Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Quotes from Cannes

Over the week I have been at Cannes there have been some great seminars.

Below are some quotes/thoughts that have stayed with me.

In no particular order of preference


There are 4 fundamentals to success in today’s marketing environment



Consumer Insight


He also said “You can’t analyse your way to greatness”


Wants to earn a disproportionate share of popular culture.

Moving from Manufacturing Communications to Cultivating Conversations.

From first impressions to next expression.

Google : Eric Schmidt

There are more devices, operating at faster speeds in growing human networks.

The growth ahead is phenomenal

Google employees operate on the 70:20:10 principle. 70% of time on core business, 20% of time on adjacent businesses, 10% on new work.

Shareholder value is created when you build a platform for others to ride.

Try to say YES more often. It has a lot of power

Edward de Bono

Talked about a concept called ‘Excellent But Not Enough’ EBNE


  1. Seize the first mover advantage . If you don’t do it someone else will
  2. Be prolific not precious. Less 360 more 365.
  3. Act then measure replaced by listen then respond.
  4. Lobby. Don’t just tell people what you stand for. Show them.
  5. Data is the new oil. It is only useful when it is refined.
  6. Innovation, not at the cost of experience.


From John Hegarty

‘If you ask the same people the same questions the same way you get the same answers’

Some people’d rather be precisely wrong than approximately right.

The 3 Cs of modern creativity

Community, Crowdsourcing, Cocreation

Martin Lindstrom

Brands evoke as much passion as religion.

10 Commandments of Religions also applicable to brands.

Sensory Appeal

ROI is not a brand purpose


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How Apple is Helping Microsoft

November 10, 2009 Leave a comment

When I started working, decades ago, the work place comprised of cabins and cubicles. The senior managers occupied cubicles and us, lower rungs, sat around in cubicles.

One took an appointment to meet one’s boss, because the doors were made of wood or had frosted glass thus not knowing if she, or he, would be busy. Similarly when the boss wanted to talk to you, he had to send his secretary out looking for you, or he came himself.

As you can imagine it was an office with ‘formality’.

Yet a lot of physical activity. Walking to and fro from cabins and cubicles. This movement created a sense of motion in the office and more importantly you met colleagues as they were walking the corridor. That gave opportunity for conversation, office gossip and a few laughs. Many a friend I have made in those years.

Fast forward to about 10 years ago with the emergence of  the open office. Except the head of office or the managing director, everyone sat in full view of the rest. Even the 2 – 3 cabins that existed seldom had floor to ceiling walls and the doors were always simple see through glass. This created a new dynamic. A visible office. You saw your team mates. Other colleagues. If you wanted to see if a specific person was in her/his seat all you needed to do was stand up and spot the head.

And then use the phone. Or shout across the hall.  Sometimes conversations would be conducted in this manner. This invariably got some smart aleck remarks too. In addition to the visible, it also was the noisy office.

Irrespective of the office type there was an energy in the office.

Fast forward to today. We are still in the open office mode. (My current office is as open as can be. We don’t even have partitions separating two work spaces). But what’s happened is that we now have silent offices. There is very little cross office conversation. Barely anyone walks around either.

What you do see however is that nearly everyone has two wires sticking out of their ears. Yes the ipod. It’s changed everything. Everyone has one. Maybe 2 or 3. When they are at their work station they are plugged into the network as much as the ipod. And that has completely changed the dynamics of the workplace. Not much walking. Not much talking.

Silence reigns. (Here I refer to advertising agencies where the change has been dramatic. I find client organisations have been like this for pretty much all the time that I remember visiting them. Their offices have also physically changed to the open office. But the silence has always been there.)

Even if one called out to a person you wouldn’t get a response. I am a ‘walk up to the person’ kind of person. Not a shout across the hall type. And even I find, that it is not just enough to walk up to the person, you need to even tap the shoulder.

What I have seen growing alarmingly in the work space now is Instant Messaging. And here I mean people chatting with their colleague sitting a few spots away or even across them. It saves the walk. It guarantees attention, as you cannot ignore the flashing blue tab in the bottom of your screen.

If you have an ipod IM becomes your prefered mode of communication. And given MSNs dominance in this space, Apple is basically helping Microsoft grow. I imagine the two Steves have frequent laughs over this.

As more people move to communicating via IM, the less conversations will we see. And ideas come out of conversations.

Will one day companies have to ask people to turn off their ipods like you turn off your phones on a flight? The phones go off for the safety of the plane. Will ipods need to go off for the safety of the organisation?



