Emotion, trust, and technology.

The past six months have been a period of uncertainty and tremendous challenge for marketers, as well as the advertising agencies that support them. Yet in the midst of the tumult, opportunities have continued to emerge – an entrepreneur with a good idea is hard to restrain.

Consider the technology sector. From our perspective, technology start-ups have never slowed down. Over the past year, Creative Department has begun working with a number of emerging technology companies. We’re helping them tell their stories in compelling ways, and they’re connecting with their customers on a deeper level.

What we believe is, the value of technology is ultimately determined by its human impact.

Technology without human consequence is essentially a schematic drawing, but technology that understands its relationship to people has a head start on becoming a brand. And the real money is in brands, not schematic drawings.

The writer Darren Menabney speaks to this truth in an April 2019 issue of Fast Company:

“Many startups focus excessively on data, specs, and financials when presenting or pitching to investors, business partners, or prospective employees. Of course, those numbers matter, but data is not enough, and specs are not enough. You need to add some emotion, some relatability, some human dimension to that data. Stories will do that.”

He goes on to say:

“Storytelling is a powerful tool. It builds memory, empathy, and trust between the storyteller and the listener. It’s something that persuades far more effectively than any other form of communication, because we humans are storytelling creatures by nature. The biggest and most successful brands know this.”

You can read the rest of Darren’s thinking here:


The secret to connecting technology to story? Our deep knowledge of consumer behavior — knowing why people do what they do. That informs everything. Ultimately, there is a human backdrop to everything we do, from strategy to execution. Technology start-ups seem to understand the value in this perspective.

If you’re an entrepreneur with a technology start-up but no story, contact Lauren Anderson at [email protected] or 513-651-2901. It’s time to show your human side.

Creative Department celebrates the “news.”

New address, new website, new clients: the past six months have been particularly active at Creative Department. Let’s take them in order.

We moved into our new office space in January. The address is 532 Reading Road, just two blocks from our original space on Sycamore. Our new space was designed in partnership with Urban Sites and built with an eye toward environmental responsibility. For example, our new space takes advantage of an abundance of natural light, eliminating much of the need for additional light sources. It’s also allowed us to add more live plants, including a plant wall in our front conference room (boosting spirits a bit even in the dead of winter). For the ultimate in abundant light, there’s our roof-top deck – perfect for blue-sky thinking and open-air lunches and happy hours.

But if you know anything about Creative Department, you know that we’ve always been an energetic agency. So, while the new office was being designed and constructed, we created a brand-new agency website. We tore our old site down to the bones, rethought everything, and built from scratch.

The new site celebrates our work – for clients such as the Cincinnati Zoo, the Lindner Center of Hope, Sibcy Cline – as well as some of our most successful campaigns from the past. These case studies demonstrate how we provide clients with simple ideas for a complex world, which is the foundation of the CD brand.

Our site also includes a new blog format, called “Sphere,” where we share ideas and inspirations that help make us a better agency, and better people.

Finally, in the past six months we’ve added five new clients to our roster, from healthcare and finance to AI technology and consumer packaged goods. These clients have allowed us to stretch our creative skills and show our clients ideas they had never considered for their brands.

If you’d like to know more about how we can use our expertise to help you grow your business, give Lauren Anderson a call. 513-434-8552.

We’d love to make the next “new” about you.


Celebrating the launch of our new website on the roof:

4 Reasons Brands Should Keep Work In-House

And why you’ll still need an external agency if you do

If there’s one question marketing directors are familiar with, it’s “What is the return on that?” Of course, that question isn’t unexpected. They’re responsible for delivering optimum ROI. And in an effort to control costs, an increasing number of brands are turning to in-house creative teams. That’s not a bad thing, assuming the brand understands what work is best suited to an in-house team, versus the expertise offered by an agency.

Here’s the background: the past few years have seen brands taking work in-house in spades. The Association of National Advertisers in the U.S. reported that in 2018, 78 percent of its members had some kind of in-house agency, versus 58 percent in 2013. The benefits to this model are real and measurable, and agencies now find themselves recalibrating their own messaging to make a stronger case for why their outsider status is worth the investment.

Chances are, if you’re responsible for your company’s brand, you’ve found yourself weighing the costs of engaging an agency against building your internal team. The trick is to find the right balance between what each has to offer—how can the two work together to deliver that desired ROI? Here’s how I’ve seen these relationships excel.

  1. In-house teams are fierce guardians of the brand. Passionate about ensuring the integrity of the brand expression, they make sure everything the organization creates is on-message and on-brand.  Advertising agency partnerscan provide the outside perspective brands often need to grow.This outside viewpoint can open your eyes to different potential solutions you didn’t realize were perfect for your business until now.
  2. In-house teams have a clear and singular focus on the target audience. They know them intimately because they are the customers and consumers they interact with every day. However, agency partners can bring new, data-driven strategies to help you uncover and engage new audiences. In fact, recent research from Microsoft found that the marketers who are winning the customer experience race are more likely to be sourcing data and working with agencies because of faster time to market, lower costs, and fewer risks.
  3. In-house teams have an in-depth understanding of—and proximity to—day-to-day business. They can respond to needs and challenges in the moment and share project and initiative status on-demand. But when it’s time to push marketing efforts beyond immediate needs, a strong agency brings knowledge of the broader landscape and an understanding of what other in-category and out-of-category brands are doing. And that’s what informs strategies for bold, statement-making marketing.
  4. In-house teams can make quick work of marketing collateral that needs frequent updating or iteration. But, building an internal team with the right mix of skills to take on special projects requires considerable effort. Advertising agencies are made up of specially hired, cross-functional teams. Together, under one roof, agencies use their combined industry knowledge and experience to deliver exceptional creative when you need it most—like for your next campaign.

At the Creative Department, we’ve worked with in-house teams of all sizes and specializations. And we’ve always approached the relationship as a partnership, providing exactly the perspective, strategy, and fresh creative they need at the right moments to make their brands shine.

We’d love to hear about what you look for from an agency partner and how we can help you ensure that the investment you’re making in your brand pays off.