Why This Creative Joined a Firm Known for Its Research and Strategy

There’s a tendency to view creative—viewbooks, videos, advertising, or your website—as your institution’s brand. The truth is, no matter how great the creative might be, it isn’t your brand. Creative is simply the expression of a brand, the output of two equally important inputs—research and strategy. Unfortunately, more and more today, creative is nothing more than an expression of mutually agreed-upon opinions. That’s why so much is ultimately forgettable. And that is why I joined SimpsonScarborough several months ago.

Having worked at Notre Dame as the University’s only marketing writer, I know just how essential research is to creative work. Is it necessary to write a clever line or to design a beautiful layout? No. But for a brand to be something more than just clever and beautiful, for it to be truly authentic and unique, inspiring and enduring, thorough research and thoughtful strategy are absolute musts.

I eventually left campus and found myself at another agency focused on higher ed. I knew that we were often writing and designing first, and then forcing the research findings and strategy to align with our creative, rather than the other way around. We didn’t like to test creative because those people reviewing the creative wouldn’t offer useful insight. After all, they weren’t “creatives,” they were just our target audiences.

SimpsonScarborough’s two most recent creative hires share my belief—our belief—that research and strategy lead to impactful creative. They also have invaluable on-campus experience that informs their thinking and inspires their work. It is with great excitement that we introduce you to Jason Shough and Tyler Bergholz.

Jason ShoughJason Shough, a graduate of the Medill School at Northwestern University and The Ohio State University, is an award-winning copywriter. From 2012–2014, he was also a speechwriter for Dr. Gordon Gee. At Ohio State, his former boss used to say, “You need nerves like steel pipes to be a college president.” To Jason, the same rule applies to doing great brand work. Whether it’s research, strategy, or creative, you need guts to break through the noise — and Jason’s never backed down from that challenge. In the last five years, he’s written celebrated campaigns for Northwestern University, University of California, Monmouth College, Antioch College, Western State Colorado University, and Rotterdam School of Management. He’s also served as lead creative for several global pharmaceutical brands. Today, we welcome him as our Associate Creative Director, Copy.

Tyler Bergholz

Tyler Bergholz is our new Associate Creative Director, Design. A graduate of East Carolina University, Tyler is a phenomenal graphic designer and artist. He’s also a consummate pro who’s as much at home with scissors, a Sharpie, paper, and some glue as he is with Adobe Creative Suite. Imagine an old soul with access to today’s technology, and that’s Tyler. He possesses big-time agency, campus, and corporate experience and is a multiple CASE and Addy award-winning designer who has been featured in numerous publications, including Lurzers Archive Magazine and AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers. Tyler has designed for North Carolina State University, the University of California, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Roberto Clemente Museum, GNC, Conair, Cooper Tires, Ruby Tuesday, and Rite Aid.

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