Tag Archives: LinkedIn

199 Insights from Seth Godin’s Blog

sethbust199 Seth Godin Gems

I’ve compiled a collection of 199 of Seth Godin’s most relevant, insightful and inspirational posts. A must-read for anyone into: Marketing, Idea creation/transmission, The Magic of Respect, Business, Social Media, Human Relationships

Read, digest, and prosper.

Social Creativity

1219704815716BK at Toronto’s Cap C was cool enough to share his ideas on how new media is inspiring mass creativity. My take below.

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Do You Feel Me? Social Creativity & ‘Virtual’ Mirror Neurons

Two questions important to the evolution of social creativity.

1)  What makes real-life interactions so compelling?

ConversationDaniel Goleman (Author of Emotional Intelligence): “During a conversation, mirror neurons in our brain replicate what’s going on in the other’s brain. When having a moment of real rapport- our physiology’s (heart rate, BPs, etc) connect. It’s almost like two birds dancing together.”

When this happens, there’s no need to ponder, reflect, worry about   offending someone, the conversation just ‘flows’. Creativity and joy multiply.

2) Can this neurological calibration happen even when two people are only connected  online?

That’s our job to find out, but what’s clear is that enriching the online experience by providing the right platforms, tools, and license to go wild IS transforming what’s being created.

Synesthesia

somaSynesthesia is a fascinating condition in which inputs to one sensory pathway - such as music or shapes - produce sensations in a different sensory modality. As technology used in social media evolves, it might just become possible to achieve a temporary synesthesia. Through purely an online interaction, there might come about a way to gauge tone, excitement, etc, similar to the way we do in face-to-face communication. This would mean the birth of ‘virtual mirror neurons’, and enable a virtual connection between people that is as rich as a real one.

matrix1 Probability and timeframe? Slim & distant. Implications for creativity? Infinite & thrilling.

Brand Parkour: Managing brands in an urban & digital hyperspace

parkour-al-tairYesterday, I was re-playing the surreal Assassin’s Creed , a RPG in which the central character’s movement is based upon the principles of Parkour.

What’s that? A traceur, or practioner from Parkour North America breaks it down:

“Parkour is an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body. In a lot of ways, parkour is a means of reclaiming what it means to be a human being. It teaches us to move using the natural methods that we should have learned from infancy. It teaches us to touch the world and interact with it, instead of being sheltered by it.”

parkour-1It got me thinking…don’t brands aspire to the same skillset? They seek integration into the consumer’s life- always looking to dodge competition, scurry into the consumer’s imagination, and seamlessly navigate the dynamic environment that is the consumer’s mind.

Brands do want in, certainly, but it might work both ways.  Gen Y consumers may actually be calling out to their preferred brands, as per this week’s AdAge:

“Talk of restricting behavioral-targeting practices is heavy in the air these days. But what if Generation Y — the first demographic to grow up totally immersed in the digital life — actually wants to be behaviorally targeted by marketers? Forrester Research’s Emily Riley made a strong case for this idea. She even suggests the creation of a web portal that would enable Gen Y-ers to post their wants in an organized manner — so appropriate marketers could more efficiently respond to them.”

Social networking is accelerating this trend. Facebook recently recalibrated its marketing machine; brand pages will now move from segregated areas of Facebook to within users’ social graphs, giving the brands greater conspicuity and continuous consumer interaction.

"City challenge"

While this may leave sinister brandcrafters rubbing their palms in anticipation, it would do them good to remember another principle of Parkour:

“Because individual movements could vary so greatly by the situation, it is better to consider Parkour as defined by the intention instead of the movements themselves. If the intention is to get somewhere using the most effective movements with the least loss of momentum, then it could be considered Parkour.”

Ah, the heart of the matter, brand intent. Increased exposure combined with insider consumer information has endowed brands with sizable power. How they wield this power will make all the difference to their long-run viability. If the brand intent is driven by customer value-creation and backed up by momentum-conserving campaigns that choose clarity over loudness, that’s true Brand Parkour- an art that strengthens brand identity, customer loyalty, and all the rewards that go along with them.

parkour-lessonBrand Parkour- sign up for your first lesson today!

