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My contribution to the Agency Innovation Debate at Google Firestarters 8, includingsome notes and voiceover
mapping media innovationUnlike some of today’s speakers, I’m not responsible forchanging the agency model or process. I’m a planner, so Iwanted to think about how a planner’s role as the personresponsible for keeping abreast of culture, technology andchange can apply inspire practical innovation in what anagency makes. My job involves a lot of making media, and Iwondered how the process of making things overlaps with thechallenges we’ve heard about for innovation folk in agencies
hypothesisthe role of innovation inagencies is to keep up withresearch and technologygoing on outside themTranslating learning from outside our industry to make it useful inside.But not just useful, also to make it commercially valuable.This means two things: externally, it means pretending to be the smartestperson in the room so that clients pay for your time, and internally, it’s trying tobring people along with you so that your insight changes something
innovation in agenciesSo the role of innovation in agencies is contradictory. It means using lots ofconceptual thinking from other categories, and simplifying it so that it can beused by people who don’t have the time to read itThis is natural ground for media agencies, where innovation is powered bytech and media companies rather than by their own process
innovation in mediaFEW MANYMedia has changed a bit. You might ofnoticed……And rather than focusing on all the everincreasing pace of change, I wanted to think alittle bit about what the nature of media teachesus about navigating change, and how to bringpeople along on a journey
what are media?”Media: Oil on Canvas"The nature of media?Not the stuff we obsess over,but what does it mean tointermediate something?Look at the wall of an artgallery. There’s a little signtelling you that the mediaused are oil and canvas.And by looking at what is leftwhen you remove the oil andthe canvas, you can seewhat they wereintermediatingIn this case, nothing physicalThey are intermediating apersons view of the worldand place in a culture
but why stop there…….media: Faraday’s knowledge on metalSo how does this help us?Michael Faraday discovered linkbetween electricity andmagnetismHis discovery was of little practicaluse at the time, as it was just atheoryHe gave it practical application bybuilding the first electric motorHe intermediated his knowledgeThis gave people access to hiswork, without having tounderstand his theoryThe electric motor is a medium forhis knowledge
intermediating our knowledgenavigating through research andtechnology requires a mapSo as the people whose job it is to keep up with changing technologies and theories, howcan we do what Faraday did, and intermediate our knowledge, so that people can access itwhether or not they understand it? How can we navigate through cultural andtechnological change to bring clients solutions rather than theories?
I’ve been trying to intermediate the knowledge that I think best helps us set directionfor brandsWe’re in the business of changing behaviour. Too often, ‘innovation’ focuses on the‘opportunity’ side of the equation. Opportunity moves at the speed of technology.Human motivation is unchanged since evolutionary times. So intermediatingmotivational insight from other places will likely have more long term valuewe’re in the business of changing behaviourbehaviour =motivation x opportunityMoore’s LawDarwin’s Law
making a map to innovate bySo in this case, the knowledge we are intermediating is that of Mark Earls andDaniel Kahnemann, on human decision making. Some of the most insightfulstuff you’ll find on motivation, but also counter intuitive to many marketers, andto the way our industry works
media latitude & longitudeSystem 1(subconscious)System 2(conscious)Individual LearningSocialLearningSo first, we need to grossly over-simplify some serious researchAnd since those books are about copying and remixing, with apologies to Mark I’venot just socially learnt his quadrants but I’ve also remixed them
how networks of people make decisionsIs IsDoes DoesHuman(adult)BehaviouralEconomicsNeo-ClassicalEconomicsHuman(Infant)People I knowPeople like meIndividualchoicearchitectureAIDA MarketingPeople I wantto be likeSystem 1(subconscious)System 2(conscious)IndividualLearningSocialLearningWhich gives some simple guiding principles about how peoplemake decisions
Highly visible social cuesSo no need for rationalthoughtHighly visible social cuesSo no need for rationalthoughtCategory purchases definehow an individual portraysthemselves to the world –their personal brandCategory purchases definehow an individual portraysthemselves to the world –their personal brandNo social cuesBegrudging rationalthoughtNo social cuesBegrudging rationalthoughtFew social cues, soadvertising offers asubstitute for actualpopularityFew social cues, soadvertising offers asubstitute for actualpopularityhow people make category decisionsSystem 1 System 2Individual LearningSocialLearningAnd then we can start to build in the potential for commercialvalue, in thinking about the norms for brands within those sectors
CoffeeCoffeeNewspaperNewspaperMusicMusicFashionFashionShoesShoesCosmeticsCosmeticsFlightsFlightsHolidayHolidayMobileMobilePCPCJewelryJewelryCarCarHouseHouseInsuranceInsuranceMortgageMortgageBank AcctBank AcctSoftwareSoftwareDeodorantDeodorantMilkMilkCerealCerealDetergentDetergentSupermarketSupermarketBeerBeerWineWinemixed media: Kahnemann & Earls on data & agencyprocessSpiritsSpiritsCharitiesCharitiesAnd by intermediating some data too, we can map categories and brands ontothe grid.Which, going back to Faraday, is Mixed Media: Serious Research on categorydata and agency process
navigating by the map to make media for brandsMediaCreationMediaDistributionMediaOptimisationMediaPartnershipThe brand is a part of the culturalcategory it operates in, so productnews is inherently spreadable. Peersare the key source of inspirationHigh value purchases that define how auser portrays herself to the world. Mediadramatises the brand lifestyle, and productfans are a media channel.Low frequency purchase, but in market forshort time: hence begrudging rational thought.Low product differentiation. Experts are a keysource of influence, therefore are the mediathat should be optimised.High frequency, low value, habitualpurchases. Few category cues to copy, soadvertising is a proxy for actual popularity.Low product interest/high category interestmeans media should be made in partnershipwith the things people do care about.Which leaves some directions for brand behaviour – where you are, where you want toget to, who can help, and in this example, for when we want to use the media we havemade to help guide what media we should make for our clientsBut more importantly, which can be used by people whether or not they’ve read thebooks they are intermediating.