Q + A: Instinctif Partners

Next month, we are excited to head to the offices of Instinctif Partners for our November Studio Tour in order to take a look into their approach to design. We caught up with Managing Director Nic Pearce to talk about creativity, design, and Aussie beef, along with an update on Instinctif’s work here in San Francisco.

What is Instinctif Partners?

We’re a global communications consultancy that specializes in reputation, influence, and engagement.

OK...so, what the hell is that?

We use communication as a business tool. We help our clients keep the promises they make – to their customers, to their employees, to their stakeholders – We’re all about clever thinking, creativity, and delivery. Oh yes and we’re made up of six practices, over 500 employees in 25 offices around the world. We work with some of the most exciting companies and brands around the world, including eBay, Rolls Royce, Bacardi, HSBC, Coach, Inmarsat, Dogs Trust, Guangdong Radio & TV

What does your work look like for your clients?

The work that we do is specific to each respective market. Here in the US we are focused on engagement work with companies like eBay, Thomson Reuters, Coach, and Gap Inc.

What kind of design work do you typically do?

We do pretty much everything. We go across all channels – from online and print, digital, social, events, executive presentations, and environmental installations. We even design workshops and other interactive experiences.

So tell us a little bit more about the engagement work. What do you mean by engagement?

We get people to do the right thing at the right time, in the right way. It means we help brands strengthen relationships with their customers. And sometimes we even help by getting customers to buy more stuff!. For employees, it means we’re getting them aligned around common goals and objectives. We work out what needs to be different. It means developing and adapting company cultures. For stakeholders, we provide insights that drive different outcomes.

Cool! It sounds like you’re a bit different than other creative design firms?

Yes, that’s right. Our approach to design starts with the outcome – what are we trying to get our audience to do? Once we’ve identified the behavior or action that we want our audience to do, then it’s time to get into the creative. Then the design follows from there.

What is the difference between “creative” and “design”?

Creative and design are not the same. Design involves the look and feel of the thing – how it is expressed! The creative underpins the design – it’s about the emotion and the behavior. How it makes you feel, and how you respond – that’s the creative.

Can you give us an example of what you mean?

Sure thing! Awhile back, the Red Meat Council in Australia were seeing a decline in red meat consumption due to concerns about high-fat content in beef. They looked for ways to get people to eat more red meat, but without a big budget, they had very few options to make a big impact. What they did was very disruptive - they took out billboards in the five major cities across Australia. The message was simply:

“Eat More Red Meat”. The design was … well, there was no design. The billboards were white backgrounds with LARGE red copy with the text “Eat More Red Meat you Bastards”

Adding the word “bastards” was, at the time, totally disruptive. It was bold and in-your-face, but when you think about it, the creative is quite deep. It has humor. It makes you feel something. It gets straight to the point – there’s no ambiguity about the message. It’s distinctly “Australian” in its tone. It’s a call to action with a clear behavioral outcome.

No mess, no fuss, just straight to the point and different!

Awesome! So how can we learn more about Instinctif Partners?

Come to our studio tour on November 7! We’ll be talking more about our approach to design and taking a closer look at some of our recent work. Tickets are available online HERE!