Sunday, February 26, 2012

cash from chaos

Coming briefly back to the trad vs digital agency debate, of which I shared some views on last week.

There was some negative response from the digital community around my musing that 'brand agencies are best placed to win' in the winner-takes-all game for the digital communications future.

To recap, I said that brand agencies are best placed, should they choose to be.

At the moment, on the whole, they appear to be choosing not to.

So the game is wide open.

The agencies that win will be the ones who adhere to the following criteria, as described by Tom Peters in 1988 and still as valid today as they were back then.

Does your agency (of whatever flavour) provide...

• The best in quality and service
• Enhanced responsiveness and flexibility in its operations
• Continuous and rapid new product development and innovation,
• Diversification and new market exploration.

Tom adds "Excellent firms don't believe in excellence - only in constant improvement and constant change. That is, excellent firms of tomorrow will cherish impermanence - and thrive on chaos."

Surprisingly aligned with Malcolm McLaren's worldview...

'I always feel more comfortable in chaotic surroundings. I don't know why that is. I think order is dull. There is something about this kind of desire for order...that drive out this ability for the [agencies: EP] to become a really exotic, amorphous, chaotic, organic place where ideas can, basically, develop.'

marketing lesson from Psycho Paul /please RT

In series 3 of Ideal, Psycho Paul wants to get the use of Moz's flat for a kidnapping.

'Are you in, or are you out?', he repeats incessantly over 3 episodes until Moz finally has to aquiesce.

Eventually Moz is in, of course.

It also reminded me of the classic scene in Glengarry Glen Ross, in which Alec Baldwin's character, Blake, strides into the local sales office and gives a short sharp ales lesson to the under-performing real estate agents.

ABC. Always be closing.

The lessons, however, are clear. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

If you don't ask the local weed dealer if you can use their flat for a kidnapping, he won't suggest it to you.

If you don’t ask to be the keynote, it won't just be given to you.

If you don’t ask for the lead article, it won’t just be offered to you.

If you don’t ask for the $XXX,000 salary, it is not just going to be there on the table.

If you want your readers to retweet something or post to Facebook or Pinterest, then ask them to do it for you.

Find out who's in and who's out.

Then you know where you stand.

Also, once someone has committed to doing what you've asked they will want to live up to their promise for the sake of their own reputation and integrity.

In Dan Zarella's Heirarchy of Contagiousness he points to his database of tweets, compiled in order to crunch the most retweetable words or phrases.

Surprisingly, numbers 3 and 4 on the most retweeted list are 'please' and 'retweet'.

So, if you don’t ask, you won’t get.

Now please retweet...

Friday, February 24, 2012

it aint where you're from, it's where you're at

Yesterday I did a talk for AIMIA, the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association, in Sydney.

The theme of the seminar was to look at 'digital' agencies of the near future, what new skills are needed, new technologies, new philosophies etc.

On the panel session at the end one delegate seemed less than satisfied with my answer to one of his questions.

He asked for our predictions as to what the digital communications/commerce land scape would look like in 5 years time.
I answered by stating that the 'future' will take care of itself based on how we respond to the opportunities right here and now.

Remember, we have several of this countries biggest bricks and mortar retailers who cannot yet even offer a simple online commerce solution, never mind anything else.

The notion of the 'future' is often a cop-out. An excuse to not act now, but to put off acting til later. Later often never comes, because tomorrows future then looks different to today's.

There are only two mistakes one can make in any endeavour; not going all the way, and not starting.

It's a mindset, it's where you're at.

There's no excuse to not start. And Seth agrees.

'If you're in Kibera, are you too far from Silicon Valley to write an app?
If you live in New Zealand, are you too far outside the mainstream music world to perform a hit song?
What about an author who lives 3,000 miles from New York?
The magic of our new form of communication is that it's no longer one-way.
If you consume an app, you can write one.
If you can read a blog, you can publish one.
If you can grab an ebook, you can produce one.
The center has nothing to do with geography any longer.
The center is a state of mind.'

Friday, February 17, 2012

i second that emotion

I was reasonably happy to add my signature to brainjuicer and herdmeister's cheeky valentine's card to Millward Brown, following their apparent turnaround in recognising, officially, that emotion plays a more important role in long term branding, 'memory' and recall.

In short, how one 'feels' in response to a brand orchestrates what one 'thinks'.

MB point to the findings of a report by Peter Field entitled 'The Link Between Creativity and Effectiveness' (IPA, 2011)- a study of IPA Effectiveness, Effie and Cannes Lions Awards winners which reveals that ads don't need to persuade to be effective but they do need to trigger emotionally.

