What an internship at Ngrane is really like

I spent the whole summer doing an internship at Ngrane and… you guessed it! I had the time of my life! Some of you may think of an internship as routine work and making coffee. However, at Ngrane that was never the case. Even though sometimes Jeffrey (our Graphic Designer) made me make toast for him. That vegan toast turned out to be more addicting than caffeine, because of that everyone was getting more and more hooked on eating vegan food for lunch. This also resulted in me making more vegan toasts for Jeffrey. I didn’t mind it though; I would do it all over again!

I got creative enlightenment

Before I started my internship, I was supposed to finish up my UX certification course. It was so difficult that I couldn’t finish it in time. Little did I know that after only a few months everything I was struggling with would start to make so much sense! This was all because of the projects I got to work on at Ngrane and the way my colleagues contributed with their knowledge in brainstorm sessions and their feedback. They were basically my lab rats! All the help and insight I got helped me refine my skills and get more confident in myself and my abilities.

I worked in the most inspiring environment

First of all, I never thought I could love a city THIS much! Second of all, I have a new ‘all-time favorite’ workplace: The war room on the fifth floor! This was a very creative environment because I could create endless wireframes on every wall while me and David’s (our Creative Director) ideas were flowing. Besides Amsterdam and WeWork’s cool office spaces, Ngrane itself is an awesome place to work. I met so many amazing people; from the Ngrane community to the office neighbors, everybody has amazing energy and they stand out in whatever expertise they have. Because of this, I managed to set up an office helper on Alexa with Alexa Blueprint. It’s meant to answer all possible questions people that are new to the office may have such as what’s the Wi-Fi password, how they can print, etc. It was a nice way to get a first taste of VUI (voice user interface design). It was challenging as I had to figure out how to implement communicational design to make Alexa sound as human as possible. I added some jokes here and there to make it seem like Alexa was part of the team.

I also created wireframes for the knowledge base based on the interviews I did with my colleagues. It’s meant to be something that makes their daily jobs easier, wherever they may be working from. It’s a place where they can find everything they need about the company, such as activity planning, brand guidelines, factsheets, repository files and much more.

My bosses were cooler than yours

Yep, you read that correctly; my bosses were really cool! Ngrane’s management team really sets the right values for its mission: to create the best workplace in the world. The first time I realized this was that one time we started the Friday Expo with power shots! I’m joking, it takes a little bit more than fancy drinks to convince me. Things that really made Ngrane special were the personal attention the management team had for each individual, the fact that they see creative expression as high job performance, the marble jar that serves as a symbol of how trust is growing within the company, the fact that they encourage a lot of professional and (even higher on their list) personal development and the list goes on. I could honestly write a three-page essay on this subject, but all I’ll say is that it takes a lot of love and dedication to create an environment where your employees and or team members can feel comfortable enough to be themselves and can achieve personal growth.

I gained a whole new family

Besides all the amazing things I already mentioned above, one of the most valuable things I gained was a new family. A family of extremely creative, kind-hearted and outstandingly intelligent people. At Ngrane, they will always make you feel at home.

As you now know, I had a great time! My internship at Ngrane was a kick start to my career as a UX/UI designer, and I got to do this among amazing people while laughing every day. Naturally, my time there gained a very special place in my heart. No, I’m not crying, you’re crying! But there’s no reason to be sad as I’ll always be part of the Ngrane Community!


OnBrand ’19: Uncover the future of branding

OnBrand positions itself as the leading branding conference for marketing and creative professionals in Europe. As a group of digital creatives based in Amsterdam, we definitely couldn’t miss out on meeting like-minded professionals who also want to learn about the latest in branding.

Every company wants to be unique. They want to stand out, make a change, be the lead competitor in their market and give their clients a brand that they can identify with. That’s why each year a lot of companies and individuals attend OnBrand. This way they can stay up to date with all the relevant topics and trends revolved around branding and be inspired by other creatives who are also passionate about their work.

After a long day filled with inspiring talks, delicious food and lots of socialization, we got to think about our biggest takeaways from the event. Some of them were mind opening and helped us put our branding into perspective. We hope they can do the same for you.

1

“Volatility breeds short-term reaction and not long-term brand building.”

Mike Flynn, Strategy Director Design Bridge

With this quote, Design Bridge wanted to make clear that we’re living in the fast pace age. Our ecosystems are rising and categories are blurring. Knowledge is at the edge of our fingertips, everything we want to know is just one simple search away. Because of this, markets are becoming more competitive, making it harder for companies to create sustainable success in this environment. The reason for this is that we’re all so busy being focused on trends (that oftentimes only give us a few clicks and nothing more) that we lose sight of what is important, our brand. It’s a hard thing to do, especially when you want a quick return on your investment, but we have to focus on creating valuable and distinctive content that will still having meaning and relevance for our company and consumers for years to come. In our team, we make sure that all the content we create reflects our brand’s story and purpose; this way we know that we’re not just following trends (that may not even suit our brand) but creating valuable content.

At the end of the day, interaction trumps. Consumers want an experience, not just a logo. So, create an idea that has higher meaning and never stop evolving your brand. This is what’s going to build your brand.

2

“We need to identify types of personalities and not personas.”

