Barnaby Station - A Global Briefing on the Culture, People and Ideas Driving Innovation
A GLOBAL BRIEFING ON THE CULTURE, PEOPLE, AND IDEAS THAT are DRIVING INNOVATION
issue no. 1
to the first Barnaby Station briefing on innovation
and the culture, people, and ideas that are fueling
its momentum. The year 2014 is poised to be
another amazing year for innovation and business
transformation and I am happy to bring stories and
conversations that are shaping and influencing this
Innovation Strategy & Experience Production
We are living in an age where interruption and
disruption of business as usual is the norm.
Change is occurring often and rapidly and it is
sometimes difficult to keep up with what’s next and
worthy of your attention.
What signals are the
harbingers of change? Who is leading it? How will it
impact your business - right now or tomorrow? How
will technology or the new rules of engagement
influence and shape your industry, brand, or
business in the future?
Through the stories and analysis, we look to set you
on a path of contextual understanding. These stories
and ideas could be the catalyst or spark for a new
way of interacting or engaging with your
communities, customers or fans.
As some of my colleagues and I now believe, all
bets are off as it relates to existing business
models. What was true yesterday is no longer true
today and even less true tomorrow.
To this end, Barnaby Station is focused on being a
conversation starter for the curious and action items
for the doers. But, by no means is this the
rather it is
simply expressing and sharing ideas worthy of your
attention and consideration.
Barnaby Station is a roadmap to guide you when
looking at new business models or the convergence
of content, media, and technology. Maybe it
influences you to
partnerships, or, perhaps, spur you to look at things
differently - using a new set of lens.
There are a few things we most assuredly know
. It is the key to a more
engaging and exciting future for businesses and
individuals. It’s about pushing the needle forward or
in a totally different and sometimes unexpected
direction - creating new experiences and new value.
With these briefings, I hope to share the excitement
and passion about innovation and meeting the
needs of unaddressed consumer markets and in
time, maybe we can collaborate and create
something ground-breaking together.
THE CULTURE OF
Innovation… is more than just planning new products, services, brand extensions or technological
inventions... It's about imagining, organizing, mobilizing, and competing in new ways.
“Design Thinking for Strategic Innovations”
CEO, Idea Couture
It’s about making real an idea that creates new
customer value and new market opportunities.
Only possible by having a laser-like focus on the needs of the customer
Ensuring what you do improves their lives
Solving a pain point
Influencing a shift from current customer behavior to a new behavior derived from
“You want it to be one way,
but it’s the other way”
HBO’s the Wire
What problems are you solving?
How do you leverage content, media, technology, product development, and
service design to create new revenue streams and launch entirely new businesses?
What happens when relevancy of your product or service is designed to meet the
needs of your customers?
The best way to create and sustain a
is through a
blend of expertise in:
The convergence of digital technologies
Intelligent design and thinking (how it works)
Business and operation models and systems
Human behavior (i.e., how people currently think and do)
Cultural values (i.e., relevancy of needs, desires, and wants from diverse audiences
Making innovation sustainable - imagination and the appetite to discard old rules
and legacy thinking and instead apply new rules that become the catalyst for growth
- is fundamental.
STATE OF MIND
Take both a broad and deep view of the experiences around you. See the
value in disparate form factors, industries, and platforms. Make nontraditional or unexpected relationships or partnerships.
How do things work together? How are they interconnected? Play with
various combinations of media, platforms, technologies, and capabilities to
reach different solutions. Broaden the picture.
The application of innovation happens when purpose, the belief, meets
action, the result.
Why are we doing it? The purpose.
What are we doing and how are we doing it?
FOUR smart ways to bring innovation alive inside
your organization and to your customers
The Trojan Horse Effect is the ultimate slight of hand long-term
market capture strategy. You start by solving one problem in
order to get to your market, then once beyond the gate you
execute your real goal or take the time to discover the next or
new opportunity of which to take advantage.
This approach requires having two strategies planned in advance.
While executing the first, you are continually shaping and reworking the latter based on learnings and facts gleaned from
inside the gate.
Popularized by Detective Bunk of the Wire, he believed that soft
eyes allowed you to observe the entire picture - the fuzziness
surrounding things - the not so obvious - versus looking at
something with hard eyes with a focus on what’s in your
immediate line of sight, often missing little details.
