Category Archives: Inspiration
People talk of ‘change’, but what does it really mean? Today’s guest post is by Richard Sauerman, Strategy Director at Shift.
In the past, the knowledge and experience of ‘the old’ was the best instruction for ‘the young’. Today we live with a new set of realities – we are like immigrants into a new time, unable to take our cues from yesterday’s lessons.
Which is why people are starting to tear apart the walls of our thinking and our understanding. People lack certainty as they become more aware that there is no right way to live and think. The monolithic views of the past are crumbling as more different viewpoints of the world are understood and embraced. There is challenging of some of our fundamental ideas, like kids, marriage, jobs, medicine, spirituality and pleasure.
In business, and from the Business Council of Australia down, there is talk of the “triple bottom line” where the economic, social and environmental results must all balance. There is talk of social contracts, social coalitions and social cohesion. There is talk of including new metrics such as “social performance” to assess the net worth of a company. “Social capital” is the buzzword among the free marketers recognising the limits of capitalism.
People are eager to know where their products are coming from. Are they genetically modified? Are they environmentally benign? Are they made by child labour in developing countries? It is against this backdrop that the way people define and see themselves has changed. Australian people [and perhaps this is true of all people] have entered a period of retreat from the big agenda – a period where people are more concerned about close, personal, immediate issues, not national issues.
The shift is from being outer-directed to inner-directed. From people who’s main concern is what others think of them, to people who look inside of them own selves and ‘do their own thing’.
It’s a shift towards cultural ideas that are about transforming ourselves from within, like: learning to cook, or feel confident, or be calm. Angus & Robertson estimate a growth of 500 per cent in self help books over the past decade.
It’s a shift towards experiences that are more intense and personal. New found freedoms are leading people to general informality of lifestyles, and a regression to play at all ages.
The fundamental ‘ethic’ that people are striving for is a view of life and the world that is essentially humanitarian – not economically rational. It is a view that says the future is about spirituality, not economic growth and technology.
It is an attitude that says “I will live and be in this world with all the capabilities I have, not just a part of myself.” It is a desire to close the ever-widening gap between “how I want my life to be” and “how my life really is”.
It is a belief that says we need to centre on our heart – not our head – and act through it. It is an open recognition that we are ALL seeking love and self-worth.
At the end of the day it’s about people wanting to feel good about themselves, their lives, and their world. And that is gold.
This is what normal people must feel like when they meet the One Direction or The Spice Girls.
Simon McDowell from Coles, Melissa Barnes from Twitter, Janine Allis from Boost, Lorna Jane, and of course, Tim Burrowes from Mumbrella – all together in one conference. If there was any way to top last year’s fantastic lineup, flying in the head of brand and agency advocacy at one of the world’s biggest digital companies is the way to do it.
Alas, if only they would all get together and sing a song (I vote for Spice Up Your Life).
Unfortunately, that song might not be appropriate for the Hilton Sydney, but danishes, strudels, and water in wine glasses served to 1,000 attendees definitely is. Held in the conference rooms of one of Sydney’s most lavish hotels, mUmBRELLA360 consistently attracts the industry’s leaders, prominent journalists, budding entrepreneurs, and marketing moguls.
With over 60 sessions, panels, and presentations, it’s physically impossible to listen to everything that’s going on (unless someone has invented a device that allows people to be in four places at the same time). Like a good brand, though, there were some great trends and themes that came about…
Some pretty key keynotes.
As far as keynote speakers go, these two were as much a motivation as any to roll out of bed before 7am.
It turns out that supermarkets are not a very sexy topic to market. At all. And this was Simon McDowell’s challenge. Rather than continue with the self-professed “tired” image of Coles, this CMO had a different philosophy which he discussed on Day One – complete with cardboard cut-outs of One Direction for their latest promotion. McDowell talked about Coles’ passionate focus on their consumer, and on doing something attention-grabbing, creative, and DOWNright different (get the pun?).
Apparently, working at Coles is like playing a high-impact sport. They are always generating new ideas (“thousands a day” – his words, not mine), and don’t accept ideas that are less than a 9/10 – and even that only might get considered. Interestingly, although most of Coles’ ideas are generated in-house, McDowell’s attitude capture an almost perfect verbalization of what it feels like to work at in the Creative department of an agency (sans the world’s most popular band).
