Engaging your community

Ngrane is all about community. About working from the heart. About connecting.

It’s always great when colleagues get along and get to know each other. This creates a better atmosphere, a better work environment and just better team work. But how do we get to know each other better, how do we interact, how do we connect in Covid Times?

Host a Company Wide Expo

At Ngrane, we have a couple of things we do to stay involved. We have an Expo every Friday. What exactly is an Expo, you might ask. Well, an Expo is short for an Exposition (duh), and it could be about everything. The fun part about it: everyone has to do at least one Expo per about two or three months. You choose your topic, you choose whether it’s interactive, more like a TedTalk, whether it’s fun and games or a serious debate about human rights. Wanna talk about space travel and NASA and SpaceX? Sure! Wanna talk about photography and developing film? Of course you should! Wanna give a short HTML workshop? Go ahead! Wanna share your cultural heritage? Please do! Anything is possible.

Play Games

Playing games is one of the most connecting (and sometimes disconnecting if you’re a sore loser) activities a company could think of. We used the online grounds of Gather.town a couple of times to connect after work. You can build your own online office here, and play some of their games. Good at drawing? You will like the ‘guess my drawing’ game. Good at associative thinking? Play an online version of Codenames! They have lots and lots of games you can play and it’s just a fun environment to be in.

Book Club

To dive a little deeper into our human psychologies, Stephen, our CEO, came up with a book club. Together we read Dit ben ik!, written by Lieuwe Koopmans, about Transactional Analysis. Say what? This book is about finding your true self, how to communicate about yourself and with others and how to broaden your perspective.

Transactional Analysis is a type of psychoanalytic theory and method of therapy, where your social transactions you’ve had throughout your life are analyzed. This gives valuable insights in how you communicate, and where some of your behaviours come from.

It’s not really a light read. It’s also about traumatic experiences, and how we’ve overcome them or are still overcoming them. But it does bring you as a team closer together, and helps you understand where someone might be coming from.

Of course, if you want to pick a lighter read before you start this one, do that! But discussing something you’ve all read, brings out more perspectives and will ultimately bring your team closer together.


Ngrane’s Work From Home Hacks

Even Zoom CEO Eric Yuan has Zoom fatigue.
Here are zome (see what I did there) tricks and tips.

Zooming is the new calling. The app has become an inherent part of our work from home lives.

Although it is the greatest invention of | indispensable in COVID-times, we all get tired of staring at our own faces, seeing our colleagues only in 2D and constantly staring at our blue-light blasting screens. There’s even a word for this phenomenon: Zoom fatigue.

Two weeks ago Zoom CEO Eric Yuan announced that even he has Zoom fatigue every now and then. He posted a video with some essential tips on how to use Zoom. Here’s his list:

  • Take scheduled breaks away from the computer.
  • Book meetings for 25 minutes or 55 minutes (or even try going down to 20 or 45 minutes), or end meetings early to give everyone a buffer to recover mentally between meetings.
  • Use chat or email in lieu of a meeting.
  • Try turning off self-view so you can see your colleagues’ faces, and so they can see yours, without having to see yourself.
  • Implement a “no internal meetings day” to give yourself and your employees a break. We’ve been doing this since late last year at Zoom and our employees love it.
  • Encourage employees to set boundaries around their personal time. While exceptions must be made for a global workforce, leaders should discourage night and weekend meetings.

Great tips, thanks Eric! But we have a couple to add to the list.

Welcome to NGRANE WFH Tips&Tricks. I think we all know the Zoom basics by now: mute/unmute with alt/space, gallery view/speaker view/thumbnail view, screen sharing and the lot [ no? Check this list here. ]

Our tips apply to working from home rather than the technology. Working from home can be fantastic: you can work in your most comfortable pants, shower at any time, enjoy your own delicious coffee and tea, enjoy the company of your pets & partner and blast your own music loudly at any time. 

However, working from home has its dark side. We intend to work longer, feel more guilty about taking breaks and usually spend a lot more time behind our screens. There are days we even forget to leave the house. Let’s change that. 

Don’t schedule back to back meetings.

Make sure you have time to take a break from your computer screen and grab some fresh coffee. As Eric said, make meetings as short as possible, 20 to 55 minutes max. If you do that, in combination with some space in between meetings, you have time to take care of yourself, but you will also have time to process the meetings.

