What makes an idea stick?


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Mavis Huntley, Director Digital Innovation shares the following at NXNEI 2012.

Do you ever wonder why certain campaigns take off and others die a slow death? There is a lot more behind the latest viral campaign then meets the eye. This presentation will take a look into the steps that are taken to, dare I say, guarantee success (at least in the client's eye) in a day and age where trying to get someone's attention seems impossible.

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  • Hi, I’m Mavis Huntley and I’m the Director of Digital Innovation over at john st. You may be wondering what exactly does that mean, but essentially I oversee any digital output from the agency and encourage trying new things by educating internally, our clients and part of my mandate is a continuous cycle of meeting production partners to see what’s happening in the industry. \n\njohn st. is a boutique agency in Toronto with appx 100 people working there. Some of our recent “sticky work” has been for WWF...\n
  • Their Earth Hour program and their National Sweater Day program where we had real Grannies call and remind you to turn down the heat.\n
  • Rethink Breast Cancer, Your Man Reminder. We’ve had a few million fews and thousands of downloads of that app. As you can see why\n
  • And finally a site for Mitsubshi’s electric car the iMiev\n\nSo over the next 45 or so I’ll take you through what we consider the 8 crucial steps for getting your idea to stick.\n
  • This is not my book, but as I was doing some research to back up my reasoning I found it. I was pleased to find out that these authors and I were on the same page...\n
  • What I am not pleased about is that they are probably millionaires and clearly I am not, especially when my points are clearly more clever than theirs.\n\n
  • For the next 45min or so I’ll explain that by taking you through these steps to guarantee your idea is a success\n
  • This is a no-brainer. No matter what media channel you are using, your idea should come from your brand. This is really important. It has to make sense coming from you. \n
  • Which is what was so great about the Skittles work that BBDO did last year...\n
  • it came right out of their “Touch. taste, believe, trust the rainbow, taste the rainbow” campaign. So even though it was an off the wall, unexpected idea, it came from their brand and consumers got it. \n
  • If you were briefed with, “ we need to sell more Tetley Infusions then Crystal Light” - can you imagine how that creative process would go? \n\nThe number of meetings to review work that wasn’t quite right. \n\nCan you imagine how successful that idea would be in the end? Not very. Because there’s no context, there’s no brand idea, there are no expectations set....\n
  • The job of a creative is to come up with a brilliant idea that will win awards, increase profits for the client ten-fold and have prospective clients knocking down the door of the agency. No big feat.... especially with this. \n\nThey are begging for some kind of “box”. An insight. \n\n\n
  • That’s why it’s imperative to have one of these at the table.\n\nThis is one of our strategists, Tammy. In case you are wondering why she’s sitting on the floor with a beer and a charger, she was at SXSW.\n\nThey can give you that insight, help create the box. Creative’s shouldn’t look at them as usability specialists who are going to make you increase the CTA. Look at them as someone who can make your idea win awards. Because they can. \n
  • In order to have a successful idea you need to share it with others AND actually incorporate their input. Because the general population does not think the exact same way as you. \n
  • (And I borrow this from Angus who in turn borrowed it from Trevor Beattie, CD of TBWA in London.) This is what we think of our ideas. they are our babies. they are beautiful and fragile and need tender care. They are attractive, adorable. And this is what clients think of our ideas:\n\n
  • Clients are scared of new ideas because they’re new. They are unfamiliar and as humans we distrust what we don’t know. \n\nSo how do you try and make your idea seem as unscary as possible, by letting others from the “outside” weigh in. Your Account lead will know what exactly about that spider that makes the client most uncomfortable, your producer can help validate the idea, your tech lead can add on some bells and whistles and so on and so fourth.\n\nThis way when you go to present to the client you can make your spider look like a baby but only if you...\n\n
  • Deliver the idea simply. No matter how complex it is, it must appear simple, easy to execute. This guy knew how to do just that. \n\nYou need to show them as much as possible to understand the idea, your thinking behind it, that you have shared it with others \n\nShow them how enthusiastic you are about it. Remember how you would feel if someone was trying to get you to spend your $$ and get you to recommend something to your boss. You want them to feel comfortable enough with your idea to do both. \n\n