Coles may be generating thousands of new ideas, but Twitter users are generating 1 billion tweets every 2.5 days (plus, One Direction is on there too).
With so much untapped potential and so many different ideas out there, it makes sense that someone should be there to guide brands to do remarkable things on the platform. Enter Melissa Barnes, whose job is to help brands and agencies utilize the platform in new, innovative, and exciting ways to drive brand awareness and improve business.
Images and videos speak louder than words, so here’s some Twitspiration for your Friday afternoon:
- Oreo’s infamous tweet during the Superbowl.
- O2’s response to a network shutdown.
- Mellow Mushroom HQ: follow us and we’ll follow you.
Being a social socialite
So Twitter is powerful, Twitter is great, and ideas + brands + Twitter = #winning. Social media in general still holds so much potential, but there have been a few questions floating around for a while: how do we, as practitioners, measure ROI in social media, and how do we mitigate the risks associated with social media?
According to Samantha Yorke (IAB), while a brand is not legally required to moderate all comments, if a brand comments on or endorses questionable content, they may be held legally viable – and user-generated content is still a murky grey area. Agencies and brands also need to draw up clear guidelines around social monitoring and community management outside of hours: after all, if a staff member checks a brand’s Facebook, falls over and injures themselves, are they liable for worker’s compensation? Perhaps it’s time for us to stop checking our client’s Facebook and start checking our own more (you have the IAB’s permission).
Aside from the risks and regulations, there’s another big R that was hot: ROI. Greg Joy from Lithium Technologies declared that social for social’s sake (number of ‘likes’, shares, and reach) is dead, and a new kind of ROI should be explored. So how do we measure this? Perhaps we should be talking about increased spend per customer, how many new customers a brand has received, and how many customers they have retained.
Digital marketing, or digital and marketing?
In the Battle of the Media: Outdoor vs. Online, a surprising verdict occurred: after an audience vote, it seems oustdoor marketing has the X-factor. It may have been because some attendees were still sleepy, but Richard Herring’s winning argument made a very good point: technology amplifies outdoor marketing, and outdoor marketing can be a complement to a digital strategy.
Touche, Mr. Herring – and that brings us to another recurring theme of the conference. Cadbury’s GM for chocolate, Ben Wicks, also touched on how outdoor marketing was amplified by social in their various campaigns for Joyville. In one campaign last year, led by Saatchi and Saatchi, a giant purple train traversed Sydney’s railways, handing out free chocolate; the campaign was amplified and reached over 2 million people through various mediums – one of which was social media. Social media, then, allows people to share in the experience of a campaign when they can’t actually be there themselves. If only Willy Wonka’s chocolate transmission machine was real.
Even Lorna Jane’s digital and social strategy strongly integrates offline and online experiences: Derek Laney from Salesforce talked about how the fashion retail giant translates her bricks and mortar business into a great digital experience for consumers. Lorna Jane’s area managers and store managers are all aware of the brand’s social strategy and networks, and the brand’s digital strategy focuses on a principle of continual improvement by listening to the customer’s thoughts and ideas.
The agency: to infinity and beyond?
These days, there are hundreds and hundreds of agencies out there in agencyland and many bill using head charge – a model that was established for the 1960s agency. Do we still know how to get paid for what we do?
If we deliver a commercial or a website, do we charge for the final product, or the service we provide? This panel, with Rowena Millward (Johnson & Johnson), Aaron Michie (Zenith Optimedia), Clive Burcham (The Conscience Organisation), Damien Damjanovski (Common Ventures), discussed the idea of best practice in charging head hours shifting to an experiential “next” practice.
And the rest of it…
Since no human being can be in four rooms simultaneously, this is just a spoonful from the massive pot of ideas and information that mUmBRELLA360 2013 provided its attendees (they also provided us with a massive amount of food – hence the metaphor). If there are two points this conference raised, it is that:
- Technology is the biggest challenge of our industry. Brands, agencies and practitioners need to use this opportunity to innovate and generate new and different ideas, and
- If in doubt, One Direction always helps with marketing.
PS. Self-affirming quote of the conference.
Haters gon’ hate…as long as your mum, your boss, and yourself think you’re doing all right, you’re probably doing ok.
- Michael Beveridge, radio broadcaster at SAFM and Big Brother 2012 contestant.