Set alarms for breaks.

11 coffee break, 13 lunch, 15 another coffee / walk break. You would do the same at the office, so why not at home? Remind yourself to take those breaks to rest your eyes.

Make sure you don’t eat behind your computer.

You. need. breaks. Make sure lunch is one of those breaks! Of course, there are those days where time is scarce, but don’t make a habit out of it.

  • Also, about eating: don’t eat during Zoom calls. It may offend colleagues, you might forget to mute yourself and chew in everyone’s ears. Just don’t do it.
  • We all know the story of the lawyer who accidentally turned himself into a cat on Zoom (if not, here ya go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGOofzZOyl8), but from time to time it’s refreshing to change your background or appearance on Zoom. It works when you turn your surroundings into a relaxing beach, an underwater world or the decor of The Lord of the Rings. You just believe you’re there for a split second and can at least enjoy your self-view. 

We noticed that some co-workers had notifications on during a Zoom call. This is of course fine, if you’re muted. However, if you’re an active participant, it might be audible for the rest of your colleagues and could get quite annoying. Make sure to turn off notifications. Here’s how:

Apple “Do not disturb”

  • On an Apple computer, click the settings icon and click “don’t disturb”.
  • You can select a period of time that the notifications are numbed.
  • Do you really want to hack this for a longer period of time? Select “preferences”.

Slack “Do not disturb”

Using Slack at work? It also has a neat don’t disturb function.

  • Select your profile at the top right corner.
  • Click ‘pause notifications’. You can choose a period of time.
  • Again, do you really want to hack? Go to settings > preferences > notifications to shut them up for good.

Windows Sleep mode

Is muting apps not enough for you? Mute your entire system!

  • Windows has a Sleep Mode, called Focus Assist.
  • Right-click on the notification icon the the taskbar.
  • Select Focus Assist and set it to ‘alarms only’.

Apple also allows you to turn the “Do not disturb” mode on indefinitely.

Last but not least, we advise you to take walks. The walk from your workstation to the coffee machine or water boiler is hardly enough for your daily workout. I know, I know, it’s not easy to drag your tired head out into the rain (we unfortunately still live in the Netherlands), but I promise: you will feel better.


How to follow your intuition as a freelancer

You probably hear it often: always trust your intuition. But what is intuition exactly, and how do you know to trust it?

Even though Stress Awareness Month is over, it doesn’t mean we should all forget about stress now. Let’s always be aware of stress. This blog might help you to stress less by following your intuition.

That’s right, intuition is something that we’re all supposed to feel naturally. Yet our head often takes over, making us doubt our intuition and making sure to make the ‘right decision’. But how can this decision be right, if you know deep down, in your gut, that something’s off?

Can we train ourselves to trust our intuition? How do we distinguish intuition from instinct?

Jos Pauwels, a Dutch writer, recently wrote a book about intuition. He states that you can train your intuition:

“Instinct is actually the basis. You can only speak of intuition when the intellect, instinct and heart start to work together. The first gut feeling is often a bit softer than the first instinct, you should see that more as a reflex. For example with fear.”

The connection between your gut feeling and the intellect is the key to strong intuition. Always listen to your gut feeling and then start to bring your brain in.

Always trust your gut. But how?

Jos makes a distinction between ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ intuition. Dumb intuition is basically following your gut feeling without thinking. An example he uses is “love makes blind”; where we usually follow emotion and are incapable of thinking about it. To really follow intuition, you need to be conscious about it. You need a bit of inner peace: we need to train to let go of the unnecessary stimuli and focus on what’s truly important.

Easier said than done. How to put this into practice in your life as a freelancer? How would you decide when you need more time off, or how do you know if a client is a right fit for you?

Listen to that inner voice, rationalize it and take action.

Especially as a freelancer, you’ll find yourself in situations where you need to make lasting decisions. The only one you can build on, is you. Here are 5 tips on how to listen to your intuition.

