att hitta rätt problemen och att få lösa det

Nyligen diskuterade några gamla kollegor och jag kring detta med konsulters möjlighet, eller omöjlighet att lösa de riktiga problemen efter att ha involverats utifrån en specifik disciplin. Alltså reklambyråer är reklambyråer och löser reklamproblem även om reklamproblemet egentligen är ett annat. Visst finns dessa, men det är inte överdrivet många. Att identifiera ett problem och resonera kring hur lösningen kan se ut, vilket när man nyktert ser på saken ofta är ett par scenarios, inte ofta kan måla upp helt “disciplinfria” scenarios.

Ett tydligt exempel kommer upp. Kundtjänst kostar för mycket och detta måste åtgärdas. Ärendena handlar övervägande om fakturaproblem och missuppfattningar. Problem: fakturan och inte kundtjänst. Lös problemet med otydlig faktura.

Osv.

Kommer att tänka på detta nu när frågan om presstödet är på tapeten.

När presstödet en gång inrättades var problembeskrivningen klar: förstatidningarna var på väg att slå ut andratidningarna…
Nu är det även förstatidningens ställning som är satt under hot, när annonsintäkter försvinner och den digitala omställningen är svår att hantera.

– Cilla Benkö, DN.

Det handlade inte om andratidningen just, utan vad den representerade: en levande journalistik med flera perspektiv. Motsatsen till enkelriktad och ensidig. Varför? För det är en förutsättning för en välfungerande demokrati. Den utsatta andra tidningen var symtomatiskt för problemet. Självklart då, men mindre självklart nu (nu är det mer komplext), men samma grundläggande utmaning består.

Konkreta förslag saknas inte. Det handlar till exempel om att genomföra det av riksdagen beslutade avskaffandet av den orättvisa reklamskatten, samt att momssatsen för digital journalistik inte ska vara högre än för journalistik på papper.

– Cilla Benkö, DN.

Det viktigaste och bästa man kan göra när man letar lösningar, är att återgå till problemet och försäkra sig om att man inte utgår ifrån symtom, utan den faktiska kärnan i problemet. Men hur väl är du positionerad att överhuvud taget få gehör för detta? Ja, har du rullat med vad kunden hela tiden ber om, oavsett om det förefaller rätt eller fel, blir det svårt. Är du för djävla omedgörligt får du aldrig behålla uppdraget. Blandar du bara in människor ifrån ditt skrå, din disciplin, ja då är det svårt att få gehör för annat resonemang.

Vill du lösa de verkliga problemen, bevisa det genom att inte alltid komma dragades med samma gamla problemlösare. Agera tvärdisciplinärt, perspektivskiftande och i mångt och mycket explorativt. Knyt till dig organisationskonsulter. Etc.

Garanterat nya uppfattningar om vad problemet är.

Micco har (självklart) skrivit ett bra inlägg om detta med att ringa in det faktiska problemet. Det jag tänker mycket på, är metoder för att bli personen/organisationen som gärna får göra det.

Har någon tänkt mycket på detta? Droppa en kommentar eller ett mail, why don’t you.

annotations as visible but passive moderator

Comments and commenting on the internet is great, but a nagging issue at the same time. It’s the missing aspect to journalism, seen as it’s societal glue, voice and protector (the good journalism, that is).

The experiment over at Quartz is interesting. Reframing reader input/feedback, ever so slightly, as annotation. Annotations referring to specifics within a text (written text, but this can be applied to any text such as audio, video or any container or format).

Comments and discussions often derail because there’s a delay in one or many comments – from people who get off topic or express out of bounds ideas (bounds being decided both by the editors’ AND the readers’ norms). Before you know it it’s to late to nudge it back.

Reframing comments as annotations keeps discussions, individual comments, much closer to the intentional piece commented on. Feels like there’s something in that. Sort of local hyperlinks, making the comment and commented very visible and chained together.

Keeping it close to subject is important in discussions. Live discussions are often kept on topic by some moderator.If discussions wander off, it’s dealt with quickly and guided back to topic. Impossible in other situations (even video based discussions are hard, due to both technical noise but not seldom a feeling of “they’re so distant so I’ll go on, the risk isn’t huge”), but it feels like annotations is one that might work well for recorded texts.

personlig kraft, moralisk styrka och ohämmad konsumtion

Ingenting kan hindra er när du inte alls investerar pengarna i en affärsidé, utan ingenting hindrar dig när du sparar hela skiten på postsparbanken.

