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The big questions

It’s time to ask the big questions. And I’m going to ask them from the stage.

[It’s exciting: next week I co-chair and deliver a keynote at the Social and Mobile Monetization Conference, Shanghai.]

I don’t suppose I’ll get the answers I’m looking for. So I’ll propose my own answers to the questions!

Maybe I’ll get away with keeping my own opinions unchallenged. That said, I’ve seen some of the names, job titles and companies of the paying audience, as well as the other speakers at the event, so I expect they’ll be quick to air their thoughts. At least, I hope so.

Anyway, here are the questions that I’m posing in the marketing materials for the event:

Searching for answers to big questions about the business behind brands – in the context of social and mobile. Continue reading “The big questions”

The future of digital is divisible by the seven simple tenets

Taken from the intro to our speech at Digital Asia Festival to be held in Beijing, 7&8 November.

The speakers announced at the Digital Asia Festival, Beijing. Nov 2012.

James and Paul, collectively, know what the future of digital needs. And it’s in seven parts. eMarketer tells us that this year, global digital ad spend is forecast to top $105 billion, with Asia-Pacific accounting for $27.63 billion after North America ($40.3 billion) and Western Europe ($28 billion). So how should we maximize this expenditure?

To this end, James and Paul will bring to life the seven simple tenets needed to succeed in today’s world of data-driven digital communications. The seven simple tenets are: Continue reading “The future of digital is divisible by the seven simple tenets”

Data-led creativity: more than just hype, it’s the future

Taken from my intro to the Media Innovation Group’s Spikes Forum:

Overview: Data represents a big business opportunity for the creative industry.

Talking about the light at the end of the tunnel…
“Big Data” is just a euphemism for “too much information to know what to do with it all”

When media teams became independent of their creative agency siblings, not only did the media revenue walk out the door of creative agencies, so did much of the detailed customer and media knowledge. Only the smarter creative agencies are working closely with audience data insights gleaned from media planning and buying across all sizes of project.

Meanwhile, marketers are finding all data slipping into the “Big Data” category; most marketers have access to masses of data and not the resources to do anything with it.

Soon in Asia Pacific, we will all be given much more access to data in more forms. But will we know what to do with it to make our communications more engaging, more exciting, more successful? Or will we just use data to push product more effectively? Continue reading “Data-led creativity: more than just hype, it’s the future”

Should ad agencies advertise?

In 2006 I was on a project at Patts Y&R in Melbourne. The now-famous Russel Howcroft had just been appointed as MD. The receptionist asked me what project I was working on. I explained that I was working for Russel and, with a senior account director called Tobi, helping them articulate today’s stories for the agency and to find ways to package them up and disseminate them to prospective clients. The receptionist’s summary was succinct:

You’re advertising the advertising agency!

I use that line nowadays when people ask me what I am doing for a living. But in reality, we all know an advertising agency seldom advertises itself. Not in the traditional sense of paid advertising.

When it comes to the paid-owned-earned media debate, agencies just don’t pay for advertising space. Hell, we’re bad enough with our owned media (how many out-of-date websites are there and/or offices ‘soon to be renovated’). And few agencies are fabulous at sparking the conversation in earned media (what percentage of agencies goes beyond PR-ing breaking campaigns, updating a Linkedin profile and the occasional tweets?). But this piece isn’t about owned and earned media, not today.

Well, we’ve all thought about our own advertising and debated it. And this came up again recently:

I found out the other day that Encore magazine is about to be revamped and, on top of its usual readership, it’ll be distributed among the 4,500 senior marketers on the Australian Marketing Institute’s database. And I bet the All-New Encore Magazine will enjoy heavy promotion to an even wider marketing community via its sister title, mumbrella.

And so I spoke to the Encore publishing team and was duly sent the media pack with the rate card.

As it happens Innocean, the agency where I work, will feature since another now-famous adman, Sean Cummins, will scrutinise our latest TV ad for Kia, part of a multimedia campaign for an irreverent brand.

Here lies the debate. Should we also advertise in the publication? Well, it’s too late now, we’ve missed the deadline. So, should we have advertised? And what would should have been our message?

My immediate reaction was YES, let’s advertise. A resounding YES. What’s more, I had a brilliant idea for the ad. Creatives all cringe when ‘suits’ get ideas for advertising executions. Especially when the suit says it’s brilliant! And so they should – here’s what I created on my (t)rusty old mac:

My objection to running ads like this is Continue reading “Should ad agencies advertise?”

The evolution of storytelling (the bard’s on twitter)

These four pictures demonstrate the evolution of storytelling:

The original 1564-1616

Continue reading “The evolution of storytelling (the bard’s on twitter)”

The Future of Communications – in three easy steps

I was listening to the stories being told at the Nokia Forum for developers recently.

If content is king, distribution is...

When Kenny Mathers stood up and announced “if content is king, distribution is king kong.” This quote he attributed to Mark Ollila, another Nokia guru. Of course, their reason for flogging this line is that if the developers create the content, Nokia says it can deliver the right distribution.

A wonderful aphorism. Worth repeating again and again.

If Content is King, Distribution is King Kong


However, this takes for granted a Continue reading “The Future of Communications – in three easy steps”

Social Media to Rage Against the Machine. The King is long dead.

In 1962 Elvis made it to number one at Christmas in the UK charts with Return to Sender. The following three years saw the Beatles at number one over Christmas with hits that still get played from time to time: I want to Hold Your Hand (1963), I Feel Fine (1964) and Day Tripper (1965). The charts have  trends. The fads come and go. People learn how to play the charts. And now the social media have stepped in to stop the chart stoppers.

Facebook. Where reality can be amended, enhanced and (then) shared.

Examples of such social media perpetrators are Jon and Tracey Morter. In the UK, they created a facebook site to promote “Rage Continue reading “Social Media to Rage Against the Machine. The King is long dead.”

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