Change - A World In Flux


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Change. It's the one condition we all have to get used to, change itself.
In an online world of inter-connected devices which increasingly publish on our behalf the line between online and offline is blurring, where will this go, and how can we make the most of the endless advertising opportunities that this incessant change provides?

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Change - A World In Flux

  1. 1. WELCOME #CogsTalksHi everyone, thanks for coming. It’s great to see you all here and I hope that the next 20 minutes will give you lots to think about and fuelwhat should be an interesting Q&A afterwards.
  2. 2. WILL FRANCIS @WILLFRANCIS Co-Founder of Harkable Consultant for DDB #CogsTalksI’m Will Francis, co-founder of Harkable, which is a platform that allows brands to reach influencers in a more meaningful way and with amore transparent ROI than ever before. It’s currently in private beta and we’re excited about a full launch this summer. I also consult forbrands and agencies, at the moment predominantly with DDB in London working with their key clients to articulate their campaigns in thedigital and especially social space.
  3. 3. MYSPACE UK Music, Film, TV, Culture #CogsTalksUntil last summer I was the Editor of MySpace in the UK where I worked for several years with everyone from Justin Bieber to t-shirt designersmaking a name for themselves to bring our users close to the people they loved and didn’t yet know they loved.It was during this time that I went from being someone who worked in digital media to someone who worked in social media and that timecoincided with social media going from a relatively unknown thing to part of almost everyone in the developed world’s lives.
  4. 4. CHANGE A World In Flux #CogsTalksSo that’s why I really wanted to come here tonight and show you my take on this world in constant flux and why it is full of opportunity for usin the advertising industry.
  5. 5. THE INTERNET IS CHANGING #CogsTalksSo, we know the internet is changing every millisecond. Since you and I last logged on it is different, whether that was an hour ago or lastmonth.In fact, a lot of us havent even logged off, and are changing the Internet right now, with one of these [smartphone]. This device is accessingthe web on my behalf much of the time that I am overground and awake, communicating with servers in California, Germany, London.Managing everything from email and social networks, to software updates and weather reports.
  6. 6. INTERNET = ONE MACHINE • Over 4 billion IP addresses globally, and they’re nearly exhausted. • Everyone is inextricably inter- connected. #CogsTalks Sources: Indiana University and that’s the interesting thing about the internet as a medium. You can’t switch the internet off or take it down is because it is us - a 4-billion strong global network of connected devices. I have an IP address just as Google or some kid on a laptop in China does. We’re all onebig cloud computer that is growing more knowledgable and intelligent by the second.In fact it is predicted that 2040, this planetary multi-node computer will attain as much processing power as all 7 billion human brains onEarth.
  7. 7. BAKHTIN’S DIALOGIC CONTINUUM • Every word ever written, spoken or thought is part of a continuum of constant evolution • Every utterance is a response to that which has been said before • We never speak in a vacuum #CogsTalks Source:’s always fun to look back at great thinkers from the pre-internet eras.Mikhail Bakhtin, a linguist and philosopher from early 20th century Russia said that every word we utter or write, even think, is an inseparablepart of the evolution of language. Every word we produce is in response to all language which came before us and is in anticipation of futureresponses. It is impossible to separate ourselves from that.That’s a bit like the internet. By using it we are inextricably part of it, and so every time we touch it, we change it.
  8. 8. HEISENBERG’S UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE • “By observing subatomic particles we change them” #CogsTalks Source: way to look at it is in reference to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Passive viewing is completely impossible. Is there any suchthing as ‘lean back’ on the web?
  9. 9. WE CHANGE THE INTERNET • Our choices, our intent shape the internet. • Every Google search and every Facebook ‘like’ informs the internet and changes what it serves to us and others. #CogsTalksBecause every Google search we make changes what someone on the other side of the world sees when they search.Every ‘Like’ on (or off) Facebook informs what friends and the wider web see.
  10. 10. GETTING TO KNOW US • Currently taste profiling is based mainly around products, and also content. • The future is in social and persuasion profiling #CogsTalks Source: this is why we’re at an interesting time in internet history. We have those two titans - Facebook and Google - who have dominated thetwo big spaces, social and search, and their power is in their data. If that were somehow combined they would provide unprecedentedly richinformation about us, so it is almost a certainty that Facebook will go into search and Google will fully go into social.But taste profiling around products and content is just the beginning. There are other profiling methods in the pipeline. For instance,‘persuasion profiling’ which will look at how people respond to different types of message i.e. good reviews, price benefits, strong brand etcand shape their future ads accordingly.As the next few years roll by we will see the web increasingly shaped by the subtleties of our intentions so that the web can more accuratelymirror us.