Flaccid Brands: The Coolidge effect

flaccid-moose1

The Coolidge effect is a biological phenomenon whereby males display a greater libido and rate of sexual performance given the introduction of new sexually receptive females. That is, although the male will not be physically able to re-mate with the current female, ‘things’ will start to happen if another female saunters in.

I wonder if this relates to our experiences with brands as well. We are unable to respond to copycat products, clichéd slogans, flaccid campaigns…There’s just no go.

Consumers need novelty. So brandcrafters, instead of spouting nonsense about ‘redefining luxury’ and ‘timeless elegance’, let’s make the brand come alive through a comprehensive brand experience. Scrap those repetitive TV commercials and instead promote vivid in-store simulations. Try crowdsourcing your product design to gain inspiration from your target market. And if all else fails, throw two tennis superstars on the helipad of a seven-star hotel and get clicking.

Raise the stakes, and you will raise the responses. In all senses.

Quixotic Creativity: Dubai’s icon

Dubai Tennis Burj

A blog I love recently talked about the concept of quixotic creativity, a kind of thinking that requires imagination, stubbornness and cojones in equal measure.

Quixotic creativity requires the idea to be big. Not the raising-eyebrow sort, but the kind that requires tearing it off altogether. It needs to be mad, in order to evoke a definite reaction. For Dubai, it needed to be the Burj-Al-Arab.

Dubai already had quite a reputation. It’s the fastest growing city on earth, has the swankiest hotels and the sleekest cars. But that, in the end, is simply money. What it didn’t have before the Burj was that signature element, that trademark visual that was quintessentially Dubai and could be identified instantly, globally.

The audacity. Not a mere five-star hotel, but a self-proclaimed seven. A restaurant with great white sharks in the aquarium. And so on… The return on investment for the project is rumoured to be a 100 years, but what’s important is that it gave Dubai its iconic visual.

Burj-Al-Arab

Then they took it one step further. They grabbed two tennis superstars, Agassi and Federer, and flew them over for a game. They also talked Tiger Woods into a little tee-off. All on the hotel’s helipad, the helipad.

tiger-woods-burj3tennis fed

Shock and awe.

Tintin: Billions of billious barbecued blue blistering barnacles!

tintin-grp

80 years. 50 languages. 200 million copies. A 3D movie with Spielberg & Peter Jackson in the works. The creator of Tintin, Georges Remi alias Herge, must be a happy ghost.

The babyfaced reporter and his Shabaab (crew) captured the imagination of Europe and subsequently the entire Commonwealth. Herge relied on a  potent formula: Meticulous research into the geopolitical climate , mischievous illustration, good vs. evil, consistent rib-tickling and satire, and above all, glorious disregard for political correctness. Or, to be precise (a la Thompson and Thomson :)), “a political correctness that disregards glory.”

All sorts of stereotypes are supremely exaggerated; from a naked fakir sitting on a bed of nails to a wild Arab sheikh with a tiger as a pet and a penchant for whipping blondes. We’ve got the savant professor, the foul-mouthed drunken sailor with the heart of gold, and the opera diva.The illustrations play along- African slaves are drawn coal-black, the Asians have no eyes…These comics would never get past the back room if published today, but they are bloody brilliant, and I’m glad that they’re around.

Sheikh Patrash Pashafakir_tintintournesolpendul

One more thing, the abuses in the book are….wait for it…..legendary! To make the book children-friendly but still stay true to his characters, Herge invented innovative non-swearwords used luxuriously by Captain Haddock. These include “ectoplasm!”, “Bashi-Bazouk!” “Patagonian Petticoat!“, and the most famous phrase of them all “Billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles (Mille Millions de mille milliards de mille sabords!)”. Wit combined with alliterative allure make Haddock’s abuses among the most famous comic book expressions of all time, right up there with Mr. Lodge’s “Egad!” and Obelix’s “These Romans are crazy!“.

captain-haddock

*The download link to the entire Tintin series, in PDF, here.

Enjoy the magic of the comics that inspired the likes of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and so many others. Jump into the world of the boy-wonder reporter who became a global icon, so much so  that General Charles de Gaulle once quipped that his “only international rival is Tintin”.