Soft eyes is a way to see things you don’t expect to see, and
identify opportunities that may not be readily apparent or
sometimes missed. Your customers are not going to alert you to
problems they have yet to experience. You need to see the
playing field from a different vantage point and take inspiration
from events, people, culture, and unrelated or adjacent
You will stop relying only on the reports that everyone else is
reading and leave the comfort of the bubbles. The Brand bubble.
The Agency bubble. Instead, focus on winning the hearts and
minds of your fans or your audience through
A gradual process in which something changes into a different
and usually more complex or better form or release incrementally
The hallmark of this thinking is slow and steady, but a constant
approach to innovation. It is a commitment to a systematic
introduction of new products or services building on previous
iterations. New ideas should be familiar and not alienating to
audiences. But the commitment to continuous change and
improvement is solid.
The insight with this model is that your business model for right
now...is only good for right now. Keep advancing forward.
With clandestine thinking, the development of new products or
services goes unnoticed by the general population until it is
ready for mass adoption. This could initially appear counter
intuitive, however it provides the opportunity to test in beta
mode or with select groups of individuals and grow the idea
organically without the public fear of failure. The goal, primarily,
is to gather information on the market and audience through the
introduction of products and features to gauge response and
This can also be a pure research and analysis exercise designed
to gain situational and operational awareness of your market and
Advertising has lost touch with society and will only recover when it ceases to be the device for
dealing with the problems of brands and becomes the method...for dealing with the problems of
the next generation of consumers.
-- Daniel Maree Founder & CEO, M-PWRD
“I am bored with
that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans…I just want this to come out when
it’s ready, from me to my fans.
Surprise! An Instagram video was
posted at midnight on Friday. Along with
Beyoncé’s official Facebook page posting, this
was the only indication that the music genre
would never be the same.
We witnessed a ripple in the model. Beyoncé,
with the release of her latest album decided to
deliver a memorable and unexpected
experience directly to her fans. Not the first to
pull off a stealth release, however with her
social media reach and global recognition, it
captured the imagination of fans, retailers, and
brands all over the world in a way others
Whether intentional or not, what she accomplished
was across the board disruption.
14 songs and 17 videos. A total re-imagine of
how an album experience should sound, look,
Followed the trend of binge viewing
popularized by Netflix, Hulu and other on
demand viewing models. Consume it all in a
Content is king and storytelling is queen.
Fans and audiences were given a state-of-theart sensory experience (audio and video). A
few weeks later, she released “Self-Titled” a
mini art feature on YouTube that was a behind
the scenes look at the making of the album.
Fans had to purchase the entire album. No
Social media ruled the roost. Leveraging her
massive online fan base, fans picked up on
the story and began sharing and buying the
Quality of content fueled the social and media
conversation and attracted significant earned
iTunes page takeover. Fans were directed to
iTunes to purchase the album and were
greeted with an all Beyoncé promo.
30-second video clip teasers posted on
YouTube simultaneously with the album
No advanced warning, marketing, or
promotion. 100% clandestine.
Launched on the heels of the season premier
of ABC’s Scandal as chatter was at its highest.
Was able to insert the release into the
conversation from an active demo.
Celebrities became part of the conversation
and tweeted to their fan base extending the
reach. Word of mouth was widespread.
Mainstream media picked up on the story and
began creating articles and editorial content
about the album and the stealth release.
No retail distribution or physical product until
5 days after digital release. A direct-toconsumer model.
Upset the retail apple cart. Target decided
that it wouldn't sell the album because it was
made available digitally before it was in stores
Beyoncé surprised 750 Walmart customers in
Boston by distributing $50 gift cards, totaling
$37,500 - as she shopped at Walmart. A new
level of partnership and engagement beyond
Deliberately or by accident,
which is a culture of continuous improvement and efficiency. Led by this philosophy which
permeates throughout the company, Amazon is constantly re-thinking, reinventing and creating new
business processes that strive to make each customer interaction with the brand an excellent one.
This philosophy is further anchored by a commitment to putting the customer at the center of
everything they do.
