Tag Archives: Fast Company

Are we in the Middle of an Engagement Revolution?

What do you think?

I just read a great article in the latest edition of Fast Company titled, “Mayhem on Madison Avenue: Advertising is on the Cusp of its First Creative Revolution Since the 1960’s. But the Ad Industry Might Get Left Behind.

And as you can guess, one of the primary points made in the article was how the proliferation of digital technology has changed the advertising world, specifically the “creative” in the advertising world and how agencies are valued in brand’s minds. I thought it was a fascinating glimpse into the world of older advertising professionals in today’s time, and when I say older, it’s all relative. I’m not talking ancient, I’m talking young Boomer. In age time, not much older than me. In technical time, it’s drastic. As evidenced this year alone, with the explosion of mobile, technology is advancing at a pace where it seems like a creative, er “digital,” revolution is almost an annual event.

But after I finished reading the article, I couldn’t help but think it was mischaracterized. Just as technology does, masking the true issue with its smoke-and-mirrors effect, I wonder if the real question is, are we in the middle of an engagement revolution?

Some of my favorite nuggets in the article:

Thanks to the Internet and digital technology, agencies are finding that the realization of their clients’ ultimate fantasy — the ability to customize a specific message to a specific person at a specific moment — is within their grasp. It is also one very complex nightmare. After all, digital isn’t just one channel. It’s a medium that blooms thousands of other mediums.

“The irony is that while there have never been more ways to reach consumers, it’s never been harder to connect with consumers,” explains [Brad] Jakeman, now chief creative officer at Activision, the gaming company.

The death of mass marketing means the end of lazy marketing.

And the Internet has turned what used to be a controlled, one-way message into a real-time dialogue with millions.

I don’t want to get buried in semantics here, but it’s the same argument that I’ve made with the DOOH/digital signage industry. It’s not about the technology, it’s about what the technology enables. The technology now enables brands to engage with consumers, hopefully to the point of meaningful interaction, one that builds a relationship. It’s hard to do, no doubt, but consumers’ expectations are driven by their lack of attention + the barrage of technological gadgets at their disposal. They might be looking to be wowed or entertained or given something of value – technology allows brands to do this in many ways, including the “OOH” channel – but in the end, aren’t we all just looking to be engaged on some level? We don’t want to be talked at, we want to be talked with.

From a brand’s perspective and the agencies who support them, regardless of their structure/approach, the ones who figure this out first will win. Same can be said for the digital signage providers/planners and OOH experience-makers.

I’m a firm believer in the power of technology, but I’m an even bigger believer in creating relationships. Technology is like the handshake, what happens after that – the discussion – is what strengthens or deadens the relationship. And relationships grow with actual people. And people are the ones who make revolutions. Yes?

Friday’s 4-1-1, Fast Company Style

Today marks a milestone of accomplishment here on this blog – for the first time ever, I have blogged every day this week! I hope everyone’s enjoyed the posts. I have my own opinions on blogging and everything behind it and at the end of the day, I’m just another voice in the sea of opinions that now have access to be heard. I don’t really like to write here unless I feel like my perspective is beneficial (and no, I don’t feel like it’s beneficial on everything, and I’m sure I’ve missed the mark here, on a number of occasions) – this week, I saw many different things that I really wanted to write about and share. So, today, I hope to close the week out strong, at least semi-strong.

I’m a huge fan of Fast Company and I’m a little sour to admit that I still don’t have an iPad. I’m kicking it old school with the print magazine – hence, today’s 4-1-1 is inspired by this month’s edition of Fast Company:

1. Ford continues to use enabling technology – still being a print magazine guy, I see MS Tags on most every one of Ford’s print ads, just like this:

The site that it sends you back to is nothing impressive, but it is driving consumers deeper into the brand.  And I still maintain that as long as you’re using print, why not include tags like this?  It just makes all the sense in the world.  I love the fact that they’ve chosen MS Tags, the scanning code/technology that I believe is the easiest, device-agnostic, user-friendly to use.

2.  Why Environmental Activists Embrace Social Media – this article specifically talks about PR and social media and BP being caught with their pants down.  Obviously very interesting for me to read, being that I work for the largest PR company in the world.  Here’s what I say to any company about social media (in addition to the points made in this article that I agree with) – you need to create a baseline of a presence, regardless of the climate of the industry and what your competitors are doing.  In other words, start with something – a blog, for instance – that allows you to get your voice out there and establish a baseline of presence and credibility.  That way, god forbid something happens and you need to respond to crisis (just as BP did), you’re not forced to go 0-60 in a day.  Even now, there are many companies who don’t want to get involved with social media unless they’re “forced” to (ie – when they need to deal with a crisis).  It’s hard to react to something critical when you haven’t even defined your presence.  And it takes time.

3.  The Ultimate Guide to Rapper Names (Infographic) – I’m a visual person.  I love infographics.  As you can see (follow the link to see infographic), “Lil”, names centered around “Royalty” and “Criminals” are some of the most popular.  What a world we live in.

4.  Online Retailers’ $44 Billion Customer Experience Problem (Another Infographic) – pretty cool stuff shown here.  The point is (aside from poor design/workflow in online shopping experiences) – many people don’t like to bother with going in stores.  They’d rather do it online, in the convenience of their own surroundings.  I’d love to see something like this showing the impact on digital/interactive Out of Home that allows consumers to shop outside of their home, without going into the store.  We’ll get there.  Still, the digital shopping experience can’t be ignored.  (Images look better on the Fast Company site vs. here, so check it out there).

“Uh-huh” – “Heroes” Creator Tim Kring Looks to the Future – I found this article fascinating.  #1 – I like the term “transmedia” which as he puts it, is a “fancy word at this point for a simple concept:  telling stories across multiple platforms.”  What I always talk about!!  And #2 – what I like even more, he follows that up with, “It will be a short-lived word, because it’ll just become the norm – the trans will stop and it’ll just be media”.  Wow, this dude is dialed in and he gets it on a level that I believe few people do.  His ideas are no doubt cool.  And although I didn’t watch every episode of Heroes and follow the different stories across all of the channels, it was a groundbreaking way to extend and evolve a story across multiple platforms.  (Just as Lost did as well).  #3 – what really got me thinking is, in agencies, particularly new agencies of the future – the gold might be in finding storytellers of the filmmaking nature vs. “creatives” specializing in design or copywriting.  Hmm.

“Duh” – Technology Changes the Face of Politicking – I don’t know if this is a “duh,” really.  But I don’t know that I really get the level of the true impact that politicians think that geo-location services like Gowalla actually make.  I like Gowalla and have worked with them multiple times before, and I’m happy that they’re exploring a new arena, but I don’t know how this is going to be the next social media “game changer.”  Seems a little strong to me.  Would love to hear your thoughts, though, if you feel differently.

So, there you go.  Closing out the week (semi-) strong.  Happy weekend, everyone!