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Yes& Creative Strategy: From Concept to Reality

Jill Meritt

Ever heard the old adage, “don’t let your imagination run away with you”?  I find my best stories come from allowing that inner creativity out to play.  At Yes&, our perpetual pursuit of “&” is just that – breaking down barriers, tossing limitations out the window, and recognizing the potential in new ideas.  As every good storyteller knows, the real magic comes from banishing the inner critic and getting curious about every possibility.  

Harry Potter is one of my favorite stories.  A seemingly ordinary boy with a humdrum existence— orphaned, displaced, and unloved— Harry struggles to overcome the disadvantaged hand life delt him.  But when the lovable giant Rubius Hagrid showed up and announced the big reveal – “You’re a wizard!” – Harry’s eureka moment was born and his reality shifts forever.     

My “aha moment” –when I knew that Yes& was the place that would change my life – was my first interview with the Jeb Brown, the COO of Yes&.  Yes, he was interested in my background and experience… and he focused more on what that experience meant to me.  He learned how I wanted to move forward in my career and what roles and responsibilities interested me.  Every question he asked was to discover two things: was I a good fit for the Agency, and more importantly, was the Agency a good fit for me?  

Bright-eyed and bushy tailed, I walked through the front doors for my in-person first day at the office.  It was easy to see how every part of the space was steeped in creativity, innovation, and collaboration—from the design of the art decal on the walls, to the storyboards in the conference rooms, to each Yes&er I met.  With every conversation, I was excited about to learn, grow, and work with people who transmogrified creative vision into tangible reality.   

After a few weeks of onboarding and finding my bearings, I received my first account to manage.  Since I had never worked at an agency before, I didn’t exactly know what to expect.  This is what I discovered:  

After the initial RFP, the account team conducts a “roadmap” – a collaborative session between players in different areas of the Agency. Together, they outline a proposal and answer questions: do we fully understand this scope of work?  Can we provide the potential client with everything they are asking for?  What steps do we need to take to ensure this project is completed on time?  Who should be involved in this process? 

Once the proposal is signed, we schedule a kick-off meeting with the client and make sure all key account stakeholders attend.  Kickoff includes internal team and client introductions, asking preliminary questions, and an attempt to gauge the visions/goals of each stakeholder.  Afterwards, we review internally to agree on what was said, make our own internal goals, and discuss how to incorporate notable client objectives moving forward.  Essentially, how do we transform these ideas from a simple concept to full-blown reality? 

After attending my first creative presentation – the first iteration of a new logo- I could answer that question.  Our Art Director presented three logo concepts for client comments, review, and approval.  Offering a few options serves two purposes: to focus our efforts with all future marketing materials based on client preferences and to give them a voice in the rebranding process.  An hour before the meeting, I requested access to all client files to so I could come prepared.  

After thumbing through the scope of work, I clicked on a discovery folder (with audits, interviews, and insight reports), then the strategy folder (with campaign, naming, and website information); but the real “meat” for this meeting (so-to-speak) was in the concepts folder.  

With every click, the artistry of each logo evolved from sketch form to computer renderings.  Each file had a different variation in font style, shape, size, letter case, color palette, and typography.  All three versions used different geometric shapes and icons.  Creativity exploded onto the page, breathing life into the original concept, and changing an amorphous idea to something concrete.   

As I played a spectator role in the presentation, I thought I knew what I was in for, but to my surprise, I learned more than I originally expected.  As Art Director walked everyone through the three versions of the logo, it was clear that every style choice was thoughtful, deliberate, and intentional – whether that meant the curvature of the lettering, the shapes used, the color palette, or the use of negative space. 

Every version of the logo connected in some way to the style scape – a visual representation of recognizable elements that make up a brand’s identity.  Even though the three concepts were vastly different, the client could see how each version directly tied to the colors, typography, photography, patterns, and history of the organization our creatives drew from to build the visual aesthetic of their brand.  I left that meeting informed, inspired, and in awe of of the forethought and unconventional ideas that went into these designs. 

In my first few months at Yes&, I’ve met many versions of my own Rubius Hagrid.  Each colleague encourages me to be an explorer through opportunities to shadow different accounts, a collaborator by bringing new ideas to the table, and an inventor with space to carve out my own original projects.  Every day I stand on the precipice of Diagon Alley and enter a world where I get to breathe passion, creativity, and possibility into brand identities, campaigns, and strategies for our clients. 

As my Yes& journey continues, I’m excited to dive deeper into our unique process with each new account.  By giving my imagination the freedom to run wild, I can produce better, bolder, and more captivating content, and bring the magic of our client’s brand stories to life.  After practicing these skills, it will become second nature.  As Hermione Granger says, “it’s just a flick of the wrist!”  

Yes& is the Washington, DC-based marketing agency that brings commercial, association, and government clients the unlimited power of “&” – using a full suite of branding, digital, event, marketing, public relations, and creative capabilities to deliver meaningful and measurable results.

Let’s talk about what the power of "&" can do for you.

Jill Meritt
Senior Account Executive

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