October 30, 2009

Digital Strangelove

This “collection of thoughts” from David Gillespie (Account Director at Maclaren McCann, Toronto, Canada) is about  “where we are right now in the history of the Internet. I believe we’re getting ahead of ourselves, confusing the growth of the Internet with it growing up, but I also believe we’re doing some amazing things, and can draw a few lines in the sand, making some solid guesses on where we are going”. Thanks for sharing David.

View more documents from David Gillespie.

Social Media Day

The Ogilvy London Digital Lab ran a Social Media and CRM Day on London last month with around 80 clients. This video shows some of the various companies who were there helping to demonstrate the possibilities of social media. There were also several presentations that covered four key practices in social media:

– Listen for insights from conversations that drive engagement.

– Participate with customers in authentic conversations.

– Activate influence in and outside of your customer set.

– Engage communities with brand value exchange wherever they gather.

To demonstrate how companies are using social media to transform relationships, Brooke Molinaroli of BT introduced the audience to BTCare on Twitter, ‘their helpdesk in real-time on steroids’ which is proactively find customers needing help and support.

October 28, 2009

Power of crowds

A week ago Lars Bastholm (Chief Digital Creative Officer for Ogilvy North America) asked the LinkedFaceTwittersphere for help putting together a presentation at the Boards Summit about the near future of marketing. He just shared the results and I’m very happy to see my small contribution was included….

October 27, 2009

How to be a good (digital) client

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In his book “Confessions of an Advertising Man”, David Ogilvy devotes chapter 4 to the subject of clients and gives them some advice about how to be a good one. He says that bad advertising can unsell a product but often this catastrophe is the fault of clients (sorry). Ogilvy said “some behave so badly that no agency could produce effective advertising for them”.

The book lists 15 rules that David Ogilvy would obey if he were a client dealing with an agency. Do these rules apply to clients dealing with agencies in our digital world? Let’s check…

1 – Emancipate your agency from fear.

Ogilvy said, “frightened people are powerless to produce good advertising”. The digital revolution in advertising has generated more fear than empty pizza boxes after late night deadlines. Everyone has been afraid. From the early days of “if we build it will they come?” to the current extreme of all traditional media being on its deathbed (it isn’t). As a client of agencies developing digital campaigns you should be able to trust their knowledge and abilities to execute an idea flawlessly. This is no longer a new media. You don’t need to be afraid so there is no need to make your agency afraid either.

Of course the digital medium is still evolving and new techniques are appearing all the time. Clients could insist on following tried and tested paths but if you really want to stand out you need to put aside fear and take the leap with your agency. As Alex Bogusky of Crispin, Porter + Bogusky said, “if you have to be afraid of something, then fear mediocrity”.

A great example of fearlessness? Philips Carousel >

2 – Select the right agency first

In his book David Ogilvy suggests that clients find out if they like the people at the agency as the relationship “has to be an intimate one, and it can be hell if the personal chemistry is sour”. He also looked at the pros and cons of big agencies vs. small ones.

The Cannes Cyber Lions this year has shown that the “traditional” agencies have caught up with the pure digital players in their ability to deliver amazing work online. As the playing field becomes level clients will find it harder to judge agencies by their technical or creative skills. More agencies are spending time expressing their individuality by how they project themselves online. The new site from Crispin Porter + Bogusky brings to the forefront what the world is saying about them and the work they do. Even the opinion of the interns is used to show how different the agency is from anyone else.

In the same way that the “traditional” advertising industry had its stars we now have the digital celebrities who play a key role in making clients feel confident about their agency choice. All this adds up to the chemistry clients are looking for today.

3 – Brief your agency very thoroughly indeed

“The more your agency knows about your company and your product, the better job it will do for you” said Ogilvy. In the digital world this is more true than ever since a client might brief his agency to create a campaign but, knowing the client’s business, the agency could come back with something radically different. Maybe they’ll respond with a service like Fiat’s Eco Drive or a platform such a Nike +.

4 – Do not compete with your agency in the creative area

“Why keep a dog and bark yourself?” Ogilvy complained about backseat drivers and while this may be true things are less clear in digital realm. Creativity and technology have merged so much that the traditional idea of “creative” is less distinct. Yes, clients should let agencies do what they know best – come up with great creative solutions. But a client that comes along with a smart technical innovation could be helping to spark an idea for campaign that the agency may not have explored otherwise. For me the best clients are collaborators.

5 – Coddle the goose who lays the golden eggs

As David points out many clients spend years developing a new product but give their agency just a few weeks to put together a campaign that will present it to the world. In many ways the way a product is marketed owes as much to its success as the product itself. If clients could involve communications agencies soon enough in the process then perhaps the product launch could stronger. Bring the agency into the loop earlier and they might lay a golden egg that shines a little brighter.

6 – Don’t strain your advertising through too many levels

Committees do not make for powerful ideas with a single-minded vision and executed in a creatively unique way. It was true then and it is still true today. As Ogilvy said, “hydra-headed clients present insoluble problems.

Within a client organization there should be one clear leader who can cut through the crap and give the agency one voice. The digital world makes it too easy to share work in progress with every stakeholder from Tokyo to Texas. Input can be useful but there comes a point when you need to ask if too many cooks are watering down a big idea. Being bold is always better than appearing mild.

Take a break from this long blog post and watch this parody video about designing the stop sign shows what happens when too many people throw in their opinions:

7 – Make sure that your agency makes a profit

While advertising spend online may even be overtaking TV in some countries it doesn’t always mean that agencies are seeing the benefit. There is still a problem convincing some clients about how much it costs to develop online communications. Their kids know how to build a website so this somehow makes them believe it is a piece of cake.

