Martin Thomas, author of Crowd Surfing and Loose


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Martin Thomas, author of Crowd Surfing and one of the pioneers of integrated brand and communications planning as a specialist marketing discipline, has just published his latest book, “Loose”. We invited him to the office to share his words of wisdom - here's his presentation.

Published in: Business
  • I think it is the ONLY strategy. Loosen up the organisation and the social media will look after itself
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Martin Thomas, author of Crowd Surfing and Loose

  1. 1. Loose: The Future of Business is Letting Go Martin Thomas @crowdsurfing
  2. 2. What’s Wrong With These Pictures?
  3. 3. Loose Drivers <ul><li>Chaos, complexity & need for speed </li></ul><ul><li>Emergence of new, informal organisational models </li></ul><ul><li>New generations emerging at top and bottom of corporate hierarchy </li></ul><ul><li>New technology </li></ul><ul><li>Failure of tight </li></ul>
  4. 4. 1.Chaos, Complexity & Need for Speed <ul><li>Macro-economic meltdown </li></ul><ul><li>Socio political upheaval </li></ul><ul><li>New patterns of consumer behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>New expectations </li></ul><ul><li>New technology </li></ul><ul><li>Defies rational analysis & neat, simple solutions </li></ul>
  5. 5. 2. Emergence of new, informal organisational models <ul><li>Capable of delivering political, social or commercial change … without structure or formal leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Underlines deficiencies of tight, bureaucratic structures that have to deal with them </li></ul>* McKinsey 2010
  6. 6. 3. New Generations <ul><li>Emerging at top and bottom of corporate hierarchy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gen X in the Boardroom with a post-Boomer mindset </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gen Y entering the workplace with new expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Demanding new ways of working </li></ul>
  7. 7. 4. New Technology <ul><li>Social media driving new behaviours & expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Dramatizing institutions’ structural, operational & cultural weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>The Connected Consumer meets the Disconnected Corporation </li></ul>
  8. 8. 5. Failure of Tight <ul><li>Illusion of control </li></ul><ul><li>Growth of auditing, risk assessment, compliance, consulting, reporting, planning & forecasting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Delusion of control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distortion of priorities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Huge bureaucratic & cost burden </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inability to respond to real world </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Emergence of Looser Ways of Thinking <ul><li>Economists discover Behavioural Economics </li></ul><ul><li>Business Schools embrace critical & creative thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Politicians talk of “a post bureaucratic age” & introduce Big Society </li></ul><ul><li>Conventional political parties challenged by informal movements e.g. The Tea Party </li></ul>
  10. 10. Thriving by Loosening Up <ul><li>Five simple operational & cultural traits of successful organisations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trusting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborative </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Tight Thinkers Need Not Apply <ul><li>Organisations & people that struggle with this new world </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hierarchical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bureaucratic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Process oriented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distrustful </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Trusting <ul><li>Bedrock of strong internal culture </li></ul><ul><li>Allows shared responsibility & real time decision making </li></ul><ul><li>The best company rulebook ever written? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Trusting <ul><li>No scripts </li></ul><ul><li>No time limits </li></ul><ul><li>Devolved decision-making </li></ul>
  14. 14. Open <ul><li>Transparency & honesty non negotiable </li></ul><ul><li>Capable of transforming reputations </li></ul>
  15. 15. Openness for Commercial Advantage “ Empower consumers” “ Open culture” “ Creative collaboration”
  16. 16. Agile <ul><li>Ability to improvise & operate in close to real time </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations of excessive faith in longer-term planning </li></ul><ul><li>Speed more important than absolute accuracy </li></ul>
  17. 17. Why most institutions struggle <ul><li>Not configured to work in real time, in terms of resources, structure or culture </li></ul>One hour Ten Minutes * Critical response time for responding to negative comments
  18. 18. Informal <ul><li>NPD: Living life in Beta </li></ul><ul><li>Design: Messy vitality </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity: Authenticity more important than production values </li></ul>
  19. 19. Informal Creativity
  20. 20. Informality in the Workplace <ul><li>Emphasis on freedom & trust </li></ul><ul><li>Encouragement of creativity & individual responsibility </li></ul>“ We’re giving people the latitude to go off & do their own thing. We trust them to do their regular jobs & to experiment, innovate & have fun” Microsoft Snr Mgr, quoted in Business Strategy Review
  21. 21. Collaborative <ul><li>Tapping into spirit of collective self expression </li></ul><ul><li>Opening up new business models </li></ul>
  22. 22. Community Commerce <ul><li>Self-sustaining creative community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Members submit designs => 80,000+ submissions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunity to pre test beta versions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community votes => 800+ designs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Designers receive $2,500 + marketing advice + retain IP </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No professional designers, no salesforce, no distribution, no market research, no advertising => $30m revenues … high margins </li></ul>
  23. 23. Community Commerce <ul><li>People-powered mobile network (from O2) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Members receive points for recruiting new people, making suggestions & solving problems => converted into cash </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>20% actively involved </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Aim that 25% of members will get half of cost of calls returned to them for contribution to community </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plans to involve community in pricing & marketing decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not reliant on call centres, expensive marketing & product support </li></ul>
  24. 24. Formula for Collaborative Success <ul><li>Ensuring strategic focus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Publicity as bi-product not sole objective </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Planning – who, what & how? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obama’s 100 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Devolving control to community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Continuous feedback loops </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Anticipating subversion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bieber in North Korea </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Managing IP rights </li></ul>
  25. 25. Why PR People Should Thrive in This New World <ul><li>Used to operating in close to real time </li></ul><ul><li>Strategically & creatively flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Comfortable exercising judgement </li></ul><ul><li>Benefit from removal of financial barriers to entry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative production </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Technology based) planning & evaluation </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. @crowdsurfing