Friday, 27 September 2013
For example, there's the winner of the new D&AD White Pencil Award for work with a purpose beyond profit (a good idea in itself). This is idea from the agency Droga5 for their pharmaceutical client Help Remedies. The full name of the product is "Help I've cut myself & I want to save a life". (From the "I can't believe it's not butter" school of brand names!).
It's a super nifty idea to increase Marrow Donor Registration, which could ultimately save the life of someone with leukaemia. The idea is this: you make marrow registration part of an everyday act. And that "everyday act" is a minor household accident - you cut yourself shaving, or your nick your finger on a paper edge. You're already bleeding - all you need to do is take a couple of swabs, stick it in a pre-paid envelope and you're registered as a Marrow Donor.
There's a super little film about it here.
Brand Aid takes on a whole new meaning.
Friday, 20 September 2013
I'm still in two minds about the Customer Decision Journey way of thinking: a model of how people make purchase decisions and what influences them along the way. Of course, the McKinsey model is a vast improvement on those funnels of bygone years. And it's good to see them adapting and updating the model to the digital world, and putting more emphasis on experience and advocacy.
But... as McKinsey themselves describe it, it's about "a series of interactions with a brand where a customer makes a decision or completes a task." This makes two assumptions:
1. It's about a sequence of events, where one follows another. Yes, I know that it's circular and not linear, and that feedback loops are probably implied at all stages but it's still about one thing following another in time. Experience comes after purchase.
2. Brand, product, communication, media, customer, company are all separate and clearly defined entities.
On real journeys, life's not like that. Unexpected events occur, things don't go in sequence and sometimes you end up back where you started - or lost. A wise research agency once compared the purchase decision process as being more like a game of snakes and ladders.
But any kind of thinking should also be complemented by your own personal experience.
Saturday, 14 September 2013
It's interesting to see how the rebranding of the two "new" banks is going. The head of marketing at Lloyds Bank has said that the "area of focus will be our heritage and our quality of service. We have a long history and customers are familiar with us."
So far, so good. It certainly makes sense to return to where you were before you were bad and dirty and maybe pick up from there. And the cover of the customer brochure I got the other day took me right back to the 70s when my parents opened an account for me at our local Lloyds Bank. Back to the caravanning holidays in Scotland that we had in those days.
But the letter that accompanied the brochure destroyed that first kindling of goodwill towards the "new" Lloyds Bank. Customers may well be familiar with the bank but just how familiar is the bank with its customers?
Not very, if the letter is anything to go by.
"Over the coming days you'll start to see changes on the High Street." Um ... if you look at my address, you'll see I live in Germany and the only changes I'll be seeing on my "High Street" are the graffiti on the election posters, not the kind of changes that you mean.
And then all this "new Lloyds Bank/becoming Lloyds Bank" stuff. I know it's 18 years ago, but I never could get used to Lloyds TSB. The campaign is obviously designed and written by people who were about 6 in 1995.
In the great scheme of things, none of this will annoy me enough to start looking around for a new bank. But for brands that revert, for whatever reason, to an old name have to be careful how this is managed.
It could be the difference between being welcomed as the prodigal son or suffering the fate of Thomas Wolfe's hero: "You can't go home again."
Monday, 9 September 2013
The ad above was written in the 1920s or 1930s by O.B.Winters of Erwin, Wasey & Company and is one of the classic all-time best long copy ads. Ad agencies are not always that great at selling their own wares, but I think this ad says it all - and does a cracking good generic selling job for creative businesses everywhere:
Tuesday, 3 September 2013
This is an important book. It’s one of those books that you may find on the business shelf, but it has implications for the individual, for business, for the economy and for society and humankind as a whole.
Bruce Nussbaum’s book is easy to read, but not simplistic. It covers and draws inspiration from a wide range of disciplines, from anthropology and psychology to education as well as design and business. The bulk of the book is devoted to what Nussbaum terms the “5 competencies of Creative Intelligence” which he defines as Knowledge Mining, Framing, Playing, Making and Pivoting. In discussing all of these, he brings a wealth of super examples as well as how-to tips. I like the inclusion of the “back end” competencies Making and Pivoting, as creativity doesn’t end with ideas!
I also found the section on the Economic Value of Creativity in which Nussbaum describes the new economic system of Indie Capitalism inspiring. I think I cheered aloud at least once! This system values chance and human unpredictability rather than reducing to what can be measured as in the efficiency of markets system.
I have a couple of very minor criticisms. Firstly, I found there were rather too many clichés of the “see them as challenges, not problems” type, as well as the repetition of the “we don’t think of ourselves as creative” line. Well, some of us do! The examples in the book have, inevitably, a US bias.
Overall, this is a book that is well worth reading, and I’ll be referring back to it. I particularly like the dispelling of the “lone genius” myth and the focus on the social conditions that lead to creativity. Nussbaum knits together a number of disparate trends, from gaming and crowd-funding, the renaissance of making and the return to local production in a readable and thought-provoking book.