Thursday, January 14, 2010

Quit Your Job

Editor's note: Read post before acting on headline.

We all need to quit our jobs. (Keep reading.) Lack of innovation is driven by an adherence to a so-called "job" that defines specific roles and specific actions taken at said job. Each day we follow that job around minding its place and purpose without lifting our eyes to see what connections we could make beyond it.

Now, not everyone does this. There are people who refuse to follow a code. Those are the innovators -- the everyman Steve Jobs of the world -- who see beyond the expected. Beyond the expectation. And, God, we love these people. Forget Steve Jobs, they are our gun-slinging Steve McQueens -- hot, sexy amalgamations of smarmy brains and brawn. The doers. Or...the don't doers as the case may be.

The point is, the most invigorating ideas come from people, or a group of people, who refuse to follow convention. And, yes, there is a need for organizational structure and clear definition of who does what, but not at the expense of progress and creativity. For so many organizations patriotic dedication to silos, boundary-defined roles and departmental division leads to slower progress, or worse, boredom.

For a brand boredom is the kiss of death. We all know boring brands that could use more innovation. They are the brands who refuse to look outside their industry with intrigue, brands that refuse to embrace mystery and excitement. Well, the same is true with people. People need to look outside their given roles in life to see what is possible to improve them. They must quit doing what they are doing in order to accept new thinking and find solutions.

Now more than ever we have the chance to improve our lives. To shift thinking. The world is in a revolutionary state of change. Brands and the agencies that serve them must jump in fearlessly and participate in the creation of this new world order. Those that abandon convention, those that integrate with other departments to create new models of thinking, those that take risks based on intuition will succeed. And the job will not be just a job, it will be a passionate fight for innovation. So, go ahead, quit your job.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Ten Creative Trends for 2010

This is the year of creative freedom. I might be the only one who loves that the economy has tanked. What is evolving because of limited funds in the ad community is a ridiculously beautiful open market of creativity. Below are ten creative trends emerging in response to the economy:

  1. Less cash = more creative freedom. Now is the time to create and present bold, brazen works that may have been closeted in years past. Because funding is down and agencies are working with clients to get the same work done despite decreased budgets, agencies are evolving into stronger business partners. Agencies are elevating their role in the business decisions, giving creative more voice.
  2. Magazines as books. The woes of publishing hang like a thick smog over the offices on Sixth Avenue, but there is hope. Deeper, book-like feature pieces will define magazines in a new way. Consumers want more information not less this year and magazines can offer an easier format than the digital space for these longer discussions. We've seen books migrating to more pamphlet like easily-ingested entities -- this is an opportunity for magazines. Additionally, serious graphics and beautiful art from magazines will be in demand and provide fodder for the social spaces.
  3. Social budget increases. Duh. So cheap, so measurable. For brands without fear the social arena will be game changing. Pepsi and Ford have already figured this out. Pepsi pulled ad dollars out of Superbowl advertising to fund more digital campaigning. Ford has pioneered the shift of marketing dollars to social. Not surprisingly, they were the only car company not to receive government bailout. Social is proving to have serious ROI. Our job as a creative community is to inspire consumers with creative social campaigns that engage, excite and empower.
  4. Digital creative is the focus. Sorry newspapers, this year advertising will focus on digital as the fuel of the campaign. The best agencies and most successful campaigns will be centered on creative innovation in the digital space. Creative innovation. Digital. Enough said -- get thinking!
  5. Energizing colors. From citron to saffron, yellow has ruled in the past few months. Consumers want inspiration. There is tangible fatigue with recession talk, soft imagery and muted colors. Bold, bright campaigns will lead the return to consumerism.
  6. Product details. Smarter consumers will look for detail in product descriptions. How many hours did it take to craft? How many people were involved? Where is the origin of the materials? Brand stories will take products further this year as money-conscious graduates of the recession seek detail on purchases. Think mini-wikis for all products. The more detail the better and not just online, in-store, at the counter, on cups. You get the idea. Build the story.
  7. Corporate Twitter schooling. Twitter will be the testing ground for corporations in 2010. Thought leadership approaches will be sung in every boardroom as companies realize the access to ownership of ideas moves away from third-parties. Agencies will spend a great deal of time educating and encouraging clients to enter the space.
  8. Return to luxury. Yes, there is less money, but consumers tired of the saving cycle will look for ways to reward themselves this year. There is a true repression -- repression, not recession -- mentality among consumers. And you know what happens when someone is repressed. Brands who encourage them to treat themselves for being good throughout the recession will win big. Celebration of consumer behavior is key.
  9. Facebook retreat. Yes, I said it. Consumers begin to understand the importance of privacy and implications of sharing too much. They will become more protective of their Facebook communities and may begin to share more selectively. Because of this newfound respect for privacy, brands will have to be more creative to reach them. The upside is if they let you in it will mean more and the relationship will be deeper.
  10. Emerging boutique agencies will rule. Bigger is not better this year. With the launch of MTV's ad agency reality show featuring boutique agency Huge, we will see an intrigue and migration towards smaller shops, especially for digitally-minded clients. Crowdsourcing will discover new talent this year. There will be a clear renaissance among the creative community. And this gal is so excited to see what it brings.
This year will be one of the most creative on record. Inspiration is at an all time high in the creative community, despite job loss and most likely because of job loss. It is a year of creative opportunity. Grab hold to your vision and follow it. Happy New Year!

Photo credit: Katyekat30, Flickr Creative Commons

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