Friday, 26 October 2012

guardian summit summit

on wednesday jamie and i went to the guardian changing advertising summit. there was a great mix of interesting speakers and we have co-authored a post about the key themes that were covered.

have great content
yes, that one. perhaps the most obvious point became one of the most laboured points of the day; have great content. it would seem obvious to most that this is the absolute starting point, so i felt that we should get that out of the way quickly. it goes without saying that if you have great content, people will interact with it, they will share it, it will increase affection towards your brand. it’s worth noting about 5 different speakers drew reference to red bull’s stratos event – not that every brand has to send a man into space.

bruce daisley
be media agnostic
this point really leads on from having great content, a great, big idea can live in any platform. or as chris maples of spotify says “most of the rules are still the same, it just happens that the platforms have changed”. just because there are a variety of channels and platforms available to you, it doesn’t mean you have to use them all. when felix jumped (yep, again) over 8 million people watched it live on youtube and the only comms used were BTL. but bruce daisley of twitter highlighted adidas’ #takethestage olympic campaign, as they took a hashtag and expressed it across all of their channels – ATL and BTL. he explained a couple of reasons that this campaign worked so well, one - the hashtag was not branded, people could make it their own. it created it’s very own narrative by being turned into #stagetaken – giving the campaign flexibility and longevity after the games. charlie hiscocks summed it up best with “we shouldn’t be asking what is our digital strategy – ask what is our strategy for a digital world?”.

have a social strategy
that moment when the client says 2 weeks from launch “let’s do something on facebook!”. know why you are doing something. renĂ© rechtman from goviral boldly said “red bull are selling one boring drink and they made a media brand out of it – you have to do this to survive. but it’s not a one size fits all scenario, discern the line of credibility – you only have to deliver on your benefit. Just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you have to”.

thomas marzanno
thomas marzanno, CD at philips, took everything right back to its basics – “brand is not what you say it is, it is what people say it is. and the only instrument a brand has is its behaviour”. social networks are designed for brands to interact on a personal, one to one, basis with their customers, brands need to understand this and what is the most effective use of this. especially on facebook, brands are fighting against our friends, as our very own mel exon said: “what can a brand do that my friends can’t?” this is the attitude brands should have. everyone has to communicate, but are you communitcating value? don’t fill more space with less content.

john winsor
into a world of “co-s”
there were a lot of co words being used when talking about the future of brands; co-creation, collaboration, co-action. cindy gallop said that today is about co-creation and tomorrow is co-action – brands making money because they do good. john winsor, founder of victors & spoils, a crowd-sourcing ad agency spoke about the importance of co-creation. he claimed that one of the main reasons agencies such as his need to exist is that owing to the proliferation of media platforms, there is a greater need for more ideas. we’re not sure if we agree with this, especially when it comes to having an integrated campaign but he pointed to examples such as harley davidson and american airways where it has worked. john urged agencies to be the change, to disintermediate themselves (hand over power to the fans) and focus on compensation on outputs not inputs.
cindy gallop
as highlighted earlier, there is a chance for real connections between brands and consumers and cindy said this needs to be leveraged so they work together, not as slaves to each other.

according to the 'mobile shopper survey' conducted by draftfcb this year, people are starting to use mobile more than broadband. news consumers (readers) are choosing mobile web over apps by nearly 3 to 1 and during the olympics 42% of olympics-related traffic came from mobile. the question is how should we adapt to this? other forms of media have been successfully incorporated into this surge, examples of collaborations with mobile during the day included out of home from coca-cola and banner ads for the release of 'the amazing spiderman'. bruce daisley said that “a lot of people don’t get twitter until they’ve used it on mobile”. people want a seamless experience between online and offline and mobile facilitates this, mobile is an extension of ourselves.

matt gilbert & charlie muirhead
the CEO of guardian news and media, david pemsel stated that “the audience is always ahead of us”. This is because brands are faced with the challenge of an ‘always on’ audience. five year plans are no longer relevant, the focus now has to be on creating the right user experience. twitter has seen the flow of ideas increase in speed, hashtags are used to see instant (if short-lived) trends. the rise in sharing is due to the fact that no one can be a constant real time decision maker, ready to be engaged 24/7. debra coughlin from draftfcb explained that the most recent information is the most significant and an availability of tools builds confidence in a brand.

