Some interesting thoughts, on the urban design note, from this year’s Picnic festival; urbanized technology. How cities “hack” technology that doesn’t take the context, i.e. city, into account. One example being the car, which isn’t utilized in the city in a way that the technicians behind it would have prescribed, if you will. Kind of makes sense. The new cars of today, the hybrids and the electrical ones, can be said to much better take this context into account. A hybrid runs on batteries in city environment and city driving; made possible not only because we have to cut down on fossil fuel usage, but because we know what city driving is like and so technicians and engineers take that into account.
It feels like much of the technological advancements we’re making today is about urbanizing technology. Or perhaps better explained; making technology contextually interactive. Giving data based on usage, and taking in data based on context. Urbanized technology is kind of the next step in every technology used. So we haven’t failed before, we just haven’t been there. Technology has been sand-boxed, whereas now it’s acting in an “object oriented programming” type of way. Manipulating other objects, and being manipulated by them.
Photos are so intriguing because we stare at them for a while, scanning the full picture, not missing anything. Then our mind wanders for a bit, trying to set or understand the context. Thinking about the specific, noticing gaps, filling in gaps. Really slow-mo film comes really close. It moves, yet you have time for the above. That’s quite cool I think.
There’s big luxury and then there’s small luxury. One of my luxuries is freshly ground coffee on Saturday and Sunday. I can’t be bothered during a work week. It’s a good idea to identify what your small luxuries are because you get more luxury in your life without breaking your wallet or going round the world. It also helps if you remind yourself that it’s luxury and not just ordinary. Just like advertising increases perceived value, and hence real value, so can reminding yourself about your small, everyday luxuries. I believe. You could also call it fooling yourself, In which case I don’t mind.
I was wearing Carhartt jeans the other day. Also a Carhartt shirt and a Carhartt jacket. Am I a big Carhartt fan? Well I’ve got a few shirts yes, I’ve got one jacket and one pair of jeans. I wouldn’t call me brand loyal, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that.
Without repeating all that’s been said about the concept of brand loyalty and it being contrasted and questioned, even disproven, in Byron Sharps book How brands grow, I’ll add my two cents, and it’s really just a way of thinking about it.
“Brand loyalty is having first dibs”
That’s what it comes down to, and little more than that. I’m not loyal to Carhartt, but I’ll swing by their store in search of a new pair of jeans before any other, if convenient enough. They have the first chance of maintaining their track record, but it takes little for me to walk out and into another store. We tend to equate, or define, loyalty with the latter part; it taking little for me to walk out and the fact that loyalty should be about me not easily doing that. But it’s more about the former; a brand simply having first dibs. We’re looking for a bit too much in the loyalty concept. If first dibs is what we equate with brand loyalty, we have the research and data to back it up, as opposed to over inflated wishes for loyalty beyond reason.
The fact that it’s more about first dibs, and little more, means the pressure is on the brand to continue to satisfy me. And that’s brand loyalty seen from the other end.
I vote for this guy not only because it looks delicious but because he seems like such a great guy.
But It’s a tight race because these guys are doing exactly what I’m missing; fast food that’s good for you. I just want some good ol’ fashion husmanskost on the go, but all I can find is fat dripping pizza on every damn corner. Hate that.
And I’m very impressed with the Amex Open Forum initiative and the momentum they have. Even though I’m disappointed by the card (at least in Sweden and online). From the small business saturday idea (below), to partnering with Facebook to provide “an Amex way” of paying for ads, and Vote Big Break above.
Being involved in a sponsorship strategy for another big global American brand, I can’t but help but reflect over the role of sponsorship. Simplified being about 1, brand awareness, and letting context/sponsored event/team/sport/etc indicate what the brand supports and affiliates itself with and thus 2, manifest position/meaning by getting a brand attribute rub-off effect. But there’s so many examples of very weak sponsorship strategies where all you get is your logo out there with very little meaning attached to this.
Not so long ago, It was impossible for Amex to do what they’re doing here, which is sponsoring small businesses and everything that comes with that; having to struggle, be a smart marketer (perhaps first time at it), smart with money, doing a bit of everything (balance sheets and tax laws anyone?), and being frustrated with hardly making ends meet. Sponsoring them by doing things for them is something that simply could not be done before. Not with this massive reach and impact. To a large extent this falls under sponsoring in my book. Supportive sponsoring. Extremely targeted and relevant. I think the concept of sponsoring is changing quite a bit.
I wonder if we have any idea (well we have some) of the possible implications of this? I mean, the obvious ones are, well, obvious. But what about the role language plays in keeping societies and cultures intact. That is, actually feeling like a specific culture as opposed to all other cultures. In socialization and learning a language amongst other things, you get spoon fed your culture (albeit small spoons). What you say where and to whom and in which situation is different between cultures, so imagine instant translation amongst foreigners. It’s bound to have an effect. Imagine not being able to keep things from foreigners?
It’s like the equivalent of people mistakenly posting a little too much on Facebook and hence to everyone, but in use of language. Instant translation gadgets would effectively force you to mind your every word and not just your every Facebook post. Ubiquitous real-time translation that you might not even be aware of in any given situation. Oops.
t’s creativity award times and the best advertising (although the advertising part was dropped from the award description this year – thank you) is being scrutinized down in Cannes. There are many different points of views on creativity but I think there’s only two sides and one is wrong. If awards is the end you’re aiming for – you’re way off. If you view it as a good gauging tool for the business effects you tried to achieve – no worries.
Here’s a short piece I wrote for the Forbes CMO network the other day, on the subject but not for Cannes reasons.