  1. Trust your brain. If you feel something is inherently wrong, it might very well be the case. Try to listen to that feeling. Intuition is not random, but you might not see the pattern in the first place. Yet, your subconscious has taken in all the details, has been processing all your life and has sorted all the information you’ve ever had access to. Hence, your brain is able to distinguish a situation that’s off. Trust your brain.
  2. Try to strengthen your sense of intuition through journaling. I know, journaling takes time, it’s effort. But it can help you by writing down what you saw. When journaling you often see things you didn’t realize before.
  3. The next tip: take distance from your situation. Try to put distance between you and the problem. Journaling helps with this too, but if you’re really not into journaling, try to take a step back and view the situation with different eyes. What would you advise a friend in the same situation?
  4. Be open and honest with yourself. Easier said than done, but it will help tremendously. Don’t forget, we are our own biggest enemies. We can easily put our feelings aside, we can easily not listen to our gut. Try to ask yourself why you would not listen to your intuition, what are your main reasons to ignore your instincts. Try to meditate, to de-stress and to take a deep breath every now and then.
    Last but not least, have a little faith in yourself. You’re the only one who can make or break you, but have faith that you will find your way! If you do, it’s also easier to trust your intuition.

Of course, in most cases you will never know whether your intuition was right. Yet, if in the end you’re still happy, don’t feel stressed but very blessed: you did the right thing.


My onboarding in times of Corona

Even in times of Corona, aka during the quarantine/lockdown, people start with new jobs every day. But how exactly does that work, without an office to go to, without seeing colleagues face-to-face?

Here’s my experience of onboarding, and some essential tips to survive this period.

My first day at NGRANE in the COVID-19 lockdown

Exciting. I started my new job as content creative at NGRANE last month.
The entire interview process was through ZOOM, contract negotiations took place over the phone and the final “you’ve got the job”- conversation happened through ZOOM.

Before even having ‘met’ anyone from the company, I accepted the job.

For my first day, my new colleagues arranged a real life meeting at ZOKU with my two new bosses and their PA. After months of not going to an office, it was strange to get back into that rhythm of getting ready in the morning, having to bike to a place and meeting new people again.

I was welcomed wonderfully with a welcome basket and a hot cup of coffee. David and Stephen (the two NGRANE endbosses) explained a lot about the company, told me what I needed to know and gave a sneak peek into their passions and aspirations. We had cool talks about religion, sexuality, diversity and the future of the internet. It was really nice to see them in real life. However, we still live in COVID-19 times, so after lunch we all went home again to continue our day working remotely.

Although it was a bit silent after suddenly seeing so many people in one room (only three, but hey, it’s Corona, things are wildly out of perspective). Thankfully, I had an afternoon session with Daniëlle, the copywriter. She told me all about the projects, the clients and her ideas for future copy projects.

After this meeting, I found myself staring at an empty screen, not particularly sure what to do. How on earth would I become a master at my new job, without having a tactile experience?

How to excel in COVID times (6 tips how to master remote working)

The good thing about NGRANE, and this is also my first tip: they host daily standups. Everyone shares what they’re planning on doing that day. This is not only valuable for more efficient working, but it’s also a great way to welcome new people and to get involved with the team. So if your company isn’t doing this, propose it!

In this fast-paced world, we sometimes forget to be human. We forget the importance of human connection.

My second tip would be to plan carefully. Nothing is more annoying than sitting in front of your computer, not really knowing where to start. Perhaps a project manager can help you with that, or you can use planning tools such as Asana or Forecast. Make a clear to-do list, and make sure you feel the responsibility to finish your to-dos!

The third tip of the day is expectation management. Although I’m not a great player in this field, it’s wise to set some expectations with your manager. Make sure you’re on the same page to avoid any conflicts.

Tip four is again a trait that NGRANE has that I really appreciate: access to HubSpot. Because NGRANE walks the path of inbound marketing, HubSpot is a tool they use daily. HubSpot also has an academy, where you can learn everything about inbound marketing, but also about your own area of expertise.

My fifth tip: chatting. This might sound like a ‘duhhh’ tip, but in times of communication through screens, it’s not too natural to chat. If your company uses Slack, or any other chatting tool: USE IT. Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues anything, that’s how it would happen in an office. It might feel strange and a step too far, but it actually really isn’t that strange and it will help you a long way in getting to know your teammates!

Last but not least: make sure you don’t put too much pressure on yourself. As the philosophy of NGRANE states that we work better when we’re feeling good and able:

In this fast-paced world, we sometimes forget to be human. We forget the importance of human connection. No matter what the pace, no matter how big or small the screen, no matter the actual physical distance, we keep things human.


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 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.