Interview With Christian Reinecke From United States

Reclaiming The Lost Art Of Writing With ancora
August 3, 2022
Beatstar Takes Music Listening To The Next Level
August 3, 2022

Christian Reinecke

Christian Reinecke is the founder and principal designer of Reinecke Design with several brands helped under his belt. Including Smarty Pants’ brand design!

Interview with the 2022 NYX Marcom Awards Winner -
Christian Reinecke

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your background.

My name is Chris Reinecke, and I am the Founder and Principal Designer of Reinecke Design, as well as a Senior Graphic Designer at Signet Jewelers. As a Creative Director in the DFW Metroplex, I have served in Marketing Communications for over 15 years, serving companies of all sizes, including Sally Beauty, SUCCESS Partners, Solera, Raising Canes, Haggar Clothing and Signet Jewelers, as well as several medical practices, ad agencies and local businesses.

I founded Reinecke Design in 2016 as an opportunity to take on a more comprehensive role as both marketer and designer. As someone who specializes in practical creativity that satisfies both right-brain and left-brain thinkers, my goal has always been to work hard to deliver strong creative output that performs.

2What led you to become a marketing communication professional?

I knew that I wanted to be a career artist at 4 years old, watching "Commander Mark Kistler's 'Draw Squad'" on PBS. He was kind of like a Bob Ross, for kids. My parents were supportive, but their sphere of influence primarily included hobbyists, and they struggled to see how my creative skill set could become a strength in the marketplace, rather than a liability.

By Age 8, I was drawing Disney characters; at 13, I was modifying popular cartoon characters into parodies of NBA players. In my teens, my sketchbooks frequently featured custom logos, but nobody I knew had a framework for understanding commercial art/graphic design. I didn’t know how I could turn my creative passion into a career.

I began my university studies in Art Education, on the path to become a teacher, at the High School level. By my Senior year, I was married with children, and decided to pivot, and transfer to something more profitable. Having worked in advertising sales for months by this time, I understood where I wanted my career path to lead, and began studies at a new school where I received my BFA in Graphic Design.

3What is your role in the agency, and what traits should a marketing communications professional possess to be successful in their role?

I hold multiple roles: Founder and Principal Designer of Reinecke Design, Sr. Graphic Designer in the In-House Agencies where I have served, and as Illustrator for a handful of NFT Projects, where I have been commissioned for generative art.

To be successful in marketing communications, I believe the most important traits to possess are to have a team-oriented mindset and to stay curious.

Being team-oriented involves an awareness of the mistakes we can make through both commission and omission. There are times to step up and do more than is asked of us, in the name of furthering the cause, so that everyone can win together. There are also times to step back and allow others to do what they do best, giving them the opportunity to shine.

Intellectual and creative curiosity means that you are driven to succeed, but eager to achieve it in new ways, using new technologies, skills, methods or learnings. This requires adaptability, agility, and a willingness to try something that may fail and learn from it.

Using both skills well also requires a "big picture," strategic mindset, that places your own skill set as a small portion of a much larger story.

4Tell us more about your agency / company.

Reinecke Design was established in 2016, out of the belief that businesses should expect more from their creative services. We began with a deep respect for small business, a background in Graphic Design, and the philosophy that "Design is the act of creating with purpose, on purpose."

With this as our foundation, we have set out to build a new kind of business service that emphasizes listening to our clients, setting clear goals, and solving real-world problems.

Today, Reinecke Design offers a range of services, from marketing, design, and copywriting, to print and apparel production, and even workflow management. We are so serious about the power of ideas, that we want to help bring yours to life and to ensure every opportunity for success.

5What is your own definition of marketing communications?

Marketing Communications, to me, is any activity that involves getting the word out, in a way that demonstrates how your businesses help meet needs and solve real problems.

It's a broad discipline and usually takes whole teams of people to execute brand strategies, marketing plans, creative direction, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), web development, and much more. It's simultaneously highly organizational and extremely personal. This is why internal teams and smaller agencies and freelancers often have such an edge over traditional agencies when it comes to brand: they're invested in the culture, and their communications come from that place in the heart that genuinely believes in the product or service you're speaking to.

6Describe your marketing communications style and its main characteristics.

Because I come from a graphic design background, my communications style is characterized by those elements that make graphic communication work best: strong visuals, relatable headlines, digestible content, and clear calls to action. As a values-based marketer, I avoid manipulation as a strategy, and focus instead on the things that customers need/want to hear most. From there, we find the opportunity to finesse a concept from raw data into relatable storytelling.

7Tell us more about your ideation process.

Some would say inspiration is like a sudden flash of lightning, but we believe it's much simpler than that.

We begin with goals—Call us crazy, but we believe it is important to know and plan for a destination before beginning the journey.

Then, we interview our customers and research industries to gain insights. Nobody knows a business better than the client. To get them where they want to go, we place a heavy priority on listening to their understanding of the market.

This is when we lean into creative research.

To find the best way forward, we look to the past, to the competition, and we test ideas.

After the fact-finding and research process has built up our base of understanding, we feel free to develop our own ideas.

Having goals, intelligence, and research in place makes for fertile creative soil. We then curate our ideas, looking back to client insights to focus only on the winning concepts.

Open communication with clients is a high priority. Once we've presented ideas for review, our clients will have a set number of revisions, allowing us to adjust, as needed.

We believe art is subjective—Design is not. We are in the business of creative solutions, which means success shows in our ability to deliver results.

8Congratulations! As the winner of the NYX Marcom Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?

International awards have opened doors for me in the past several years. For starters, gaining the confidence to participate was an important milestone for me, personally. But, beyond that, the distinction has helped spread the word about Reinecke Design, through PR packages and SEO, and the participation on a global stage has exposed us to a wide range of creative inspiration and possibilities.

9 How has winning an international award help to promote your agency and works?

I was originally skeptical, but the benefits are evident.

Each Award program that Reinecke Design has participated in over the last year has given me several new pieces of social media and blog content to share. This has increased engagement on social media more than other forms of self-promotion.

Reinecke Design has written 70% more proposals in the last year, since receiving our first international awards. We raised our rates by 30%, and our contracts have included more billable services, helping us to transition from bill-per-project propositions to agency of record contracts.

As an individual contributor: shortly after receiving my first international awards within months of each other, I was actively recruited for several full-time positions that would have implied a 25% salary increase.

10 What are the challenges of your winning entry(ies)?

The "Smarty Pants" brand design was a big win for us creatively. It was one of the first projects where we were entrusted with the naming of a company. We were particularly challenged by the idea that tutoring services were often seen in a negative light - that remedial learning existed to help less intelligent or less disciplined students pass. Once a child feels that they have been labeled as "the dumb kid" their confidence takes a big hit, and they stop engaging. We initially landed on the name "Smarty Pants" to give the founder a laugh, during the stressful process of starting a company. But it grew on us quickly because we had the potential to redeem this as a label that children would want to be associated with, and that could help change the course of their education.

11How has the country, you are based in, helped during your ideation process?

Culture plays a big role in our ideation process.

Suburban American culture is highly irreverent and sarcastic.

We often find ourselves playing with the lines between humor and sanctity, as a way of gaining and directing attention to the right places.

12What are the current trends in the marketing communications industry that you are most excited about?

One of my favorite trends from the last several years has been the increasing acceptance of In-House Creative Teams as authorities in brand. When I joined the industry over 5 years ago, there were these distinct barriers: Marketing Communications Teams would handle the day-to-day operations and production work; and anything interesting, creative, or high-stakes, would be outsourced to a top-tier agency. This trend is particularly exciting because it’s providing a more equal opportunity for everyone. The industry is finally recognizing that creative talent can come from anywhere; and that there is a particular strength that comes from being immersed in a small handful of brands.

13What are the top three (3) favorite things about the marketing communications industry?

I LOVE that the Marketing and Communications industry is always changing and responding to new challenges.

I am GRATEFUL that the Marketing and Communications industry covers a broad range of skill sets and opportunities.

I am FASCINATED by the fact that I will always be learning new skills, new approaches, and new ways to apply them.

14What resources would you recommend to someone who is searching to improve their marketing communications ideas and concepts?

The best resource is your own curiosity. A curious mind can extract inspiration from the things you encounter every day and find ways to make those concepts/ideas better. Look to objective sources of quality, such as awards programs, to find the best photographers, writers, designers, directors—but don't stay there! Also look up the individuals who won these awards to see their bodies of work. Look to their socials, and the peers that have inspired them. Look at their portfolios and see the companies they've worked with and for. Creativity and quality in marketing are not exclusive—they are for everyone. Stay curious and ask deep, layered questions.

15Where do you see the evolution of the marketing industry in the next 5-10 years?

I'm interested to see how the concept of the metaverse intersects with marketing in the years ahead.

NFT sales are presenting startups with an opportunity to crowdfund projects in a similar method that Kickstarter had done a decade ago—but the most interesting thing to me is how the code behind smart contracts is opening up more possibilities.

Whether people will be living their lives in the metaverse as many predict has yet to be seen, but at the very least, I believe it is a challenge to drive creativity and visual design to new heights. There are unlimited applications to the technologies being presented in Web3; and I'm especially eager to see how the mainstream application of cryptocurrencies, NFTs and graphic interfaces can influence our day-to-day experiences. Since everything is new, it is difficult to see how certain challenges are solved and which parts will gain the most traction, but it is undeniable that the metaverse will have an impact on marketing in the future.

16Who inspired you in your life, and why?

My wife and kids are my biggest inspiration. Providing for my family was an important factor in my career choice and in the founding of Reinecke Design.

Watching my kids grow and explore life for the first time with new eyes, through the various phases of life, from first steps, to first loves, and career aspirations, have all helped me to see the wonder in the world around me.

My wife, Bethany, has been my constant. She’s been by my side from the time we were in college together where she taught me how art can be both well executed and extremely personal. She showed an enthusiasm for people and community early on. She has encouraged me to become less timid and be more willing to put myself out there. Bethany also suspended her university studies so I could complete mine and has made a number of sacrifices over the years for our family. She has been my example and my inspiration for over 20 years.

17What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Success, to me, means not settling to finish where you started. Comparison is an unhealthy mindset, and on many occasions has led me to a downward spiral. Some use comparison to build themselves up while tearing others down. I believe that the key to success is to see others through the lens of what humanity is capable of, while being driven to outperform yourself. Do I know more than I did yesterday? Am I capable of more than I was yesterday? Am I a better friend and colleague than I was yesterday? Am I more generous than I was yesterday? This is success, to me.

Winning Entries

Smarty Pants Brand Design | 2022

Smarty Pants Brand Design | Christian Reinecke

When Certified Teacher and Entrepreneur Lori Bourgeois began offering tutoring services, she wanted to build a lasting brand that was known for motivating and empowering children to learn, and to see themselves as smart, capable students. Reinecke Design was charged with naming and identity design for her tutoring practice, and helped establish a creative voice and…
(read more at NYX Marcom Awards)

Christian Reinecke

Christian Reinecke is the founder and principal designer of Reinecke Design with several brands helped under his belt. Including Smarty Pants’ brand design!

Check out our top video and web productions in 2022 here!