For more news and information about mUmBRELLA360 2013, visit the mUmBRELLA website. Kelly Teng is an Outreach Specialist at Switched on Media. Follow her on Twitter @tellykeng. Her last post for Nextness curated what’s on her mind.
1. This is water.
Let’s admit it: us humans are a pretty self-involved bunch. We constantly think that we’re the centre of the universe, and that everyone we encounter needs to pay attention to our wants and our needs. To be aware of your surroundings, to understand others’ needs and to put them above your own – that is the meaning of real freedom and intelligence. If you only watch one video this week, let it be this.
2. Real beauty is diverse.
Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches sparked great conversations, but Debenhams’ High Summer Lookbook is truly the apple of my eye. With models over 40, an amputee, and a paralympian, this campaign is inclusionary and absolutely beautiful.
3. The Shortlist.
Nobody has time to read all the news out there – seriously. The Shortlist finds the best reads from around the world and delivers them straight to your inbox every afternoon.
4. Games in real life.
Three years ago, I watched a TEDx talk about the game layer on top of the world, and how gamification can help with education and commerce. One year ago, I was searching for something to help me with my fitness goals. Then I found Fitocracy. Then I realised that gamification works.
5. Is multitasking bad?
We often have to multitask to complete all our tasks at work, but is it really hindering us? A few of us at the office have switched off our distracting email alerts after listening to this interview with a psychology professor from Stanford.
As much as I love reading about my friends’ lives, Facebook and Twitter can get boring. ArchetypeMe is like a Facebook news feed – except all of the information you receive is relevant to your individual archetype (whether it’s Intellectual, Rebel, Visionary, or Spiritual). Think videos about the science of productivity or an infographic of the day.
7. What is ethical blogging?
Bloggers and journalists are different, and so is their editorial ethos. However, while Australian journalists are regulated by an industry code of ethics, bloggers have no concrete and universal code of ethics. Should the medium remain self-regulated? (Really, if you have an opinion, I’d love to hear it.)
8. The Iceberg.
9. CJ who?!
10. Arrested Development.
I have watched this show in its entirety four or five times, and there are still jokes I have missed. In my opinion, this is the smartest comedy in existence. If you haven’t watched it yet, you’ve made a huge mistake.
Kelly Teng is an Outreach Specialist at Switched on Media. Follow her on Twitter at @tellykeng. If you work for an STW Group company and would like to curate a list of what’s on your mind, get in touch!
So it’s not just advertising people who crowdsource these days.
Because this year at TEDxSydney, our lunch was crowdsourced too. I’d been aware in the lead up to the event that they’d enlisted the team at Grow It Local to feed the attendees through a “crowd-farming” approach.
Some 250 TEDxSydney crowd farmers registered to contribute homegrown produce for the event, and before long contributions were received spanning cows, bee hives, ducks, chickens and near every kind of herb and vegetable imaginable. It was truly stunning – best food I’ve ever had at a “conference” of this size (and I’ve been to a few), but beyond the pure quality of it, was the fact that the experience embodied what TED is about – great ideas worth spreading. I don’t know what they do to feed delegates at other TEDx events, but I doubt it would be a (crowdfarmed) patch on that.
And then there was Marc.
The moment I’d been waiting for.
I’d moved to the front of the Concert Hall and was just a few rows away from the stage. Then I noticed the pair of low chairs.
Huh? They’re TED talks aren’t they? Not TED chats.
But that appeared to be the case – unlike the other speakers for the day, Marc Newson wasn’t delivering a talk, but an “in conversation” piece with curator Julian Morrow. It was surprising, and I’ll be honest, a little disappointing. What it came down to though, was that his work says more about him than his words do. Which is probably why the highlight of this session was when two gloved men carried the Lockheed Lounge out onto stage. Newson did liken releasing the original piece from styrofoam to Michelangelo releasing David from a lump of marble.
And I’m sure there was some degree of modesty in there.
Next up was another candidate for most obscure job title, with Biologist Designer, Andrew Parker. I’ll be honest and admit I only understood about 10% of what he was talking about. Biomimetics, photonic crystals and nanostructures were just a few of the terms being thrown around in his look at colour in nature and the potential applications for technology.
Slam poet/rapper Omar Musa followed and received a standing ovation for a striking look at Australia through his eyes, before Marita Cheng, Engineer, founder of Robogals and 2012 Young Australian of the Year took to the stage. And what a bundle of energy she was. “Mind=blown.”
