Gravity Alliance | Multiple Cultures. Infinite Ideas.


DASH bus routes to get makeover

by Amy Biolchini | mLive

In an effort to get more people on board free buses in downtown Grand Rapids, the city is preparing to re-brand the bus line.

DASH (Downtown Area Shuttle) buses run on two fixed routes downtown and offer free rides to visitor and residents alike. The city of Grand Rapids pays about $1.5 million annually to The Rapid to run the bus service and to offer the Silver Line free of charge downtown.

View the original article on mLive

Three Billboards

Why the billboard industry is getting behind this Oscar contender

The billboard industry is stepping up to promote a film that features billboards during awards season.

Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is up for seven Oscars, after sweeping the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild awards and the Baftas, the British version of the Oscars.

View original article on mLive     View on Ad Week

Haven Building Exterior

‘Idea factory’ comes to Grand Haven

by Danielle Nelson | GRBJ

Bill McKendry is on a mission. The chief creative officer of HAVEN wants to redefine your perception of advertising agencies.

“It is not an agency, we are an idea factory,” McKendry said.

Before officially opening HAVEN, 212 S. Harbor Drive in Grand Haven, on Jan. 8, McKendry quietly was testing the idea because he wanted to break away from the norm.

View the original article on GRBJ

A New Chapter For Grand Rapids’ Men

The Guiding Light of Grand Rapids focuses on finding job placement and temporary housing for men who are clean, sober and willing. Extra Credit Projects, a Grand Rapids advertising and design agency, recently helped in a rebranding campaign to highlight the positive impact that Guiding Light has had on the community.

The campaign, which includes billboards, digital display, print ads, kiosks, TV and more, features real stories of real men and their journey to recovery.

View the original article on GDUSA


Ad Agency Moves Across Town

by Charlsie Dewey | GRBJ

An advertising and design agency is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a new space.

Rob Jackson, founder of Extra Credit Projects, said his Grand Rapids-based agency outgrew its former space on the west side, at 560 5th St. NW, and has found a new home on the north side, at at 1250 Taylor Ave NE, to accommodate its growth.

Jackson said moving from the city’s west side to its north side was a strategic decision and based on what it expects will occur in the near future with the area.


7 Digital Trends for the New Year

by John Sawyer | January 2016

The only certainty in the New Year is change. Like most industries, digital marketing is constantly evolving. The New Year presents your company with a unique set of opportunities and challenges. Retaining a competitive market advantage will depend on your ability to adapt and embrace these top digital trends in 2016.

1. Responsive Design  – In April 2015, Google announced their mobile-friendly update which means if your website is not optimized for mobile, you will see a significant decrease in your website traffic from searches made on any mobile device. More…

A Brand that Matters

“What exactly is branding,” my new client asked tenuously. “What’s involved and why should I invest in it?”

My response: it’s the value of reputation. The power of branding becomes clear when you go car shopping. For example, the K900 Kia has a comparable design and features to a LS 460 Lexus. So, why do most people pay the additional $300 a month for the Lexus? Because they’re buying reputation – both the car company’s and their own.

“Branding is the process of attaching an idea to some object, service, or organization,” writes author Rob Walker. “That idea can be fairly straightforward (this car is dependable) or extremely ambitious (this mobile phone reflects a maverick worldview).”

As you might expect, the straightforward approach is the most common. Business leaders clearly see the logic of using brand marketing to tell prospects the main benefit of their product or service. While this seems the safest approach, it is actually the most risky. Here’s why: your prospects are inundated with straightforward brand messages. And, frankly, they don’t really care how long you’ve been in business, how dependable your brand is, or how responsive your associates are. They’re way too busy thinking about themselves. More…


NEWSFLASH: Brands are no longer built by adherence to one big idea and repetition of centralized, fixed rules (in spite of what our marketing professors taught). And speaking of professors, the old approach to branding was just like a college class: one too many, trying to engage students with surprising statements, teaching through repetition, testing for awareness, and hoping for positive evaluations.

Today’s digital interface has changed all that. It is one-to-one, perpetual, immediate, and personal. Following the old branding rules will make your brand seem robotic, inhuman, and downright boring. Instead of a classroom, think coffee shop. Today’s branding is more like meeting a friend at Starbucks.

The most successful brands have become humanized. Marc Shillum, Principal at Method, writes, “Through the interface, it is increasingly easy to see how a company behaves, the actions it takes, what it says, and how it responds, reacts, or hides. This transparency demands that a brand becomes more consistent, responsive, communicative, and social. As a result, the brand becomes more dimensional and, in effect, more human.”1 So, how do you build a more humanized brand for the digital age? More…


The New American Epidemic: Creative Deficiency

(The cost of lost creativity)

by Gregg Palazzolo | April 2015

“For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining.” Thus begins a recent cover story by Newsweek reporting the latest results from tests of our nation’s “creativity quotient” (CQ). The tests were designed by Ellis Paul Torrance and are widely accepted as the best way to measure CQ. Children who have scored highly on the Torrance test in years past have become innovators, authors, entrepreneurs, software developers, diplomats, and college presidents.

Recently, however, researchers at William and Mary analyzed over 300,000 Torrance* scores and observed that creativity has been steadily on the rise. That is, until 1990. Over the last 20 years, CQ scores have tumbled.

“With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter,” Newsweek informs. “With creativity, a reverse trend has been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.”

What’s causing the drop off? According to Newsweek, technology and education are particularly egregious offenders. At home, kids spend more time watching television and playing video games; at school, our educational system is depriving our youth of the proper creative atmospheric conditions. Both are not newly suspected, but are indicators within the discussion of the creative deficiency issue. More…