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Digital Transformation: Talk at Boulder Digital Works


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Thoughts on how we got where we are, current consumer trends, how we have to think when it comes to digital and social marketing, tactics and strategies for changing an organization or agency, and mistakes you should avoid.

Presentation to Boulder Digital Works Exec 36 Hour Session.

This presentation had five parts. It is also online as a video, though you have to get through some dead time at front at:

Part 1: A generation has to die
The basic ideas is that legacy systems -- manufacturer/consumer; broadcaster/viewer; publisher/reader; agency/audience -- still exists. But right side (viewer, reader, audience) has changed faster than left. Consumer is no longer passive. Instead she’s a creator, distribution channel, commenter, etc. Brands no longer need ad agencies. Kogi BBQ builds brand with Twitter. Cliff Freemen, agency for Pizza Hut and greatest TV agency of all time, goes out of business. Learn from what Google did right, the power of community, the limitations of legacy systems and power of free content. Read Auletta, Shirky, Lanier and Anderson.

Part 2: Digital is not about technology. It’s about people. Eight trends. I’ve talked about them often in my presentations. 1. The consumer wants to create. 2. We have complex relationships with media. 3. Community is our new source of content. 4. We want to do business with people or brands that act like them. 5. We have more power than ever before and we carry it with us. 6. There’s no such thing as perfect. It’s crazy to pursue a single insight and a one-message campaign. 7. We have a new definition of quality: fast, easy, portable, accessible 8. Attention is the new scarcity.

Part 3. If you can’t be a digital native, be a digital immigrant. 1. Conceive ideas that generate content. (True Blood, Go with the Grain, Art of the Trench) 2. Create experiences that earn attention by inviting participation. (National Grid/Floe, Nike Chalkbot, 3. Be media specific with your content. Don’t stick the same video all over the place. (Timberland’s Stay on Your Feet, for example) 4. Master conversation strategy. See my blog post on conversation strategy. This is an art and a science. 5. Embrace agility, constant presence,frequent experimentation (, AJ Bomber’s Swarm Badge; you can Google it)

Part 4. Expect some pain. Here’s what we’ve done:
1. New strategy based on how consumers interact with content, media, technology and community. Not about main communication point; about generating talk value. 2. Interdisciplinary vs multi-disciplinary. 3. Expand the team and learn to appreciate each other’s perspective 4. The "T" person who understands and can inspire all the many roles. 5. Make the process iterative; don’t start with TV, then web, then media, then PR. Turn it inside out. 6. Become a learning organization. Made by Many, a London company of 23 employees, send 18 of them to SxSWi. Learn to love to learn. Think in new terms: community (not audience), experience (not message), engage (vs target), interest plan (rather than media plan), collaboration (instead of penetration)

Part 5. Smart people can be really stupid. Here are some of the mistakes that my company, Mullen, made in how it sold, scoped, staffed, delivered and rewarded before we got digital right. Learn from them.

Published in: Business
  • Great insights into how the profound upheaval caused by socially connected digital natives has forever undone the concept of agencies as the sole creators content and ideas. It’s not a new idea that we are all contributors to and definers of a product’s brand story, but Edward Boches provides a range of useful examples for how to frame this shift and how to ethically exploit the opportunity.

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  • Great stuff. Thanks for sharing. Much value to be disseminated from this talk.

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Digital Transformation: Talk at Boulder Digital Works

