Unplug to Recharge

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It was at a recent Dave Chappelle concert when it dawned on me the importance of disconnecting from the world. In between the profanities and lewd, vulgar, yet funny content, I found myself socializing and engaging with those around me more than usual. Was it because we shared a common emotion of laughter? Or the increased consumption of alcohol? NOPE! It was mostly due to the privacy and security precautions the venue took as part of the concert experience. (Really?!)

Before entering, each patron was asked to “lock” their phones in a sack, making them inaccessible until after the show. Part of this was to avoid anyone sharing the contents of the event. The other, which was not as overt, was to bring us back to a simpler time — a time when engaging and socializing with a human being was all we knew. A time when our eyes and ears were glued to a live event or conversation, rather than a screen in the palm of our hands. (Ahhh, the good old days!)

While some may think “down time” should be time spent being productive — I beg to differ. It should be time used to reconnect and recharge. I personally love when I am taking a flight somewhere and have to go into airplane mode. I am disconnected, and able to put my mind at ease for those few hours. I look at it as a reboot — an escape from the flood of information and content that invades my headspace almost every waking moment of the day.

Our brains already consume way too much information (11million bits per second to be accurate), and are more than likely overwhelmed and exhausted. Imagine a hamster on a wheel, at some point it’s little legs get tired and has to get off. Now imagine that hamster never getting off… that’s our brains. So it’s important to find ways to disconnect. If that means taking a walk outside, while leaving your phone at your desk, or just going into silent mode for a bit, I highly recommend it. You’ll find yourself and mind refreshed, making you a more productive and sharper you.

So let’s see if you can integrate this into your everyday. Try allotting 15min to your schedule for that walk, or going into silent mode (label it “Unavailable” on your shared calendars). See if you can make it a routine, and let us know how it’s working for you. I know from our side, it helps everyone here think clearer, which results in bigger ideas, better creative, and happier clients.

I think I trust you…

HTSAF_iThinkiA survey* was recently released with two startling statistics that revealed 42% of consumers found brands less trustworthy today, while 48% believed brands can have a positive impact on the world. Now those are two opposite sides of the spectrum if we ever saw one. But more importantly, how do we bridge this interesting divide?

After going through some thoughts about politics they touched on the most interesting path: Understanding the culture of your target consumer and effectively tapping into it remain key. So, building your brand and its identity around a cultural insight is paramount. Find it. Inspire and positively provoke your target with it. Then craft and design your creative campaign around it.

Lastly, be relentless in searching out these cultural insights. Remember, insights are not facts. They are something you discover about your brand or consumers that no one else can own. They belong to you. So say “NO” to the obvious. Reject the ordinary. And, initiate around the extraordinary. So who’s bridging this gap today, you ask? Here are a few off the top of our heads:

  • Subaru — Recognition for LGBT campaign
  • Tesla — Being forthright about their mistakes, and fixing them
  • Chick-fil-A — Authentic and plain spoken
  • Dove — Authenticity and respect through their  “Love the skin you’re in” campaign

What Sparks Our Fire? Waking up everyday searching for insights that emotionally connect brands with consumers.

*The ‘Truth About America’ report from McCann

 

To Serve, or to Sell, that is the question.

As marketers, we are mostly programmed to SELL, SELL, SELL! However, in this day and age, it seems it’s more effective to serve. Recent studies (according to us) show that consumers are more interested in receiving information that will educate and enrich their lives. They want a story. Content. An experience. Something usable beyond just a “buy this now!” call-to-action.

To do this, we must think about our engagement strategy, and look for ways to immerse our audience in the brand, rather than simply sell it. We must tap into the emotional sensibilities, and bring their normal, everyday experience to life in a way that serves a bigger purpose — to create an unbreakable bond, that ultimately results in sales.

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Here are some ways this is being done…

  • Virtual Reality: Create a new world to experience your brand (Check out what Tom’s did)
  • Augmented Reality: Bring the retail experience to life wherever you are (See how the IKEA Catalog enables you to place furniture in your space before you buy it)
  • Bots: Brands becoming personal assistants (Casper gives you someone to talk to on those sleepless nights)

There are many partners out there specializing in these methods (Blippar, LSTNR, Moth+Flame). And if you want to proactively bring new, impactful ideas to your clients and consumers, we suggest you tap into them.

So don’t get stuck in the world of selling. It’s a one-dimensional way to drive engagement and conversions. Change your approach. Be multidimensional, it will serve you well.

What Sparks Our Fire: Taking the initiative to find new ways to turn simple ideas into ones that serve a bigger purpose.

 

Nebulous To Tangible In 4 Steps

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How do you turn a nebulous goal like “be more creative” into something tangible? Everyone has vague goals at one point or another, and they’re especially common in the creative marketing, branding and advertising industries. This week, Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson published a small tool on Harvard Business Review‘s website, designed to help you reach your nebulous goals in 4 steps.

The tool takes you through four rounds of questions that help you first name the goal, then define sub-goals and what actions will be taken (by whom, when, and where). In addition to this, the tool asks you to create an “if, then” plan, which, as Dr. Halvorson explains, “[humans are] neurologically wired to make”. Essentially, under the specific sub-goals and tasks that you need to complete, you are asked to write a sentence detailing “if x, then y”. By framing actions this way, we are working with our neurological inclinations to accomplish the tasks that comprise our larger, vaguer goals.

Check out the tool here, and see what ambiguous goals it can help you nail down.

What Sparks Our Fire: Turning goal setting into goal accomplishing

Marc-eting 101: I Want To Be Scared

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This week marked the 12th annual Advertising Week New York conference– a week-long celebration and exploration of topics relevant to the advertising, branding, and marketing industries. After attending events throughout the week, we asked our President, Marc Sampogna, what his best experience was at this year’s AdWeek NY.

As Halloween approaches, discussing something “scary” is never more appropriate. At this years AdWeek NY, I experienced some interesting topics and conversations. All of which uncovered insights that I’m sure I’ll use at some point in my day-to-day. But one in particular really resonated with me, and that was with Seth Godin (sethgodin.com). Now, I’ve seen him speak a number of times, and have read some of his books, e.g., Purple Cow, All Marketers Tell (Lies) Stories, etc., but something about this talk hit me in a different way… a good way — in a way that gets lost in the world of marketing and creativity these days. He spoke about “fear”, and that if you, the agency/creative/strategist/etc. aren’t afraid, then you’re not doing your job (Insert resounding agreement and praise here).


Why is it that we filter down our ideas, and dilute the creativity out of them just so they’ll do something average? Well, it’s, as Seth stated, because “average is what reaches 100 million people”. Average is mainstream. Average is a sure thing. Look, from a business perspective, I get it, we gotta sell tickets, put asses in the seats, move shit off shelves, etc. But for f#@ks sake who the hell wants to be “average”??!! I sure as hell don’t. I want to be scared. I want to be afraid. I want to take risks. I want to hold nothing back. Put myself out there and do things that make me uncomfortable. Because if it means that the ideas I put forth are genuine, and inspired from within, then whether it fails or not, I can move ahead knowing that I stayed true to what matters to me — not being average.