“A willingness to fail. A willingness to be
misunderstood. And maintaining a
childlike wonder in the world.”
commenting on the innovator’s mindset
. This thinking describes a
classic challenger brand, come from behind, start-up mentality. Approaching business this way,
they are by default positioning themselves to disrupt the status-quo and are challenged to always
find a better way to maximize and improve business operations and customer experiences. This
perhaps is the catalyst for their innovation efforts and creativity as a company.
This approach may be traced back to Jeff Bezos' belief that
eventually Amazon will become obsolete and his plan is to
continuously innovate in order to delay the inevitable.
Ironically, in striving to satisfy their customers’ needs, Amazon inadvertently creates new revenue
and business opportunities and disrupts other industries:
They are on their seventh iteration of the Amazon fulfillment center. Developed software that has
made shelving products so much more efficient that they can now store twice as many goods as
in the past. It gives them the ability sell more products and from those learnings, they are now
moving into same day online ordering and delivery of grocery items.
Developed Amazon Web Services (AWS) to keep track of the volume of online orders. Turned it
into a new business by expanding the infrastructure to store data and run websites on the cloud
for thousands of companies. Even some of their competitors use AWS. May soon become their
Became an original television programming content producer by transforming their customer
base into a crowd-sourcing engine and letting them decide the shows they should produce.
Almost guaranteeing a hit. Looking to disrupt the Hollywood model of how shows are
developed and green-lit.
blanks to help move the story forward. As masters of the
short form, story definition has a totally new meaning.
: We approach storytelling and content
development from the perspective of what problem we
are solving. We then create multiple narratives where
each one addresses the problem in a different way.
Paul: We like to get involved from the very beginning,
which allows us to create a level of trust with the client.
We become a safe pair of hands and the client fades into
the background showing up again once it’s done.
Paul: The first thing we realized is that asking the right
questions is the best thing to do as it gets the client to
begin thinking about things that can make the project
better. The most important question we ask our clients is,
“what do you want to do with this?” And it goes beyond
what channel or medium the content will appear on. Is
there a sponsor attached? If not, would you like one?
These answers can dramatically shift our story approach.
Rather than just create content that is a supplement to an
original property they already have, we can design the
content so that it solves other challenges or meets new
Infamous Hero is a storytelling
powerhouse. They offer creative
development & post production
services. Learn more about them
: We learned that sometimes a story doesn’t have
to have a middle, beginning or an end. In this age of
short-form storytelling, it can be a powerful headline or a
tweet and you can get the entire story from that. With
short-form storytelling we like to include the audience.
They already know the story, so they can help fill in the
Paul: With short-form content, you don’t have a long time
to set up the story. When it is done well your audience
can just jump in and never get lost.
: I got the bug when I was young. I saw Raiders of
the Lost Ark and was hooked. I realized I had to make
I just started writing. In middle school I would submit
stories to Marvel Comics. When I went to college, I wrote
a bunch of scripts and as a junior in college I pitched and
sold one to Sesame Street. Next, I realized that people
will ruin your written material so I needed to learn how to
direct and produce.
My life has been an evolution of me trying to get into film
and the path has been through animation, comic books,
advertising, and creating wacky TV shows - always with the
idea that I would pick up the skills to one day make a
Paul:I was a 70s and 80s baby. Hip-hop was huge and all
around me. I started DJing. I went to radio engineering
school and through that I started editing film and it spoke
volumes to me. It was music mixing, but with video and I
was hooked. Got into the business through editing. I had
a knack for mixing video to tell stories.
I became a participant in the story. I was not versed on
film making, but I learned on the ground. I learned what it
took to take an idea in your head and create with a team.
You can’t create by yourself. It is a deep collaborative
process and as an editor, I enjoyed my role in helping tell
a story and bringing it to life.
A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock pile when somebody contemplates it with the idea
of a cathedral in mind.
- Antoine Saint-Exupery
Data is a Game Changer. Electricity of the
21st Century. Yes…it's that powerful.
A key pop culture moment that comes to mind when I hear Big
Data is Billy Beane and the film Moneyball. Billy Beane was a
baseball scout who eschewed conventional wisdom of selecting
players and instead embraced data and analytics to build a
winning baseball team. It ushered in an innovative way for
major league baseball to recruit, acquire, and manage players
on and off the field.
