On Thursdays, we read reviews or news stories about art or design and study the language used in them. This week’s article is about a female-founded advertising agency, Swift.
Here are three paragraphs from AIGA Eye on Design, in italics.
(In the beginning of this article, we learn that Swift is a successful, female-founded ad agency in Portland. The next three paragraphs come from the middle of the article, where they talk about Swift’s clients. Liz Valentine is one of the founders.)
Its unique ability to match business savvy with emotional intelligence has resulted in a wonderfully diverse client base, including Adidas, Starbucks, Google, and Nest. But more often than not, these established companies also enlist Swift for its keen understanding of and impressive track record with social media campaigns. “We got into social incredibly early, and believed in it when no one else thought it was going to matter,” says Valentine.
“From the very beginning we believed that social would be one of the most powerful ways for brands to interact with consumers, and transform communications. So, that was a good bet.” Despite the client or scope of work, consumer research lies at the heart of it all. “With everything we’re doing, if it doesn’t resonate with people it won’t work,” says Valentine. “We conduct true, ethnographic research to inform digital, and that’s unusual.”
For Project Harden for Adidas, the first signature sneaker for basketball star James Harden, the challenge was building hype without revealing it before dropping in October 2016. To that end, strategists held what Valentine refers to as “friendship interviews” with teenagers—casual meetings in their homes, shopping malls, and wherever else they’d socialize with their peers—to better understand their Instagram habits.
In the first paragraph, we see the phrases business savvy and emotional intelligence. Savvy means practical understanding or knowledge of something, in this case, business. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. Diverse means made up of people or things that are different from each other, so this writer is saying that the designers at Swift are good at business and good at understanding the emotions of their consumers, which has brought them a diverse group of important clients (their client base).
The phrase more often than not just means usually, and established means successful for a long time. A keen understanding means they understand very well, and a track record is the things that someone has done in the past. So usually, successful companies use Swift because they understand and have used social media very well in the past. In the last sentence, Valentine says they started using (got into) social media before anyone else thought it was important (going to matter).
In the second paragraph, we see the phrase transform communications. To transform means to change something, and communication is the way we express ourselves. We also see the phrase a good bet, which means like a good guess, or a good thing to bet on because it came true. Despite means that nothing stops a thing from happening, and the scope of work means the size of the project. Consumer research means learning what people want to buy, and the phrase at the heart of it all, means the subject is the most important thing, like a heart. So the writer is saying that consumer research is the most important part of an ad campaign for every client or project. Ethnographic means they study different races and cultures to help them (inform) make their decisions.
In the third paragraph, we’re talking about hype, which means the talk or writing that makes people excited about something. We also see the word dropping, which in this situation means the time when the product became available. So the writer is saying that the ads had to get people excited about this shoe without letting anyone see what it looked like so it would be a surprise when it became available in October 2016. The phrase to that end means to achieve that goal. A strategist is a person who is skilled in making plans for achieving a goal, so Valentine is saying that their researchers met with teenagers to learn about how they used Instagram.
Some industries use a lot of jargon in the workplace, which means words that only people in that industry really understand or use. It can be difficult to learn these buzzwords and phrases on your own, but a good language coach can help you to master them quickly.
At Artglish, we help artists and designers to describe their work with the best vocabulary and language possible. Every Thursday we study reviews and articles to share useful words and phrases to help you improve your reading and writing skills. If you want to learn more, click here to join The Studio and try some free ways to improve your English, or check out our Lessons page to learn how Artglish can help you succeed.
I’ve chosen 5 words or phrases for you to focus on today. They are in bold. If you don’t know them, look up the meaning, synonyms, antonyms, and other forms of these words. You can find links to Merriam-Webster dictionary sites at the bottom of this page.
To read the original article, written by Katie Chang on February 15, 2018, click the link below:
To check out the Swift website, click the link below: