the networked business of the future September 15, 2011Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, brand experience, digital, Knowledge Peers, social business, social media, technology.
Last night I presented at the Knowledge Peers event: Technology – transforming growing businesses at the Design Council, Covent Garden, London. A lot of good presentations and discussions with a genuinely interested and intelligent audience asking some probing questions about cloud, social business and the changes required. And then I came on. I was the entertainment; the only one in jeans as far as I could tell. Certainly the only one in trainers.
I think the title is quite misleading. My bit was about how technology has changed companies, the problems they face and the benefits of becoming a more social business internally and externally. It picks up on themes from a couple of previous posts on social business if you fancy checking that out.
So up I popped and did my thing. And it was all going so well. New content, on form, enjoying it and then unfortunately the technology in the Design Council had a spaz. A big one. The keyboard wouldn’t work, the mouse wouldn’t work and any attempt to run slide show resulted in it all just blitzing through the slides and ending up on slide sorter. The irony of the session prior to me involving the shift towards employees bringing their own IT equipment into the workplace was not lost on me. (An ironic) thanks, Design Council. So I managed to convey the key messages (I hope) and promised to share the slides with the funny, sweary videos in them. They’re up there. Also because the technology spazzed, here’s the script. I went off script last night, a lot I think, as I usually do. I don’t normally write a script either so this is a rare collector’s item. But this is what I was meant to say.
THE NETWORKED BUSINESS OF THE FUTURE
Knowledge Peers event, 14 September 2011 @ Design Council, London
I’d like to share a part of a speech given by Ben Hammersley, the editor of Wired, gave to the IAAC this week – the Government’s talking shop for lots of things including cyber security. It’s a brilliant read. Probably better than the next 10 minutes with me, in truth. But then again, he hasn’t got the videos I’ve got so stay with me. The thrust of Ben’s speech was similar to the themes we’ve explored tonight; how technology is rapidly changing our world and the line that stands out for me is this…
“The Internet is the dominant platform for life in the 21st Century… it is the central platform for business, culture and personal relationships.”
It is. Not soon, not in a few years but now.
But in business, we’re slow to catch up. And I’ll share why this is happening and what needs to change internally and externally.
Some of you may be thinking exactly this. I know a lot of clients I have spoken too in the last few years have also experienced this horror too. Some put their heads in the sand; some jump headlong. Most just haven’t seen it coming.
We live in 2011. We are in the information age. But we act as if we’re in the industrial age. Factory mentality rules. Process this, refine that, get a repeatable outcome every single time. No exceptions. Except in our economy, that doesn’t happen. We don’t live in a 9-5 economy. Example: Facebook traffic peaks at weekends and evenings. How many brand managers are actively looking after their brand beyond Monday to Friday 9-5? We live in lumpy times. Not repeatable. Our workload is up and down. So we compensate for lumpiness with meetings. Because downtime is a sin. But where some detest this, others embrace it. Google allow developers 20% of their working week to develop projects. This is where Gmail, Google Plus and other game-changing technologies have come from. Not sat in endless meetings or churning through a gazillion poor uses of email that are a time sink.
But here’s the thing. We fear change. Because change means different. It’s hard. And the change needed is immense because it spans the entire organisation, not just adding Facebook and ticking the social media box in the comms list. We need to change across the enterprise. Change from jealously guarding our knowledge stocks and eking out ever decreasing profits from them. To become more open, collaborative and sharing.
Because the silo model organisation inhibits growth. Of course you can’t break down all the barriers. That would cause chaos. Or an ad agency as we tend to see it. No, you need to become more porous. Demilitarize the silos. Fundamentally sharing the data reserves. But harnessing it and mining it for actionable insights. Not just pretty charts. And it can work.
<examples on screen>
And it’s a similar story for marketing to people. The external environment.
Look at this timeline and look how long TV has been there. It’s now a process. Honed and toned. Familiar, trusted and yes, still effective. But with recent developments, it can be bigger, better, more effective.
And then technology came along and we hid away because we fear change. But even old things that we thought were dying have been given a new lease of life. Take outdoor. Eyeballs were the thing. But nobody looks up any more. We’re praying to the blackberry. But give them a reason to look up
<McDonald’s Sweden interactive billboard>
For years marketing has been like a scene from Ghostbusters.
Bear with me here.
Don’t cross the streams! Why?
Dr. Egon Spengler: There’s something very important I forgot to tell you.
Dr. Peter Venkman: What?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Don’t cross the streams.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Why?
Dr. Egon Spengler: It would be bad.
Dr. Peter Venkman: I’m fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, “bad”?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Right. That’s bad.
So don’t cross the streams. It’s bad. And the marketing MIX became silos. Oh the irony.
We carefully trap our consumer in our stream of high impact telly, grapple him with press and outdoor, and opt him in to an email programme that will bludgeon him to death with messages until he finally buys our product. And now he’s in our box, we’ll maintain our CRM programme to keep him loyal. Process. We love that stuff in marketing world.
Here’s the thing though; technology changes, people don’t. They like to disrupt. To change. To do new things. And new things don’t have a history of past performance so we don’t know what will happen.
We fear change.
This is why brands have been slow to embrace technology.
All the while our consumers are doing interesting things without us. They love mixing the steams, messing with things. Our precious brand being messed with is hard to take. But it can be brilliant.
<Backstreet Boys weird manga>
Which is why brands are behind the curve on mobile. It’s perhaps the most exciting thing to happen in marketing yet it’s being largely ignored.
Mobile devices were predicted to outsell PC shipments in 2015. This already happened in the last quarter of this year.
The opportunity for brands in simultaneous viewing is huge.
It becomes more communal, enriching and adds excitement.
Just hop on Twitter or Facebook on a Saturday night when X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing are on. I don’t have a video of Anne Widdicombe. I don’t want to make you all ill.
Mobile represents as big a shift as TV did. Because you always have it with you. 35% of women under 30 check their Facebook news feed BEFORE they get up.
It’s exciting because we know your location, the context (contextual ads based on mobile search terms have 6x greater impact than banner ads on the web), it is real-time. And if you can combine the data you have unleashed form silos, imagine how powerful that is?
But let’s not get too carried away, there are things it cannot do.
<David Lynch on the iPhone>
Contrary to popular belief, TV is not dead. It’s evolving. We spend more time watching TV than anything else. Still. We do it in different ways. Technology has improved our telly entertainment. But it also means we need to be smarter. Run of network will get fast-forwarded – some 70% of ads are fast forwarded on PVRs which is no surprise when we’re time and place-shifting our viewing. Appointment to view TV gets saturated and expensive. You need to think and behave differently to light the fires a great TV ad can start. If a Yoghurt brand can think differently, you can too. Yeo Valley wanted to change perceptions of being an organic brand and decided TV was they to go for the first time and took over the entire ad break in X-Factor last year with something quite different.
<Yeo Valley Rapping Farmers>
Different thinking, different behaviour. Great ad. Did it work?
In the 12 weeks to December 25 2010, the brand experienced a 14.9% year-on-year sales uplift, outperforming the total yogurt market by two-and-a-half times. Total downloads of the song from the ad on iTunes has exceeded 27,000 copies.
<source: UTalk Marketing>
The brand amplification and extension is social channels is still growing today.
Be brave, have budget and cross your streams. Activate your brand, embrace your community and let go.
I’ll leave you with this great example of Lego. It’s not by Lego. But technology and fan passion makes this a great ad for Lego.
< Lego, Death Star Canteen>
You stay classy, San Diego.
(I didn’t say that.)