A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with an at-the-time hopefully future client. We had shared some early thoughts on how to help their brand grab a substantial share of the very competitive market they are in. One representative said we had to forgive him for being very skeptical of an industry that “only wants to win awards.” He didn’t express this in a disrespectful way leaving me the chance to respond, and there is a very good response indeed.
We know that advertising works. But we also know a great deal more about what type of advertising works and why. Many advertising greats, often equipped with acute observational skills coupled with a large dose of empathy, always knew this. Obviously it would only pass as ‘being pretty sure’, whereas now we know that creativity really matters in business.
No one buys an ad. I should hope. You invest in better business results and advertising is a means to that end. It drives short- and long-term results. The two are tightly linked, and one might argue there’s not one without the other. We know increasingly more about why this is, thanks to an increasing amount of research on advertising effectiveness. CMOs, agencies – marketeers in general – should keep a keen eye on this, because otherwise we’ll never know if all we bought was an ad.
This is very well described and exemplified in ‘The link between creativity and effectiveness’, published by the IPA in 2010 (you can find the report here). In fact creatively rewarded campaigns are on average 11 times more effective than less creative campaigns.
Pretty good news for anyone responsible for investing in better business results. And pretty interesting to then look at one’s own advertising, and analyze and reflect.
So far so good. But based on my subjective experience, I find it a bit strange that you meet so few CMOs, heads of marketing or advertising, who actually know about these things. Especially in a B2B context, which isn’t as different from consumer as many people would have you think.
Why is this?
Shouldn’t this be as prioritised in clients’ organisations as it is in agencies?
And on that subject I read another Forbes piece on client’s views on awards, and it doesn’t exactly help me calm down. I mean, what can you say about the following reasoning by a CMO?
While the benefits for the agency from winning awards, what’s in it for the client? I was shocked recently when the CMO of a top, nationally recognized company, one that has won many awards over the years, told me that he believed that he is entitled to pay his agency a lower fee because the agency benefits financially from his award-winning account by picking up other accounts.
My marketer friend wondered why the agency could be leveraging the awards to win new business, while the client gets no financial benefit from those awards.
Being entitled to pay the agency less is another matter and I don’t think I’d be able to behave had I been there. But the second part about not getting any financial benefit is equally upsetting. Because like I wrote, it shows how very little some of these people know about the stuff they should know a great deal about.
Obviously it isn’t a clear cut case. Not all award winners have proven very effective and there’s a lot of bullshit “hey look how cool things we dream up” examples that understandably adds to some skeptics’ opinions on creative awards. But damnit we have to arrive at some basic level, general knowledge around creativity and business effects in the suit world soon. It’s upsetting if not even ridiculous.
A man in a large crowd stares into the camera. His eyes are wide open. If you didn’t know what was happening, you’d have a hard time telling if he had a stare of anger, victory or happiness. It was a mix of all three. He was in the start of a revolution.
There was a panel discussion at FutureEverything in Manchester some time back, about digital and the future. Ela Kagel, a curator focusing on free culture and the open web, had a talk about value transfer, crowd funding and the challenge of future revenue models for artists and cultural workers. It’s a very interesting subject, and indeed her project called Free Culture Incubator is too.
What I find quite interesting with this is that arts grants and other official cultural support functions have been about the process of creating art. Support for the doing, so that artists can then sell the final product. And although many artists, who have always struggled, may find bootlegging and copying a major problem and maybe even a spit in the face, they now have so many new ways of getting support for the process and the actual doing from a much larger community. A visionary idea or project like Molly Crabapple’s Week In Hell can get $17,000 from supporters that don’t know what’s going to come out at the end. We don’t just buy the final art, we buy into a thought, idea, culture or movement. Below is a graph of the different types of projects that get funding from Kickstarter.
“Are we prepared for after the revolution?”
That was the key question that made me squirm in my seat up in Manchester. “Are we prepared for after the revolution?” Well that makes no sense at all, which, seen as I can’t shut up, proclaimed loudly. I got a quiet stare back. The fact of the matter is that only if you’ve been asleep for the last 20 years can you wake up after a revolution. What we’ve been in for quite some time now (quite being the key part) is an evolution and not a revolution. An evolution that many have handled brilliantly and others not so brilliantly. But to blame it on being a victim of a revolution is crazy. Revolutions explode. Those prepared for this revolution are those who saw it as, and treated it as, an evolution early on. Those interested in, or at least realizing, the change. So the question has the answer already. For those who see it as a revolution; no, you’re not prepared.
Why is it important to distinguish a revolution from an evolution? Because it better helps corporations, organisations and brands making sense of it all. That it’s not making sense of something new, but continuously making sense of ongoing change. It might be about an implementation. Only not a solution, but rather a mindset or approach. The quicker they come to terms with the fact that never again will it move so slowly, the better. It’s not a change. It’s change.
But still, wise words from a man who wrote poetry from his thoughts about revolutions. Revolutions will not be televised because the actual revolution has already happened in the hearts and minds of revolutionaries. That cannot be televised. Revolutions, he said, happen within. Only the effects can be viewed and broadcast, and here’s how it looks.
Romanian revolutionaries taking over mass media, a good sign of a revolution.
When trying to make sense of new technology and use it the right way for all different purposes, it’s important to look deeper than the visible technology and go for the behavior underneath. Technologies change fairly quickly, but the needs, and however those are met, behaviors, stay. We update our means to our ends.
At the same time, new technologies have brought about new behaviors as well. It didn’t bring about socializing, but it did bring about the swiping of the thumb and tapping of the index finger to socialize. And knitting has been around for a long time, but not knitting with headphones. That’s big in the 21st century.