Kristopher Smith, Managing Director AnalogFolk

We’ve heard it all before. When selling a service or product it is recommended to make a persona out of the data you have acquired about your (potential) consumers. We admit it, we’re also guilty of doing this. The truth is that a persona has no actual understanding of an individual’s behavioral needs and problems. These are the needs and problems that can be solved with our products and/or services. These are the customer frictions that we can turn into opportunities for magic. That’s why we must find who needs us and not just who we are supposed to serve. What AnalogFolk means with this is that we need to analyze data and behavior to see who we actually need to focus on and what they want from us. We have to connect the dots between data signals and our business problem, and we have to understand our audience’s motivations and behaviors. We must use mindsets to position our creatives for success and we need to create ideas that serve our audience. In short, we have to connect, humanize and create. Personally, we couldn’t agree more. This talk opened up our perspective on traditional marketing, teaching us that we need to use data to challenge the status quo.

3

"You must confront the truth in order to affect the change."

Amanda Fève, Chief Strategy Officer Anomaly

While discussing lies brands (still) tell us alongside an all-female panel, Amanda Fève said that we must confront the truth in order to affect the change. These women intensely talked about how brands nowadays often still use a lot of stereotyping in advertisements because it’s what they have always done, and they are not fond of change. Change is way too much effort. Stereotypes are easy, people instantly get them, especially if it’s something they have seen multiple times before. But the world isn’t binary. We must always offer proper representation for everyone; this is especially important in the world we’re living in now. Working with a multicultural team with different backgrounds, Ngrane completely understands that each person is unique and doesn’t want to be categorized into a box. It’s important for each person to feel like they are being heard and properly represented. Oftentimes, in both advertisements and on the work floor, this still isn’t the case. It isn’t because we as companies are not aware of these stereotypical behaviors in our daily life, it’s because even when we are confronted with them, we don’t do anything. We must confront the truth, accept it and take actions to change things where change is overdue. Brands must stop being conventional and stop focusing on what used to be. Our world is continuously changing, and our brands need to be part of the change if we want to stay relevant. We must stop looking back, left and right and focus on going forward. We do want to point out that not all stereotypes are necessarily negative, the negativity often lies in how they are implemented. When using a certain stereotype in advertising we must always ask ourselves first if this is coming at somebody’s expense or perpetuating harmful stereotypes.

4

"To be part of culture, you need to be in conversation."

Tim van der Wiel, Founder and Creative Director GoSpooky

The life of a marketer has become a lot harder in the last few years. This is because there is an excessive amount of ways to advertise something nowadays. Marketers always strive to get as much exposure and actions from one advertisement as possible. The problem here is that sometimes we have little to no progress on the channels we’re already using. That’s why it’s important for companies to continuously analyze the market so that they can be the first to find the best upcoming place to get exposure and eventually their return on investment. Possibilities here are to try out different channels, switching up your content or simply just focusing on a different target group. As companies we must try to walk other avenues, we got to try something different and new. Who knows? This new path might just give us the publicity we need. All publicity is good publicity, it is exposure, a way for people to get to know us and talk about our brand. Any bit of exposure can have an impact on how people know and perceive your brand. Just like Tim van der Wiel stated: it starts with a conversation and before you know it, it becomes a brand that people identify with, it becomes part of their culture.

5

 “We need to invest in cultural and emotional innovation like we invest in product and brand innovation.”

Stephen Gates, Head Design Evangelist InVision

Let’s start by saying that no team in the world is perfect. The same goes for companies. In fact, according to Stephen Gates, every company in the world is dysfunctional. Whoever you think is doing it right, whoever you want to work for that seems like they got it figured out, they don’t. The thing is either they hide it better than you do or they’re more transparent about their problems. Every company has problems. It’s how they deal with it, how transparent they are with it, that makes the difference. This means that even though no team is perfect, we still have to strive to get the best teamwork. This is because the experience you’re putting out reflects the way your internal teams are working together. Your work is your truth. Sometimes this is hard because every creative, every leader, feels like they’re doing/getting it wrong. The reality is that whenever you’re a creative you have things like your education, your childhood, your career and insecurities that make you different and unique. Society teaches us that we are not good enough when we are not like everybody else. This is ridiculous because the people who we admire and think are the best, they took that insecurity and made that difference their unique strength. As individuals in a team, we must bring these unique strengths together to create sustainable work that is up to standards and that will have value for years to come.


What I learnt from remote working abroad for a week

Remote working abroad… waking up with the beach stretched out in front of you, meeting and mingling with other creatives and blending work with a love for travel. Yep, that’s pretty much the crowning glory of freelance life. Because, what is more flexible thanto pack up your bags and say “Later peeps, I’m working in Bali for a month.

After travelling around Sri Lanka, I spent one week of remote working to test the tropical waters for myself. Here’s my experience and a few tips on how to make it the best experience for yourself.

What is remote working?

First things first, what is remote work? Remote working basically means a “new” type of work that goes beyond the traditional walls of office space. It means working from anywhere and still keeping that hustle going. This way of working is not necessarily reserved for only freelancers or entrepreneurs. Nowadays, employees often get a day to work at home or elsewhere. It can be a day or a month or it can be your entire year but it can also be a workcation, aka. where holiday meets work. 

Vacation Mode vs. Work Mode

It sounds pretty dreamy, working from a topical place or a new city but don’t forget that it’s also a challenge. Staying disciplined and actually getting work done won’t just magically happen without a lot of effort and self-discipline. We’re wired in a way that being in a tropical setting or even just a brand new city means one thing and one thing only: Vacaaaay. So when all of a sudden you realise “wait a sec I was supposed to be doing work,” it just goes against every fibre of your body to start working.