Billy Beane never won the World Series, but his data analytics
approach had such an impact that it became a part of MLB
culture. Each day as companies find themselves getting closer
to the Big Data tipping point, we may well find them
increasingly in search of their own Billy Beane moment to
optimize business models, adapt, or create new products and
services or markets from data enhanced intelligence.
With the notion of winning “business” championships, the
challenge with harnessing the power of “big data” is more than
collecting and storing data, but in understanding:
1. What do we do with it?
2. How do we glean meaningful insights?
3. What should we pay attention to now versus what
should we ignore until later?
4. Can we trust it? Can it mislead us?
In addition, organizations have to keep in mind customer
concerns around data security, privacy, and usage and have
controls in place to mitigate those fears and build trust.
Agreed. This is much to think and plan for. However, once an
approach is determined and the rules are set…
…Imagine the new products, services and content being
designed around real behaviors and actions of people. Imagine
unlocking the holy grail of personalization and true one-to-one
marketing - moving from reaching people in the aggregate with
broad brushes to, instead, automatically delivering individual
and unique experiences based on intrinsic and extrinsic
preferences, influenced by each individual’s unique data code
Imagine unlocking the power of your company’s operations,
making smarter business decisions, allocating resources better
and gaining more relevant insights to satisfy existing customers
and acquire new ones.
But, it’s not going to be a cakewalk. It will require time,
resources, commitment and money. Every day, volumes of data
both structured and unstructured are generated: transactions,
social media, images, video, the web, mobile devices, sensors,
machines, consumer and enterprise content.
This variety of data, once collected, processed, and analyzed only with the right tools and the right emotional and functional
value attached to it - can be useful as a competitive catalyst. It
will then power new opportunities for innovation at a time when
disruption, increased competition, a shifting customer
landscape, and the mission of continuous business growth are
the new normal.
The idea of a world of invisible
buttons sensing , communicating and
responding to people and objects
Products and services that are contextually aware of me, my
movements, and my surroundings
Intrinsic and extrinsic learning about my behaviors and activities
Real-time personalization, automatic actions, and content
updates based on my interests
Smart Objects. Smarter Actions. The
story of the Connected Everything.
Given the chaotic and fast-moving world we live
in, there is a need for technology that can make
our lives easier, make us smarter, and more
efficient. Maybe technology can even quietly
manage some of the more mundane tasks in our
lives and make the world around us more
interesting, interactive, and engaging. We are
moving closer to that reality through the Internet
of Things and it is offering solutions to real world
The Internet of Things (IoT) is simply the insertion
of intelligence and programmed behaviors into
previously lifeless and un-networked devices and
objects. In this construct, the physical world is
connected to the digital world through sensors,
microprocessors and wireless technologies.
Physical objects will have real world awareness
and talk to each other and to people through
devices, creating an invisible infrastructure and
communication ecosystem that is responsive to
various inputs and stimuli. These include:
sensory inputs, proximity, location, events,
behaviors, the environment and data.
This opens up unimaginable possibilities for
integration in our day-to-day lives, as more
objects become capable of connecting to each
other, learning, and communicating with people
and in turn providing solutions to problems we
are not aware of or even imagine.
Eventually, we will operate in a well coordinated
symphony of human-less activity where cloud
based intelligence will use data extracted from
connected objects to generate ideas around new
products and services. This is the innovation
Once intelligent objects are reporting their status
and responding appropriately to people,
data, and other machines autonomously, they
begin to have real-world impact.
Farmers are using air and soil sensors to
communicate information on crops and
Athletes have sensors embedded into their
uniforms or helmets communicating real time
impact, body temperature, heart rate and a
myriad of other performance related stats to
help them or the coach measure, monitor, and
Chemical sensors allow bacteria to provide
details about how large a particular bacterial
colony is - important information for pharma
companies as they develop new drugs.
ALONG COMES THE
The deals that telecoms (e.g.,
AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.) and consumer tech companies (e.g., Google, Apple, etc.) are
striking with automobile manufacturers to offer in-car connectivity and car designed
operating systems are creating yet to be realized opportunities for consumer service
providers and marketers.