  1. 1. A generation has to die Thursday, April 15, 2010 This presentation has five parts to it, all with the hope of sharing some lessons about how an agency can start to migrate from being traditional to digital. But it makes sense to start with why so many of us are where we are.
  2. 2. Thursday, April 15, 2010 For me it begins here. In the 60s, the golden age of television and media. Look what happened.
  3. 3. Thursday, April 15, 2010 The Ed Sullivan show brings the Beatles to america
  4. 4. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Life Magazine tells us about the civil rights movement
  5. 5. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Walter Cronkite brings the VN war into our living rooms every night of the week.
  6. 6. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Nasa takes pix of the first man on the moon.
  7. 7. Thursday, April 15, 2010 And Madison Avenue gets us to pay attention to its ads.
  8. 8. Manufacturer Consumer Publisher Reader Broadcaster Viewer Advertiser Audience Programmer User Thursday, April 15, 2010 It was the decade that gave us two classes. Those who created the content and messages and those who received it. What’s happened in recent years is that social media and digital technology have changed the right hand side of this equation far more rapidly than the left hand side has gone along. That in a nutshell is what we are all struggling with, what we have inherited. Unless you are starting from scratch. Youtube. A digital agency. A new social platform. You are stuck with the legacy systems, to some degree, of what’s on the left. It’s a mindset, embedded deep in your muscle memory. I don’t care if you are an agency, a client, even an educational institution, this is how many still think. As if there are two classes. This is Rupert Murdoch believing people will still pay for newspaper content. Ad agencies thinking you can still market with interruptive messages.
  9. 9. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Many media companies still operate as if this is the way things work. I remember this. I used to listen to albums in the order the artist intended. Who was I to change that order. I was a listener. The band were the creators.
  10. 10. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Not anymore. Now I, we, they create, thanks to all things digital. Open source, APIs, miniaturization, whatever.
  11. 11. Thursday, April 15, 2010 And it’s everywhere, perhaps mostly with the digital natives, but also with the digital immigrants.
  12. 12. Thursday, April 15, 2010 And it’s everywhere, perhaps mostly with the digital natives, but also with the digital immigrants.
  13. 13. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Know one sits back anymore and receives. Not only that, the tools of the marketer and creator are available to anyone.
  14. 14. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Like Kogi BBQ, which launched a brand with a Twitter handle
  15. 15. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Or consider Gary Vaynerchuk. A folding table, a video camera and a belief in the democratization of wine. He builds his own audience on YouTube and along with it an $80 million dollar business.
  16. 16. Thursday, April 15, 2010 So, no arguments that the right side of the equation has changed. But here’s some evidence that the left side had better. You know much of this, but it’s worth dramatizing.
  17. 17. Thursday, April 15, 2010 The ad agency that used to be known for fast food marketing went out of business.
  18. 18. Thursday, April 15, 2010 As did this great magazine
  19. 19. Thursday, April 15, 2010 As did 105 city newspapers in 2009.
  20. 20. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Ken Auletta, Clay Shirky, Jaron Lanier, Chris Anderson. Learn from their messages.
  21. 21. Digital isn’t about technology Thursday, April 15, 2010 Part 2. It’s all about digital, but it’s not about technology.
  22. 22. Thursday, April 15, 2010 It’s about the people who use it. I’ve noticed eight key trends.
  23. 23. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Consumers want to create and with the platforms and tools, they can
  24. 24. Thursday, April 15, 2010
  25. 25. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Our relationships with media are complex. Even if we’re watching we’re not really watching.
  26. 26. Thursday, April 15, 2010 We have new sources of content. Most brands haven’t even caught on.
  27. 27. Thursday, April 15, 2010 We want to do business with people not companies and we expect new kinds of connections as a results
  28. 28. Thursday, April 15, 2010 We have more control than ever and we’re not afraid to use it
  29. 29. Thursday, April 15, 2010 More importantly you have less of it.
  30. 30. Thursday, April 15, 2010 There is no such thing as perfect. We are all individuals.
  31. 31. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Fast, portable, accessible. That’s the new definition of quality.
  32. 32. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Attention is the new scarcity
  33. 33. If you canʼt be a digital native, be a digital immigrant Thursday, April 15, 2010
  34. 34. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Everyone has to evolve. It’s about what comes next.
  35. 35. A generation Conceive ideas that generate content has to die Thursday, April 15, 2010 So, that paints a picture of what we’re dealing with. So what does it mean we have to do.
  36. 36. Thursday, April 15, 2010 get other people to tell stories for you
