Mark posted on this earlier today but really wanted to share. Jamie Oliver has started a new TV show and book in the UK called The Ministry of Food. What is fantastic about this is the mechanism of the show - to get you to go and teach your friends how to cook - to meet that tough goal of changing a nation's eating habits. Mark obviously points to a lot of the good HERD lessons in this but what struck me was how Jamie has gone back to how recipes (and ideas) used to spread before the celebrity chef - it was about friends passing recipes and secrets on to friends, not copying the actions of the 'celebrity' chef in private. It was how traditions were formed. We seem to have forgotten as an industry, more often than not, how to form them.
Things have been slow here for a few months now. Been crazy at work, busy at home with Esme and the wife. And it's made me realize that I'm not really generating enough new thoughts at the moment - my metabolism for generating new stuff seems to have slowed right down. So I need to fix that. And maybe the best way to do that is to up the tempo. So apologies in advance if the next few posts suck more than normal.
After a bit of a hiatus, the account planning school of the web is back. Andrew is running this one and it's here. It's a great assignment about the very important, but all too often ignored, part of communications and briefs - how you communicate aka tone of voice.
There's a fascinating article in this month's Harvard Business Review about how Pixar works, and in particular, how it fosters collective creativity.
For all our talk about being a creative industry, it's amazing how antiquated our work environments and practices tend to be when you compare them with companies like these. Perhaps its unsurprising that the product of these places tend to have rather differing impacts on the hearts of people.
Have a read - there's some brilliant stuff about how they build a culture that makes risk taking more comfortable and how they have built a company that lets people do the best work of their lives.
Adrian tagged me at the end of last week on a blog meme around best practices in social media. Lots of good stuff covered already, including the need to listen, to earn influence, be consistent and be human to name but a few.
What I guess I will add to the conversation, and it's something I've talked about before, is the need for brands to stop being so narcissistic and to start being generous. This means:
Having a point of view on the world, not just your product or category
Offer a gift to people - of an idea, of conversation, of something unique - to reward people for choosing to invest time with you
Accept that what you do is not the end but the start - it's what people do to what you do that matters and is important
Don't think that social media is the silver bullet - you need to be a social brand, not a brand that 'uses' or 'buys' social media
I've been having some email banter with the always amusing, contrarian and smart Rob Campbell recently. I've always had a lot of respect for Rob as he is one of those planners that does things not just talk about things, most recently evidenced by the launch of his new agency Sunshine.
One of the things we got talking about was the word 'radical' and how it has become something to be wary of, both among clients and agencies. It's become a term that suggests minority, niches and the edge so we end up using words like progressive, momentum and the like.
Well, I think it's time to reclaim the real meaning of the word radical and make it something to be proud of, not something to be afraid of. (HHCL certainly tried to do this in the UK, although I wonder how much their mission was truly grasped by its clients and the industry).
The origin of the word is from the Latin word 'radix' which means root and its etymology is, I think, pretty powerful:
"1398 (adj.), in a medieval philosophical sense, from L.L. radicalis "of or having roots," from L. radix (gen. radicis) "root" (see radish). Meaning "going to the origin, essential" is from 1651. Political sense of "reformist" (via notion of "change from the roots") is first recorded 1802 (n.), 1820 (adj.), of the extreme section of the British Liberal party (radical reform had been a current phrase since 1786); meaning "unconventional" is from 1921. U.S. youth slang use is from 1983, from 1970s surfer slang meaning "at the limits of control." Radical chic is attested from 1970." (online Etymology Dictionary).
Being radical is something we should all aspire to in the brand and communications industry. It's about identifying the root problem or core of the brand, so the radical solution is always going to be the most powerful and freshest (the unconventional sense of the word) thing we can do. It'll certainly be better than the Band Aid that makes up the vast majority of today's marketing. So, let's start being radical again, and let's be proud of it. It's probably the best thing we can do. Who knows, we might actually start making stuff people want to spend time with and stuff that adds value to businesses.
So, a bit of a delay after getting back from vacation. Going to try and get the tempo of this blog going again. Like its author, it has been a bit sluggish recently.
Thought I should mention this thought from Obama's acceptance speech as it has been stuck in my head the last week or so. He may be talking about much bigger things, like which future America chooses (for once, the election really feels like like a red pill/blue pill moment from The Matrix), but I think it's a timely reminder for when we thing about developing stuff for businesses:
"But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me; it's about you. It's about you....
You have shown what history teaches us, that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington."