Saturday, June 26, 2010

Global Ingenuity (Or The End of Cannes)

The tide is shifting. We all know it. And as our creative community sits on the beach during the final days at Cannes, competition further slips away from the center of the advertising community. We are a global creative department now. Shouting to each other across our loft space on Twitter and Foursquare. "Hey, @jtwinsor thanks for the inspiration!" and "@edwardboches where do you think things will go next?" Competitors? Hardly.

The cover of this week's Advertising Age designed by young Grey creatives Garrett Dafferner and Salina Cole captures the spirit of our interconnected creative community, all of us, gears moving one another, thinking and inspiring elevated concepts, designs, tools, campaigns. A factory of thought.

Is there an agency-owned idea any longer? We are shaping each other's thinking at a rapid, highly-involved and engaged rate. Nothing seems proprietary. In fact, it seems wrong to hold back, to protect and control thought, to hold captive this global creative spirit.

This is a new era of creative collective unconscious. Our thoughts are one. Your Lion is mine. And mine yours. Our creative experiences are being shaped together -- a unified personal perspective coming together with each glance at your digital portfolio, your worldview, a follow of the creative at the Mac behind you, a Twitpic from the copywriter in Finland. I become you. You become him. We are ingesting each other's creative thinking, inspiring one another. Global ideation 24/7. A brainstorm that never ends.

What's exciting is the diversity of experience fueling stronger creative. We are all becoming smarter together, brilliant creative, leading to more brilliant creative. It's a communal creative brief written together each day. How on Earth are we going to enter awards against each other at Cannes next year? I suppose we'll just all have to go onstage together.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fashion Fuel

It's no surprise to those of you who know me, or have been following this blog for a bit, or read my twitter feed, that I'm a bit obsessed with fashion. And I'm not talking the "loves to shop" kind of obsessed -- that's not what drives me -- nor is that as serious as what I'm dealing with. I'm talking the weep-over-a-garment-with-careful-stitching obsessed.

I started my career in the fashion industry, working with some incredibly well-known industry icons, although at the time, I thought everyone who worked in the industry knew them. Because of this, I have an unusually skewed sense of the fashion industry and a deep respect for the creators in the field.

Fashion is my inspiration, my art. And so today, I thought I'd share with you some imagery of late that I've used as inspiration in creating ideas and thinking for clients and, well, life in general.

Pictured below is the finale from Alexander McQueen's last show, the last look he created before committing suicide in February this year. McQueen was a genius. I think of the textural layering and royal heroics of this craftsmanship at least once a week.

Hold your breath. This image below is shot by Karl Lagerfeld for the 2010 Chanel campaign. Simple, emotional, space. I'm there. You?

Not that this is even close to being complete, I will share one more series of images from photographer Pietro Birindelli. I am a bit of a Kate Moss groupie, and he's been doing some amazing work with her, as well as others. His beauty work is so varied and intense, I'm completely moved by his artistry.

I've started a side blog, called Fashion Fuel, on tumblr that will be driven mainly by fashion imagery. Feel free to join me there, as well, when you need a bit of inspiration.

What inspires you?

Images: McQueen: WWD, Chanel: Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Moss and other beauty shot: Pietro Birindelli

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

All You Need is Love: World Cup Wisdom

I'm working on a Brazilian campaign for one of my clients that has nothing and everything to do with the World Cup. Despite our football marginalism, we Americans are entranced by the energy and excitement of the sparring cleated nations. But what's more engaging is the uber-frenzied love of the people and their undying affection for their teams.

Football for the world represents the collective dreams of a country. Inspiration. Courage. Hope. All emotions our brands, particularly in the social spaces must represent. Love is the most powerful motivator for action and has the power to engender true trust and loyalty. Have a look at this amazing video below created by Tam Airlines for the Brazilian soccer team as they settled into their seats readying for departure to the World Cup. How will you show love today? Maybe you should dribble a soccer ball for inspiration...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Social Etiquette (or How to Not Piss Off Your Fan Base)

Reputation management is not new and yet so many brands fail to honor the discipline in the social media space. Now more than ever, social media demands brands embrace a human voice and consider the way those around them interpret their actions and commentary. Think Emily Post. Social etiquette icons know the nuances of human emotion and how attitude and action impact perception.

All this to say, I've pissed people off. Inadvertently, of course. As most of us working in the space can attest, there is a great deal of experimentation that goes into deeply understanding and recommending social strategy, tactics and tools to our clients. This experimentation can lead to a maelstrom of social hand-slapping. We do this to learn for our clients and understand voice executions and limitations in the social spaces, the inner-workings of new tools and to study crowd sentiment. Because of my social sacrifice (all for you), I have learned there are three clear rules for managing a social media reputation and, if you follow them, your community and your mother will be proud.
  1. Be authentic. Brands must be themselves and have a clear, very human relationship with their social communities. Product pushing and promotion will harm authenticity. Insider sales tips and contesting is attractive to a fan base, however cannot be the only form of communication shared in the space. Think of that guy at your friend's dinner party always trying to sell you insurance. He's really boring, not to mention untrustworthy. Don't be him.
  2. Be original. Inspiration is the name of the game. Brands that lead with new thinking and engage and excite with participatory campaigns and thought leadership win. People want to be pleasantly surprised. Intrigue and unexpected delights inspire. Think of a new love, where treats like roses and love letters shake up perception and win hearts. Do that with your community and they will love you forever.
  3. Be grateful. Thankfulness is an elementary human trait. We are inculcated from toddlerhood with reminders to say "thank you" at every turn. Why then, when brands come to the social space do they forget that rudimentary rule? It's simple, be thankful for the community growing around your brand. Honor them with replies, special access and inspiration. Always thank them.
People are the medium. Human interactions fuel marketing today, making reputation management a must for brands. Social etiquette is more than just a list of rules for minding manners, it is the highly visceral basis for human interaction and all the nuances and social cues that feed it. And being successful in the social media space requires an intensely engaged, attuned brand persona that leads with authenticity, originality and thankfulness.

Are there others? What social etiquette tips do you think brands need?

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