Next came David Sinclair, a geneticist, who pulled at the heartstrings of all parents of young children in the room by reminding us that we are going to die and our kids will be sad when we do. Of course he then launched into details of his work on slowing the aging process. Not to the point of us living til we’re 500, but at least ensuring that if we make our 90s+, we do so in a much more productive state. And a good starting point: the longevity genes he’s uncovered apparently shut down when we eat hamburger. So you can put that burger down right now.
Closing the session was Australian singer-songwriter, Kate Miller-Heidke, and whilst I haven’t dwelled too much on the “Entertainment” portion of the day, she was undoubtedly responsible for the quote of the day. After performing a song that featured some of her trademark operatic moments, she informed us that her singing teacher directed that “when you’re singing that high note operatically, your wide mouth should be an echo of your wide vagina.” And of course that is all she can now think of when she performs that song. I won’t tell you the title, lest you be scarred similarly.
There are plenty of times when you see a person on the TED stage who intimidates you because of their intellect. Somewhat rarer are the occasions when you’re just plain frightened, but I think that was possibly the case for a few of us during Environmental Activist, Damien Mander’s talk. Having made the transition from Special Operations Sniper to founder of the International Anti-Poaching League, Mander prowled the stage like the wild animals he protects, delivering a primal attack on our priorities in a world where those who have no voice are rarely heard. Coming so soon after a lunch break where animals were consumed that had been slaughtered for our benefit, it was quite a challenging moment.
Social Researcher Rebecca Huntley followed, and while she had some very interesting things to say about language and the Australian consumer – I was still trying to compose myself after the animal attack.
The last “real” speaker of the day was Architect Paul Pholeros. Paul presented the story of Housing for Health, a campaign he’d been working on for some time in remote indigenous communities to improve health standards, through healthy living practices. The ideas were innovative and the results were truly striking.
TEDx traditionally wraps up the day of intense ideas with something a little more lighthearted. This year, it was Dr Justine Rogers, a comedian and academic specializing in the “sociology of the elites, professional identity and ethics.” This was comedy TED-style, and featured Rogers’ “9 Point Plan to TEDtalk success.” It was funny and at times very insightful, but I could only think of one thing:
It was nearly time for a well-deserved drink and a toast. Here’s to TEDxSydney 2013.
Simon Bloomfield is the Creative Brand Guardian – American Express at OgilvyOne. Part One of his review of TEDxSydney. Simon’s other pieces for Nextness include Why all copywriters should tweet and The future of 1dent!ty. Follow Simon on Twitter: @dekkard42.
Don’t worry if you missed out on TEDxSydney on Saturday. In today’s guest post, OgilvyOne Sydney’s Simon Bloomfield (@dekkard42) has the Cliff’s Notes.
Firstly let’s be clear, this year I’m here for one thing – Marc Newson. As far as designer rock stars go, he’s a big one. From his iconic Lockheed Lounge to the interiors of the Qantas A380, he’s pretty much designed it all. But as is so often the case, the thing you’re most looking forward to, never quite meets your expectations. More on that later though.
The other big star of this year’s event was the new venue. Goodbye Carriageworks. Hello Sydney Opera House. It doesn’t get much more iconic than this, and the change has taking things up a level in a whole lot of ways. Not only has the audience doubled (to about 2200), so have the stakes.
But it’s also probably given Remo and his team the confidence to think bigger, knowing that an opportunity to walk one of the world’s most famous Concert Hall stages is one few could turn down.
It was also one that few brands could turn down, with a significant upping in the number of “partners.” Previous years had seen sponsors at quite a niche level with the likes of PWC and NAB Private Wealth. They’re back (albeit PWC at a lower level), but add in Qantas (handing out first class amenities bags to all attendees), Telstra, Samsung and a handful more, and we’re almost in danger of turning the Concert Hall foyer into the Convention Centre, complete with 3×2 exhibitor stands. This type of activity is always a sensitive one for the TEDx community, but it’s a necessary evil, and most of the brands handled it well.
But of course TEDx isn’t just about what’s in the goodie bags – it’s about what what’s in the heads of the speakers. And whether they truly are ideas worth spreading.