Building complex campaigns costs money and unless clients understand the work involved and the value agencies bring the results will suffer. Hopefully the days are over when clients blindly accept a million dollar budget for a TV spot but question just a fraction of that being spent online. When agencies make a profit and can afford to hire talented people clients will see their campaigns improve in creativity and effectiveness.

8 – Don’t haggle with your agency

David Ogilvy suggested that clients trust their agencies about the cost of projects and not haggle. Just like old-school advertising, digital is not an exact science although it is getting there. If your agency recommends testing then take their advice. Digital campaigns are much more complex than traditional you need time to fix problems. Skip that to save money and it could end up costing a lot more in lost customers and reputation.

9 – Be candid, and encourage candor

“Don’t beat around the bush” as Ogilvy said. Clients need to speak their mind without being so brutal that they “paralyze the troops”. Be clear about what your expectations are or otherwise the agency will be playing a guessing game. With all the tools available to us today there is no excuse for poor communication between clients and agencies.

10 – Set high standards

Expect more and you’ll get it. Don’t forget to praise your agency when they do well but always ask them to do even better next time. When you can access all the best campaigns online (with sites like Contagious, AdAge or Campaign) it is even easier to find examples of what your agency needs to beat. Hopefully your agency would have seen them already too and are already pushing themselves to do better.

http://www.contagiousmagazine.com/

http://adage.com/

http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/

11 – Test everything

Digital advertising and marketing is data driven so it’s easy to know when something has worked or not. Ogilvy was a great believer in testing. Testing promises, media, headlines, frequency, images… One of his most famous quotes is “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving”. Today we can test while a campaign is running online and adapt it as we go. We can test multiple versions, change a call-to-action on the fly… a campaign never needs to be finished. It may always remain in perpetual beta.

12 – Hurry

No worries there. Very early on it seemed that clients felt that because it was digital it took less time than traditional media. While sometimes it can be a bit rushed there is a real need for speed in our industry. If your agency has a great idea then help them get it out there quickly. That includes the internal approval process clients go through. If you are not quick someone else will steal your thunder and do something online that makes you look more like a follower rather than a leader.

13 – Don’t waste time on problems

In his book Ogilvy advised clients to “concentrate your time, your brains, and your advertising money on your successes”. Even though digital media is no longer a new kid on the block there is still an element of experimentation. If you invested in Second Life then take what you learned and move on. Not all developments pan out. Watch the video of George Bodenheimer,
President of ESPN speaking at the 2008 Verge conference and see how his approach to leaving failures behind helped ESPN be a digital leader.

genius14 – Tolerate genius

Yes, they can be disagreeable as Ogilvy pointed out (he wouldn’t use the word assholes) but they can lay golden eggs. There are not that many around but if you can tolerate the ones you find then what they come up with could put your brand on the digital map.

15 – Don’t underspend

The last point in the book’s chapter urges clients not to skimp on budget. David said that “it’s like buying a ticket three-quarters of the way to Europe; you have spent some money, but you don’t arrive.” Great ideas don’t have to be expensive and digital campaigns often cost a fraction of the budget of a traditional media campaign. But if an idea calls for a higher investment then try to find the money. The results will be worth it.

Want to read the book that inspired this blog? Click below to buy from Amazon.

Confessions of an Advertising Man

Mashup down under

The Australian Government’s 2.0 Taskforce has invited anyone to use their data for interesting new mashups. Already there are some very interesting results such as the Fridgemate that locates all the useful services you need wherever you are in the country. Check out the Mashup Australia website to see all the examples. Who will win the top prize of AU$10,000? It’s a great initiative to stimulate innovation – more governments should be equally encouraging!

October 23, 2009

Apps take the lead

As reported in AdAge, “Volkswagen of America is launching the newest-generation GTI exclusively on an iPhone app, a cost-efficient approach the automaker said is a first for the industry” You can read the full article here but to sum up:

VW spent $60 million to launch the GTi in 2006 – this time they are spending $500,000.

Volkswagen licensed the game from Australian developer Firemint, so as well as saving millions be choosing a mobile platform over a 30-second TV spot they save costs by licensing an existing game.

VW is the first to do this and that means huge PR value.

To read a review of the app itself head over to the ADLAB blog.

It will be interesting to see how this works out for VW. Brands have had varying degrees of success with apps but nobody has put all their eggs in one digital basket like this. Good luck.

October 19, 2009

Invisible beauty

Oslo School of Architecture and Design wanted to know how RFID signals were shaped to help improve the design of objects using these short range transmitters.

Jack Schulze and Timo Arnall made this stunning video by using a specially-made LED wand, long-exposure photography, some animation, and a lot of patience.

With more and more objects including RFID it’s fascinating to see the invisible made visible. Are these radio waves safe? We don’t know yet… but they are beautiful.

Immaterials: the ghost in the field from timo on Vimeo.

October 16, 2009

Digital outdoor bites

Digital is being steadily released from the world of PC and mobile screens. Here is a nice example of an interactive window display featuring a dog that follows you around, discerns your gestures as friendly or aggressive and tries to engage you in a play. Very cool.

Sniff from karolina sobecka on Vimeo.

October 15, 2009

Life lessons from an ad man

While it’s not my intention to make this blog too much about Ogilvy I could not help sharing this video from Rory Sutherland – one of the agency’s true originals. As part of the TED series Rory talks about how “Advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself”. According to the TED website he “makes the daring assertion that a change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider “real” value — and his conclusion has interesting consequences for how we look at life”.

October 12, 2009

Ogilvy Digital Labs

Since the first Ogilvy Digital Lab appeared in New York others have been popping up around the world. This video shows some of the innovations that have been showcased there in the past 12 months.