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You and me, and the games people play September 23, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, conversation, creativity, digital strategy, marketing, philosophy, social media, web 2.0, work/life.
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Content. Engaging content. Stories being told. Experiences facilitated by brands but not ABOUT brands. The logical extension of “This program was brought to you by…” in life after the 30-second spot is entertainment created solely for or by a brand. Entertainment that doesn’t ram a message home, but simply offers it up on a plate and says “Hey, yeah we did this. Hope you dig it.” The goal is of course still re-enforcement of whatever your brand’s values are, but there are better ways to do it than to just spit out a tagline.

The below quote from Henry Jenkins sums it up for me. I’m trying to figure out where it came from, it’s been sitting in my drafts folder for quite sometime…ahh here it is. I ❤ Google.

The key is to produce something that both pulls people together and gives them something to do…I don’t have to control the conversation to benefit from their interest

That ties in nicely to something I read over on Slideshare the other day (found by way of my friend Tim’s Insight + Ideas blog) that I liked so much I wrote on a Post-It and stuck it to my screen at work:

Autonomy (the ability to make a choice) plus Competence (a feeling like you have the necessary resources to make that choice) plus Relatedness (a sense you are working together towards a common goal) equals Happiness.

Maybe even a good deal of love for your brand.

First image courtesy of via, with thanks to compfight.

Second image courtesy of my own bad self.


One bourbon, one scotch, one beer August 23, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, conversation, marketing, social media, strategy, web 2.0.
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Julian Cole and I have been going back and forth a bit lately on social objects offline and some of that chatter is making its way online. He put up a vlog yesterday which Scott from Marketing Magazine chimed in on. Not wanting to be left out, I added my 2 cents. I hadn’t actually uploaded anything to YouTube before, brought back some of the initial terrors that come with blogging (the world will see this, oh no!).

Anyway, the videos are below. Watch them (Scott’s alone is priceless for the shots of his afro, little children may turn away in fear, you’ve been warned) and then leave a comment, or better yet, add your own response! While you’re at it, give Julian some stick for the video responses needing to be approved by the owner – Jules I thought the whole point of social media was acknowledging you couldn’t control the conversation right!?! 🙂

How hard can it be? May 3, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, marketing.
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I saw a blog recently (I have to start writing this shit down) talking about brands having genuine conversations, people going through stages and relationships with the brands as they move through different phases of their lives and want different things.

It occurred to me that for brands to do this, they have to become human. Some can handle this, others don’t survive the transition. The boon for the latter half is that, for a company like Apple, nobody wants to see them become human anyway.

To survive the ups and downs of modern life, brands are going to need to re-think a few things:

  1. We’re not always right
  2. We don’t have the best ideas every time we have an idea
  3. Some of them are actually quite bad
  4. Hell we don’t even have ideas all the time, occasionally we’re just winging it
  5. We make dumb assumptions about a myriad of things, born entirely from not putting ourselves in the same position you’re in
  6. Subsequently, we don’t know best
  7. We change our minds almost constantly. No we don’t. Yes we do.
  8. We fuck up
  9. No, I mean we really fuck up
  10. When it is warranted, we are genuinely sorry about it

This stuff isn’t rocket science, it’s common sense. Unfortunately common sense isn’t all that common. It’s about being human, making brands and companies human, fallible, instilled with humour, full of life and mistakes. Heinz isn’t an interesting story, the mothers and fathers working on their baby formula are. It’s easy to shoot a company or a brand down when there isn’t a human attached to it.

The second they become human, the moment the brand has a face attached to it not borne from a lucrative sponsorship deal, that’s when the interesting work begins. I think the answer to the question posed in the headline is “Not very hard at all, it just requires honesty.”

Billy Joel sang honesty is hardly ever heard, and mostly what I need from you. As I’ve said before, truths are invariably harder to swallow than we first make them out to be.