“Once you have creativity pushing your exploration, the possibilities become infinite”
Santa Monica, October 5th, 2017
Data-loving and growth obsessed, Noble Digital seeks to help small- and medium-sized businesses cut through noise and connect with customers with smart, targeted and beautiful marketing campaigns. Based in Los Angeles, the agency combines research, strategy, analytics, images, and video to create campaigns that drive growth and deliver results.
After working in film and television for 15 years, Allen Martinez founded Noble Digital in 2012 to create dynamic videos and online marketing campaigns to help grow businesses. Allen has been recognized with multiple awards for his work and has created national campaigns for some of the largest global brands.
In an interview with TIA, Allen gives us a sneak peek on the agency’s work, focusing specially on the storytelling process, augmented reality campaigns and AR initiatives.
“Remarkable content is about the user’s experience and a ‘successful’ campaign is about the creator’s experience. I think these two ideas should be crafted of holistically as one. VR is multidimensional,” said Allen, talking about the process of creating a remarkable piece of content.
What important things or experiences have brought you to where you are today?
I came to LA as an 18 year old musician and discovered I was really using music as a way to express story. Therefore, when I pivoted my path through film and advertising at the Art Center College of Design, I immersed myself in 3D animation. I learned not to be afraid of tech. Once you have creativity pushing your exploration, the possibilities become infinite. Although I am a strategist and executive producer, I am very much a craftsman who likes to design things.
What are the current challenges that you face as a storyteller?
In AR/VR it’s about defining boundaries. Traditional painters have the actual frame edge to help define their compositions. With interactive there are no edges. The open immersive view of VR/AR has creators grasping for all the techniques possible to guide the user to focus their point of view to get in alignment with ours without being heavy handed.
How do you work content taking into account your target and users?
In film, you can watch your hero jump on to a train while you passively sit and watch. In AR you have to jump on that train, or it won’t happen. AR/VR gives off a special kind of chemical reaction inside your brain, which is hard to achieve in even the best theatrical films. Obviously, you need to balance that experience out with down time.
What makes for a remarkable piece of content and how do you create a successful augmented reality campaign?
Remarkable content is about the user’s experience and a “successful” campaign is about the creator’s experience. I think these two ideas should be crafted of holistically as one. VR is multidimensional. There are several parts to make it remarkable but the main ones are strategy, tech and story.
–Strategy. Mapping out what you want the user to experience, mapping out all outcomes possible and answering those outcomes with next steps. The user experience has to be intuitive. The smoother the experience is, the more the users are able to get lost in the experience.
–Tech. Once the goals and outcomes are clear, we can use tech to define how we “segment” users based on their actions. For example, we’re already using gaming for data collection. The navigation itself could be setup separate to create buckets of data, and then you can have a navigation benchmark which could be used for insights.
–Story. This is the biggest lever of all in terms of achieving a “remarkable” piece. Most creative might say “great creative” or “visuals” as one of the elements. Visuals are important but emotions outdo creative.
What are the essential elements of good branded AR initiatives?
The key is to have the user immersed in an experience. I’m order to keep that experience seamless, branding has to be carefully orchestrated and used thoughtfully, if at ll. If the backend data and follow-up on the experience can reinforce the brand without needing to visually brand, that is always ideal. Meanwhile, the frontend of the story should help bring out a brand’s pillars, especially the mission statement.
What role does user experience play on AR campaigns?
The user’s experience is the experience itself. Without that interaction, AR is meaningless.
The client is upset with a particular element of design that you have done. They believe that you have not created what they asked for. How would you handle this?
We get ahead of this before it ever happens! You’re describing the old process of how many creatives still do things, unfortunately. Noble Digital’s process instead, starts with strategy sessions/workshops, where we have shareholders very involved in the beginning to get clear, objective direction. This way there are no (bad) surprises, so if the client got upset with any outcome, we would probably go back to something that they had signed off on to get re-clarification on the matter and address it.
What piece of advice would you give a recent grad looking to work in digital industry?
Understand marketing integration. Not necessarily every the tech tool (there is not enough time in our lives!) but the high-level concept of how these things fit together. We’re leaving the industrial revolution era, where people were amazing at one specific task or tool, and entering the tech era. To be valuable, you need to understand how your part fits into the bigger picture, whether you’re making a VR video, performing SEO or writing copy for a landing page. If you focus on brand narrative first, your work will perform that much better.
What makes the city where you live and work special?
Los Angeles has amazing talent pouring in every day. We get the best of the best talent coming here for the film industry. This can be designers, animators, filmmakers, actors, etc. The pools to choose from are excellent, especially “front end” talent to make the creative resonate be memorable and get response. It is truly an embarrassment of riches here and I feel fortunate to be able to work with such great talent.
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