You can read about it here.


I've seen Peter Field's presentation and while it's fairly entertaining and he's crunched the numbers I'm still slightly nonplussed due to the single-channel nature (ie film) of the examples quoted and researched.

As brands increasingly become things that we 'use', and the myriad of new ways by which a brand can be 'experienced' increases to place so much faith in a brand 'film' - a fairly blunt instrument.

Brand experience being the sum total of all interactions, there are many more emotional micro-touchpoints that can influence on how and what we feel.

So fair play to MB, but let's open up the debate to brand activities beyond one channel.

Thinking in straight lines will keep us going round in circles.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

ghetto blaster

About 12 different individuals either emailed, tweeted or otherwise prodded me towards an article on Mumbrella yesterday, so I figured it must be of interest.

The article entitled 'Traditional agencies are driving away their digital superstars with their old ways' is an argument from digital agency strategist Daniel Monheit around how Australia’s 'creative' (ie big advertising shops) agencies will never be able to keep digital talent.

Here's his nub.

'...[digital talent] don’t last six months in traditional agencies. They suffocate, or are crushed under the weight of endless banner campaigns and microsite rollouts based on print ads. Their brilliance, ingenuity and ambition goes unnoticed in the opulent shrines dedicated to 30 second spots, catchy jingles and 10% commissions.'

Despite notionally agreeing with much of his schtick I'm compelled to say that I still feel that the 'brand' agencies are best placed to be doing the great digitally driven work, should they choose to take the opportunity.

At the moment they still have the budgets, the weight in terms of resource and the brand nous.

The issue is that many 'digital' agencies have is a 'tactical' focus rather than a 'strategic'.
The brand agencies have the instinct to think at a higher level.

It's all there for the taking for the big agencies but yes, I agree that there is the problem of mindset.
It's no use cramming digital talent in at the bottom of the pile, the change has to happen at the very top.

As an example, the recent restructure at JWT North America (the oldest ad agency in the world, remember) that saw Jeff Benjamin, the ex-Crispin Porter + Bogusky interactive creative director join as Chief Creative Officer, and Mike Geiger, formerly chief digital officer at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, has been named as President, Chief Integration officer, JWT North America.

So it is happening.

For the rest of us, yes there is the temptation to feel undervalued or undermined, but we have a mindset issue too.

Here's an excerpt from a piece I wrote in July last year, In The Ghetto, which seems strangely relevant to this conversation.

My irk is that 'the digital' is invariably 'other'.
By labelling it digital it's somehow SEPARATE from 'proper' planning or 'proper' creative.
It becomes secondary by it's otherness.
It's down the totem pole.
It's the little brother or sister.
The add-on after the real stuff.
The nice-to-have.
'...Lets get the basics right first then do some social...'
This is not a pop at the traditionalists per se.
It's the digitalists that are as much the problem, by revelling in their otherness.
My fellow digerati, honestly, until we figure this out we'll always be in the ghetto.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

not making tea [cc @servantofchaos @robertc1970 ]

A stellar looking line up for Day One of Digital Advertising World, in Melbourne in April.
The right-dishonourable Robert Campbell esquire, the Servant of Chaos, Gavin Heaton, and my humble self on the same bill.

Despite the notes on the brochure can I just add that I shall not be providing morning tea, nor making any sort of exhibition of myself.

Friday, February 03, 2012

appointment to tweet part 346

According to Fast Company, Twitter exec Adam Bain predicts that at least half of Super Bowl XLVI ads will contain a Twitter hashtag.

They say ‘If last year was the year that ads started incorporating Facebook addresses into their creatives, this year--at least this Super Bowl--might be the year that hashtags reign supreme.’

Tags to watch out for will include Coca-Cola's #GameDayPolarBears and H&M's #beckhamforhm.

The hashtag drive is part of a Twitter sponsored activity called Ad Scrimmage.

' can compete to see which gets the most buzz in the week following the game. The system builds on previous voting programs Twitter has developed for shows like X Factor. Fans vote by tweeting and directing their followers to the custom ad gallery on the Super Bowl website. Ads that get the most votes move to the top of the list, and the winner gets a free Promoted Trend on Twitter.'

Good to see USA catching up with us at ClemengerBBDO in Melbourne.

We've been tagging Carlton Draught spots with #carltondraught since back in October 2010, of course... ;)

The same time that we coined the phrase 'appointment to tweet'.

HT Andrew Pascoe