(Timelapsed view of Hamburg)The world is changing faster than ever. Indeed the pace of change is increasing more rapidly than at any time in history. No sooner have you planned, designed and launched a campaign than society has moved on. How many of you have had the experience of developing work only to discover that a competitor has been doing the same thing and has launched something very similar just ahead of you?
(Dinosaurs walking)Are brands and agencies actually able to keep-up with the speed at which the consumer is sharing, remixing and creating their own viral content? Are we actually able to keep pace with consumers?Do the processes and approaches to production allow us to move at the speed of culture or not?Today we’re going to talk about how brands and their agencies are faced with a challenge of matching an ever-accelerating consumer landscape, with new channels, technologies, new crazes and new themes emerging on a daily basis. We think this is changing the very nature of what we mean by ‘Creative Work’ and that to be successful we need to change both the companies and the business models that have been designed over the last 50 years to create what we have known until now as marketing communications. At the heart of our talk is the idea of Social Creativity – and we’ll be showing how some DDB clients, most notably Volkswagen, are using social technologies and participation strategies to keep the creative work fresh, lively and fast moving.
4. Of course great advertisers have always sought to keep up to speed with culture, to reflect what people are saying to enter into a kind of dialogue between the brand and the culture it is operating within, some brands have even tried to shape the culture they live in: Show DDB Volkwsagen ad “Think Small”. Think Small was born out of the consumerist culture emerging in America after the war
(show picture of big American 1950s car), particularly in the car industry but also an exhortation to the wider public to stop and think about the bigger, better, brighter claims of brands and to ask what really mattered.
5. Today we also try to reflect the culture we live in. Show ‘Passat Positive Thinking’ 2009. This commercial was developed partly in response to the wider cultural trend of Recession. It is not a commercial that would have been developed in the boom years before the financial crisis. The strategy was to show that the Volkswagen Passat is something you can rely on even in turbulent times.
6. Of course you could argue that culture moves quite slowly, after all we have been suffering from the downturn for several years and so we were also able to play off slow-moving cultural themes with this commercial designed to improve Value perceptions for Volkswagen (Show Unbelievable Value Driving Test).
7. So we admit that some cultural trends can move pretty slowly, but at the same time the pace of news, the desire to be seen to be the first to share something new and original and the power of digital and social media means that we’re seeing a speeding up in the news cycle, in the time taken to produce film sequels, in the globalisation of ideas and content (Need to find and insert some kind of illustrative proof here).
8. So if we’re going to continue to reflect and hopefully shape culture, it stands to reason that we’re going to need to speed-up our ways of working. Our processes need to move at the speed of culture. Michael Stillwell A Farewell to Alms.
2. Change is changing faster.
9. Show Old Spice campaign still image. That’s what we think is clever about the Old Spice campaign, sure it was a funny commercial but the clever thing was W+K’s ability to respond quickly using social technology. And I’m sure everyone at this conference has got this campaign somewhere on their laptop.
Perhaps we should really be talking about Dove (Show Dove Old Spice send-up still image) who managed to get a reactive campaign out on Youtube in a matter of days (it wasn’t such a good commercial but we should be applauding their speed). How many of you can honestly say that if you got a live brief this afternoon, you could be out on YouTube or even better in broadcast media, with some decent creative in less than 48 hours?
9. But today many clients and agencies move at the speed of production at best and at the speed of the product lifecycle at worst. (Insert picture of Road sign saying SLOW) We heard a story just last week of a famous FMCG brand who’s innovation team are delivering hundreds of new products every year but their marketing departments and agencies can’t move fast enough to get them into the market. Something has to change.
10. At DDB and Volkswagen we know we need to change and we’re making small steps to work out how we can best do this. We’re creating little experiments, making small changes internally and externally to help us get faster and more social. First of all we’ve got a name for our response to these circumstances, we call it Social Creativity.
Volkswagen has a huge amount of heritage, and essentially we are a very traditional company, change is a cultural challenge for us. Plus we’ve got a strong creative heritage so there are lots of good reasons not to change too much too fast. Whatever we do, we need to make sure we maintain our brand tone of voice and the consistent quality of our creative work.Germanic, thought-through brand, need to plan/test/learn, progress at a steady considered pace. We can do it, and do do it – particularly in our products; for example the BlueMotion engines, the new Beetle launching in 2011 and the new Up! city car show how fast we can be. But Volkswagen like many others are nervous about messing up, and we all have examples of those who have made mistakes e.g. Toyota’s brake failure crisis, Gap’s logo debacle,Nestle’sfacebook hijack by Greenpeace. So we want to learn from their mistakes.But we do want to move at the speed of culture and so we have been experimenting to learn and develop our thinking
12. We’ve been experimenting for a while with social media, trying hard to learn and to work out how to keep pace with the consumer. We stated in 2009 with a simple competition, the search for the People’s Car Reviewer. Now the point is that this campaign wasn’t like other campaigns we’d made before – we had no idea of the kind of quality of contestant or films we’d get out of the process, so we had to think on our feet and prepare to respond to whatever circumstances arose. We had to deal with a lot more complexity than we were used to, for example managing contestants who were sore losers and were complaining about it on facebook.We also had to recognise that this kind of work can give us incredibly deep engagement but not necessarily a huge audience. So we were more clear afterwards about work which was aimed at a segment and work that was aimed at a mass-market. For now, we’re looking to do quick stuff that also has SCALE.
13. To create long-running campaigns like this and to respond quickly you can’t operate according to the old Launch and Leave mentality. Show image of rocket launchers? You need to create your campaign idea, give it some initial impetus and then nurture it and let it grow slowly.
