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Five Questions For Fabio Orlando, CCO, The Autumn Group

Fabio Orlando is Director & Chief Creative Officer of “The Autumn Group”: a company he founded over ten years ago. Touting the mantra “clarity in creativity”, Fabio is as a highly strategic and adaptable thinker whose philosophy and vision are integral components of every account.
*One Degree: What’s the story behind Here’s My Baby?*
“Here’s My Baby”: is this fabulous portrait studio who has emerged from very humble beginnings. They were initially located in a mall in Thornhill, Ontario where they gained some local notoriety. That’s where our paths crossed.
After seeing some of their portraits at an associate’s house, I quickly booked a session to photograph my then one-year-old. Truly, I was impressed by the calibre of talent and professionalism.
Being ever the communications specialist (and solicitor), I approached the owner and lead photographer, Frank Cunha and told him that I had a lot of faith in his talents and that I could see this little studio doing great things. I was right.
Since then, they have moved to a gloriously designed and spacious studio in charming Kleinberg and have expanded their offerings to include Outdoor Lifestyle Studies. Their work is nothing short of beautiful.
*One Degree: Congrats on “winning a Webby!”: How did a little shop in Kleinberg Ontario end up with such a prestigious international award?*

Good question.
At “Crimson Interactive”:, (a division of The Autumn Group ) we constantly preach our “Anything Is Possible” mantra. And in the world of interactive, we sincerely believe this to be true.
There are however, times where that far-reaching statement falls a little short. After all, we live and work in an industry where pre-planning is scarce, time is a luxury, budgets are limited and the level of client understanding is not always there. That is where the relationship with Here’s My Baby is different. They may not have a full understanding of everything we do, but they know enough to trust us. That’s a tall order these days. There are a lot of clients out there who want to put their fingerprints all over something so that they can justify their involvement. Not Here’s My Baby. They provided the faith and we provided the results.
And the results are not good, they are excellent.
Now that is not to say that they had no involvement. Quite the contrary, actually. But they did understand that break-through creative takes courage; and they had it. And even though they gave us carte blanche, I was happy that our team was able to keep it clear, simple, timeless and approachable. After all was said and done, we had a site that showcased a ton of marketing savvy, pleasing yet not overdone design & animation and a true complement to the organizations overall brand strategy. Something we felt merited entry into the Webby’s. The rest is history.
*One Degree: What was it like being at the Webby’s ceremony?*
Like nothing I’ve ever been to. So much energy! The event was extremely polished and professional. There was indeed an almost tangible atmosphere of creativity and pride present. Attention to detail was impeccable and the friendly nature of the attendees solidified the camaraderie in the industry. It helped too, that the quality of food and beverage was second to none. And of course, New York is New York. Suffice it to say, there was a lot of talent in the room and it was truly an honour to among those in the winner’s circle.
One Degree: Can you tell us your “acceptance speech?”:
Ugh! I thought about it for a long time. In the end, I wanted to remain true to our philosophy, so naturally, My _mandatory five word speech_ had to be “Our mantra? Anything… is possible.” It went over well and actually garnered some applause. It was even good enough to make the highlight reel they posted on the Webby site.
*One Degree: We’ve had “a few examples lately at One Degree”: that showed the impact blogs can have on small businesses. Do you have any general thoughts about the value small companies should put on their online efforts?*
Overall, I think that small business needs to think and act big and at the same time, remember that people like dealing with small businesses because they are exactly that.
I used the word “approachable” earlier regarding the design strategy we employed for Here’s My Baby, and that is key. Blogs are a great way of showcasing an organization in a professional manner and yet maintain a grass-roots mentality. It’s like writing a personal letter to each of your customers. It can go a long way in establishing a loyal following.
I do think that there has to be some strategy adapted for the tone and content however. It is not something I would want any of my clients to undertake on their own. In the end, the value of the online content should be suited for the target audience.
There are many interactive boutiques that simple push the flavour-of-the-month and that is not right either. Make sure it is relevant. How many sites have you seen that simply use too much Flash? As content and design generators, we must temper our yearnings to showcase our full spectrum of talents. Offer what is right for your client and ultimately, their audience.