Look, I love the beach. So working behind my laptop with an ocean view feels like the holy grail of office goals. But turns out, the waves calling my name wasn’t great for concentration. Luckily as a freelancer, I go through all the ups and downs of self-discipline. It’s something I know how to overcome. If didn’t have this experience, I probably would have been floating in the sea all day. By challenging yourself abroad you’re also practising for back home. This will be useful to create more discipline in your day-to-day work schedule.

I’d say to give yourself some time to get into the rhythm – don’t go straight into an intense work mode immediately – give it time, get used to the place. After just two days of working I figured out I don’t function at all with the heat around noon, so I worked in the early morning hours, went to yoga, chilled at the beach and worked after lunch time when it cooled down. If you have a short time like me, it’s a little trickier to find out what works best for you, but the important thing is to keep trying different things or different spots to work at even in a co-working space. After 3 days I knew exactly what time I was most productive, where my favourite spot to work was at what time of the day and when.

Digital Nomad Office Goals

An ideal workspace or homespun office really depends on the person. You have the freedom to design your own remote working holiday. Whatever it is you need to stay motivated and inspired, it’s up to you to make that happen. The internet is overflowing with information so it’s easy to do lots of research before you leave. 

If you’re up for a remote working abroad, you don’t have to fly halfway across the world. For the Europeans reading this, there are places like Porto or Barcelona with great co-working/living places to check out. Or if you want to travel a bit further and prefer the hustle of a big city rather than relaxed beach vibes, head out to New York or Medellin. The point is to get out of your comfort zone, discover a new place, find new inspiration and just enjoy the freedom you have to work from anywhere you want. If you can escape the 9 to 5 office routine, why not?

When you’ve chosen the country or countries you’d like to go to, the next choice to make is where you’d like to work and live from. The options for a digital nomad abroad are endless. You can find co-working spaces that are also co-living spaces like Verse or Hubud. At these places, your holiday becomes a home, which becomes an office – and that is an experience in itself. You can also choose to book yourself into an Airbnb, hotel or guest house near a good co-working space. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of a co-working space and take a step back from the hustle somewhere else. 

Co-working spaces take away all the hassle of a remote working trip. Here you’re guaranteed good wifi,  desks or comfy chairs to work from, other digital nomads and good coffee. But these millennial hubs aren’t your only option. A charming Airbnb or hotel room with good wifi, a desk and anything else you’ll need to get work done will also do. Having a place catered to your needs as a remote worker is great and meeting new like-minded people even better. But a little peace and quiet at your own home-away-from-home can do wonders for your work as well.

Remember, it's still a holiday (sort of)

The point is not to drench yourself in guilt every time you relax a little. Don’t forget the vacation part of workcation. Free time is not only beneficial for your work progress, but it’s also necessary. Both your wellbeing and work will be better off. I did heaps of reading, journaling, yoga and just lying on the beach doing absolutely nothing. I’d suggest to really find something else you can do when you’re there. You could learn how to surf, go to cooking classes or just schedule in some time to explore the city and local food.

Moments like having dinner at a local place or just relaxing, often make room for great ideas. As a copywriter, sentences or phrases for clients will come up when the pressure dials down. Just make sure you have notebook handy and go out and chill. We don’t get enough chances to really be by ourselves and relax back home. So grab the chance when you can. 

If you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur or if your employer gives you the opportunity to work elsewhere, I don’t see any reason why not to try out some remote working. Have a little googling around, ask your community and figure out what you need to get lots of work done abroad. Remember, you decide the terms of your remote working trip. That’s the best part.

I’ve added a few of the best co-working and co-living spaces for you to check out yourself:

https://nomad.life/

https://www.swissescape.co/

https://restation.co/

https://hubud.org/

You can also check out https://nomadlist.com/. Pieter Levels, an Amsterdam Entrepreneur, has set up a list of the best cities to live and work remotely in. It scores cities on things like internet, safety and fun.


Ngrane, Radicand Economics & e-Conomics partner to offer full-service digital platform solutions

Ngrane is partnering up! We’re happy to announce a team of creators and thinkers who will provide you with full-service digital platform solutions.

We’re always looking for new opportunities to grow as a business and community. So when we got together with Paul de Bijl (Radicand Economics) and Nicolai van Gorp (e-Conomics) to discuss a new partnership, we were more than just a little excited.

Meet our new partners

Paul de Bijl and Nicolai van Gorp are seasoned consultants with an expertise in the economics of competition and strategy. They have advised governments and businesses on how to respond to the changing competitive landscape resulting from digitalisation. They also provide executive training at Nyenrode Business University on digital business models and strategy. For a number of clients, Paul and Nicolai organised Digital Business Model workshops. These are one-day workshops to guide businesses in translating a first idea for a digital platform to a concrete and strategically sound business and revenue model. Recent clients include Heijmans, PharmAccess and Nyenrode Business University.

The option to go full-service

Our skills in the realisation of digital platforms now meet those of Paul and Nicolai in designing business models and strategies to fully utilize network effects and other unique features of digital platforms that determine success. This way, we are able to offer an integrated, full-service approach to platform design and realisation. We support the customer’s digital transformation by converting ideas into finding actionable insights to creating a business model and accompanying prototypes, digital products and solutions.