October 7, 2009 2 comments

I could’ve sworn that I had read an article on ‘Creativity in the age of Procurement’ many years ago, but no one else seems to recall it so I guess I was dreaming!!

The premise of the original article:

Clients hire agencies to do great work. Work that builds brands. Gets the cash register to ring. Make tons of money. At least that’s what the Marketing department wants.

However, over the last few years, Procurement has grown in strength. They want cheap. Cheap. Cheap.

To this end they drive a hard bargain on structures and fees. ‘Why do you need 80% of that ECD? Why can’t it be 20% and get a junior writer at 100%. That way you get more hands and save money’ etc.

Or on suppliers. We need 3 quotes for every job. And the lowest should get the job.

Or on SLAs to do with deliveries. A black and white ad of 100 col cms should take 12 days.

All things that get the Creative Directors really angry.

So the article talked about the challenges to doing great work globally consistently with the ascendance of Procurement.

Anyone working on a large piece of business probably nods in agreement.

With someone peering over your shoulders and continuously questioning everything you do, Creativity is a challenge.

Recently I was in a meeting with a client and heard some comments that brought the original article and its premise back to my mind.

Also given what I am doing currently, a penny dropped and I understood a little better how Creativity and Procurement can live together happily. Ok reasonably happily.

If we read into Procurement’s intentions, essentially what they want to do is, save costs. They don’t care about creativity really.

How can/should an agency respond?

There are different approaches to this and I am taking one below.

This is a phased approach to making Procurement happy without getting in the way of Creativity

Stage 1: This is where clients do what they are currently doing but cheaper. I did this on a global client 4 years ago, when we move the ASEAN creative development to India because India was cheaper and did good work. Nothing changed for the client. Just the agency process needed to be redefined and managed.  Significant creative staff cost savings ensued.

Stage 2: Here work continues as previously but some change in process is required. Lenovo’s creative hub in Bangalore is an example of this. The Creative is hubbed as in Phase 1. So is the Servicing. And some of the Clients. So this moves more of the services to a cheaper location and hence saves more of the costs.

Stage 3: This requires Clients to change the way they work. The usual Client requirements of ‘good briefs’, ‘the person who briefs should approve’, ‘reduce the number of changes’ etc. There is data I have seen that this drives costs down from anywhere of 30% to 60% depending on the factors. This specific aspect is not in agency control. All that agencies can do is track and feedback to clients

Stage 4: Drive greater creative adaptation. As long as Agencies have full teams on businesses in every office there will be local plotting between Clients and Agencies to create more local work. On a previous assignment we created a database of work and put in place a reward mechanism for markets to adapt more than they created. This required partnering with Clients as targets for adaptation were set for each market

Stage 5: Here Agencies make it easy for adaptation. The focus here is nearly totally on Print and on-line work.  If we expect markets to adapt global work then the way to do it is to create templates of the work with pre assigned areas for headlines, body copy, specs whatever. Essentially view a piece of communication as a puzzle with some parts that are fixed. The flexible parts are where the local clients can put their own copy or maybe even visual or price etc. This recognizes need to make for easy adaptation and reduces the work to few key areas. At Enfatico we have been doing this for Dell for years. It is a science!

Stage 6: Automation. In this stage, technology is used to make changes on work anywhere in the world. Using some of the technology from electronic POSM, it is possible once templates are created to drop in the localized copy or visual in a central template and nearly instantly make the changes on all the on-line properties nearly anywhere in the world. Of course this is restricted to on-line as that is where it is possible as well as needed due to speed being a priority. Again we are working on developing this at Enfatico and will be launching this for double byte languages in a month or so. This is already working in English.

Stage 7: Again technology at play but here we refer to a workflow process that seamlessly integrates clients and agencies as well as the markets. It is an engine that captures all aspects of a job from briefs, to templates to changes to work to final files for production. A single system that everyone working on the business can access and track progress of a job. Once again Enfatico is probably leading this effort globally with its proprietary tool currently being applied to Dell.

I think a model such as this can still ensure that Clients continue to get creative work as current while saving them tons of money in the globalization/adaptation/execution part of the process.

One last thing. While I have referred to the above as Stages they are really independent of each other save Stages 5 and 6, where 5 has to precede 6.

The more agencies lead the conversation with clients, the more likely those agencies build credibility with procurement.

So there you go..My prescription to agencies those are serious about creativity without compromising Procurement and vice versa.

Great sunscreen ad

Check this out.

Perfect example of integration of message with the medium. From Brazil. DDB I believe.

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Creativity in Retail

Article in NYT about advertising using closed doors of shops shut due to recession as an OOH medium.

I guess tough times bring out the best in everyone.

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