Life changes once you’ve flushed
A petrol stand is relevant if you are just about to run out of petrol. But of no account if you are not. A toilet is relevant if you’ve had six cups of tea and left the tea house three hours ago. But insignificant once you’ve flushed.
Interestingly, the question of what is relevant for us at a given time doesn’t have to be out of our control. Relevance can also be designed. It is our key concept, and we call it RELEVANCE DESIGN.
The recipients must instantly perceive the purpose of spending time on your communication. Otherwise, they will not. Therefore a context has to be established quickly. A frame for the communication that is as close to the recipient’s life as possible.
This is why we not only base our work on what you want to communicate, but also on what the recipient wish to receive.
Ditch the guest list and open up
Much communication is dogmatic. For instance, it is a common misconception, that “serious” content should be communicated in a “serious” manner to be perceived as credible.
But an engineer does not want to read heavy, technological texts simply because he is an engineer. On the contrary. ALL RECIPIENTS, REGARDLESS OF THEIR ROLE IN SOCIETY, ARE FIRST AND FOREMOST PEOPLE. And there are universal rules for how to talk to people. We know these rules.
We also very often see communication products that are “closed”. Without the reader friendly entrances that are so important to be able to invite the recipient inside. They become houses without doors or windows. For us, there is no divide between communicating aesthetically on the one hand and being inviting and inspiring on the other. It is when the two meet, that really good communication emerges.
Integrate it, really …
These days everyone is saying it: We work strategically. We are integrated. It is no doubt the two most used, and misused, words in the communications industry today. It sounds great, but words are easy. More often than not, when work is passed on from one specialist to another, good ideas become diluted.
At Protopolis we work, well, strategically as an integrated agency. But we like to think that we know exactly what we’re talking about. Protopolis is about the not so common merger of social science and psychology with communication design. Protopolis is about what actually works!
The academic may know a lot about determining strategies and how to pursue them. He may also have a very good idea about how communication has mental impacts on a recipient, but less so about how to actually produce such communications.
The designer may have a good idea about aesthetics and making a communication appealing, but less so about overall strategies and the cognitive processes that deduct meaning from a communication.
This is why we truly strive to completely obliterate the divide between the two. Interdisciplinary thinking is what we have for breakfast and what we brush our teeth with at night. A group of generalists with specialized skills produce the best communication. This way, ideas are never lost in translation but move freely in the organization. A company’s aspiration can be put through the machinery and come out the other end as an undiluted communication product.
This is how you truly move things forward and achieve strategic goals through communication.
What is the intended effect of the communication, and what is the purpose of achieving this effect?
Who are my stakeholders, and what characteristics do they have?
How do I create relevance for my recipients?
WHAT’S THAT NAME?
Protopolis? Well, essentially it means “first city” or “model city”. For us, it pretty much sums up what we are about.
We started out as a magazine dealing with urban culture, architecture and urban planning. We were the first magazine of its kind in the world, and part of the mission was to help make the city of Copenhagen a model city. A city that is as beautiful as it is functional.
Since becoming Protopolis, little has actually changed. We still strive to unite aesthetics with functionality in all we do, and we do think there is an element of pioneering in our user-orientated approach. An approach that we think should actually be a model for all good communication.