Det var då det. Personlig styrka och moral, det var eftersträvansvärt. Inte bara en framtidssäkring helt enkelt, med eventuellt förmånliga villkor (vilka ju kunde kommunicerats), utan mer än så. Det sa någonting om din karaktär och styrka. Din mentala styrka till och med. Och med det sagt; vad detta då sade om alla som inte sparade.

Idag ser det lite annorlunda ut, men bygger helt på samma premisser. Realisera ditt drömkök, klart du måste synas med senaste mobilen, självklart ska även du ha segelbåt. Vad säger det annars om dig?

conspicuous consumption

Må hända gör detta, sparandet och konsumerandet, något omedelbart konkret för oss. Men än viktigare säger det mycket om oss. Det är en generalisering av oss. Med kommunikation finns alltid två grupper, oftast samma individer i två roller. Den där vi agerar och den där vi förstår vad agerandet signalerar (att vissa kör Bently och andra cyklar). Den senare rollen in action kallas självklart för “samhället”. Samhället, som för övrigt Tomas Steinfeldts träffsäkert ringar in.

“Det är det väsen som ingen någon gång har sett, hört eller känt, men som ändå behandlas som någonting som existerar i verkligheten: Jag menar samhället…Det bekräftas genom en fungerande offentlighet där det finns tillräckligt många människor som tar sig an vad som händer med de olika grupperna, som uttrycker sin kritik eller sin uppskattning av vad politiken gör, som funderar över världens framtid i allmänhet och marknadens utveckling i synnerhet.”

Tomas Steinfeldt, i DN, ang. tidningens roll

Kul då också att reklamforskning med ett samhälleligt perspektiv verkar vara på framtåg.

brands as a part of our environment and more

Camper is a quirky shoe brand from Mallorca, Spain. You react when you see them, from the characteristic “one-way-show-string” models, to the “rounded soldier boot meet clown shoe” inspired style but perhaps primarily their stores, in which their shoes are presented in a very artful way. It’s somewhat of an experience to browse the models which is nice.

I like the reflection below, about how Camper and its stores is part of the cities they’re in. And when you design a store, you can take cultural (and perhaps even political!) differences into account, hence looking at it from the perspective of adding, changing or commenting something that exists, in the greater context of things. In the case of Camper, using different designers to design stores around globe, resulting in drastically different experiences, it’s
“more a cultural thing”, rather than commercial, says Miguel Fluxá.

When we started to open stores outside Spain we thought it was interesting not to repeat them. The world today is becoming a little bit boring, everything is becoming the same. So we thought it was interesting for the brand, and for the cities, to do different designs from one place to the other. We started to do this many years ago and it’s something that has given us a lot of identity and has worked quite well over the years.

– Miguel Fluxá of Camper, via Dezeen

Camper in-store design
In-store design, from Dezeen.com

over-sharing, filter failure and yahoo

In short, Web 3.0 is fuelling greed for attention (validation) and I felt that I was falling into the same exhibitionist trap as everyone else. I tried to explain this to a journalist who was interviewing me about connectivity last week, but she was having none of it. The future, as far as she was concerned, was social and if you are not part of this epidemic of over-sharing you clearly have something of substance to hide.

Richard Watson, Why I’m feeling anti-social

In Over sharing, “over” is subjective. What is too much for someone is not necessarily too much for someone else (here’s where filter failure sits). The part of over sharing that is the pressure and behavior to publish or share something with frequency just because, as with a news organization which, of course, cannot stand still, I think we’ll see less of (not because “they” post less, but algorithms and filtering – so we’ll see less of it, not exist less of it). However, the simplicity of sharing what is phatic communication isn’t really a decision to produce and post anything of real value, but an instinct and reaction and will continue to overwhelm us.

It is writers, thinkers, publishers who enjoy a following because of their focused and thought through work (presentations, posts, rants etc) who are the root of this very real problem of over sharing. Having a set publishing/post frequency is ridiculous. You simply cannot know you have interesting things to share once a day. And why should you?

I hate the fact that google reader is being discontinued. RSS thinking is the way publishers, bloggers should be thinking and not like news organisations (not entirely true if you make ad money from blogging, and daily visitors count). We’ll hear from you when you have something smart to say, if you don’t, don’t.

I think Yahoo, being much more than search (The core of Yahoo nicely explored here, by Dan Petty), should take it upon them to really innovate in this area. People in some media/communications related industry are devout RSS-users, but the widespread usage is most likely overrated. That should change. On Facebook you don’t go to friends’ profiles to see what’s happened, it shows up. Why should anyone have to go to different websites daily? It’s the content I want, and I want to consume it through one interface/control center. There’s much someone like Yahoo could do here. The advertising issue/possibilities included.