But it gets more exciting than that. We already know that with car connectivity, cars can
download content and directions, stream music, make voice command phone calls, etc.
However, once your car can communicate with other cars, traffic infrastructure,
pedestrians, and the road itself, independently without specific instructions - that is the
real game changer. It signals the shift from driver to captain, where the driver now has
situational awareness of their car and other objects around it. Consider the following:
The car can detect upcoming mechanical points of failure, communicate it to the repair
shop, then compare your calendar with the repair shop’s calendar and provide
Traffic lights will be aware of your car before you get to them, look at traffic flow, and
decide to shorten a red light or change it to a blinking yellow light.
Embedded road sensors will communicate road conditions (e.g., black ice, pot holes)
to your car or device in real time.
The car will provide relevant details about traffic jams, before you are stuck in traffic,
with data taken from other cars closer to the cause of the traffic delay.
Beacons are a transformative and disruptive
technology poised to re-define digital
experiences and interactions for individuals and
brands based on location, proximity, activity,
and interest. It promises to radically shift how
people use their mobile devices in-store, at
entertainment venues, at work, or home.
Beacon technology is the idea of indoor microlocation services that can recognize a person
and their position in a physical space or within
proximity of objects with surprising accuracy typically within 1 to 150 feet. Relying on lowcost sensors/transmitters and mobile devices,
beacons, when activated, can automatically
transfer or receive signals, data and information
(e.g., content, alerts, directions, messages,
trigger events and actions, etc.), wirelessly to
smart devices within their range.
So many possibilities…
Once we make a physical environment
interactive and responsive to a person as they
enter or near a venue, room, or retail location the game changes. Consider the following:
Paying for a product or service without
having to pull out a credit card, cash, mobile
device or even provide a signature.
While in transit, receive airport, weather,
offers, or transit updates in real time
informing you of delays or changes in arrival
A doctor walking into a hospital room and
receiving the latest information on their
mobile device about a patient.
Customers receiving coupons, ads, or
discounts as part of a loyalty program,
dynamic pricing and in-store navigation
while in-store tailored to them based on
previous shopping behaviors.
Customers receiving curated video, audio, or
promotional content related to a nearby
product with the ability to buy it with a click
of a button or a scan of a tag.
The truth of the matter is that there are barriers
that need to be overcome before it reaches
widespread adoption. Individuals will have to
ensure Bluetooth and location services on the
relevant app are turned on, and then opt-in
(give permission) to receive notifications,
content or messages and tacitly share their data.
But with the right value and use cases
addressed, these “barriers” could be overcome
The outlook for beacon technology is great and
2014 will see many brands, companies, and
individuals experimenting with it. We will likely
witness the launch of a new class of utility and
location-aware apps and new industry and
business models fueled by the rise of beacons.
CONTENT and MEDIA
Complacency is the fatal flaw of many businesses…You want a restlessness, a feeling that someone
is always after you, but that you’re going to stay ahead of them… that tomorrow is more exciting
than today – you have to have it permeate the organization.
- Warren Buffet discussing Coca-Cola and why he would never sell a share of their stock
THE CONVERGENCE OF CONTENT,
MEDIA & TECHNOLOGY
In a recent talk to television executives about how to reach a new generation of viewers, actor
Kevin Spacey said, “give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a
reasonable price and they’ll more likely pay for it.”
His statement provided an insight into what the new engagement model between brands,
consumers, and audiences should look like:
The growth of media channels and platforms, the adoption and acceleration of technology and a
powerful consumer voice driven by social media will require brands and marketers to develop new
strategies to stay relevant in a Millennial-driven marketplace.
One path worth considering is for brands to behave like
technology enabled content creators and publishers.
Content, media and technology are ubiquitous, meaning to discuss one without the other is
pointless. Understanding how to combine mobile, data, and other emerging technologies to help
deliver a narrative is crucial to reaching a digital savvy on the go, anytime, anywhere audience.
Though simple to understand but possibly harder to execute, the idea needs to become - deliver
what people want. Create “brand love opportunities” and through this convergence - drive value,
engagement, and revenue.
