This morning as I was getting ready for work, I encountered a problem that many women face during their morning routine. After applying a little makeup, pinning up my hair, and filling up my coffee mug, I remembered the jewelry that I wanted to throw on before rushing out the door. I put in a pair of earrings, but when I found the one necklace I wanted to wear, I realized it got tangled with two other necklaces after traveling with them in a bag. “Shoot,” I thought, but I began to quickly detangle it from the nest of a mess. …Continue reading
I’ve never been a very talented artist. Although I made attempts at sculpting, painting and photography, I realized early on my brain worked more operationally than it did creatively. So, imagine my excitement when I got the privilege of attending the inaugural TEDxRVA conference, where the the theme was ‘Create’.
Here I was, a strategy inclined person, diving head-first into the world of creativity. Armed with pen, paper and an open mind I was excited to learn some secrets that would help me become more creative. Like a soldier in the trenches, I would be able to report back to my right brained cohorts the formula that would allow us to all sit side by side and access our creative selves! I’d capture the creativity white flag and come back flying it high.
You may want to sit down for this. …Continue reading
In the constant search of interesting, inspired and compelling stories, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur Andy Stefanovich invited a team of architects to help him redesign the second floor of his carriage house. In the space of 600 sq ft. these gifted creatives will plan, design and build an office/studio/meeting place for him and his team. This will become a sacred place to work, entertain, and stay inspired. Through this series of dispatches we will explore the creative process from the perspective of these design experts. What problem solving tools do they employ? Where do they find their inspiration? How do they face difficult challenges in creative and novel ways?
On the first day of the project, we invited our creative group to a series of idea sessions around what was possible in the space. Here Andy describes how things are getting started, and what he hopes for the future of the project.
Watch the video above, and join him in the journey to answering these questions!
An Obama 2012 campaign promise to emphasize education has already been fulfilled in some respects: The president’s team schooled Romney’s on how to run an effective, analytics-driven campaign, and educated marketers on best practices for analytics-enabled marketing using Big Data and social media.
Whatever your political affiliation, if you’re a marketer, it’s worth studying how the Obama team leveraged analytics to win the election.
1. Treat analytics as a creative force. It takes creativity and broad thinking to consider whether a phone call from a local person versus someone in a non-swing state makes a difference, then analyzing the impact. This was one of many ways that the Obama team was creative in the application of analytics. Since your competitors are likely to have similar data, software, and analytics expertise, the game-changing difference is in uncovering key insights by thinking broadly and creatively about how the world works and how to influence consumers.
2. Target customers with highest potential. The Obama team was masterful at identifying the swing voters who could be persuaded in granular key battleground geographies. Who are your most persuadable “swing voters”? Which customers offer the highest upside potential? Marketers too often focus investments on their current most valuable customers, which often is not where the real opportunity lies. Developing detailed customer profiles, predictive models, and experiments reveals customers who should be targeted for their potentially greater share of wallet and responsiveness to marketing. …Continue reading
Essentially, a woman named Sheena wore the same LDB (that’s “little black dress” in fashion parlance) for a full year – 365 days – as an exercise in sustainability and a fundraiser to support educating children living in Indian slums. It’s a project with the same spirit as Noah Scalin’s Skull-a-Day project and countless other I-must-do-x-task-for-365-days goals. But, for some reason, I gleaned fresh insights from Sheena’s project, specifically around the notions of constraints and optimism.
The author of the article I was reading said she was inspired not only by this woman’s ability to “live fashionably with less laundry” but also by the inherent truth that emerged from the project: “creativity thrives under constraint.” I think there’s something inspiring about knowing that constraints – whether a small budget, limited people, or a dwarfed amount of time – often produce the most interesting, unexpected results. Who would have known that a cap-sleeved, button down black dress could evolve into something appropriate for a Southern wedding and at the same time be the perfect outfit for running a marathon? Ironically, it seems constraints actually free us towards possibilities we didn’t know we were capable of achieving. For another example, check this out: MIT Students beat Nasa on Beer Budget. …Continue reading
Almost all brands need energy in order to gain visibility and support key associations, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. I wrote later that one way to gain energy is with an ownable, internal branded energizer.
However, creating and owning an internal branded energizer that resonates with the target segments and energizes and enhances the target brand is difficult and expensive. It can take years to get traction at a time where action is needed in months. Indeed, it may not be feasible at all in a marketplace in which competitors have strong brands and active energizers of their own.
An alternative is the “external branded energizer, a brand that is owned by another organization. In essence, you find a brand already established with energy and attach the target brand to it. By energy, I mean some combination of exciting/interesting, involving/engaging, innovative/dynamic, and/or purpose-driven/passionate.
There is an infinite supply of brands outside your organization that have the potential to energize and enhance that also have enormous strength, are not tied to competitors, and can be linked to the target brand. With discipline and creativity, candidates can be located. The challenge is to create and manage the resulting co-brand alliance.
Growth from constraints: Bishop Allen and the EP a month project
Every project requires time, people and money. Most of the time we think of these things as constraints that restrict our possibilities. But what if we let these perceived constraints activate our creativity?
In 2006, Brooklyn based indie-rock band Bishop Allen took the constraints of producing an album and turned them into an opportunity. They started the EP a Month Project. Essentially, the band produced, released and distributed a 4-song EP every month for a year. The project changed the band’s approach to writing music entirely and was instrumental to the bands success.
In this episode of Interested and Interesting, we talk with the founding members of Bishop Allen and explore the story of the EP a Month Project. How did they turn the constraints of music writing into a transforming innovation for the band? How can you take the lessons learned by Bishop Allen and apply them to changing your business? [Music by Bishop Allen]
From Prophet’s curator and provocateur team, Interested and Interesting is a monthly exploration of the business of brand, marketing, innovation, digital, design, and analytics. Hosts Geof and Josh introduce listeners to inspiring stories that engage and illustrate business principles in an abstract, provocative way. Our goal – to inspire listeners and liberate ideas to help drive business growth.
Crayola is a legacy brand that has universal awareness that one associates with making colorful drawings as a child. The 64-count box of crayons represents for many the emotional symbol of what was great about childhood. The century old firm had challenges brought on in part by the advent of electronic competitors for a time, from television to gaming and in part by simple demographics. Crayola was in need of a refresh of their vision, offerings, and culture.
In the inaugural issue of the Journal of Brand Strategy, Crayola CMO Victoria Lozano speaks about how this was accomplished. The process started with the assembly of a team of influential people with conceptual skills that represented different functions and levels within the company, plus an additional few people from outside the firm. With outside consultants facilitating, they spent 20% of their time for four months developing a brand identity for Crayola and determining what the brand should stand for both internally and externally. They looked at the company, the brand and their customers from every angle. In particular, they considered the firm’s heritage and challenges and whether the target market should be restricted to children or instead focus on creativity and developing products for the inner child in adults. As anyone who has been involved in such projects knows, getting the concepts and words right is difficult. …Continue reading