Following the traditional welcome by Michael West and a stunning violin performance by Veren Grigorov, Julian Morrow introduced us to the man who first hired him as a lawyer, industrial and human rights lawyer, Ron McCallum. McCallum was born some 10 weeks premature and completely blind. And yet a hunger for knowledge, and to be frank, a desire to not end up in a sheltered workshop, has seen him achieve more than most. Ron spoke of his blindness, the importance of literacy and the right for all to read, and the way in which technology had matched his own developments to enable him to reach his true potential. But what struck the audience most, was Ron’s infectious humour. He received the first standing ovation of the day (and undoubtedly quite a few tears), not just for what he said, but the way he said it.
Ron was followed by Alice Gorman, a woman with the intriguing title of Space Archaeologist. (And if I’m honest, glancing ahead at the job titles of her fellow speakers, it did appear as though we were going to be having a little game of “Who can come up with the most obscure job title?”)
But as odd a combination as Space Archaeologist sounds, Alice had a point when she spoke of the cultural and historical significance of what many now call “space junk” currently orbiting around our planet: from the oldest man made satellite in space, Vanguard 1, and the way in which it used “citizen scientists” to encourage a peaceful and scientific use of space in the tense, early days of the Cold War; to the Melbourne Uni student-designed, Australis Oscar V, which helped launch Australia into orbit in 1970, even if the battery did only last for six weeks. The question in my mind though – was she really a “space” archaeologist (after all, as my wife – jokingly – asked: how do you dig for stuff in space?), or a space historian who tells a good tale? (Obscure Job Title: 1 Commonsense: 0.)
Then came Jennifer Robinson (@suigenerisjen), a young Australian human rights lawyer, best known for being a member of the legal team supporting WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. And while she opened her speech with an introduction that led many to think she was going to speak of Assange, she was in fact, introducing us to a cause much more personal to her: West Papuan self determination, and the persecution of their leader, Benny Wenda (@bennywenda), by the Indonesian government. It was a truly harrowing story, and the focus in the room was such that you really could hear a pin drop. When she then brought Benny himself out onto the stage, it was a truly moving moment for all.
The second session of the day brought a Political Scientist, a Social Entrepreneur, a City Historian, an Economic Geographer, and an Artist/Architect/Gardener to the stage. And while it was probably the least glamorous session, it was probably the most full of ideas session.
They ranged from the simple: City Historian Lisa Murray (@SydneyClio) spoke of our city’s lack of strategies for the archiving of #borndigital records (with the resulting potential loss of important memories in the very near future); to the role of Data (big and small) in Politics. And sadly, given Simon Jackman’s (@simonjackman) track record, his offhand comment about the identity of our future PM was probably bang on.
He also delivered one of the quotes of the day: “In god we trust … all others must bring data.”
A brief musical interlude from Darren “not quite The Voice” Percival, was followed by Social Entrepreneur, Danny Kennedy (@dannyksfun). A former Greenpeace activist, turned Solar energy magnate, Danny had plenty of catchy phrases. But the most important one was somewhat surprising: the increasing potential for profit in solar energy, particularly in the US, is making it more and more likely that a viable solution will come. Capitalism = Good. Yes, really.
Rounding off the session was Artist/Architect/Gardener, Joost Bakker (@greenhousejoost). Dutch-born Joost (pronounced Yoast) is another one of those guys who makes you sick – still in his mid-30s, good looking, modest, and doing some of the most amazing work in sustainable design and architecture. His zero waste, Silo by Joost project is striking, while his earlier Greenhouse project saw him recycling patrons’ urine into fertilizer. And yet his idea for TEDx was simple – we all have the space to produce food that can benefit ourselves and our communities. According to Joost, the average Australian family produces enough grey water over a year to produce 60tonnes of potatoes and 40tonnes of tomatoes. And with a little bit of ingenuity, our walls and even our roofs can become vibrant sources of vegetation. In his mind, it’s about ensuring our houses create habitats, not take them away.
It was the perfect talk to precede the lunch break, particularly a lunch that had been crowdsourced by the team at Grow It Local. But more on that, and just what Marc Newson had to say, tomorrow in Part 2.
Simon Bloomfield is the Creative Brand Guardian – American Express at OgilvyOne. His review of TEDxSydney continues tomorrow. Simon’s other pieces for Nextness include Why all copywriters should tweet and The future of 1dent!ty. Follow Simon on Twitter: @dekkard42.