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A Lean and Skilled Agency in Toronto

Toronto, May 3, 2016

Zachary-HobsonA small agency comprised of six full time staffers, Orchestra Agency is a close-knit group of strategists and creatives looking to take digital risks. With a special affinity for small to midsized business, startups, and entrepreneurs, Orchestra prides itself in working for the “little guy” in strategic marketing campaigns.

From website design and development to wireless analytics, Orchestra offers an array of services to help their clients find the best digital solutions. As self-titled “hustlers of technology”, the Orchestra crew has the mentality of a startup and tries to think about digital methods in a different approach. To learn more about their creative work and ambitions, we chatted with Orchestra’s Creative Director Zachary Hobson. Having worked in both large agencies and creative boutiques, Zac talked to us about the advantages of leading a small team and some of his favorite digital brands.

Describe Orchestra Agency in three words?

Intelligent, clearer, and fearless. Being small grants us the opportunity to be fearless and allows us to take chances.

In your opinion, what ingredients are key to create a successful digital campaign?

Integrated thinking and clear messaging are both crucial in driving users from point A to point B. Every touch point must be considered and the simpler the idea, the better. It’s important to keep barriers to entry at a minimum. People are not dolphins, they do not like jumping through hoops. Keep it simple and easy for the end user to understand.

How did you get started in the industry?

Growing up I was always drawing pictures. I was that kid in the classroom that was known to be doodling away and crafting something in a sketchbook. This passion led me to pursue Illustration. I ended up going to The Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU). As one of the top design schools in Toronto and the country, this background offered me the launch pad to working in design.

What is your personal definition of creativity?

Creativity is a philosophy. There are a million ways to be creative, and being creative always means something different to everyone. To me, being creative means going against the grain and tapping in that part of your brain that otherwise is not conditioned to think that way. It’s seeing things through a unique lens, and this lens will be special and different for me than for others. Anyone striving to lead a creative life will understand this.

Name a challenge for your team:

We’re a small and growing shop. Processes and scalability is always a delicate balance. There’s a million Software as a Service cloud based solutions out there that we can take advantage of for our own operations, but trialing different ones and finding the right mix can be daunting at best. You should see our agency password doc. Actually, no you shouldn’t. Lol

What is a campaign you worked on that was especially successful?

We did a campaign for a local gym called Complete Performance Centre to help spotlight their robust athletic training community. We went there and filmed various classes without a clear path of what we wanted to do with the footage. Later we noticed that the drills in the footage synched perfectly to MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This”. It was pure magic, generating over 40,000 hits in under one week. For a small, local gym, this really meant something to them. The campaign was a shining success because we barely spent any media and were able to make a big splash go viral on a local scale.

Another successful campaign involved wifi analytics. We were measuring traffic in and around stores of a clothing retailer in London, Ontario. As this allowed users to get free wifi with their email address, after four months their email login list had substantially increased by 4000 people. We didn’t initially plan on using this metric as a means of measuring the success of the campaign, but it showed It shows just how much people love free wifi!

What’s your story with Orchestra Agency?

Zac-Quote-2016Mostly recently I worked at an agency called TAXI for two years as an Art Director on a telecommunications brand. Prior to TAXI I worked for a couple smaller ads shops as well as working in marketing for Sealy Mattress Company for 3 years.
I came to Orchestra with marketing background at both the agency and client level. I saw it as an opportunity to work for an agency where I could take more chances and risks. I also wanted to make a big splash for the little guys, the small business owners and such. I knew the Owner and Managing Director, Jocelyn Butler, from post grad studies and previous freelance work so I decided to come on board.

What do you like doing in your free time?

I see a lot of my family as they only live two hours North of Toronto. I also enjoy documenting nature and sharing my photography on Instagram. It’s mostly nature and urban photography.

Are there online publications, professionals, industry leaders you follow?

1) “Unmarketing” Podcast: While walking to work I listen to this popular podcast by Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer. They cover conversational topics on all things marketing and social media etiquette.
2) Creators Project: Commissioned Owned by Vice, this project collective showcases innovative minds across the globe utilizing technology in unique ways.
3) True Impact Marketing: A consultancy agency in Canada making waves in the news and industry, Diana Lucaci specializes in Neuromarketing.
4) Dieline: As design is how I came into the industry, I like to check out the new ideas in packaging design.

Please list a few of your favorite digital brands:

1) Tasty: I really like how they take that content and incorporate it into such short videos. The food always looks mouth-watering.
2) Great Big Story: This is a video based content app that has perfected the art of untold story telling. They show stories from remote parts of world and have gathered 2 million followers in the process.
3) KickStarter/Indiegogo: Having an idea used to be all about having to go through patent process. Both Kickstarter and IndieGoGo allow people to bring ideas to life through the support of anybody in the world. It truly is a ground-breaking platform for innovative people.

Which cities outside of Toronto interest you creatively?

LA, Boston, and Rio de Janeiro

What is a digital trend that is here to stay, at least for the relative time being?

I think Micro PR, bloggers, and small data are all themes that will continue to stay current. I also see neuromarketing as growing in importance. Brands want to know the consumer’s purchasing intent before they even decide decision before it happens, and neuro-marketing is all about understanding the purchasing intent and being able to predictability of a consumer’s purchasing behaviors before they’re even in the store.

Where do you see the future of the industry?

Access to technology has changed things fast. In the next 5-10 years we can predict a lot more client side in-house teams and technology being used culminating in one place, using multiple tools to create ecosystems of marketing technologies. These teams will be more compact and lean.
As the field is constantly evolving, it’s hard to say what exactly will take over as the next trend. I think people who stay open-minded to new tools and technologies will see the most success.

What piece of advice would you give a recent grad looking to work in digital marketing?

Have passion and patience. You can’t have one without the other. So better yet, have pass-ience!


To see more of Orchestra’s work follow them on Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!