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AWWW Yeah!

Our very own Poolhouse.co website is a nominee on awwwards.com. Voting is open and we’d be grateful for your support. 

For Poolhouse, building this site was like planting a flag. We believe the investment of time and resources pays dividends in the long run. People can’t help but take notice. We’re stoked to be featured on Awwwards and – with your vote – hope to bring home a win!

If you want an “awwward” winning website of your own, shoot us a note. We’ll help you bring your idea to life!

How Adapting to COVID-19 Made Us Stronger

As we approach the one year mark, working as a creative agency in the era of COVID-19, we’re taking stock of the lessons we’ve learned along the way. See, so much of our time is spent collaborating – gathering on set, meeting to strategize, and huddling around monitors. But, working as a dispersed team came pretty naturally. Our offices already spanned three states, so leaning into Zoom, Figma, and Google Drive covered most of our bases.

But coordinating video shoots created an unexplored frontier of challenges for our production team. In short order, they developed AICP compliant protocols – including health screenings, on-set testing, distancing, and PPE. Each was meticulously applied when selecting locations, accommodations, travel arrangements, and crew/talent/food&bev vendors. A monumental accomplishment that they are continually improving through careful scrutiny and refinement.

The lessons learned along the way have been tremendously valuable. Here are the big takeaways that have influenced our greater, company-wide culture:

PREPARATION

The production team learned quickly that building extra prep-time into schedules was vital, but doing so actually uncovered efficiencies in the long run. We try to create environments on set that foster creativity and allow for flexibility. So over the last year, we’ve had to renew our focus on the details that make that possible. By buttoning up our planning process, we’ve smoothed out the friction points that can make even pre-COVID sets chaotic.

Here is the takeaway – Preparation requires anticipation. Leverage your expertise and understanding to forecast the issues that siphon valuable creative time. For us, that means being diligent about discovery and making sure to dial in our…

DOCUMENTATION

We give a hell of a pitch, but the real key to stakeholder buy-in is documentation. We’re talking scripts, contracts, shot lists, NDAs, etc. Dialing in paperwork isn’t the sexiest thing we do for sure, but it is the ultimate measure of accountability. See, when you’re on one of our sets, your health and livelihood is our highest priority. Ensuring that is worth the necessary documentation.

Here is the takeaway – Documentation keeps you accountable. For us, that means noting internal progress with notes on Basecamp, being transparent with our clients about our process, and always prioritizing…

COMMUNICATION

This is the big one. COVID-19 has made it harder to communicate effectively. That doesn’t mean there are fewer ways to communicate. Between Basecamp, Slack, email, and text we’re easy to get ahold of. But being dispersed does create friction that doesn’t exist in-person. Being deliberate about over-communicating and opting for a phone or Zoom call over a typed message is the best weapon against miscommunication.

Here is the takeaway – Ideas aren’t meant to be shared in a short text or email. If you’re presenting, collaborating, or even disagreeing, don’t waste your time or energy on any other medium.

Last year lead to dozens of successful shoots. Some of our favorites were an energy round-table in Texas, a political ad in Iowa, and – believe it or not – a spot we created in our Atlanta office using Zoom.

Above all else over this past year, we’ve focused on gratitude. Gratitude not just for clients who endeavor to persevere through difficult times, but for a team that never shies away from a challenge. As we approach another year of uncertainty, we’re grateful for the lessons this season has taught us. Adapting to COVID-19 has only made us stronger.

Designing POOLHOUSE 3.0

Today is a big day at POOLHOUSE. The culmination of months of planning and hard work. Designing for yourself can be a lot like giving yourself a haircut (and we’ve all seen how tough that can be this year), but I wanted to share a few insights from the path that got us here.

Pulling off a company brand update – in 2020 of all years – was an all-hands-on-deck exercise.

We took our company through the same branding process that all our clients experience: setting goals, designing great assets, and weaving it all together to tell a story that resonates. Each one of our projects starts the same way, by understanding where the company has been and defining where it is going.

Where it started.
When it launched in 2013, POOLHOUSE was a scrappy upstart. Just two political ad makers hell-bent on crafting innovative, creative-driven content for political candidates and causes. From the start, POOLHOUSE was different, with its funny name, Richmond address, and hand-crafted approach. The brand design reflected that. But as the company quickly grew in scope and scale, a fresh design system was deployed – signaling to Poolhouse’s expanding roster of advocacy and corporate clients a sense of quality, readiness, and refinement.

With success in both the political and corporate sectors, POOLHOUSE expanded its brand department in 2019. Now boasting unified in-house capabilities in strategic communication, creative direction, advertising, and brand design, POOLHOUSE was set to blaze a new course for the future.

Where it is going
We’ve proven ourselves capable of tackling huge challenges for candidates, causes, and companies. The kinds with big budgets, big visions, and even bigger expectations. POOLHOUSE has matured into a sophisticated agency with multifaceted capabilities and big ideas that matter. This brand update, one we’ve codenamed 3.0, announces that loud and clear.

 

3.0 has been a passion project for the POOLHOUSE team. Many of the details coming together after hours, over late nights and long weekends, when our client obligations were done. Our new company brand book, complete with a new logo mark, draws inspiration from the past and sets up a scalable visual language for the future.

We’ve elevated every touchpoint, from our social media and print collateral to our photo library and reel.

Today we also launch a new website that we insisted should tell our story not only through visuals but also through detail refinement and immersive experience. A platform that finally showcases the comprehensive work we do, and the special team that does it.

3.0 marks a new chapter in the POOLHOUSE story. We’re grateful to our team for the hard work and our awesome family of client partners who have been willing to bet on us (and win!) along the way.

If you’re interested in connecting with us to learn more about the branding process, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to share your vision.

Follow POOLHOUSE on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more updates.

A Letter from the Founders

We had a hypothesis, concocted in an actual poolhouse years ago, that we could build a different kind of agency obsessed with creative, fresh thinking, and where big ideas matter. Well, it worked.

Our vision to become the most loved, most trusted, and most innovative agency in our industry hasn’t changed.

When we built our original site, we were so new we had to use Tim’s mom as one of the superlative quotes (“Best Ad I’ve ever seen!”). Today after partnering with over 150 clients and producing bold campaigns with some damn good creative, we’re just gonna let the work speak for itself.

2020 has reminded us that thinking you know the future is a fool’s game, but betting on building a company culture that’s forward-looking, sticks to battle-tested tactics that win, and hires a team of fun, caring, and creative people…that’s the best way to be prepared for whatever comes. We’re ready.

We hope you’ll take some time to get lost in our new site. Everything from the work you see – to the platform it’s presented on – will be what everybody else’s will look like in a few years.

Indulge us in some faint praise online, a retweet, or even some constructive criticism

And then read way more about our branding process and purpose-driven design behind the site, by our very own Brian Athey.

We’ve really valued having you along for the ride all these years and we can’t wait to see what’s next.

Thank you,

Tim & Will
POOLHOUSE