Monday, June 30, 2008

Be brave

Scott had the privilege to judge planning entries for the Jay Chiat awards a few weeks back. He had this to say:

Good planning needed to help create and inform the development of ideas beyond the basic creative idea, identifying details that create and guide executional possibilities.

But, he said that few if any entries really achieved this planning objective.

The core of an original idea either failed to develop beyond the strategy or ended up in a conventional execution.

I love this. It inspires me to be more courageous in meetings where brand management argues against an idea because it's unconventional and "not what the client asked for."

I think his definition of good planning is what the new generation of planners seeks to achieve but we're running into a system that doesn't like to be shaken. I'd like to think that my courageousness could inspire a client to risk and be different, to standout, but...the ideas we can come up with beyond basic creativity, I find, need to be shelved for a later day or another client.

Can brave wait?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Next generation brands have bigger shoes to fill

Just read another thought-provoking presentation over at Change This.

Their latest manifesto talks about the Invisible Badge: Moving past conspicuous consumption. I find it fascinating. Upfront Rob Walker says, "What the Joneses might think is, really, beside the point. Because what you are really doing is telling that story to yourself" - a greater sense of self-fulfillment with support from consumption of goods.

Rob says "Really getting who the audience is you're trying to impress and tell your [brand] story to is freeing." I think he hits strategy on the head with this: Really what we are trying to do is get the product's selling point to fit seamlessly within people's lives, and if we truly understand WHO they are and what drives them, this should be easy, freeing, and attainable.

But what the real challenge is, he says, is "perhaps the fundamental tension of modern life: the challenge of feeling like both an individual and a part of something bigger than ourselves."

Yikes. How do we link a brand's relevance to attaining a sense of self while at the same time, linking people to the greater good? This is what a lot of brands are struggling with now: how to serve the greater good, a brand conscious that serves the individual while serving the world. Rob defines this new marketplace as finding material ways to express a connection instead of extracting a belief system from the mere fact that a lot of people purchase product X.

And this is rather revolutionary for the industry. Brands have figured out how to be brands, how to rally around an insight, and shine their uniqueness in an emotional way and drive sales. What brands need to do NOW is link people to a greater sense of something good for the world. And this will be successful because, as Rob says, "participation is its own reward."

The new marketing era of "Going green" does not only mean you should recycle more, it means think about others, think about the future, make conscious decisions to be a better person within society. And so, brands now need to "go green" and think about the greater good and not just themselves or their ROI. The world has made a cultural, life-serving investment for a long time and now it's analyzing its ROI. It's time now to give back. The Invisible Badge asks us to really reflect on who we are and what our life will mean in the great scheme of things.
Here here.