausting and exhilarating. The part that is the most fun, is looking back at all the crazy and silly ideas that at one point you thought were gems, I always get a good laugh at that.

What is a typical day like as the Creative and Development Director at Aragon?

Thankfully I do not have a typical day, as I have said earlier I am constantly challenged in new and exciting ways (I know, what a lucky guy!). However, there are some things which I can guarantee will occur almost every day. I will be asked to create a click-to-call landing page, I’ll provide the search team with more variations to landing pages, the affiliate team will have me bulk update our offers platform via the API or I’ll create new branding assets for the Marketing team. But with all that, most of my time is spent researching, understanding and creating customized creative assets for our clients, be that banner ads, Facebook creative, videos, landing pages or full sites.

How do you balance life and work?

Well, I am certainly someone who is defined by “what they do”. I’ve never had these separate spaces for life and work. From a young age I’ve always been passionate about creating and building and fortunately I am in a position where every day I am challenged to create or build something that 1000’s of people will see or use.