Inspire me
13th May, 2013

“You will never win fame and fortune unless you invent big ideas. It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.” ┬áDavid Ogilvy

Traditionally, the marketing concept of a ‘big idea’ is intrinsically tied to TV advertising. A brand briefs an ad agency. Said ad agency creates a ‘big idea’ with associated TV/ad concepts and then, once this is all signed off, everyone else scrambles around to see how it can be executed elsewhere.

The result? A great TV ad spot. And then other implementations with differing levels of quality and success.

It’s easy to see how we got here. Advertising has always been at the heart of a brand’s marketing strategy. But the times are a-changin’.

So what does that mean for the big idea and the agencies that try to unearth it?

Is the concept of a big idea dead? Does it sit uncomfortably in an age where we are moving from push marketing to a more collaborative approach? Or is it more relevant than ever at a time where brands are spread so thin across different channels and platforms?

I think there’s still a place for the big idea. But I think we need to stop seeing it as the end of the creative process and just as the first step.

If you reframe the way we think about the big idea in this way then rather than thinking up a new TV advert, you start to think about a compelling brand story that you can then creatively execute in a whole host of different, creative ways.

The big idea in 2013 is:

  • More than TV.
  • BIG. It’s so big, it’s not tied to channels or platforms. It’s something that inspires makeable ideas but isn’t one in itself.
  • SMALL. In itself it doesn’t take up huge budgets but inspires campaigns and initiatives.
  • Agile and flexible – it needs to be malleable into different forms.
  • Built around stories and for storytelling.
  • Co-created – it comes from the audience.
  • About behavioural change, not campaigns, tactics or platforms.


picture credit

continue reading: Redefining the big idea...

5th September, 2010

If you’ve been active on Twitter recently, you will have no doubt come across paper.li. You know, those autotweets that crop up from time to time encouraging you to click through and read xx’s ‘Daily’.

Essentially, paper.li takes your most recent tweets and puts them (and the sources they link to) in a supposedly easy to read, newspaper-style format. A daily round-up of the things you find interesting. As the creators themselves say:

“paper.li organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy to read newspaper-style format. Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list or #tag.A great way to stay on top of all that is shared by the people you follow – even if you are not connected 24/7 !”

Bridging the gap

It certainly sounds an interesting concept. Microblogging has always been a fantastic route for those that didn’t want to commit to a full-blown blog, but still wanted to share interesting links and thoughts with a wider audience. The problem arises that when you start following multiple people on Twitter; the information overload issue comes to the fore. Paper.li attempts to solve this by giving a round-up of what you and your followers have said and shared so far. And, if the number of automated tweets are anything to go by, the service is increasingly popular.

Where’s the value?

But I wonder if anyone is actually consuming this content. The autotweets themselves (I’ve blogged before on my feelings towards autotweets, so no need to dwell too much on the issue here) give very little indication of the content that lies beyond. For this reason, I’m usually inclined to ignore them. I’ve seen others also tweeting about their increasing frustration too.

Another reason is that, when I do click through, there seems to be very little added value. You get a list of links and snippets of articles. One or two might be of interest, a couple you’ve probably already seen (no doubt one or two from Mashable!) and some just won’t be of interest.

There’s no personal insight.

A lazy way to spew out more content?

We know the perceived wisdom that ‘content is king’ online, but it seems to me that content only really works when it is interesting and compelling. I think the ‘information overload’ issue is a really interesting one. We’ve moved away from the forced curation of content that we had in the past with newspaper editors and the traditional offline media dictating what we should and shouldn’t read and think (and I know this is still very powerful even today). But we’ve haven’t quite found a way to replace this and ‘manage’ the massive amounts of data that are bombarded in front of us on a daily basis.

For me there is an opportunity out there for a forward looking startup. Tweetdeck and the like may still be the way forward – I’m increasingly using lists in Hootsuite to segment tweeters – and the content they tweet – that I really want to keep an eye on. This is personalised curation and is surely the way forward. I’m just not sure whether the automated curation that we see with paper.li will ever gain much real traction apart from with those that are too lazy to add value and curate for themselves.

continue reading: Why paper.li and automated curation are doomed to fail...

13th July, 2009

Argh, yes I know, I’ve been very lax about blogging over here – indeed anywhere – recently. A combination of lots of work (that’s a good thing!), busy social thingys (get me!), sun, Wimbledon, sun, Wimbledon, has meant that I’ve been neglecting the old blog. But don’t fear, I’m still committed – you wont find me drifting of into the more trendy ‘lifecasting’ (don’t get me started – another post for another time).

But today, an article has been nagging me and I feel compelled to rant comment. I know I really shouldn’t rise to the bait but here goes!

You may have read – in the business press, no less – that Morgan Stanley’s European Media Analysts have today released a ‘report’ revealing the media habits of the teenage generation. So far, so good.

However, the ‘research note’ was written by Matthew Robson – a 15-year-old intern (think work experience for son of a director) at the investment firm. However, this small fact didn’t stop it being labelled by Edward Hill-Wood, head of the research team as “one of the clearest and most thought-provoking insights we have seen”.

And the traditional media have gone ballistic, with the news even reaching the front page of the FT.

So what does the report/note/homework say?

You can read it in full here (PDF), but it essentially covers the following:

- Matthew UK teenagers don’t listen to the radio
- They don’t buy newspapers (duh)
- They use PCs rather than Macs because it is what they are used to (like most of the population then)
- Facebook is their network of choice. They don’t use Twitter much as they prefer to send SMS direct to friends
- They ignore advertising unless its impressive (think viral)

My problem with all this is that it’s only one kid’s view. I don’t have a problem with that per se, but it’s being touted around as the latest and greatest insight into the youth of today – and that’s just wrong. This from Mr Hill-Wood again: “We’ve had dozens and dozens of fund managers, and several CEOs, e-mailing and calling all day.’ [I only hope Matthew was the one that answered the call]

And part of me is jealous – this is great fantastic PR for Morgan Stanley. It makes them seem ‘down with the kids’. But it’s also lazy. Julien Rossi, also from Morgan Stanley says that it’s the starting point for a ‘debate’. For me there are better starting points out there – both qualitative and quantitative.

So I’m not saying this insight is wrong – we just don’t know that it’s right.

And I’m not just cross that it’s anti-Twitter; it’s widely known that the average Twitter user is about 30 years old. For me, that is not a problem. I don’t really want to chat on Twitter with 15 year-olds and I certainly don’t want to target teenagers for any of my clients!

Insight and knowledge about your target audience (whoever they might be) is vital – it’s the only first step in any ‘effective’ marketing, PR, social media etc. strategy. But it has to be qualitative and quantitative otherwise it’s just a stab in the dark.

continue reading: There’s no shortcut to audience insight...