  • You really can. Don’t be scared. Don’t think, “well why hasn’t someone else done this if it’s possible”? Just figure out how to do it. And if you’re paralyzed with fear don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to the experts, call on people you don’t think would ever answer your phone call, you’ll be surprised. \n\nFor example.\n
  • In 2010 we introduced “The Guy At Home In His Underwear" – an initiative in support of testicular cancer awareness, where survivor Mark McIntyre, aka “The Guy At Home In His Underwear", attempted to spend 25 straight days at home in his Stanfield’s skivvies. Live, on webcam, 24/7, for all to see, where viewers could encourage Mark and participate in the event.\nHere’s the overview...\n\n\n \n\n
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  • That makes it sound like we knew what we were doing, doesn’t it? But the truth is, GAH was a shared experiment with a very trusting collaborative client with whom we had a very good relationship. The truth is that on October 5th, the day before it launched, we were...\n
  • Which is not a bad thing. In fact, you should feel a bit scared because that probably means that you’re doing something new. \n\nWe didn’t know how many people would watch, if people would even care and if it would sell underwear.... \n\nuntil this happened...\n\n
  • And this happened....in 4 days. \n\nThankfully in the previous 9-months of selling and planning for this thing, we had been gaining trust around the idea with the client by exposing them to the creative development process, to the production process. Showing them “unperfect” things. Getting their input, their approval, and really listening to their feedback and implement some of it. A small concession can earn you a lot of trust.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n
  • This is the type of thing we exposed our client too when working through the details for GAH. We made sure they knew we were thinking of any possibility. By doing this the client “trusted” us to make decisions in real time without their approval. Within the world we work in now, it’s imperative to have this flexibility. \n\nSo to the audience it seemed seamless when we doubled the goal to $50,000. But you try asking a client for an additional $25,000 not even a week into the campaign - trust or no trust!\n
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  • It’s just what it sounds like. When evaluating what you are asking the consumer to do, think of your laziest, moochiest loving friend and how much they would do? Probably not much. So make sure that your ask is in line with your compensation. \n\nWe learned this lesson the hard way....\n\n
  • 3 years ago we launched a campaign for BullFrog, “We Pay More For Energy”. We thought this would be huge. Social media was booming, brands were just starting to be transparent, so we thought how more transparent can you get them telling people they pay more for your product and supporting it? \n\nThese people were going to love to tell their friends that they had chosen to pay more for energy because it was the right thing to do. And what they were going to love more was creating a video and posting it to FB for the world to see. They didn’t. Think about the consumer who uses this product. They aren’t going to create a video or probably even know how. Bust.\n\n\n
  • Comscore says our average time on a page is 43 sec. If a tweet isn’t re-tweeted within 60 minutes it’s dead. Google quotes that every 1 sec delay there is in loading a page, conversion drops by 7%\n\nSo the consumer needs to be intrigued by you. You need to make them feel like you have made their lives better in some sort of fashion. It’s no longer about being a brand with a logo, a pretty ad - you have to offer them some type of utility or you be damn entertaining. \n\nI have 2 easy to grasp examples...\n
  • Google - highly utilitarian\n\n
  • Old Spice - highly entertaining\nWhat makes these great ideas is that they are both wrapped in a story...\nSelling to people doesn’t cut it anymore. They have more research tools then ever before at their fingertips so instead of letting them create their own story, create it for them.\n
  • Zellers came to us with their last budgets as Target was set to take over. A sensitive story for Canadians and employees of the chain. But at the end of the day they need to sell merchandise until that happens. So instead of ignoring the rumours, we used them. \n\nWe launched the Festive Finale with a message announcing that since Target was moving in, he was checking out and leaving the decisions up to someone else - Zellers employees and fans.\n\nFans used the FB page to control every aspect of the campaign - what was going on sale, instore music, and made the radio commercials themselves. The death of Zellers turned into a fun event that loyal fans could share. In 3months they grew their fan base by 84,000.\n\nNo one expected this of Zellers. They expected them to hide under a rock. \n\n
