Think About the Before While You Plan the After

My first thought when a friend or family member tells me about a home renovation or building project is, “I’ll be right over to take some before photos!” 

In many cases, when faced with a lengthy or costly project, people understandably concentrate on the job at hand. But the opportunity to document “the before” is fleeting. Too many times I have heard from folks that it occurred to them to take photos or video only after the project was complete. 

Take a cue from the myriad home improvement shows that document the transformation of a property. The benchmarking shots they take before any work begins become invaluable at the show’s conclusion when we see them dissolve into the newly re-done space. The juxtaposition of those before and after shots creates maximum impact for viewers.

Telling your audience what something used to look like is one thing, showing them is another altogether. 

Original Brick House Brewery website… and our recent re-design for them

At Creagent, we regularly catalog the before & after in the work we do for clients – that not only helps them see the value in the work we have done, but it also builds a strong portfolio we can show to future clients.

Some of what we do is showcasing the before and after of the work our clients themselves do. For example, the Corning Housing Partnership is all about transforming neighborhoods in our City. The most effective way to show how far we’ve come in cleaning up and improving properties around the City, is to show where we were before the work began. This recent film we made for the Partnership – showing the state of several areas of Corning, both “now” and “then” – would not have the same impact without video and photographs that were taken several years ago.

Before & after shots of Arbor Housing and Development’s Lamphear Court

Make capturing before images part of your planning process for any transformative project.

A Lesson in Twitter from Nike and Tiger Woods

At approximately 2:27 p.m. EST, on Sunday, April 14, Twitter erupted.

At that exact moment, Tiger Woods sank a two-foot putt, winning the 2019 Masters and successfully completing one of the sports world’s most remarkable comebacks.

Just minutes later, Nike dropped a 52-second video on its social media channels starring the golfer. In a matter of moments, the video was viral – garnering more than 26 million views on Twitter and another 13 million on Instagram. Three times as many people as Nike has total followers viewed, shared, and commented on the posts.

Nike’s tweet wasn’t all that special, when you think about it. It was just a quick video, a short caption, and a hashtag. The video even lacked a narrator, it was just a collection of clips from Tiger’s past and a pretty standard music bed. Nowhere in the tweet did Nike even congratulate the golfer.

The words that flashed across the screen along with the video’s images simply read:

It’s crazy to think a 43-year-old, who has experienced every high and every low and has just won his 15th major is chasing the same dream as a 3-year-old. Just do it.


It’s exactly that script and what the tweet didn’t say that made it so viral.

Undoubtedly, Tiger Woods is one of the most accomplished athletes in the world. His success on the links is internationally recognized, and the failures in his personal life have become just as public. He has played both the hero and the villain of his own story. People love to love him, and people love to hate him. And people really, really love to talk about him.

Once Tiger made that putt, millions of tweets – recognizing everything from his incredible comeback win to those above-mentioned personal shortcomings – were shared. Nike took full advantage of that. Their tweet simply contributed to the conversation. It was a conversation that they didn’t start themselves, so they didn’t try to control its narrative. Nike’s content was specific to Tiger Woods and incredibly relevant in the moment, yet just broad enough that people were able to take the content and make it their own.

People quoted and shared Nike’s tweet as they added their own opinions and gave their unique takes on the situation. As they continued to contribute to that global conversation, Nike’s tweet earned more and more impressions and its video collected millions of views.

Nike is a global brand, so it’s sometimes easy to assume that each piece of its marketing strategy is supported by millions of dollars worth of research and creative. That’s probably true. But, at its core, Nike’s very simple and very viral tweet can still serve as a lesson for all marketers, regardless of the size of our businesses, our budgets, or our clients.

Here are some common themes of a successful tweet that we can all take away:

  • Interact with your followers and attract new fans by participating in the global conversation
  • Increase engagement by sharing original, highly relevant content
  • Make that content more shareable by limiting how “salesy” it is
  • Don’t try to control the narrative, join a conversation and let your fans, your content, and your do the work

Nike did all of the above. Its homage to Tiger wasn’t just a congratulatory nod. It was a well-timed, calculated yet simple, extremely successful social media marketing effort – one that deserves just as much recognition as Tiger’s historic victory.

