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Inside Out with Knoll: A Case Study on Repurposing Media Across Multiple Audiences

The darling of modernist architects and designers, Knoll is known worldwide for its array of minimalist, timeless and durable textiles. The focus on the precepts of mid-century modern has served the company well, pulling in more than 1 billion dollars in revenue last year alone.

But while Knoll has always been a forward-thinking company in many respects, one question that keeps popping up internally is: how can a company that is so identifiable to its customers for doing one thing beautifully expand that perception so it can bring new ideas successfully to market?

Back in 2006 and 2007, creative director Dorothy Cosonos started investigating the idea of taking the underlying philosophy of Knoll’s product lines and exploring it in a different way. And in 2008, Knoll Luxe was born. It’s Knoll through and through, just reapplied.

What separates Knoll Luxe from the rest of Knoll’s offerings are two twists: First, each year’s collection is designed either by Cosonos or by a fashion designer of her choice. Not run-of-the-mill fashion designers. We’re talking Rodarte. Proenza Schouler. Suno. Maria Cornejo. And the results are stunning and luxurious reinventions of color, pattern and texture.

Because of our work with other major textile companies, Knoll asked for our assistance in creating a video that would educate the sales force on the worthy attributes of Knoll Luxe and put everyone on the 400+ sales force on the same page with regard to how it fit into the Knoll vision.

It was an internal piece, so the budget was small, and the timeline tight—start to finish we had less than three weeks.

We began, of course, by working closely with Cosonos on the story: what did the sales reps need to know and when did they need to know it? And as we pulled the script into focus over several revisions, we assembled the visuals. Our planned half-day recording session and b-roll capture turned into a full day once we saw the possibilities in the Knoll showroom. And then for a week our editor worked around the clock to take the material from rough-cut to final.

The resulting video is a thing of beauty, to be sure. And when it was shown around to the higher-ups, the word quickly came down that they would like us to spin out a shorter external video to send out to clients (shown above).

We pulled in new bits of audio from our recording session that were more applicable to clients than sales reps, and swapped out much of the imagery to tell a tighter external story in a shorter amount of time. Turnaround on this was three days.

Cosonos often likes to quote Dianna Vreeland: “Give them what they never knew they wanted.”

So do we.

If your sales force needs some instructional support and you’d like to see the internal Knoll video, just let us know. We’re happy to share it and discuss how we could produce the same for your business, whatever that may be.

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