Platforms, revolutionizing industries

Today, every industry is or will be shaken up by digital platforms.

The core function of a platform is to facilitate interactions among and between groups of users by means of an infrastructure and a set of rules. This principle can be applied in every industry to address a wide variety of market frictions. Once the number of users has passed a critical mass, network effects will drive the platform’s growth exponentially and completely change existing bargaining positions along the value chain. Many companies already have become dependent on platforms as a way to reach their customers, other companies have become entirely obsolete as platforms facilitate their suppliers to bypass them and interact directly with end-users. Labour markets are overturned, as well as finance, logistics, real estate, tourism, et cetera, and more will follow.

It is not helpful to ask whether your company could be replaced by a platform or if it becomes too dependent on it. Think in terms of possibilities. Think especially about frictions in the market in which you are active that can be reduced. Can you come up with a platform to address a friction? Can this save costs for you? Can this save costs for others? If so, be the first to set up this platform so that you not only realise those cost savings for yourself but also benefit from the cost savings by others. A nice extra is that if your current business becomes obsolete in the future, it is probably because of your own platform and not that of another.

How will it work

Our alliance provides our customers with the possibility to go from idea to a business model, to a working prototype in a 1-2 week design sprint. After this, ideas can be tested to create a validated digital platform. The partnership will offer customers the ability to innovate fast and answer critical business questions early that result in saving time and costs and reducing risk.

In addition to the Ngrane partnering and branding, Radicand Economics and e-Conomics will remain active in economic consulting under their own brand names.


Ngrane realiseert nieuwe website First Consulting

Photos by: Angela Tellier

Ngrane realiseert nieuwe website First Consulting

Published on October 19, 2018

Out of the box en no-nonsense, dat is waar de Amsterdamse consultancy organisatie First Consulting voor staat. Tot voor kort straalde de website van de consultancy organisatie dat nog maar weinig uit. Ngrane heeft daar met de ontwikkeling van een geheel vernieuwde website verandering in gebracht.

Maarten Icking, oprichter van First Consulting:

“Stephen, David en alle andere professionals van Ngrane hebben ons écht een totaaloplossing geboden. Dat is meer dan goed bevallen.”

De vraag

First Consulting is met 210 medewerkers, 40 toonaangevende klanten en een hoge kwaliteit een serieuze speler op de consultancy markt. Maarten: “Met onze oude website deden we onszelf tekort. Daarom schakelden we creative director David van Delden en managing partner Stephen Garcia van Ngrane in om First Consulting online neer te zetten als professioneel, maar ook jong en fris consulting bedrijf.”

Waarom koos First Consulting voor Ngrane?

Die keuze was snel gemaakt. Want waar First Consulting end-to-end consultancy dienstverleningen biedt, levert ook Ngrane totaaloplossingen voor online vraagstukken. Concreet waren we bij deze opdracht verantwoordelijk voor de online strategie, design, ontwikkeling, tekst in Nederlands en Engels, fotografie én video.

Maarten:

“Ngrane heeft ons gedurende het hele traject ontzorgd.”

Hoe doet Ngrane dat?

Dat Ngrane full service oplossingen kan bieden, komt door het unieke concept waarmee we werken: een hybride collective model. Kortgezegd houdt dat in dat Ngrane werkt met een kernteam, aangevuld met een community van meer dan 50 freelance digital experts. Dit kernteam heeft als belangrijkste taak het bouwen van lange termijn relaties, zowel met opdrachtgevers, als met de freelancers uit het netwerk.

David van Ngrane:

“Met onze community van freelancers kunnen we per opdracht een team van professionals samenstellen. Service op maat, dus.”

Wat vonden we van deze opdracht?

Maarten van First Consulting: “Eigenlijk lijkt Ngrane wel op ons. Net als wij, gaat Ngrane echt voor kwaliteit: ze zijn scherp, ze verrassen ons vaak met slimme ideeën en zijn doelmatig eenvoudig. No-nonsense dus. Stoutmoedig zijn ze zeker ook: staan ze ergens niet achter? Dan gaan ze de discussie zeker aan. Dat resulteert in vertrouwen.” Ook Ngrane zelf vond het een leerzame opdracht. “Wat ik inspirerend vond aan First Consulting, is hun aandacht voor het menselijk aspect. Persoonlijke groei, korte lijnen en een echte klik tussen mensen, dat is waar het om draait,” aldus David.

Ngrane en First Consulting samen:

“We zijn niet alleen blij met het eindresultaat, maar met het gehele traject.”

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Radio Ngrane - Power tunes to get you pumped

Some days all you need is a little musical motivation. To feel utterly invincible. To say to yourself “Damn, I Got This.” We share our favourite power tunes that pick us up and sweep us into our high-energy selves.

Introduction

We sense a pattern here. Getting into the right high-energy zone is like stepping into a time machine and heading right towards those moments in which we felt invincible. Whether it’s letting go behind a drum set, watching our favourite superheroes save the day or breaking some moves on the dancefloor. Say goodbye to those lacklustre days. Press play and get into the timewarp of empowerment, at least that’s our plan.

