How Razorfish stays way out in front

Razorfish, one of the world’s largest interactive marketing and technology companies, has a Chicago office employing 170-plus digital specialists, who work with top brands like Kraft, JC Penney and AT&T.

ReelChicago’s Tim Horsburgh spoke with Razorfish’s Julie Novack, SVP/general manager, about its future plans and how the Chicago visual media industry can stay ahead of the game.

ReelChicago: Razorfish’s new report notes that 76% of consumers welcome advertising on social networks. I’d say this is a big new trend.

Julie Novack: Advertisers need to be there and connect with consumers in a different way.

The way Obama ran his campaign – through social networks and text messages – was more than just advertising, it was about getting people excited about being part of this ?revolution.’ Making people feel part of a community is the key.

Clients JC Penney and Kraft are now experimenting with social media, and they’re seeing increases in the value of their brand and sales.”

RC: What are some of the other trends to look for in 2009?

Novack: For one, we’re going to see more immersive experiences, using video, AfterEffects, rich media. I call these sites ?fluid,’ as opposed to a more rigid website where you click from page to page.

For another, there’s going to be more seamless, interactive experiences as opposed to static experiences. Our site FunShipIsland is a good example of this.

RC: Do you develop these projects in-house, or use outside sources?

Novack: It’s a combination. We have a motion group of 30 in-house and next year we’ll be building a small video group.

We want a small team that will create concepts and pitch the work, and then partner this group with the city’s best talent to provide the quality that we need for these immersive experiences.

RC: A big unit, small one?

Novack: We currently have 30 people in our Chicago motion/flash group; video-specific we have five.

The new group would have a producer, a creative director and a motion expert. Those are roles we’ll recruit for next year.

RC: And you’re finding these people here.

Novack: Yes. There are definitely more and more production shops shooting video for the web.

We don’t always have big TV budgets, so we want to work with studios that have the ability to scale up or down according to the client.”

RC: You said you grew 50% last year ? and are still growing.

Novack: Clients are still making large investments in digital, but growth has slowed to 20-30% this year.