  • And my final point in this section is this. I can’t stress this enough. If you decide to implement one point in this presentation. Please let this be it. \n\nYou know those 43 seconds a person spends, if something doesn’t work. If there is a slight bit of confusion from the consumer on what to do next, you’ve lost them. \n
  • You could have the best idea in the world, but if nobody knows about it..it ain’t much of an idea is it? \n\nSo in order for your awesome idea to be heard, stimulate word of mouth and create a dialogue with loyal fans...you need commitment and a plan. \n\n\n\n\n
  • A great way to start is your own social networks. Don’t underestimate this group when starting to gather fans, especially ‘acquaintances’. \n\nYou know your family and friends will spread the word, so spend some time getting those just outside your inner circle to do the same; past employees, the barista you buy coffee from, etc. Remember, they might only have 53 followers, but one of them may be the editor at the New York Times.\n\nOnce you have an initial fan base, you need to continue to fuel the flame by creating some evangelists.\n\n
  • Similar to what the The Lovelocks are doing, a new female country band.\nIn full disclosure, Zoe one half of the band is an ex-digital strategist. \n\nThrough Facebook, The Lovelocks are involving their fans by posting rough demos for them to review, allowing them to vote on which songs to record and providing some insight into who they are through videos, pictures and posts.\nBy engaging fans in the journey, they are creating deeper connections with more loyalty towards their brand. Their fans will want to stick around to see how the story ends instead of just “liking” their FB page and leaving.\n\n
  • So how do you turn this audience into cold hard cash. \n\nThe Lovelocks needed to raise $30,000 to record their first EP. Using Rockethub. a crowd funding platform, they have tackled this by asking for money in phases ($5,000 to start) and clearly stating where that money is going. By doing this, fans see it as attainable and that their money will actually make a difference.\n\nFans want to feel appreciated and recognized for supporting brands. The Lovelocks reward donors with items such as digital copies of the EP or a video of the band singing the song of your choice. They also use Twitter and Facebook to personally thank people for their contributions.\nYou need to nurture relationships online just as you do in the real world. \n\nMake those you love feel special and they’ll return the favour.\n\n\n
  • Ideas are a live ever changing thing - just like a football game you need to have a playbook. You need to have a plan but you also need to have a plan for what happens when the plan changes. It will change. This way during the game, you can respond quickly and confidently.\n\n
  • In football, this is when the quarterback takes a look at the defense and changes the original play based on what the defence is doing. \n\nNo matter how much you plan or want things to go, at the end of the day it’s your consumer who is going to decide the path. You can guide them, but remember to give them what they want, what they are asking for. \n\nHas anyone seen Catvertising? It blew it up, bigger than we had imagined. People were asking for more, so here are a couple of audibles we called after launching it.\n
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  • What makes an idea stick?

    1. 1. what makes an idea stick?Mavis Huntleydirector digital innovation@mavylalablogofjohn.com
    2. 2. johnst.com 2
    3. 3. johnst.com 3
    4. 4. johnst.com 4
    5. 5. johnst.com 5
    6. 6. johnst.com 6
    7. 7. 1. does the idea come from your brand? 2. a box is a good thing 3. throw it to the lions 4. impossible is nothing 5. the lazy ask 6. utility or entertainment 7. promote the sh** out of it 8. nothing is ever donejohnst.com 7
    8. 8. 1 does the idea come from your brand?johnst.com 8
    9. 9. johnst.com 9
    10. 10. johnst.com 10
    11. 11. 2 a box is a good thingjohnst.com 11
    12. 12. johnst.com 12
    13. 13. johnst.com 13
    14. 14. 3 throw it to the lionsjohnst.com 14
    15. 15. johnst.com 15
    16. 16. johnst.com 16
    17. 17. johnst.com 17
    18. 18. 4 impossible is nothing* *but it is very time consuming and kind of hard to do.johnst.com 18
    20. 20. WE WERE SHIT TING OUR PANTSjohnst.com 22
    21. 21. “What do you mean I have to double the donation?” Jon Stanfield, Oct. 12, 2010
    22. 22. johnst.com 24
    23. 23. 5 the lazy askjohnst.com 25
    24. 24. johnst.com 26
    25. 25. 6 utility or entertainmentjohnst.com 28
    26. 26. johnst.com 29
    27. 27. johnst.com 30
    28. 28. johnst.com 31
    29. 29. Flawless Execution
    30. 30. 7 promote the sh** out of itjohnst.com 33
    31. 31. 8 nothing is ever done Don’t rest on your laurelsjohnst.com 37
    32. 32. Be ready to call an audible.johnst.com 38
    33. 33. 1. does the idea come from your brand? 2. a box is a good thing 3. throw it to the lions 4. impossible is nothing 5. the lazy ask 6. utility or entertainment 7. promote the sh** out of it 8. nothing is ever donejohnst.com 41
    34. 34. Thanks! Mavis Huntley director, digital innovation @mavylala blogofjohn.comjohnst.com 42