Monday, March 9, 2009

A Chat With Cliff

Introduce yourself and your site project.
We are Cliff Freeman & Partners, a full service advertising and communications agency based in New York City. We pride ourselves on do work that works. Getting results is our main focus. Our project was to make a new site for our agency. (Historically, making an agency website is the hardest thing for a creative agency to do. Ironic, huh?)

What were the goals for the new site?
We didn't want to make another boring agency site that was all sizzle and no steak. We wanted to make a site that got results. A tool that would be useful for us and for our clients (and potential clients who wanted to get to know us.) And one that delivered on something we always tell our clients to do: start a dialogue with the consumer.

Where did you guys get your inspiration for the new site?
We are always instant messaging each other. It's how we work. We think it's how a lot of people work these days. So making the site a chat engine seemed completely natural.

What story were you trying to tell with the new website?
Every brand is a dialogue. Engaging people in real time is fast becoming the new must-have. We also wanted to show people that we were all about getting things done. And that we were fast. And that we had a sense of humor about ourselves.

What technical, logistical or budgetary challenges were presented during the project?

As always, we didn't have a huge budget. So we needed to have a great idea that people would want to work on. Welikesmall, a digital company in Utah, loved the idea and we loved working with them. Even though we never actually met them in person. They may, in fact, be bots. We don't know.

Other challenges were the usual navel-gazing stuff that any company has when making its own website. But we got past it. (Our navels are quite clean now, though.) Honestly, the biggest challenge was building this new engine. Welikesmall were all over it and built us a chat engine that logs all input in real time and allows us to change responses on the fly from any computer in the world in just five minutes. Pretty cool stuff. Especially if they are, indeed, bots.

How valuable is the new site to the agency? Is it your main form of external communication?

Not only is it our main form of communications. It is our face. Our first look. And if a client falls in love with the idea of this site, we
know they are a pretty cool client. One we can work with for a long time. So, if we had to put a value on it, it would be in the millions. Of dollars. At least. Thanks again. See you on the worldwide web.

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