Monday, December 3, 2012

WalkaboutNYC: Gin Lane Media - Interactivity Is Media's Future

Welcome to part four of my WalkaboutNYC 2012 startup tour! Today's post is about my stop at Gin Lane Media. To read more about WalkaboutNYC, or to learn about two other great startups in the city (OpenPlans and Campfire) click on the links below.

Walkabout NYC 2012 Recap: Startup-Hopping In the City

WalkaboutNYC: OpenPlans - Trip Planning At Its Best

WalkaboutNYC: Campfire - Immersive Marketing Experiences


Now that you're up to speed, I can get right to talking about the next startup on the list...

Gin Lane Media

Although I've lived in New York City for a few months, I haven't quite gotten distances figured out yet. For some reason, it seems impossible to get anywhere in the city in less than fifteen minutes. Add to that the fact that I planned my itinerary based on what companies sounded coolest, and not which were closest to one another, and you can imagine that I ended up at Gin Lane in Bowery considerably out of breath and a little worse for wear.

But I did get there at last, and was treated to a presentation about creating interactive stories for brands. Gin Lane Media is all about getting brands excited about stuff you can't do in print; they believe that too many digital magazines don't bother pushing the envelope when they change platforms.

Their work with J. Crew is a great example of this outlook. The look and design of the J. Crew iPad magazine is cool and all, but it goes beyond just giving the potential customers something pretty to look at. The whole point of the digital media is that it leads up to a real life event - that of working with a specialized stylist. It shapes and directs the user experience, as opposed to simply existing as a flat, one-dimensional, static installation. Another great example of this attitude was the Selfridges launch for the Stella McCartney L.I.L.Y. fragrance, in which Gin Lane Media utilized the cutting-edge functionality of the Kinect to create an interactive window display.

Of course, just because you want to be on the cutting edge doesn't mean you have to jump on every new trend, and shove all of it in your client's faces. The Gin Lane Media approach is especially effective when clients are on the conservative and thoughtful side, because many brands distrust new media. It's important for marketing companies to stay on-brand; ideally, you can use new techniques to generate good tension with the more traditional approaches.

The takeaway? As a freelance writer or any other type of entrepreneur, you have to be ready to take leaps of faith, to embrace the not-entirely-known in the quest to find that new and unique thing that will give you an edge. Don't bother doing things the way they've always been done, unless you want to spend all your time struggling for a foothold in a landscape saturated by competitors trying to do exactly the same thing.

To learn more about Gin Lane Media, follow them on Twitter: @ginlane
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