  11. 11. US + THE INTERNET #CogsTalks Source: Tron (1982) 20th Anniversary DVD - it seems like we’re merging with this global cloud computer, the internet has gone from being a desk full off hardware in the library thatyou can book half an hour on to sitting in our pockets and going everywhere with us. Perhaps Tron isn’t so far-fetched after all!
  12. 12. WEB 3.0 • This 3rd phase of the web is bringing the seamless integration of publishing into our daily lives. • We are beginning to leave a ‘digital shadow’ wherever we go. #CogsTalksAnd this is where I see ‘web 3.0’ emerging. In these devices that are publishing on our behalf.Where the second phase of this digital revolution was the audience becoming the broadcaster, the third phase is the seamless integration ofbroadcasting and publishing into our lives, to the point where we are leaving a digital footprint wherever we go and any content we createwith cameras, computers and phones is increasingly published online before we know it.A good consumer-level indicator of where we’re headed is Instagram...
  13. 13. INSTAGRAM #CogsTalks Source:, which many of you may have used on your iPhone is essentially a camera app which allows you to take photos and then applyfilters to make the photos look vintage.What many first-time users didn’t realise was that once complete, the app shares your photos into this photo-based social network whereother people can see, rate and comment on your photos. The button at the end of the process reads ‘Finish’, not ‘Publish’ or ‘Share’. It’s as ifit takes for granted the completely inseparable online functionality.Are we approaching a time when every photo we take, everywhere we go and everything we do is published instantly online? How far can thisgo? What could web 4.0 look like?
  14. 14. APPLE IPHONE TRACKING • Recently we learnt our iPhones were tracking our every move and we couldn’t stop them. We could however map the data to time and place. #CogsTalks Source: of course this seamlessness is unwanted. We recently learned our iPhones were tracking our every move. Here’s where I’ve been inEngland over the last year.It’s funny how we used to know what technology was doing. We switched it on, played a record, understood how that happened and switchedit off again. Digital technology, particularly phones and tablets are as much a part of us as they are a part of the world wide web, and so theline is being blurred.
  15. 15. BERNBACH SAID... • "Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula" • He said that before the internet could even be imagined. #CogsTalks Source: let’s get back to advertising.Bill Bernbach, whose agency I spend half my week working for, said "Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from aformula" and he said that before the Internet could even be imagined and they only had TV, radio, print and outdoor to play with. It must havebeen hard to break the rules.But now it’s all about changing the rules. And ruling this sea of change.
  16. 16. CHANGE IS GOOD • Change gives rise to unlimited opportunity. No-one is an expert. Every day you’re square with the competition again. • The one condition we need to get used to is change itself. #CogsTalksBecause change is good and it’s how we thrive in digital media.We need to stop trying to weather the changes. Instead of standing in the sea gasping as waves hit us in the face we need to climb up on thatsurfboard and ride the waves of change. The one condition we need to get used to is change itself.It might sound scary, but in fact this constant flux is of great comfort to me because every morning we wake up and the internet is new andwe’re back to being level with our competitors. They’re as new to it as we are.If you were a crap farmer in 15th century England you had to wait a long time for something else to come along that you were good at.Nowadays the opportunities are endless, we just have to be out there finding them, not searching for the next Meerkat...
  17. 17. THERE WON’T BE ANOTHER #CogsTalks...or Old Spice Guy. The most common brief in 2011 seems to be ‘we want another Old Spice Guy’.While there’s lots to be learnt from these successes, we need to be looking for future innovations, not past ones.
  18. 18. 5 QUESTIONS #CogsTalksSo here are five things I’d like us to think about and I’d be interested to know what you think in the Q&A.
  19. 19. 1. WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE? • You can’t create communities - only go to where they are. • It’s not about getting people talking about it, it’s going to where people are talking about it. #CogsTalksIt’s really important to know your audience, but I don’t need to tell you that because that’s been part of advertising for decades. It’s just thatwith social the way we understand and define audiences is changing. The old demographic metrics such as age and income are becoming lessrelevant, as people’s tastes become easier to identify, target and cater for. Online, people gather around passions.Something I find myself telling clients a lot is that you can’t create communities out of nothing. You have to identify existing conversationsand passions and provide a worthwhile, value-giving place for that conversation to take place, or go and add value where they already are.It’s quite counter-intuitive how it’s not always about getting people talking about something, it’s going to where people are talking about italready, and adding value.
  20. 20. VW: ‘SEE FILM DIFFERENTLY’ Ghostbusters When Harry Met Sally #CogsTalksAn example of this is when at DDB we created these two videos for Volkswagen’s ‘See Film Differently’ brand campaign around film. We wentto New York to shoot the everyday goings on at two iconic locations, the Ghostbusters fire station and the deli from When Harry Met Sally.Both videos were successful in their own way but whilst the WHMS video was the most funny, and controversial, the Ghostbusters videooutperformed it 9 to 1 with 100,000 views. This was due to the amount of existing conversation around Ghostbusters online. We werefeeding hungry mouths, not stuffing it in people’s faces.