Code-switching & branding: Pt. III- The Language Fetish

language-fetish-bw

The European Union is one of mankind’s most ambitious and intricate social projects. One is basically asking nations that have vastly different customs, concepts, and cultures to work and live as one people. I was curious about how this ‘One Europe’ doctrine has affected advertising in the region, and so I dug. I dug rather a lot. And what I found was this; intercultural advertising in the EU is characterized by the propagation and enhancement of cultural stereotypes; that is to say differences between countries are showcased in order to create impact. In a previous post we talked about topic-related code-switching (e.g. English for medical terms), and identity-related code-switching(to highlight a shared connection). Now I’d like to discuss a fascinating concept known as language fetish’, which refers to the phenomenon that occurs when the utility value (information/content) of a language takes a backseat to its symbolic(effect/form) value.

*A bulk of the inspiration for this post came from the following article by Helen Kelly-Holmes: Bier, parfum, kaas: Language fetish in European advertising

An increasing number of global advertising campaigns treat Europe as a single entity, choosing pan-European platforms such as Eurosport and in-flight magazines. This blanket targeting leaves little room for culture-specific elaboration of the brand message. Hence languages, words and accents must serve as the shorthand for a host of associations.

Consider the Audi campaign used in the UK: Vorsprung durch Technik. In this case, the meaning of the slogan is irrelevant to the average Brit. What matters more is the mental model it activates. The German phrase Vorsprung… will invoke the culture-specific mental model (henceforth CSMM) associated with the Germans, which is one of efficiency and technically sound engineering. In this way, the code-switched language’s value is inherent, independent of its communicative value.

audi1jag-xj

Conversely, Jaguar, the British car company, seeks to emphasize the English cultural competence of being the trustees of tradition. In its ads in Germany, Jag uses the slogan ‘Jaguar- Die perfekte Balance ziwischen Innovation und Tradition’. This helps emphasize the traditional aspect of Jaguar in an ad that is otherwise very German in its formatting, replete with detail and tech specs.

Brandcrafters seek to activate the CSMM’s that are beneficial to them, and code-switching helps them do this. The symbolic, connotative meaning becomes critical while the literal one that would be used in everyday communication is relegated to the sidelines. The author of the original article asks us to look at it in two ways; on the one hand  communication, which is what  facilitates cooperation and understanding,  is being given less face time. On the other hand, the reason that language fetish happens at all is because the national stereotypes (both self and of others) are so similar across borders, suggesting at least the seed of a common identity.

eu And that’s a start.

Amul: The butter, the Indian raconteur

virgin-no-urgin2

When Betty Botter said that a bit “of better butter will but make my butter better”, she was probably thinking Amul .  This co-operative organization was a catalyst for the Indian ‘White Revolution’ and now has a turnover of USD$1.05 bn.

Amul is one of India’s most resounding success stories, and due to its advertising, one of the most heartening. Marketing expenditure is only about 1% of total turnover. Yet the brand name is ubiquitous because it has for so long captured the Indian Zeitgest, or spirit of the age. Amul’s USP is that it is quintessentially Indian, and its 30yr+campaign focuses on issues important to the common man,  the ‘aam aadmi’: sports, politics, pop culture, religion and festivals, and the trials of daily life.

I’ve been up all night, caffeine-free, going through their entire ad archive , and I’d like to share some of my favourites.

The first few speak about Indo-Soviet relations, the next lot about America, the next few are clips from pop culture, snippets from sports, Indian life, festivals & religion, the Indo-Pak conflict, and finally newsmakers.

I love this. I am in awe of what technology can achieve, but I love this. Pencils & crayons, a mischievous mind, and an uncanny ability to tap into the mass mindset; that’s all it took to seize the public’s imagination. And we weren’t just ephemeral captives; thirty years on, my mom still talks about the Amul ‘butter baby’ ads. Amul was a pioneer in the sphere of Indian advertising; they set a precedent of wit and gentle self-mocking that still resonates today.

*Some readers may not get a few of the ads, as they deal either with uniquely subcontinental issues (such as the great load-shedding), and/or the punchlines may be a pun in Hindi/Urdu. Apologies for this, readers are welcome to shoot me questions in the comments section.

Utterly butterly yours,

Hit