The Bright Eyed Dreamer

Who: David van Delden
Age: 36
What I do: Creative Director
Song title to describe me when ‘I GOT THIS’: 0 to 100 (Drake)

Whenever I’m in need of a little extra energy, I listen to tunes that take me back to moments in which energy was overflowing. One of those moments is playing the drums in full force. Growing up, I was a real Rock and Metal guy and listening to the same melodies and guitar riffs spark back that young dreamer in me. Fast forward a couple of years to the time I was a junior designer and Hip-hop was my jam. I felt entranced with the poetic nature and rhythmic beats, listening back to these songs brings back the more mature, thoughtful creative in me.

The music I listen that gets me pumped will always be in those two genres but somehow, I always linger to one artist for 3 or 4 months. That artist will really define what sort of place I’m in. I’ll play a new album until another new one will come out. Right now, I’m having a bit of a J. Cole phase, but I have feeling that’s almost done – so if anyone has any recommendations…?

The Bright Eyed Dreamer

Who: David van Delden
Age: 36
What I do: Creative Director
Song title to describe me when ‘I GOT THIS’: 0 to 100 (Drake)

Whenever I’m in need of a little extra energy, I listen to tunes that take me back to moments in which energy was overflowing. One of those moments is playing the drums in full force. Growing up, I was a real Rock and Metal guy and listening to the same melodies and guitar riffs spark back that young dreamer in me. Fast forward a couple of years to the time I was a junior designer and Hip-hop was my jam. I felt entranced with the poetic nature and rhythmic beats, listening back to these songs brings back the more mature, thoughtful creative in me.

The music I listen that gets me pumped will always be in those two genres but somehow, I always linger to one artist for 3 or 4 months. That artist will really define what sort of place I’m in. I’ll play a new album until another new one will come out. Right now, I’m having a bit of a J. Cole phase, but I have feeling that’s almost done – so if anyone has any recommendations…?

The Soul-Searching Superhero

Who: Jeffrey Goodett
Age: 30
What I do: Graphic/ Motion designer
Song title to describe me when ‘I GOT THIS’: Ante up (MOP ft Busta Rhymes)

Besides a kick-ass outfit and a fresh fade, the right music can really do miracles to my confidence. The type that really lets me feel the passion that went into making the song. The type that lets me feel one with the artist, like somehow, I’ve stepped into their shoes. Say I’m listening to DNA by Kendrick Lamar, I replicate the energy he has put into this masterpiece and let it influence my own work.

I also have a little guilty pleasure: superhero movie soundtracks. Again, it transports me to someplace else, but instead of saving New York from burning down, I’m saving a client from boring design or a terrible font. I’m saving the world by delivering top-notch work. So, whether its Kendrick or Captain America, when songs remind me of either – I just start feeling unbeatable.

The Soul-Searching Superhero

Who: Jeffrey Goodett
Age: 30
What I do: Graphic/ Motion designer
Song title to describe me when ‘I GOT THIS’: Ante up (MOP ft Busta Rhymes)

Besides a kick-ass outfit and a fresh fade, the right music can really do miracles to my confidence. The type that really lets me feel the passion that went into making the song. The type that lets me feel one with the artist, like somehow, I’ve stepped into their shoes. Say I’m listening to DNA by Kendrick Lamar, I replicate the energy he has put into this masterpiece and let it influence my own work.

I also have a little guilty pleasure: superhero movie soundtracks. Again, it transports me to someplace else, but instead of saving New York from burning down, I’m saving a client from boring design or a terrible font. I’m saving the world by delivering top-notch work. So, whether its Kendrick or Captain America, when songs remind me of either – I just start feeling unbeatable.

The Sky Roamer

Who: Rutger Kinkelaar
Age: 22
What I do: Freshly graduated UX-Designer
Song title to describe me when ‘I GOT THIS’:  Drop the game (Flume ft. Chet Faker)

Step one to curing my lack of confidence is to find a space where I can blast music. The loud tunes take over from head to toe and if I’m not moving to the beat, it’s probably not working. With his groovy sounds, bouncy disco-tinged beats, Kaytranada is one of my main guys for this.

In this setting, I’m cranking up the volume to songs that are basically a cross between R&B, soul sounds and electronic goodness. The type that blurs the line between genres. There’s always a lot going on in these songs, like vocals used as instruments and every time you listen to them you discover something new. These sounds really lift me up with up-tempo flow of rhythms and inventive and groovy combos of sounds.

The Sky Roamer

Who: Rutger Kinkelaar
Age: 22
What I do: Freshly graduated UX-Designer
Song title to describe me when ‘I GOT THIS’:  Drop the game (Flume ft. Chet Faker)

Step one to curing my lack of confidence is to find a space where I can blast music. The loud tunes take over from head to toe and if I’m not moving to the beat, it’s probably not working. With his groovy sounds, bouncy disco-tinged beats, Kaytranada is one of my main guys for this.

In this setting, I’m cranking up the volume to songs that are basically a cross between R&B, soul sounds and electronic goodness. The type that blurs the line between genres. There’s always a lot going on in these songs, like vocals used as instruments and every time you listen to them you discover something new. These sounds really lift me up with up-tempo flow of rhythms and inventive and groovy combos of sounds.

The Sing Along Starlet

Who: Annabel van Eijk
Age: 23
What I do: Copywriter
Song title to describe me when ‘I GOT THIS’: Independent woman pt.1 (Destiny Child)

Most of my ‘getting pumped’ songs are jam-packed with sweet, sweet nostalgia. They take me back to little moments in which I felt invincible, like shamelessly singing with my mum in the car, or strutting down Shibuya with ‘Dancing on my own’ blasting in my headphones. That same free, bad-ass feeling just washes over me whenever I hear these songs again.