A more recent example isour Polo campaign, which we shot with Jonathan Glazer and which broke in the UK in November. Show Last Tango in Compton ad. So we knew we had an amazing and breathtaking commercial on our hands but we also wanted to be ready to react to any interest that it managed to create online. We had to take a “leap of faith” and put some money into the creation of other assets to support the campaign if it did truly “go social”. Its incumbent on agencies to provide us with a clear framework for how the development of additional content for social media will deliver a business return.
- Listened – themes/good/badTo move at the speed of culture of course, you have to listen to the social conversation (Polo Twitter feed mentions).
- Created social components of campaign – facebook tab and content15. And second creat social components for our campaign so that it could be easily transferred into popular culture but would help keep the creative idea fresh (Show Facebook Polo tab).
- Interest in music – link to find trackWe also saw that people were interested in the music so we asked the record label to make the track easy to find on itunes.
- Created more content in response to demand15. We created additional content in response to popular demand (Photos)
- Now we’re considering making some limited edition posters.
15. We also created additional content in response to popular demand (film)But the point is that from a client perspective we have to weigh-up whether this is a sensible investment – will the content we develop achieve anything, will anyone share it, will it be well-received? Its somewhat unknown for us, but its also very valuable for us as a way of learning for the future.
Risk worth taking!Paid off
(operating at speed of culture) Huge learning curve – changed process and structures. hard enough to respond and react to calls/letters in a week let alone publically digitally within 24hrs. to help speed of response – cross functionalteam, rep from every department, but small so agile, view from all angles, quickly, and react as one.Managing at the speed of culture is of course a real challenge for client organisations. For a start many companies find it hard enough to respond to all the calls, letters and emails they get and we’re no exception. So we had to put a lot of effort into getting fast enough to respond to comments and questions in the social media. We also needed the wider business to get involved so that they could feed interesting and exclusive content back up to us. Partly we did this by creating a cross-functional team with a representative from every department in the company. It means we can react as one if a particular issue comes up by having an instant meeting that we called a ‘Pow Wow’. The challenge has also been to keep each of those departments engaged with the possibilities of what moving at the speed of culture means.
- training – understand what trying to achieve and value, customer hub (customer convorealtime)nuture confidence, generate a more open and honest organisation seek input – internal competitions - fresh relevant content key, requires help across the businessWe also have had to invest a lot of time in getting our people trained-up to thinking about what operating at the speed of culture could mean for them. We have to run drop-in sessions, we have created a customer hub where we can watch social conversation in realtime, we’ve run competitions internally to engage employees, we had to issues social media participations policies and ‘do’s and don’ts guides’. Generally we’ve been working to help nurture a sense of confidence about what it means to be an open and honest enterprise.
(key for success) Close and trusting client : agency relationship key VW small team, easier as already rely a lot on DDB how measure the performance of work as a team – still working on this, and whether moving at the speed on culture really does deliver business benefit.We are a small team at Volkswagen so we have always relied heavily on our agency partners. But we’ve had to work with our agencies, particularly DDB, to make sure we have a sufficiently flexible and trusting relationship to allow us to respond quickly. And to the get the balance between proactive and reactive communication right . We were particularly concerned to ‘find our (social) voice’ and to do this right we wanted to use a partner who really knew both what Volkswagen’s Tone of Voice is but also how it has to change for social media.[We could talk about measurement but I wonder if this is going on a bit long now? If not, we’d talk about short-term measures of success, Youtube views, facebook likes and so on, and longer-term measures of departmental interaction with the social channels but also wider business effect, which we are still working on.]
17. At DDB we have also been working on making the necessary changes in order to move at the speed of culture and deliver the social creativity vision. (Insert DDB logo?) We have hired new kinds of talent, particularly from the PR industry because PR people are really good at reacting fast to events and exploiting the news agenda, We are changing the briefing process, we are asking for work that is more like bite-sized chunks of content than simply big commercials and we are changing Account Handling and Planning job responsibilities to extend their remit beyond launch and leave and into longer-run socialised marketing programmes.
19. Before we finish we’d like to share a DDB campaign from another client, Unilever’s Knorr brand in Canada. Along with the London office we’re seeing great strides being made in Vancouver and we believe it is because the DDB agency there is tightly integrated with both the digital arm Tribal DDB and the social media arm Radar DDB. KnorrSalty case study film.
Sketch-out the shape of the client and agency of the future viz talking about crowdsourcing
We are doing this not least because we know it has an impact on our future earnings and creative agencies would like to take money away from the media spend of course.But its also about knowing what is right when, e.g. balance between large reach versus deep but niche engagement. Ideally of course, we’d like to achieve both!
20. So in conclusion, we’ve shown you that whilst there are some things that take a long time to change, overall, our culture is speeding-up and we need to speed-up with it or we’ll be caught-out. This means we need to change our outlook, our client agency relationships, our work and our processes. It is nothing short of a deep culture change for marketing as it is today.
18. We’ve got a great film that really sums this thinking up.
“The life expectancy of exclusive information can now be measured in minutes, if not in seconds.”<br />Alan Rusbridger<br />
1 minute<br />2008 Sichuan earthquake<br />1891 Nobi earthquake<br />1805 Battle of Trafalgar<br />Time taken to reach London<br />17 days<br />1 day<br />2.7 mph<br />246 mph<br />204,000 mph<br />
2000s<br />1969<br />1909<br />1825<br />1785<br />6000 BC<br />8 mph<br />10 mph<br />13 mph<br />45 mph<br />1330 mph<br />2300 mph<br />In less than 50 years, speed has increased more than in the entire previous 8000<br />