I was meant to be moderating a panel in New York last night on creating digital culture but sadly, due to a new business pitch, I had to drop out. There was a great set of panelists including Rick Webb, James Cooper and John Winsor, someone I’ve been keen to meet for several years. I was sad at the time, but I’m now doubly sad after reading the new book he has written with Alex Bogusky called ‘Baked In’. (Full disclosure - thanks for sending me an advance copy, John).
At it’s heart, it’s a book that nails one of the simple things many organizations, particularly ad agencies, have forgot. The worlds of product development and marketing should not be separate. In fact, you create a much more powerful business and brand when you bake marketing directly in to the product. It’s about blurring the difference between product and marketing, an idea that has created things like Nike+ and Help Remedies and has revitalized brands like Domino’s. And while a lot of the examples used are about physical products, there’s lots of examples, and applicable thinking, of how the digital space can be used for more than interruption, destination creation and the application of old ad models, but for the creation of meaningful products and services that foster powerful conversation and communities around them.
It’s a really practical read, packed full of case studies, bite size thoughts and exercises – very much, a book that encourages learning by doing. And, unlike most of its peers, it talks in plain English and doesn’t overstretch the point. It’s a thought provoking 150 pages rather than the usual four hundred pages to drag out an idea that might have best been served as a blog post.
Well worth a read. And it doesn’t stop with the book. John and Alex have put their beliefs into practice – there’s a twitter feed and blog to stimulate and capture the conversation the book hopefully starts.