The FLEXIBILITY of content
Recently, GQ Magazine teamed up with the Nets to open the first NBA
arena barbershop at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. What I thought
was brilliant about this move was that GQ captured the idea of the
barbershop being a man’s sanctuary, the place men go to discuss
politics, sports, current events, and anything else that suits their fancy
and places them smack dab in the middle of it all through a
contextually relevant experience.
Going beyond being a cool place for men to hang out, I anticipate GQ
magazine will leverage the barbershop engagement model at other
arenas to create branded content and promotional opportunities. I see
them learning about the needs of their current and future customers by
listening and gathering feedback on new product and services through
the barbershop, eventually creating more authentic and relevant
content for the magazine and extending and expanding the brand
relationships into other endeavors. Brilliant!
Coca-Cola, in an extremely smart way, figured out content
marketing and is at the forefront of this media landscape shift.
They developed a content 2020 plan, designed to create
content synergies between business objectives, brands, and
consumer interest. What impressed me the most is that
everything they do is influenced by their business strategy of
Because of this approach, each product, service, or innovation
has a dynamic story built into it that communicates an emotional
value and benefit to people’s lives. Coca-Cola then takes these
“brand stories” and spreads them throughout the media
landscape, and allows customers to help shape and share stories
in a participatory way through their own social networks or
through brand-owned platforms.
Coca-Cola is even rethinking each communication touch point
and challenging itself to design a way to transform corporate
stories (pr announcements) into emotionally driven content
pieces that people will want to share.
Content as a Lifestyle - Red Bull
The makers of Red Bull are literally re-writing the book on how to use
content as a lifestyle to promote a culture around extreme sports,
gaming and music to customers that creates value for the Red Bull
brand. Their approach is to market the brand as a cultural lifestyle
rather than a beverage to buy. This is a unique and effective approach
in building brand awareness and preference through lifestyle
association and not explicit product benefits.
Their content approach is supported through their Red Bull Media
House transforming them into publishers who just happen to sell a
beverage. The media house manages the production, distribution,
and social engagement strategy for all Red Bull entertainment content
across media and platforms. It works because they have figured out
how to tap into the emotions of their audience and give them content
that is not only exciting, but what they want, need, and love. This
content is brought to life through sponsored athletes, branded global
events, and a multitude of integrated web, mobile, TV, articles, radio,
and social media content bites that are entertaining, interesting, and
Because their content is so compelling and reaches an audience that
most brands are also trying to reach, it not only appears on their
ecosystem of owned channels, but is also shared on other publishers’
sites and platforms through digitally syndicated stories.
THE NEW FACE
Complexities arise as brands look to navigate the
new face of media fueled by mobile adoption,
emerging technologies, brands acting as publishers,
consumer user-generated content, and a new wave
of startups intent on taking advantage of the
changing face of media. It has forced brands to
rethink media strategies, the type of content they
create and share, the diverse media platforms and
more importantly understand consumers’ behaviors
in how they consume and interact with content.
As these media channels continue to grow, brands
have to develop a strong grasp of the storytelling
experience expected from each medium and create
messaging that doesn’t “interrupt” the platform
experience but “becomes” the platform experience,
meaning the experience should be “native” i.e., feel
appropriate for the medium and worthwhile for the
audience. Got it?
Instagram is about promoting and sharing a social
lifestyle through photos or videos. In comes Mr.
Porter, an online men’s fashion e-commerce site.
Through each posting, they communicate the
lifestyle and activities of men’s fashion through
imagery, videos, and memorable commentary that
are authentic to the spirit of the platform. They
don’t use Instagram to pitch a product or sell a
service; instead, they give followers the expected
emotional experience. They embraced the medium
appropriately and were creative in what they posted
and as a by-product created shareable content and
a stronger authentic brand association with a
lifestyle that can eventually pivot into revenue
opportunities on their other channels.
There are many more opportunities for brands to
media. Something obvious but interesting once
you add an innovation lens is leveraging and
connecting multiple formats simultaneously or
sequentially to create a cohesive symphony of
dialogue across media to maximize reach and
Ironically, this thinking is met by some with
excitement as they embrace the opportunity to
experiment and play, while for others, trepidation as
they struggle to prioritize investment, placements,
development, and creative resources across media.
