John Azoni: Blog en-us (C) John Azoni (John Azoni) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:11:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:11:00 GMT John Azoni: Blog 79 120 Vegan + Allergen-Free Ice Cream - A Detroit Favorite All photos by John Azoni. See full gallery here

You don't have to be vegan to love what I'm about to introduce you to. 

My good friend Robb Zimmerman is a talented guy - a former audio engineer turned ice cream maker based right here in Detroit. He's also a vegan along with his wife and 2 beautiful kids.

One day Robb brought this vegan ice cream to a dinner party we were at. I was skeptical. In my mind, many things i've tried that start out with the word "vegan" are poor substitutes for the real thing. I feel strongly the same about anything that begins with "diet". But I tried it, and was hooked. In fact, everyone i know that's tried one of Robb's carefully concocted flavors - Maple Bourbon, Strawberry Basil, Sweet Cream Mint, Chai Tea (to name a few) - has fallen in love. 

So when Robb invited me and my camera to hang out in his kitchen space in Eastern Market, I gladly accepted. 

He was in the middle of making a fall classic flavor - "Punkin Spice"

Aside from this being a coconut-milk-based ice cream, Robb uses primarily organic ingredients.

As if that weren't enough - It's allergen conscious. Nut free, dairy free, soy free. And because it's vegan, it's egg free, which for me is a plus because in recent years I've developed a fun egg allergy. 

He even will do a paleo version of some his flavors if you want to get real crazy. 
Heading into the freezer/churner-expensive-machine-thing was a batch of Darkest Dark Chocolate. This is crowd favorite. 

You can catch Ice Cream Plant at the Royal Oak Farmers Market, as well as various restaurants in the Detroit area. Head over to their facebook page for all the latest, or order place an order through their website

]]> (John Azoni) dessert ice cream plant vegan dessert vegan ice cream Sat, 10 Dec 2016 19:02:51 GMT
Steel Manufacturing Never Looked So Good...

There's something intriguing about a well-designed display. It can even make steel car parts look really sexy. Posco hit the nail on the head - with help from Eidetic Marketing - with their presence at the North American International Auto Show, and I was there to photograph it. This was their first time in Detroit at the Auto Show and I think their debut was a hit. 

Posco is a Korean-based company and a major manufacturer of steel car components. 

My role on this job was generally to document people interacting with the booth, and to shoot a press conference, but there was something else I got really excited about...

What I get really excited about is the way these product shots turned out. 
Their booth was set up with all these compartments featuring their products. The problem I faced as a photographer was that there were too many distractions. 

Notice in the image below how there are multiple products per compartment as well as little plaques labeling each product. The display looked great in real life, obviously catering to people who would walk up to read the displays, but as still photographs I wanted to make sure that each product was given its own space to shine. 

It's amazing what a difference a few small changes can make to really bring beauty and life to a seemingly normal object. By removing distracting elements, repositioning each product, and controlling the lighting, I was able to achieve some images that I think really make these products into something more beautiful than just car parts. 

I was grateful to also get to experience the showroom floor for the first time in my life. For someone who is a bit indifferent to cars, it was really a visually exciting experience, and it made me appreciate all the talent that goes into making these cars look the way they do. Here are a few shots from the short time I got to walk around. 

If you haven't checked out this year's Auto Show make sure you get yourself there. It is one of the gem's of Detroit year after year. 

If you have an event coming up where the images need to shine, send me a note

]]> (John Azoni) auto show automotive photography car parts car photos eidetic marketing naias posco steel car components Fri, 29 Jan 2016 18:20:56 GMT
The Single Most Important Discipline for Creative Growth

When I was in art school studying painting, the question students got asked most often is “who do you look at?”

In other words, "what other artists do you study for inspiration?" 

There we were trying to learn how to make our own path in the art world and yet always getting asked who else’s work was fueling our approach. It became obvious that this was critically important to pretty much every professor I studied under. 

Now as a freelance photographer, and a full-time producer for a video company, if you look at my calendar, at 9:30 am Monday-Friday is a 10-minute slot labeled “Get Inspired”. At a certain point I realized that whenever I did study other people’s work I admired, it was virtually ALWAYS profitable. I’d come away with new ideas, and usually a healthy discontent for my work coupled with a strong desire to do better, more innovative work.