The tracks I chose also have a sense of power and build up, the kind you want to belt out and dance to. The new N.E.R.D album may not have enough memories packed into it, but a lot of the songs have that bold tirelessness that really works. Besides that, there’s nothing like a good pop song, and Little Mix is really killing it for me now with heaps of girl power.

The Sing Along Starlet

Who: Annabel van Eijk
Age: 23
What I do: Copywriter
Song title to describe me when ‘I GOT THIS’: Independent woman pt.1 (Destiny Child)

Most of my ‘getting pumped’ songs are jam-packed with sweet, sweet nostalgia. They take me back to little moments in which I felt invincible, like shamelessly singing with my mum in the car, or strutting down Shibuya with ‘Dancing on my own’ blasting in my headphones. That same free, bad-ass feeling just washes over me whenever I hear these songs again.

The tracks I chose also have a sense of power and build up, the kind you want to belt out and dance to. The new N.E.R.D album may not have enough memories packed into it, but a lot of the songs have that bold tirelessness that really works. Besides that, there’s nothing like a good pop song, and Little Mix is really killing it for me now with heaps of girl power.

The Shaker and Maker

Who: Rieven Martis
Age: 34
What I do: Full-stack developer
Song title to describe me when ‘I GOT THIS’: I got soul (James Brown)

If a song gets me to get up and start breaking out some moves – it will get me equally pumped to get some amazing work done. Dancing has always been my way of expressing myself and when I was younger breakdancing would help get emotions out. Listening to these songs makes me feel as free, confident and expressive as when I’m on the dancefloor.

This playlist is filled with up-tempo beats that use thrilling instruments like trumpets and drums. They’re usually in the realm of soul, jazz, hip-hop, funk and break-beats – or a mix of any of those genres. I take the energy I put into dancing and infuse it into the way I’m working.

The Shaker and Maker

Who: Rieven Martis
Age: 34
What I do: Full-stack developer
Song title to describe me when ‘I GOT THIS’: I got soul (James Brown)

If a song gets me to get up and start breaking out some moves – it will get me equally pumped to get some amazing work done. Dancing has always been my way of expressing myself and when I was younger breakdancing would help get emotions out. Listening to these songs makes me feel as free, confident and expressive as when I’m on the dancefloor.

This playlist is filled with up-tempo beats that use thrilling instruments like trumpets and drums. They’re usually in the realm of soul, jazz, hip-hop, funk and break-beats – or a mix of any of those genres. I take the energy I put into dancing and infuse it into the way I’m working.


Radio Ngrane - Get it off the ground

Sometimes our creative spark and boundless brain power can use a little fuel. We like to call that fuel music. We bring a monthly series of audio life hacks, tailored to our own individual journeys. So, turn up the volume and let us guide you through our personal soundtracks for success!

Introduction

You’re all set up: your phone is silent and hidden safely, your workspace tidy and your coffee is in arm’s reach. All you need is that perfect playlist to squeeze all those creative juices and just get the project off the ground. Well, Ngrane’s got you covered. From five of our team, we share you our musical recipes that will help get the ball rolling.

To stay in the music theme: “they may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” pretty much sums up what kind of music we love to get started on a project with. Each of us agreed that our not-so-humble beginning need some type of escape into our own creative clouds. What that magic safe space is and how we get there however, varies with each of us. Press play and find out…

Cinematic concentration

Who: David van Delden
What I do: Creative Director
Song title to describe my life: In the end (Linkin Park)

For me, soundtracks are the sweet spot when it comes to setting me up for that perfect burst into creativity. I see each new project as a story that unfolds and soundtracks will feed the narratives of my creativity seamlessly. I want to feel like the hero of this project, embarking on my next nail-bitingly exciting adventure. These soundtracks have beautiful build ups, evoke different moods and master emotional input; serving as endless inspiration for my thought process.

The Interstellar soundtrack never fails to inspire me. It is created by my all-time favorite score composer Hans Zimmer, known for his many iconic sounds in the movie industry. It overwhelms in cinematic emotion, balancing ethereal tracks with bold and loud organs and has a certain touch of spirituality; which I love. Tron is another soundtrack gem, it’s futuristic and riveting, sweeping you up in its excitement and pure vigor.


Intergalactic lift off

Who: Jeffrey Goodett
What I do: Graphic/ Motion designer
Song title to describe my life: Electric Relaxation (A Tribe called Quest)

At the start of every project is when I need to be at the peak of my creativity. This is when my imagination fires from my brain straight into something visual. To make way for that magic passage of creativity I need to make sure my mind is cleared up with zero distractions. One way of doing that is with music which creates an isolated aura around me, and lets me kick back and relax.

The sounds I listen to when getting started, usually have a lounging feel with subtle trippy undertone. I want to feel like I’m travelling to outer space; my work is the galaxy I need to get launched into. What really oils my brain and brings forth all its visual glory are mostly instrumental tunes, so no singing just laid-back vibes. When I do listen to songs with vocals I prefer soft, melodic and subtle woman’s voices. Think Sade or Sia (Zero 7), they both have a calming effect instead of distracting.


