Archive for the ‘Modernista’ Category
Lisa Gansky details in the book The Mesh how economic conditions have shifted consumers’ priorities and behaviors. She highlights how some brands, as a result, are taking up residence in “the mesh,” and suggests strategies for those who are currently outsiders.
The mesh is essentially an environment where consumers receive products when and where they need them, thanks to more information from both social media and wireless networks.
The development of the mesh is partly a result of the recent human migration away from suburbs to urban areas. As these more densely populated areas spike in popularity, storage of possessions and management of waste are becoming issues. Combined with the current focus on global warming, this is something the business world and marketers should consider.
Most current models of commerce have a limited focus on product life cycles. It’s generally thought that someone will need a replacement product at some point, and what they do with the old product doesn’t matter. But it does, when seen in the context of growing urbanism.
As Gansky mentions, what if ”retailers set a stage for a ‘reverse’ supply chain, where the same careful attention to efficiency in supplying goods is applied to their recovery and reuse on the other end?” Some retailers already understand this notion. The outdoor gear company REI, for example, accepts old skis, refurbishes them, and rents them out. This helps consumers solve their storage problems while also giving REI a leadership role in the area of sustainability.
There are opportunities for non-retailers too. One of Modernista!’s clients, Doc to Dock, invites the medical industry to participate in this movement. The organization collects unused medical supplies from hospitals, matches these supplies with the needs of hospitals and clinics in developing countries, and ships the goods abroad. These actions effectively employ the mesh structure while preventing thousands of tons of supplies from populating landfills.
And so, the challenge is: How can other industries similarly reverse their status-quo supply chains?
Some agencies steeped in decades of mainstream media may be locked in to a mode of thought in which they see their primary “product” as making ads. Of course, we all know what ads are, but I can’t resist a penchant for defining things, so here goes: It’s a compelling, memorable mini-experience in audio, print, or interactive form that interrupts the channel you’re engaged with, influences your perception, and motivates you to take action. The only people who think of ads as “products” are the people who create them (agencies) and the people who work with agencies to create them (clients).
But with the digital disruption underway and still in its infancy, agencies are starting to move beyond thinking of ads as products, and shifting to the idea that digital and social media products, and the user experiences they offer, represent a new form of embedded self advertising. Some examples:
- The Kindle, with its built-in Whispernet connection, provides a great e-book reading experience, but also contains within it an always-on “advertising” and sales channel right back to Amazon’s entire inventory of e-books (725,000+ and growing).
- The iPhone contains an incredible ad for its own App marketplace.
- Adwords and adsense are deeply embedded into Google’s search product, in which search is advertising and advertising is search.
- Facebook understands that your social network and the recommendations and actions of that network are a dramatic new form of advertising customized by your social connections.
Since these devices contain embedded marketplaces and storefronts, they need not interrupt the channel experience. Today’s great products approach design and technology with the understanding that a great user experience advertises itself and sells itself.
Some core skills of great agencies are well-suited to this new landscape: incredible creativity, layered storytelling, deep understanding of design, strategic capabilities, and brand-building chops. But a focus on interruptions rather than destinations, and a focus on external third-party channels rather than ones baked right into product and platform experiences, can be an Achilles’ heel.
The self-advertising that product thinking represents requires new approaches that put the user’s experience of utility and value first. The experience can support users and enable them to opt in to embedded purchase decisions at their own pace. The experience itself needs to be designed with acquisition, ongoing engagement, and retention in mind. Today’s best digital devices and Web-based products and platforms represent an always-on channel. This mode of “advertising” has the longest shelf life possible: It lasts as long as people remain engaged with the experience itself.
Planningness 2010, which took place in Boulder and Brooklyn simultaneously this year, was an inspiration – in my opinion, going well beyond anything produced by the AAAAs. This “un-conference” for planners didn’t just raise new ideas, but explored the tools and usage required to put ideas into practice.
There were some extraordinarily creative strategic thinkers at the meeting. For example:
-Made By Many, which has adopted a lean approach to developing ideas that iteratively grow in a world that changes every minute.
- Chris Heathcote, whose talk on Urban Computing showcased how the input of technology is changing the output of culture and behavior in unimaginable ways.
-Griffin Farley, whose work on Propagation Planning rethinks how to target the people we truly want to impact.
In general, the presentations revealed an evolution in planning in which the field appears to be splintering between generalists and specialists. My conclusion is that although it’s necessary to be proficient about the latest technologies, there’s still a need for traditional planning approaches and skill sets. Even as technology changes the fundamental impact of interactions on behavior and culture, humans still have basic needs and motivations that planning can help identify and solve. Most exciting is what appears to be a discipline-wide understanding to move beyond merely communicating products, and instead influence real behavior with real solutions.
For me this conference represented a leap in understanding of the new-media landscape while providing planners with an arsenal of new ideas for their agencies. Kudos to the team for organizing and pulling it off.
For the past 9 weeks, some of the Modernista! team has been living in a parallel universe. The DEXTER ARG (short for alternate reality game, or, as one player translated, actual reality game) built the world of the Infinity Killer, a serial killer obsessed with fate and social control, and the Serial Huntress, an ex-FBI agent catching serial killers through crowdsourcing.