This is completely understandable when you take a
look at the paid, owned, and earned media
landscape available for consideration:
Traditional - TV, Radio, Print & Digital OOH,
- Smart Phones, SMS, Wearable
Technology, Tablets, Desktop/Online, Microsites/
Blogs, Podcasts, Apps, Email, Webcasts, Native
- Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV,
Xbox, PS4, Cable TV (On-demand and
Subscription services) etc
- Facebook, Instagram, Vine,
Google+, SnapChat, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn
- Special Events, Conferences,
Workshops, Pop-up Stores, Retail/ Brick and
The Bottom Line
Through research and data analytics, a brand can
figure out who they are talking to, where audiences
are engaging with the content and the best channel
for delivery. In addition, understanding what to say,
what not to say, and when to say it as a brand is
equally important. New partnerships and
collaborations will become valuable as brands look
to create platform confidence and credibility.
THE RISE OF THE BRAND NEWS DESK
I am a huge fan of the brand news desk and newsrooms to push a better understanding of how to
interact with media. Typically these are set up to listen to audience chatter, brand mentions,
monitor performance, validate what messages resonate and determine where to insert the brand
voice into conversations and platforms. But I also see a more deeper application.
I see them providing a fertile environment for brands, stakeholders, media and social teams to
practice and learn the thinking and tools necessary to be nimble and agile and respond to events
and culture moments with relevant and authentic content, whether planned or unplanned in the
right way, at the right time - or not at all.
I think it is important to use these newsrooms as
a training ground to build digital and social
media muscle memory
We’ve witnessed brands that have done it right. Take Oreo and the Superbowl lights out moment
and their clever response that had the media world abuzz. On the other hand, we’ve witnessed
some brands get it completely wrong and use global and national tragedies to insert their product
into a conversation in tasteless and crude ways - experiencing a social media fail.
Ultimately, I envision brand newsrooms containing an ecosystem of technologists, strategists,
designers, and writers who will support content development and audience engagement at a much
deeper and richer level. Testing and validating various messaging and making the distinction
between what content brands think is valuable and important versus what audiences and fans think
Imari currently consults on innovation strategy and experience production. In that role he
works directly with brands, individuals and organizations to:
Identify new market and revenue opportunities
Assess emerging technologies and their business relevance to new products or services
Develop and grow an innovation portfolio by translating market trends, research and
Manage and lead the concept, prototype, and pilot stages for new product or services
If you would like to talk, collaborate or
His background as an Innovation Strategist, Executive Producer and Project Director with
over 15 years of experience in the marketing and advertising industry has allowed him to
achieve a level of expertise in delivering products and platforms that shift how brands
connect and interact with people and communities.
He has held leadership roles at agencies focusing on digital engagement including G2
Worldwide, AKQA, Atmosphere Proximity and mcgarrybowen. He has managed teams
responsible for project and product delivery and led innovation planning efforts for leading
brands in consumer packaged goods, technology, sports and entertainment.
Imari presents at conferences and events on topics that explore innovation, how to think
about what's next and new, how to create and test business models and the best way to
introduce and integrate innovation into a client's business.
A fervent proponent of ideas and storytelling, Imari produced the first TEDxHarlem
conference, attended film school and wrote and directed a science fiction short film.
He believes that innovation is derived from having a natural curiosity of the world. It means
talking to different people, creative play and exploration. Problems aren't solved and
opportunities aren't discovered by sitting at a desk.
ABOUT Barnaby Station
Barnaby Station is a quarterly briefing that I decided to publish to begin discussing
innovation from a very distinct point of view. I’m extremely excited and passionate about the
time we are living in and I find myself continually surrounded by amazing technology,
people, start-ups, brands and institutions that are changing the world in different ways.
"There's a way to do it better
a comment on the innovators mindset
I decided to play on the train metaphor and create a “station stop” to share and highlight
these stories. Hence Barnaby Station. It is a stop on the innovation train for readers to take
a moment to look around, explore and see what is going on. Be inspired, then get back on
the train and get busy!
I have big plans for Barnaby Station going forward and I welcome your input and thoughts
to ensure that this briefing meets the evolving needs of you - the reader. Please feel free to
reach out, ask questions or provide suggestions for future features, people or things you
would like to hear more about or from.
Your comments are appreciated and welcomed.