Starry-eyed superpower

Who: Annabel van Eijk
What I do: Copywriter
Song title to describe my life: I’m not a girl, not yet a woman (Britney Spears)

When I’ve got a blank page in front of me that needs to be decorated with words, I need to ease myself into this whole situation. I can’t start off right away super-efficient upbeat electronic music. I want to roam through my imagination with starry-eyed songs that let me visualize things and words and sentences before I type them out. I need to slowly creep up into creativity, before I start typing like a maniac.

Ok so when I say dreamy, I don’t mean super vague moody songs full of emotions that will either have me feel sleepy or sad. There is such a thing as thinking too much. It needs a certain confidence and exciting energy; like the type of music in a movie scene when a girl breaks up with a guy, packs up her stuff and struts the streets in slow-mo because great new things are coming her way. I want to be that girl. Flipping the page to a new chapter. Instead of a new life it’s a word document, but who cares.


Sicker than your average

Who: Rutger Kinkelaar
What I do: UX-designer/researcher/intern
Song title to describe my life: Sober thoughts (GoldLink)

When starting a project, I want to feel untouchable. I need somewhat of a confidence boost and I need to feel 100% focused and concentrated. And there is only one solution to that: music. In particular I’d go for some evergreens in Hip-hop, balanced out with some talented new school rappers. The songs I have chosen stand for power and art. What could possibly be better to start my projects?

In this stage, I want to be swept up by a certain flow; floating on smooth bars and beats. You could say I idolize Hip-Hop legends on many different fronts (hence the life-size Biggie poster on my wall) but mostly for how well they can create more depth into my thoughts. I like the songs to feel familiar, rapping along won’t do my concentration any harm; although it may hinder that of my neighbour…


Soul replenishment

Who: Rieven Martis
What I do: Back-end and front-end developer
Song title to describe my life: It’s my life (Talk Talk)

It’s all about that deeper connection! To get me started on a project I’ll listen to songs that I can relate to on an emotional level. Besides enthralling tunes, I like getting swept up by lyrics as well, it’s like poetry that is especially intensified when aligned with my past or future. There’s something about falling into different fantasies that really boosts my concentration and creativity.

The type of music I listen to also depends on what kind of mood I’m in. I could be in a lighter, quieter mood which suits more spiritual music, engaging my brain in a subconscious way. But sometimes I need a little fuel for all the energy I have! So, then Rock or Reggae or Latin will be more than perfect. Last but not least, I’m always down for some thumping Hip-hop.


OnBrand ‘17: Beyond Branding

At Ngrane, we’ll take any chance to get inspired. So naturally, there was no doubt about going to the OnBrand event last week Thursday. A jam-packed day, full of inspirational talks and hugely relevant branding insights. Our main takeaway? It’s one thing to brand something, it’s a whole other to go beyond branding. Finding your calling rather than acting on that of consumers, embedding yourself into culture and weaving innovation into your values.

Ben & Jerry's: Beyond cause marketing: How businesses can be activists and help change the world

Jay CurleySenior Global Marketing ManagerBen & Jerry’s

Turns out the geniuses behind cookie-dough ice cream have a lot more on their plate – or should we say ice cream bowl? – than your favourite dessert. Since their start in the eighties; activism has always been frozen into their DNA. And Jay Curley tells us how it’s been good for business, but not the reason why they’re doing it.

Brands should go beyond cause marketing: a customer led approach to ‘doing good’. Which is all about making decisions on what the consumer wants, how you can connect with them emotionally and how you can align your brand with their cause. Nope, Jay tells us that simply won’t cut it. He explains what Value Led Activism is, how instead of the customer it puts the values of the brand first. So, brands should use what they believe in as a starting point, being the change they want to make and inspiring others to take action. In this way, you’re enlisting fans to join social movements. You should feel like part of the ‘people’ not the business suits on the eleventh floor of some building. You’re there on the streets because you care just as much as the people you sweep up with you. And sweeping people off their feet means a special kind of loyalty between them and your brand and product. No matter how sweet your ice cream, you’re just another brand selling stuff if you can’t connect with others in a meaningful way.

We personally loved the campaign Jay Curley showed that was promoting the Paris Agreement of 2015. An immersive video of melting ice cream, that cleverly links what the brand is known for with something they believe in. Check it out here.

Platform 13 Beyond: Thinking outside the box

Leila FataarPlatform13Founder

Put street-level know how, a digital devotion and endless experience together and you’ve got Leila Fataar: a London based branding veteran and founder of Platform13. Fataar has put all her cards in culture. She claimed that brands should go beyond just thinking outside of the box. In order to create activity that matters, brands should know the box first.

Traditionally, advertising is embedded in the idea of pushing. Pushing catchy one-liners, pushing commercials and pushing empty messages. The opposite should be the case, brands should be pulling. Organically feeding consumer advocacy and relevance by creating cultural value. You want to be the influencer, not pay a couple of influencers to push a few messages for you. You want to be part of the conversation, slip into the ‘Dark Social’ by naturally being talked about. Having your product as the topic of conversation, in places like WhatsApp – where you can’t advertise – will mean more than any Facebook Ad could ever be.

Fataar points out brands suffer from a severe case of ‘FOMO’ when it comes to digital trends. Popular influencers or new brand experiences are like party boats brands need to hop on in a hurry or else they’ll miss out. The result? Super-generic ideas and executions. Before leaping towards the newest innovation, you have to create a cultural value. That VR stunt will mean nothing unless people are talking about it.