  37. 37. Thursday, April 15, 2010
  38. 38. Thursday, April 15, 2010
  39. 39. Thursday, April 15, 2010 invite them to co-create those stories with you
  40. 40. Thursday, April 15, 2010 allow them to actually become part of the story
  41. 41. Create experiences that earn attention by inviting participation Thursday, April 15, 2010 Invite participation
  42. 42. Thursday, April 15, 2010
  43. 43. Thursday, April 15, 2010
  44. 44. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Have an idea first, then advertise it.
  45. 45. Thursday, April 15, 2010
  46. 46. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Earn attention: create experiences that the user gets involved with, learning, exploring, feeling
  47. 47. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Earn attention: create experiences that the user gets involved with, learning, exploring, feeling
  48. 48. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Learn to crowdsource;
  49. 49. Be media specific with your content Thursday, April 15, 2010
  50. 50. Thursday, April 15, 2010 You don’t do the same thing on Facebook as you do in advertising
  51. 51. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Perfect example from Este Lauder: turn customer into a medium
  52. 52. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Stay on your feet: It’s an advertising idea
  53. 53. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Stay on your feet: It’s an advertising idea
  54. 54. Thursday, April 15, 2010 But also an app, utility and service to Timberland’s community
  55. 55. Thursday, April 15, 2010 With this job finding WAP
  56. 56. Thursday, April 15, 2010 ...a platform that helps workers find jobs.
  57. 57. Master conversation strategy Thursday, April 15, 2010
  58. 58. March 2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Thursday, April 15, 2010 I’ve written and spoken about this, but in social media, you can’t simply sell, you have to share, engage, create little gifts of content and then sell.
  59. 59. Thursday, April 15, 2010 try things, there is so much there to play with
  60. 60. Embrace agility, constant presence, frequent experimentation Thursday, April 15, 2010
  61. 61. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Build things, play with platforms, use the APIS
  62. 62. Thursday, April 15, 2010 Foursquare, Plancast, Sticky bits are all worth exploring and leveraging
  63. 63. Expect some pain Thursday, April 15, 2010
  64. 64. Thursday, April 15, 2010 re-think your strategy: about consumer relationship to content and media
  65. 65. Thursday, April 15, 2010 make your briefs active, not passive
  66. 66. Thursday, April 15, 2010 re-organize how you work
  67. 67. Thursday, April 15, 2010 move from multi disciplinary to interdisciplinary
  68. 68. Check list manifesto Thursday, April 15, 2010 Make sure everyone in the room knows each other. Avoid mistakes like this one.
  69. 69. copywriter art director web designer IA/UX programmer video producer content strategist connection planner PR/social media media analytics Thursday, April 15, 2010 Lots of disciplines
  70. 70. copywriter art director web designer IA/UX programmer video producer content strategist connection planner PR/social media media analytics Thursday, April 15, 2010 You need to be a T person
  71. 71. TV > WEB > MEDIA > PR Thursday, April 15, 2010 The old sequence. WTF?
  72. 72. PR > MEDIA > WEB > TV Thursday, April 15, 2010 Be more iterative
  73. 73. Thursday, April 15, 2010 become a learning organization
  74. 74. audience community message experience target engage media plan interest plan penetrate collaborate Thursday, April 15, 2010 Re-think how you think
  75. 75. Smart people can be really stupid Thursday, April 15, 2010
  76. 76. sell scope staff deliver reward Thursday, April 15, 2010 Sharing some mistakes
  77. 77. how we sold  encouraging offline ae’s to think and how we delivered  collapsed all project sell digital with no training or supervision  management into one group, allowing key online neglected to put digital-savvy person in new pm to leave  assumed a “brand” creative brief business role  arrogant enough to think we knew was enough despite lack of details to do effective what we were talking about digital work  allowed traditional creative teams to present ideas before including UX and technology how we scoped  refused to acknowledge true  failed to unite different groups physically  costs of digital  gave team leftover money delayed integrating digital media, creative, squeezed from offline budgets  failed to train Technical Support  neglected to invest in clients on actual value  brought message rather collaborative technology, depending too much on than experience mentality to the space  gave IT instead of developers digital work away to “get” the business  perpetuated the diminished worth of digital how we rewarded  assumed digital people would put learning on hold while they spent time cleaning how we staffed  continued to hire legacy talent  up after offline colleagues  under invested in focused on usage rather than future when training (formal and informal)  didn’t mandate downsizing  assumed traditional talent could digital skill expansion as part of performance lead digital efforts  believed project management evaluation for all could compensate for digitally naïve account people  defined integration as offline people could try digital (but not the other way around) Thursday, April 15, 2010
  78. 78. thank you Thursday, April 15, 2010