After returning from the Making Digital Work Conference at BDW, which included some of the most intelligent and forward-thinking minds in advertising, I expected to have all the answers to the digital future. Instead, I walked away with many questions, a revised outlook on the digital landscape, and a strong desire to affect our agency’s future.
I thought a meeting of great minds – like Matt Howell, Gareth Kay, Michael Tabtabai, Alastair Green, Edward Boches, Scott Prindle, and John Winsor – would have it all figured out. But even they, admittedly, didn’t have all the answers:
Stephen King quote – stolen from Gareth: “I’m just surprised that no one’s thought of a better idea yet.”
It took until Day II for me to realize that there wasn’t a single, simple answer. The rise of digital has reshaped our marketing landscape and removed much of the control marketers once enjoyed. Whether the presentation was geared towards art, creative, production process, briefs, agency structure, or the latest technologies – the Mad Men advertising model is useless today.
Solutions to today’s marketing questions are ever evolving. What might have worked yesterday, may not work tomorrow. And as scary as today’s marketing landscape appears to many, we are living through the most interesting period in our industry.
The rules have indeed changed. Campaigns as we once knew them are dead. Instead our commitment needs to be about creating experiences that encourage:
- conversation (social)
Despite the conference’s digital focus, it is clear that nobody believes interactive will replace all other forms of media. Though transmedia seems to be the hot term these days, I am a bigger fan of Tabtabai’s digiraditional. While this term was introduced jokingly, it highlights the fact that there isn’t an all-encompassing term for what a successful campaign should consist of today.
What does digiraditional really mean? Well, nothing… What it stands for though, does matter.
No longer will brands be able to shout at consumers.
Successful brands are providing real value through ongoing, relevant, and shareable content, experiences, and narratives. Agencies are beginning to figure this out. And yet many still have old agency structures, outdated internal resource bases, and broken financial models – which greatly hinder their ability to produce the brand experiences consumers’ desire.
In order to better service our clients, sell top-level work, and exploit today’s interactive toolbox we must break down archaic agencies structures.
Maybe that’s the answer. Prepare your agency for the digiraditional future.
…Oh, and by the way, it’s here.
M! is seeking awesome strategy interns for immediate start!
email CV ASAP to email@example.com
w/subject line= I’m Strategic
Boston in the Summertime!
One of our Art Directors, Brian Leech, is still new to both M! and Boston.
Somewhere around 1am last Saturday night, he and I ducked out of a bro-fest house party in Charlestown, the storied neighborhood in Boston’Ts northeast corner.
Two right turns and three blocks later, 221-feet of beautifully lit granite obelisk (yeah, I Googled that) challenged our path. I’ve visited and climbed the Bunker Hill Monument, but Brian had no idea such a thing existed in the middle of quiet Boston. Brian, one of Modernista!’s most cherished resources, meet one of America’s unchallenged equivalent.
3.6% of U.S. land falls within the National Park system – almost 100 million acres in all. Incredible. Point is, there are a lot of National Parks into which you might literally stumble – in the middle of cities or the middle of nowhere.
In support of Ken Burns America’s Best Idea documentary that is currently running on PBS, we worked with some frighteningly capable folks at FL-2 in Denver to create a digital discovery experience of our 396 parks, monuments, battlefields and parkways.
No one hates the National Parks. But not enough people love them. Check out http://thisisyourland.nationalparks.org to see why you should. And to plot next moves when escaping floundering house parties.
I am pleased to announce that Modernista! has been included in the PanelPicker voting process for the 2010 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival. With the advent of neuromarketing, neuroscientist and researchers have been directing their expertise to marketing, using MRIs to analyze consumers’ brain activity when exposed to different stimuli. And companies like Google are using mathematics to develop advertising solutions. Will digital marketers become scientists and mathematicians or will creativity triumph?
The founders of Modernista!, Lance Jensen and Gary Koepke, among others, will debate whether advertising is an art or science: Big Brother in Your Brain: Neuroscience and Marketing. Hints of what is to come, can be found here.
You can help us attend SXSW by voting. SXSW is a community-driven event and your voting accounts for about 30% of the decision-making process. The SXSW Advisory Board, which is a group of industry professionals from around the world, and SXSW staff are also involved in the process. Voting will close on Friday, September 4th, so make sure you vote soon.
Yes, this is a post about some client stuff, so there is your disclaimer. Leave now if you must
OAR put on a good show, and we actually got quite a response from the crowd around the reason we were there- to help witness the latest in the (RED) Nights series. Predictably, some of the older people in the crowd shied away from putting their emails down for more info, while the throngs of teens among them were generally aware of (RED) and more than willing to engage with us.
Maybe more interesting was the general willingness from many people, of all ages (aside from a few resistant folks), to be sold to, in an entertainment environment where you might expect the many more interesting distractions would pull them away from it. Multiple people approached us throughout the night and simply said “sell me” or “tell me what you’re about” and stood by patiently while we gave our (RED) pitch. Of course, I don’t know if they were willing because they knew what (RED) was and just wanted more information, or would’ve heard any pitch that day. Either way, proved interesting to watch.
In the end, a good night for those of us manning the (RED) booth, and hey, we also got to see the show. Not too bad at all for a Thursday night.