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Planningness '09 Synopsis


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A quick synopsis of the Planningness Conference from last month. It's not comprehensive of the whole weekend of wonderful information, but a fun overview of some of the sessions I attended. Enjoy, share and please comment away!

Published in: Business, Technology

Planningness '09 Synopsis

  1. 1. PLANNINGNESS ’09 OCTOBER 09 Overview of Conference San Francisco, CA October 15-17 Thas Naseemuddeen The overall sentiment of the The feeling that change was But it’s not just about talking planning conference was very imminent and that we would be about how we re going to much the “anti-conference”. It the ones to make the changes. change things. It’s about wasn’t about egos and puffery- Not only our job, but truly our creating the tools to make it it was about learning, playing duty to spread the word to our happen and start implementing. and collaborating with each respective agencies and Needless to say, we’re bonded other to learn and grow. planning communities. It’s not a now. If through nothing else, time to sit on the sidelines, it’s through our planningness wiki It was a team based approach the time to JOIN the (see link on page 7) for our two days of intensive conversation and make GREAT sessions, as we were things happen. The next few pages are quick constantly thrown into small summaries of some of the most groups, which allowed for You could see that conversation outstanding seminars. Also amazing collaboration with starting merely by the numbers have other thoughts on my blog some of the most inspiring of folks tweeting #planningness, and twitter (of course). thinkers I’ve ever met. throughout the conference. 1
  2. 2. PLANNINGNESS 09 “Design innovation has “tipped”... Consumers now demand more than just useful tools. They demand things that connect with their everyday lives.” Designing a Successful User Experience Nasahn Sheppard + Nellie Ling, Smart Design In a session led by Nasahn and Nellie from Smart Design 1) There is no substitute to observing REAL people (always took us through a quick overview of some fundamentals of have users LIVE with a prototype and observe how their design strategy. Smart Design has developed some behaviors naturally occur. amazing products-from a variety of OXO products-- 2) Redesign the user experience, forms become very changing a very price driven, solely functional category (like important here (the physical product) as you have three a simple vegetable peeler) into one that now factors in user key “reads” in the consumers mind i) the 30 millisecond experience--aesthetic and function. True blend of design exposure (at point of sale), ii) first touch (consumer picks principles. After a brief lecture, we were tasked with taking up the product--tactile experience) iii) living with the to the streets of San Francisco--taking out a simple SIGG- product (“will I buy this again?”) type water bottle and getting their reads on the design/ 3) Focus groups don't really matter, uncover insights in real usability of the bottle, coming back together to pull our context. Dig into users environments to find the real insights into actionable next steps. truths. Let the users tell you what they are about, and wherever possible step into your users shoes (live like Three key areas were explored as core to understanding your consumers). the consumer experience when designing new to world, or new to industry products: 2
  3. 3. PLANNINGNESS 09 “Being GOOD isn’t about altruism. It is about meeting in a space where idealism meets pragmatism” How to Save the World Max Schorr, GOOD Magazine Max Schorr co-founder of GOOD Magazine was tasked Great example of “awesomeness” is the redefined Nau with a pretty complex topic: How to Save the World. While brand, which is has baked in these four pillars into the GOOD publication is definitely a part of this movement latest incarnation of the brand. towards societal “goodness” he made one thing incredibly clear: GOOD is not about altruism or pro bono work. It’s Awesomeness will only get you so far--the truly successful about finding that ideal space between pragmatism and companies are the ones who can CODE these pillars into idealism. Being GOOD can be GOOD for business as it is language that Wall Street understands: growth, return on for the rest of society. capital, risk management and management quality. All factors that must be taken into account when creating His next point referenced the Awesomeness Manifesto great products that may ultimately save the world. Or at (Umair Haque, Harvard Business) which outlines four pillars least help it rather than hinder. of awesomeness: 1) Ethical Production (cradle to cradle) 2) Insanely great stuff (iPod, iPhone) 3) Love (basis of all real value creation, Etsy, IBM Corporate Services Corps) 4) is_your_business_innovative_or.html Think value (real, meaningful, sustainable) 3
  4. 4. PLANNINGNESS 09 “Whatever you do, make sure it’s worth talking about.” Advocacy and Conversation Frank Striefler, Media Arts Lab Frank Striefler gave the group a great perspective on what 2) Define your role in CULTURE advocacy means in today’s ever-changing market. I was 3) Create better products lucky enough to help out with this one, so hopefully I’ll be 4) Create super-satisfaction and exceed expectations able to encapsulate a bit of what learned in this little 5) Bake the STORY of the product INTO the product synopsis. ...and a well thought through advocacy model to shifting consumer behavior follows (please see presentation SL 36). A brand advocate will convince others to purchase through Also a really great tool kit of tactics at the very end that helps independent credibility, defends and supports your brand bring this to life. and puts his own reputation on the line. Why do advocates matter? Because WOM is still the #1 purchase decision Conversation becomes a means by which advocacy may be influencer. Period. Advertising is a distant fifth. Reality will cultivated and fostered. Conversation is now easier (and at trump image every time, 70% will recommend based on times more elusive) than ever thanks to social media. A final expectation beating experience, while a mere 2% will be key thought to social media is DON’T start with platforms but prompted by advertising. And the recession only amplifies rather start with a social IDEA. this. Full presentation: The steps we have to take to make advocacy happen: planningness-conference-draft1?src=embed 1) Define your story 4