  21. 21. EXAMPLE: CRAVENDALE CATS #CogsTalks Source: identified the love of cats online - nothing new - but they put a unique twist on it: cats with thumbs.
  22. 22. CREATING YOUR OWN RELEVANCY #CogsTalks Source: really clever part though was with the help of a bit of editorial media coverage, this video of a cat putting him thumb up went viral veryshortly before the campaign. I don’t know for sure if this was the agency’s doing but it seems too coincidental, and I think this was a strokeof genius. Creating a meme and then catering for it with your ad campaign.
  23. 23. 2. WHO ARE YOU? • Your tone in social media cannot be the same as your other advertising. Be honest and human. • Honesty in a crisis: Toyota, who created a place on Digg for all the Toyota-related stories to surface, unedited. They also held a live chat with consumers there. #CogsTalksSecondly, it’s very important to define your online personality and remember that social media is for people, so you need to act like a person.This can be hard to convince clients of sometimes, but they need to be shown how it has worked well for other brands and once you get theirtoe in the water there’s no going back.An important part of this is honesty, you have to appear open. I like what Toyota did around their massive recall. They bought a space onDigg to bring together an unedited feed of articles about the recall to inform people, and they held a live DiggDialogg on the site with thecompany’s president.
  24. 24. Source: is one of my favourite blogs that satirises advertising - Things Real People Don’t Say About Advertising. It’s funny but it is kind of true.Real people act very differently from how people in our industry think.
  25. 25. 3. HOW CAN WE BE RELEVANT? • We need to be relevant to our users lives. Useful or entertaining. • Ask yourself ‘Would I do this?’ • Plus: didagency cleverly create their own relevancy through a ‘viral’ video of a ‘thumbs-up’ cat seeded shortly before campaign with press coverage too? #CogsTalksSo how can we be truly relevant to our audience? We need to be useful or entertaining, and remember that people largely don’t care too muchabout our brand unless we offer them this.We need to remember that people on the internet are not a separate breed of people - a common misconception in media. We are them andthey are us. You may well be your best rule of thumb, if you can be honest with yourself. You have to ask ‘would I spend time doing this?’.
  26. 26. RELEVANCY IN CONTENT • T-Mobile Royal Wedding #CogsTalksAt MySpace we found there were many metrics that affected a piece of content’s chances of success. Cats and dogs, other animals if theywere a) babies or b) displaying human behaviour, explosions, people getting hurt etc. The most powerful one of all it seems was timeliness. Ifreasonably well executed, a piece of content has a high chance of success if it is timely, which this video spoof of the royal wedding showsbeautifully.
  27. 27. 4. DO WE KNOW THE TECHNOLOGY? • Technologists need to be involved from the beginning. Good campaigns are usually destroyed by fearful clients or creative ideas with no grounding in reality. • Innovation - jumping to the next curve - can be less risky than competing with everyone else on the current curve. • “Innovate or die”. #CogsTalksIn my experience, too many campaigns fail because of unrealistic initial ideas or fearful clients.I think the answer to both these problems is involving people who intimately understand the technology from the very first meeting. I alsothink in some ways innovation is much safer because you can get away with quicker, cheaper production in the absence of slick competitionor any accepted guidelines.
  28. 28. 5. DO YOU KNOW YOUR INFLUENCERS? • Find the lovers of what you do. • If you know your audience this should logically follow - find the most authoritative and passionate people within that audience. • Buildtrue advocacy. It’s highly likely you’ll need them again, and they’ll become more valuable over time. #CogsTalksLastly, do we know who the influential people in our sphere are? If we know our audience this should logically follow. But it’s important totake the time to open and maintain dialogues with them. They become more valuable over time as their good will and genuine advocacy foryour brand grows.
  29. 29. MARMARATI • We Are Social found the top 40 bloggers who love Marmite. • Created a unique tasting event for them. • By knowing how people expressed their love for Marmite online, the campaign could stay true to the brand. Source: #CogsTalksA nice example is We Are Social’s Marmarati campaign which found the 40 top bloggers who were expressing a love for Marmite, invited themto a top-secret tasting event, and asked them to become the advocates for new extra-strong Marmite. They took a lot of care to create a richstory around the brand and so retained credibility without it feeling too gimmicky or daft.Those brand advocates are now far more valuable to Marmite, providing much of the initial reach of the campaign, and they will no doubt beinvolved in future campaigns.
  30. 30. THANKS! TWITTER: @WILLFRANCIS EMAIL: WILL@HARKABLE.COM #CogsTalksWell, that’s it from me. Thanks very much for coming. Those are my details, feel free to tweet or email me anytime. I look forward to the Q&Ashortly and having a drink with you later.