jane, graham & marian
this need for instancy has meant that people need to prioritise when creating content - don’t over-complicate it. as cindy pointed out; the new marketing reality is complete transparency. she demonstrated this with the example that when you meet someone you share information about yourself in order to learn more about them. recent customer service activity on twitter has seen a revolution in the tone of voice of brands, o2 being a prime example. a brand is what people say it is; a reflection of consumer feelings. brands that are making promises that they are not living up to are being exposed. it was the opinion of marian saltzman that BP should have shown more humanity instead of feeding us with corporate speak; we will tolerate a lot of indiscrepencies when brands are authentic, honest and human.

kate, chris, rené, jonny & charlie
and finally; no one's cracked social yet
it was perhaps a slightly sobering thought from droga5’s CSO jonny bauer right at the end of the day, but it was certainly honest and refreshing. it’s very easy to get caught up in social, getting obsessed in engagement levels, reach, likes, retweets and the next big thing. but has anyone really cracked it? jonny said that the only brand that has gotten anywhere near monetizing social is nike with their fuelband. it was agreed in the end that we’re still very much on the way to working out social and digital and as mel said – we need to stop talking about it and get on with doing it.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

playful 2012

last friday i was invited by priyanka to my first playful conference at conway hall. cup of tea in hand and josie long as compere, i was ready for whatever the day had in store.

the first speaker, mark sorrell, development director of game design studio hide & seek, began by explaining that the best computer games are the ones that are computer mediated rather than video-led. the enjoyment still hangs on players' interactions with each other. mark gave examples of this with games such as b.u.t.t.o.n. he says that the thing that developers should be focussing on is how to make games that people don't have to learn how to play, such as johann sebastian joust, which can easily be picked up just by watching other players.

anab jain from superflux then spoke about faerie stories for the 21st century. she explained that the stories are not about fairies but are instead about the worlds in which they live. this allows us to review our own world from a different perspective. a key sign of adulthood is when we start normalising the fantastic.

hannah donovan &
a man in a rad jumper
hannah donovan, one of the founders of this is my jam, spoke to us about craft. this was a particularly interesting one for me as i am moving from my handmade craft background towards learning a more digital craft - it's the future! according to hannah; craft operates within design guidelines. myspace allowed you to craft within a design but also allowed you to design (queue nostalgic sigh). the thing about digital craft is that it is as handmade as the collages of pop groups on your bedroom wall but in the same way it is not one of a kind. i think it's really interesting to explore the balance of physical and digital craft.

einer sneve martinussen gave an engaging talk about finding new ways to blow up the internet. he spoke about the amount of technological power in commuters' pockets and of how well integrated technology is into society. it is no longer something that we stop to engage with. his company, voy, have done some beautiful work around the idea of how wireless is experienced.

siobhan reddy from media molecule gave me my first look at the possibilities that the playstation vita has to offer with their addictive-looking platform game tearaway. one particular thing that siobhan said that stuck with me is that bad implementation is different from a bad idea.

simon cutts gave a talk that took me back to my camberwell graphics days, describing concrete poetry as a field of play.

bennet foddy's moto is 'no pain, no game' and he made a very convincing case for why suffering and humiliation are necessary in gaming. not all play is fun and playing with the player is the prerogative of game designers.

techsquad is the collective name of three artists from derby who spoke about their gallery installation which involved interaction, visuals, sounds and joysticks.

holly gramazio, another hide & seeker, spoke to us about clapping games, highlighting the social element and how joyful it is as an activity. danish clapping is worth checking out for those that haven't seen it.

dough globe
mint digital's grad scheme, mint foundry, had four bright guys who came to playful to talk through the project they had worked on whilst on their placement (placement props from me btw). their task was to make a toy with a reason to exist. they took us through their creative journey and it was really interesting to see the level of innovation that led to their sour dough toy.

tom ewing from brainjuicer gave the final talk of the day on the subject of gamification for market research. he's a fellow daniel kahneman fan (there is little thinking around decisions) so he had me at mopopoly - the game to find out about people's household habits.

it was a fantastically fun and interesting day. i feel that i took a broad range of ideas away from it and hope to get involved with future talks. the creative industries have so much opportunity to bring play into people's lives, rather than getting tied up with digital trends it is important not to lose sight of the possibilities that lie in the business of play.