  5. 5. PLANNINGNESS 09 “Don’t get in the way of the user.” How to Design Applications Nick Baum, Google Nick Baum from Google Chrome, took this eager group of 1) Don’t waste pixels. Even if you’ve added a ton of planners on a trip of a lifetime--down the road of a functionality into an experience, it shouldn’t LOOK that application designer. Now I’ve never designed any such complex. things, but proved to be a great thinking exercise in user 2) Only show features that are actually used. This experience. From our rough sketches of the app itself (ours sometimes means trial and error--and yes, actually was designed to resolve the tab overflow problems), we incorporating users into the equation; testing (informal or moved onto “test” phase (switching groups and formal) is necessary in seeing how regular users will explaining/”pitching” our thoughts)--we quickly learned, a interact (take it to the cafeteria, who knows what you’ll critical phase in any app development. get!) 3) Use data and algorithms to make the UI simpler. The Google User Interface philosophy is at its heart, quite Simplicity is king at Google, but tools like autofill took simple. Speed is essential and don’t get in the way of the much time and analysis to get right. user. Easier said than done as we soon learned!) 4) Make features discoverable- make the experience flow easily from one experience to the next Four key tactics to successful UI: 5) Don’t get in the way of the user! (not for Mac yet though) 5
  6. 6. PLANNINGNESS 09 “No better urgency than a customer screaming at you.” How to Create A Successful Web Experience Garry Tan, Posterous Garry Tan, founder of Posterous/web guru, took us through When we design web experiences, you have to build in a his take on creating truly successful web experiences- persona. Great example that he cited was fanatical which included a two-fold analysis of web experiences: customer service. Posterous will answer any email within physical design and user experience. 12 hours--they found that every user could possibly bring in 10 more if they had a positive experience. That’s why. Relative to design, using weight and spacing in to convey importance. Using lines and boxes should be a last resort- Why else? Because other people aren’t, it’s a way to stay find ways to play with spacing, weight and alignment to competitive and unique. Finally, it gives you (the company) design. Ever wonder why the looks so a constant sense of urgency, from those who matter. Your great? Well, it is also based on the grid system--utilizing consumers. This is how you build a true social COPY as an element of design, which is also the basis of phenomenon. A great example of this is Spotify (music designing the good, old-fashioned newspaper. service in the UK/Europe) which is simple, fast and Coincidence? I think not. incredibly conversational in nature and offered excellent customer service. They have spent $0 on marketing. UI can basically be broken down into a conversation. Compare to Rhapsody, a similar service who is struggling Why? Because people treat computers like people. They and spending $234M in marketing efforts. expect it to act in a way a person would, not a machine. 6
  7. 7. PLANNINGNESS 09 “Modern brands aren’t built through communications, they are defined by what they do... Modern brands aren’t built around a promise they’re built around a belief.” How to Plan in the 21st Century Adrian Ho + Rob White, Zeus Jones The final presentation, definitely the rallying cry of a going with the modern incarnations (and ultimately how presentation from the conference with Adrian and Rob. It they were more desirable). Examples included the Pledge stressed the shift from “classic brands” to “modern brands”. brand versus the Method brand, United versus Jet Blue and incredibly interesting one with Blockbuster versus Netflix. They expressed modern brands as being built on the Great stuff to view in the presentation. following foundations: From there was the FUN part. Breaking convention and - Branding building through experiences not image. creating our OWN tools. We only had 20 minutes, so this - Building through interactions scratches the surface, but is thought provoking and a - It’s not about a “big idea”--the more ideas your brand has, glimpse into what is coming. Hopefully we all keep our the more conversations you will yield. promises to keep contributing to the wiki itself. - Built around BELIEFS not promises - Built around what they DO not what they SAY Full Presentation: - Live in the hearts of your employees first, not customers src=embed Going through some fantastic examples of “classic brands” Planning Wiki: versus the “modern brands” was the next task. Utilizing brand tags to help illustrate where consumers hearts were marketing-tools/ 7
  8. 8. KEY TAKEAWAYS PLANNINGNESS 09 Key Thoughts/Resources Overall some key takeaways (sorry if they feel a bit fluffy, but And finally other great presentations that I did not attend, but I’m going to keep it fairly broad): found incredibly interesting as well. Connections Planning talk with Gareth Kay and Jason Oke was pretty phenomenal - It’s time to redefine advertising. Simply, the whole world and definitely a must view. is changing and we must be prepared to adapt. - Be a part of something bigger. Connections Planning: - User experience is critical to creating rich digital experiences. This involves understanding a human planningness?src=embed interaction, not just a machine-driven technology. The Experimentation Imperative: Clay Jones - Test and re-test. Getting as much feedback from as many people when creating something new is critical (real people imperative and the people who exist within 5 feet of you). Don’t discredit exercises like man-on-the-street or talking to Some key readings from our advocacy talk I would friends/co-workers when assessing the feasibility of an recommend: idea. - Socialnomics: Eric Qualmann - Don’t be afraid to experiment and create. We’re in a - Groundswell: Charlene Li time and space where it’s completely possible to try - And Then There’s This: Bill Wasik something new every day. If you don’t have a tool that will - Age of Conversation 2 make it work, take the time and create it. Then share it with - Tribes: Seth Godin the community, get feedback and allow the constant - Six Degrees: Duncan Watts exchange of information to move us ALL forward. - Baked In: John Winsor/Alex Bogusky - Trust Agents: Chris Brogan 8