But like anything that you know is good for you but doesn’t come naturally (like eating healthy), it has to become a discipline before it can become a habit.

If you’re like me, you sit down to begin work each day with a ton of stuff demanding your attention. I often look at that 10 minute slot on my calendar and go “ehh… I've got work to do I’ll get inspired another time”. There’s a constant pull to merely meet the demands of the day, and that stuff is necessary to do. But if all you do is complete the task list of current demands, without making time to push forward, innovate and grow the company within your individual sphere of influence, you’ll be left in the dust by the people and companies who do.

Maybe getting inspired to you means perusing Pinterest, or watching videos, or flipping through magazines. Or maybe it's researching other companies in your industry and studying their work. As long as you do it with purpose, that IS work because it will inform the work you do tomorrow while the work you’ll do today waits 10 minutes.

My challenge to you would be to commit to spending 10 minutes every day for the next 2 weeks sourcing new ideas. Study what inspires you. Literally put it in your calendar. Seek out people’s work who you feel is better than yours, and ask yourself what makes this great?” Then find areas where you can allow that influence into the things you put your hands to. 

If you have a boss, he or she will thank you. If you are your own boss, you'll be like "Hey, self, you're doing a great job. Thanks for coming in today."

]]> (John Azoni) consuming content creative growth creative inspiration getting inspiration inspired Mon, 28 Dec 2015 12:46:17 GMT
The Myth of "Bite-Sized" Marketing Content The Louvre museum in Paris is incredibly vast. You can't just pop in and even begin to get a sense for all that it has to offer. A post on Tripadvisor has this to say: "If you spent 60 seconds looking at each of the objects at the Louvre, going steadily for eight hours a day, it would take you 75 days to see them all." The Louvre takes investment, and for those who are passionate about art and art history, they will come back again and again to explore and soak in more and more. 

When it comes to our marketing content, we seem to fear asking our audience to truly invest. However, there is a time and a place for everything. If it's a commercial, you've got 15 seconds. On Twitter or Vine, brevity is necessary. videos that go viral are often straight to the point. But does that mean that our marketing content can't be longer than a few paragraph blog post or a 2-3 minute video? I don't think that is the case.

In the times I've worked with corporate clients on the vision for their video(s), often times one of their main concerns is that it be short, based on the assumption that people generally want quickly-consumable content. They feel a sense of pressure to box their important message Into such a tiny container. After we've filmed all these great interviews and gotten all this great footage of their brand in action, what often happens from an editing perspective is really valuable and influential material gets left out, and telling the whole story really becomes a challenge, if not nearly impossible, without expanding the length of the video.

Statistics do show that attention spans are short and getting shorter, in a very general sense. But what the statistics don't appear to show is whether or not viewers were consuming content they actually cared about. Did you know that one of the most viral of viral videos of all time was almost 30 minutes long? Released in March of 2012, within 6 days of launching, Kony 2012was viewed more than 100 million times. It totally turned the notion of short videos upside down.

Ultimately, if the content is engaging and you are getting it in front of the right audience, that audience will invest. Movies are long, and people love movies when they've set aside the time to invest. Infomercials are long, and for people that are in the market to get healthy, they will invest enough time to learn about some "revolutionary" way to do that.

People don't just skim content forever. Eventually, if it's important and relevant enough they will dedicate more time to diving deeper.

That said, you are on thin ice with your audience. If you aren't careful, you will lose them. You need to employ some basic storytelling principals in your marketing content to keep your audience engaged for the long haul:

1. Grab your audience right from the start. Before you even open your mouth in that first few seconds/sentences, you better have something powerful to say. Don't start with "I'm joe smith and I'm the CEO of smith inc." Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

2. Get to the point. I can't stress this enough. Cut out all the fluff you possibly can. Be brutal. Communicate value at every turn and remove everything that doesn't.

3. Leave viewers wanting more. Reinforce your message, end on an impactful note, and then make it easy for them to learn more or take the action you want them to take.

Content is still king, and probably always will be. Focus on creating irresistible content, ditch the fluff, and the right audience will stick around.

]]> (John Azoni) Mon, 28 Dec 2015 12:30:54 GMT