4 For 4: Four Takeaways After Four Years At Creagent Marketing

I walked into the Creagent Marketing office for my first day of work as a Social Media & Public Relations Specialist on June 15, 2015. For nearly four years, I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some of the region’s most dedicated nonprofits, exciting small businesses, and world-renowned tourism partners, alongside two of the most forward-thinking digital marketing professionals I’ve ever met.

Creagent wasn’t my first job – I had spent the previous year working as a Marketing & Communications Specialist for a small nonprofit – but it was definitely the one that’s shaped me the most as a young professional and pointed me in the direction I’ve always wanted my career to take. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience, filled with both personal and professional success.

Each coworker and intern I’ve worked alongside has been an invaluable source of information, and the experience of working with various clients has taught me many different things about the marketing industry as a whole. Although some of what I’ve learned can only be applied to specific situations, a few key themes were always present. They are what I will take with me as I continue my journey as a marketing professional.

Here are four of those takeaways:

Data Is King

The most important aspect of any kind of marketing is evaluation. I’ve know this in theory since I was a freshmen at Susquehanna University, but thanks to the resources made available to me at Creagent I was able to really put this theory to work.

With certain software, I was able to dig deeply into my clients’s digital footprints. I was able to quickly determine who were were talking to on their behalf, and why those people mattered to their businesses. This data influenced everything – and I literally mean everything – we did for our clients, from their social media management, to ad buying, to influencer relations. Additionally, having high quality data to back us up allowed us to effectively convey to our clients why the strategies we suggested for them were in their best interests. Numbers don’t lie, after all.

Less Is More

Quality over quantity can sometimes sound like a cliché, but when it comes to social media marketing it’s absolute fact.

This was sometimes difficult to convey to clients who, with the best of intentions in mind, wanted to see daily Facebook or Instagram posts. Algorithms are scary, and as major social media platforms seemingly altered theirs daily, some clients were nervous that if they weren’t posting a lot of content, that they simply weren’t going to succeed online. We knew this not to be true. It sometimes took a little trial and error, but with the above-mentioned data in mind, we always found just the right amount of social media content to post each week.

What I came to realize was that small amounts of high quality, highly engaging, and highly relevant information was much more effective on social media than posts that were unauthentic and “posted just to be posted.” Less content always netted more reach, fans, and engagement in the end.

Take A Hands On Approach

I’ve had the pleasure of working with a variety of clients across a variety of industries, each with various wants and needs. As Creagent’s primary social media manager, I’ve directly managed each of our clients’ social media channels in one way or another, spending hours each day on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

As a small agency, it might have been more efficient to plan and schedule posts ahead of time, allowing me to put time and energy into other tasks at hand, but I definitely wouldn’t have learned as much about each client’s brand if I had done so. By taking a hands on approach and spending time manually crafting posts, engaging with their followers, and actively contributing to their industries’ conversations, I learned much more about who our clients and their ideal customers were, and better understood their role within their respective industries.

Learn From Your Coworkers

The Creagent Marketing office is an extremely collaborative environment. Collaborating with my coworkers allowed me to develop new skills and ultimately made me a more well-rounded marketing professional.

Perhaps it was a lack of that collaboration in my previous working environment that led me to believe I would only stick to what I was good at – social media management and public relations – while my coworkers focused on their own unique sets of skills. This couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I did spend the majority of my time managing social media and interfacing with influencers and the media, but I was also writing blog posts, helping on video shoots, and lending a hand on website rebuilds almost as soon as I stepped foot in the Creagent office. After time, I wasn’t just helping with these projects, I was leading some of them. Thanks to those opportunities, the videos I’ve directed and the websites I’ve redesigned have become some of the pieces in my portfolio that I’m most proud of.

Looking back, the last four years have been truly transformative. I’m incredibly appreciative of the experience that I’ve gained and the skills that I’ve honed, and I’ll be forever thankful of the people I’ve met along the way who’ve taught me, encouraged me, and most importantly, become my friends and family.

Thank you for everything, Sean and Dave!