Dec 18

20 years in the life of bluesky.


As bluesky celebrates its 20th anniversary, Steve Brown looks back in wonder at how much the industry has changed.

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news / Dec 18

When Donna and I first started bluesky back in 1998, we were working from the conservatory of our home in rural Suffolk. We both made the corporate jump without a parachute, working as marketing consultants with just a couple of retained clients — Whirlpool appliances and US-based Masco Corporation. Those were scary times, when the internet was only just being realised as a commercial entity and many businesses didn’t even use email.

How things have changed! Back then, our bread and butter was devising strategic marketing plans, thinking up campaigns, developing product ranges and writing and designing brochures and ads— which at the time were the most effective means of promotion. Product development and photoshoots took many months of orchestrating, with prototype models being painstakingly made, sets lovingly built and 35mm transparencies scrutinised. Design concepts were always hand crafted, hand delivered and personally presented. 

Fast forward 20 years and we’re building new products and whole roomsets in glorious CGI, sending pdf designs for approval over email or presenting them on the other side of the world over Skype. The most desired marketing tool is now a website (by a long chalk) along with all the online marketing bells and whistles that go with it. And instead of a project taking months, it’s now turned around within weeks, with relative ease. 

Technology has enabled our industry to refocus its skills and to inject speed into the marketing process where it was desperately needed. But one thing technology can’t replace is creative thinking, or as we call it here, ‘bluesky’ thinking. And when it comes to generating new ideas you can’t beat a good old brainstorm — although I gather we’re supposed to call them ‘thought showers’ now! Over 20 years some things change for the better — and clearly some things don’t! 

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