In her words:

“RIP INFLUENCER MARKETING,
LONG LIVE INFLUENCE”

New York Times : Transformation at The New York Times

Sebastian TomichSenior Vice PresidentAdvertising and InnovationThe New York Times

How do you embrace change when you’re rooted in 150 years’ worth of tradition? The New York times have turned a new page into their success by thinking less like a print newspaper and more like a creative agency. Sebastian Tomich leads the Advertising and Innovation department, The Times’ T Brand Studio, and they have since taken publishing by storm.

NYT is a perfect example of turning your own age-old legacy into something relevant for our demanding digital age, without deluding what the brand stands for. Traditionally advertising for publishing companies meant selling ad spaces and pages in the newspaper. Now they offer coercive brand experiences, for both the advertisers and for themselves.

NYT is inherently about telling important stories. To translate this to an online platform, Tomich tells us the company had to become a subscription business first, creating content that is worth paying for. This then set them apart from other online sources such as Buzzfeed or Mashable. Moreover, they use innovation to emphasize this identity. For example, they launched a VR app and sent one million Google Cardboard headsets to subscribers, creating an immersive edge to journalism. Or their popular podcasts such as ‘The Daily’; which translates power storytelling into a compact, authentic and well-informed 20 minutes of breaking news.


Ngrane goes to Emerce eDay: what inspired us

With notepads in hand and their finest ‘creative yet professional’ outfits, three of our Ngrane family joined the vanguard of the digital future at Emerce eDay. Together with our friends at Dashmote; Rutger, Jefferson and Jongky had two goals: get inspired and meet like-minded people. Having listened to the future-proof ideas and theories of many different thought leaders, they’re sharing an inside scoop into who and what got them most excited.

Vice: Brand Building in the age of content

Mark Adams

Vice is at the forefront of millennial engagement, and there’s a lot we can learn from how they get it done. According to Vice Media’s President and head of innovation, building your brand in the age of content is all about earning trust. Trust you say? How does one just gain trust? Well, for starters take away the ‘just’ part, gaining trust means defining every inch of your company, including its culture.

Vice has got youth culture down. Vice lives it. Vice breathes it. Every person that works for Vice, believes in what they stand for and everything that happens within Vice is exemplary for the brand identity. As Mark Adams put it, instead of solely believing in the product or service they sell, “A brand should believe in itself”. Furthermore, he notes the importance of tapping into the target group’s mindset. Vice, for example, is Savvy and Sophisticated while creating content that is made both for and by the ‘youth’.

Uber: Innovate in a fast-growing company

Patrick Stal

Ah, Uber, that company who disrupted an entire industry and isn’t just going to stop there. Uber is all about innovation which became clear in Patrick Stal’s talk about what that means in a fast-growing company. What we loved most is that what he said about how innovation starts and ends with people. How it is more than just Moonshots or state of the art technology but is really driven by talent.

Stal explains that for Uber, innovation has become all about using this talent to solve problems. These problems define what the user wants: which is the ultimate key to using innovation successfully. He said that: “Innovation is a constant cycle. New problems arise, with new chances and new bridges to build to new horizons.” So as long as you stick to your brand identity, solving problems and branching out can be literally endless. Uber sure hasn’t stopped at taxis, take for example Ubereats or Uberkittens or Uberfly they are all reacting to a certain problem while using the same mentality to solve it.

Liferay: Creating and keeping momentum: Proven principles for exceptional experiences

Edmund Dueck

At Ngrane we’re all about that positive attitude. Which is why we loved the talk by Edmund Dueck from Liferay. We’ve seen many different brands crumble in the face of innovation, all because they didn’t keep that momentum they started off with: they became outdated.

First and foremost, elongating your momentum requires a strong sense of persistence, bravery and an eminently positive attitude. From then on you can get a grip on the two pillars that Dueck said were most important. Yep, he puts the ‘moment’ in ‘momentum’.

The first being “Moments of Truth” as a brand you need to make sure that you’re not only innovating just to make shiny new stuff but that you create useful things that relate strongly to the target group. You need to be insightful into the purest form of truth to nail this part. Once the truth is out there and known to the brand the second pillar arises: “Moments of Connection”. Creating a mutual empathy between you and customers will create loyalty that surpasses any sort of time or trends.


Ngrane’it goes live: let’s join forces!

Photo credit: Angela Tellier

Two months ago, I joined the Ngrane family, teaming up with Stephen and David to build the hybrid model for the new workforce: part traditional agency and part freelance talent platform. As an experienced recruiter, I have taken on the challenge to innovate the trade I work in.

The goal now for Ngrane is to create a haven of support and collaboration in which I have become the ‘Chief Of Talent’. Working as an intermediate between digital specialists and the businesses that seek their unique expertise as well as boosting talent acquisition.

The industry asked, we’re making it happen. As the number of freelancers and the demand for their specialized skills is skyrocketing, so is the request to smoothen out this process between the two. We believe that as the way we work has taken a new route, so should recruitment. Which is why we started Ngrane’it as a separate unit from the Ngrane Digital Agency. It is a platform with personality that caters to unique digital talents and couples them with brands in need of their skills, both as flexible freelancers or long-term and on-site.

So far so good, as we’ve got our first success story on our hands: creating a perfect match digital talent and the company, Ernst & young.

Now that Ngrane’it is officially live, we’re looking to join forces. So, is your talent digital? Are you looking for exciting new projects to work on? Or is your business looking for specific expertise?

Send me a mail, call me (+31 614222952) or come over and meet the team!