Update 2013-03-26; and yes, Yahoo takes another step on the way in buying Summly. Perhaps.

finding the small, effective, changes amongst the routinely unnoticed

Builder norms and manliness

Striking how deeply ingrained certain things are, and hence how effective it is to break away from those pre-existing truths; mental and social. Like colors for example. Heavy duty stuff should be black and yellow. Hardhats too. Except for this one, demanding attention. Perhaps the company decided to chip in to the gender/socialisation issue. Perhaps Mr or Mrs boss bursted out in a meeting: unicorns shouldn’t be either pink or rainbow colored, and our bags are damn well not going to be orange and black!

It seems like it’s easier to think up big things, big changes, big ideas, big moves, big campaigns, big strategies, big plans. Finding the little things takes just as long to find because they are, per definition, smaller and harder to find. Now back to work, and change the small things that break away from the routinely unnoticed.

No, you are NOT that important, social media guru

I just got out of a meeting… I’m amazed, but at the same time not surprised, how little many companies and individuals working with technical and social media based marketing solutions and vehicles actually know about the context they operate in. All these visits to agencies, presenting their wonderful solutions that are perfect fits for the highly “engaged consumers” who just want to share, talk, like and follow. Their gadgets, apps and dashboards are not only THE thing to have, generally speaking, it’s actually perfect for helping [enter brand you happen to work with here] reach better loyalty, create and share wonderful stories and drive incremental sales in the millions. 1; As if you know. And 2; who do you take me for?

My advice is to take a month or two to get to know the reality of the other side of the table (you really ought to be interested in it given you’re aiming for it). Get to know what they know, and what it is they are actually providing their clients. One simple way to do this would be to, early on, meet with a few of them and be quite frank. Say you’re working on a thing that is meant to help them. You don’t yet know exactly how much or even how. Interview them. Find out as much as you can about their work, their problems, their clients’ actual problems, their skills. Read some books they say are important in their field. Ask them to explain TO YOU where your idea or solution fits in their work.

Acting like you’re the solution to everything is a disease. It’s bad manners and downright idiotic. That’s why all social media gurus and entrepreneurs working away at solutions for brands and marketing should read Martin Weigel’s presentation. And don’t just read that. Read some of the sources. If not, can you honestly say that you are interested in providing real value instead of a lot of hot air? Can you handle this truth? Does it deter you or inspire you to work up something that’s really in tune with this? Or at least; can you stop talking about yourself as the solution to everything in marketing today, please?

another kind of 2.0

I’ve recently come across quite a few articles and posts about technology, social media and how we use it and how it effects us. Not seldom in a negative way. Unsurprisingly there’s an upswing at the end of a year and beginning of a new. Wise to stop, and reflect over life in general. How to get more time over. Stay in better contact. Or the opposite. There’s this post (swedish) about digital downshifting and how it’s a trend and this post about Adam Brault quitting Twitter for a month, reflecting over the Dunbar number and how twitter is “outsourced schizophrenia”.

Twitter is outsourced schizophrenia. I have a couple hundred voices I have consensually agreed to allow residence inside my brain

In conversations about interfaces, interaction and the roll of the internet in peoples’ lives, I keep arguing that the most used interaction method will be close to invisible. I don’t agree with those saying “touch is the ultimate method” because it demands of me that I’m interested in interacting.

Walking around on a sunday thinking about maybe going to the modern museum doesn’t mean that I want to interact with my fingers – all I want to know is the opening hours and what exhibitions are on. All I need is an answer. In a far future, when a chip is in my brain, and the internet knowledge is indistinguishable from my “flesh knowledge” questions thought are questions asked – and answered. Internet – interacting.

So I found this film very interesting. A very true 2.0 about technology is more about it being a bit boring. It’s when most of it is invisible. When it’s so obvious that we all can do almost everything but why should we.

Connecting (Full Film) from Bassett & Partners on Vimeo.

weak positioning; drinks for women, undrinkable for women

Stuff like this makes me go oh come on! An energy drink for women that should be avoided by pregnant women. Important to note is that there are energy drinks, not aimed at women specifically, that are all right for pregnant women to drink. Now that’s a disconnect between product and marketing if I ever saw one.

An energy drink for women, that should not be drunk by pregnant women