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tiny explosive ideas with tiny explosive coffee October 16, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in book review, growth hacking, marketing.
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Stop thinking about the “big” idea. The big idea that marketing searches for elusively. We’ve all sat in meetings searching for the big idea. Written briefs that demand a big idea. Followed a path of big media that will fuel a big idea. And moaned that either the agency can’t come up with the big idea or that the client isn’t brave enough to go with the big idea.

Well, forget the big idea. Because the growth hackers don’t need them, They focus on the tiny ideas that have an explosive, catalytic quality. Ideas that have propelled Airbnb, dropbox and even hotmail from start up to brands of hugeness seemingly overnight. The tiny ideas that as marketeers, we seem to have forgotten – or skip over because they’re not big enough. And tiny ideas that exclude marketing completely and re-focus energy into the product itself. Get the product fit first.

You don’t have to be a start up either to start re-thinking your approach to gaining customers and growing revenue – something all of us in marketing are guilty of when we are in the pursuit of ‘the launch’ of new products. The book challenges us to think again and get out of the formulaic box that we’ve allowed ourselves to crawl into.

This book is packed with examples and inspiration. And it’s also tiny in size. Easily consumed on a tiny plane doing a tiny European short haul hop.

Tiny is good. I’ll be thinking tiny and explosive from now on.

Thanks to Georgie at Profile Books for providing the book to review. I have not been paid for this review but obviously wouldn’t mind if it were on offer.


agency fuel September 15, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in agency life, coffee, honest coffees.
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I do like a bit of coffee as my tweets will show. So a surprise package in the post from Honest Coffees was always going to go down well. Free coffee in the post. What’s not to like? Honest Coffees supply agencies and what-not with coffee subscriptions – proof that you can subscribe to anything these days. But given that agencies are fuelled by such substances to maintain the energy levels against the blank sheet of paper at the start of the day and the ebb and flow of internal and client rejection and adoration, this mailing seems a super-smart idea to me. I also noticed the close to sell-by date on the sample itself but I also think this is another smart idea to make sure your stock doesn’t go to waste. Mind you, coffee lasts forever right?

Now onto the tasting. The coffee is a dark roast called Smooth Operator. It’s a little too dark and bitter for me. Maybe I just haven’t got the levels right in the cafetiere?

say hello to your little friend – travel light August 11, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in business travel, gadgets, nomad, nomadkey, technology, Uncategorized.
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photo 2 photo 1

I’ve been doing a lot of business travel recently and one of the major pains is carrying all the leads and power cables for your various devices. So it was pretty timely that the guys at Nomad asked me to try out their new Nomadkey – a USB cable that’s well, key sized.

It’s small (yes, key sized), rubberised material and bendy and flexible. It fits snugly on your key ring or just in the many pockets of your bag. And it’s nowhere near as bulky as your phone charger. I travelled with both for a couple of trips because without phone power, you become paranoid but I left it at home the last couple of times. I seem to take my laptop with me so it’s easy just to plug it into that or the TV USB in the hotel room that I discovered on this.

It’s great. I use it all the time at my desk too rather than fiddling around with many wires and sockets.

I haven’t yet used the credit card version but I’m off again soon so will give it a whirl and update.

photo 3

Thanks to Olivia at Nomad. I have not been paid for this post.

this is what excellence in integrated digital communications looks like August 2, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, align technology, award, communique awards 2014, digital, Doner, integration, invisalign, social media.
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WINNERSme winner

We won an award recently and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am. It was for the work we’ve been doing for Align Technology to generate awareness and lead generation for Invisalign across Europe.

The award was for the 2013 consumer campaign, “Smile and the Whole World Smiles With You” received the Excellence in Integrated Digital Communication award at the 2014 Communique Awards on July 3.

The Invisalign Smile campaign ran across key markets in Europe, where a mix of appointment-to-view television programming on digital channels was sponsored with integrated digital direct response, social media paid advertising, social media community activation programs, Pay Per Click, and digital innovations such as Zeebox in the UK and use of the new Twitter Card lead generation functionality. This strategic approach was designed to get more target consumers to ask for Invisalign treatment at dental practitioners and leveraged an integrated consumer marketing campaign that engaged and motivated people with problem teeth to start Invisalign treatment.

The award judges summed it up nicely:

“The beauty of this campaign is its demonstration of what could be achieved outside standard pharma practice. It was a paradigm in terms of its integration of carefully chosen, appropriate channels and had digital at its heart. It’s also very in-sync with where the industry is going to have to go in terms of the breadth and connectivity of different communications channels.”




And it also worked, here’s what Raph, the VP International at Align had to say:

“The Invisalign Smile campaign had a significant impact including driving prompted brand awareness for Invisalign and achieving 30% growth for Invisalign lnfo Kit downloads and Find an Invisalign Provider searches. Our social media community grew a phenomenal 140% (2.5X) year on year and the Smile campaign helped to impact our total business objective by increasing Invisalign case submissions.”


Really terrific stuff. I’m really proud of this work. It shows what can happen when a client and agency work together in a proper relationship to deliver great things.


From The New Integration to The Newest Integration May 30, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in integration, thought leadership.
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The New Integration

On August 10, 2010, I posted an article on my blog entitled, “The New Integration.

At the time, there was a lot of talk about integration being dead. Integration was old, lumpy, slow and no longer sexy. It wasn’t suited to the new socially aware age.

Back then, the stand-out campaign of the year – and it still endures today as a case study of legend – was Old Spice’s “Smell Like a Man, Man.” Of course, it was an integrated campaign.

Since then, technology has moved on apace making a mockery of the simplicity of the Mad Men era and the vintage approach and lifestyle that some still seem intent to aspire to. The classic lead generation funnel is similarly viewed by misty-eyed marketers for no more use today than charting conversions in a spreadsheet. It does not provide a representation of what actually happens outside of the boardroom.

The Current State of Integration

Today, the funnel constantly shifts. The marketing landscape consists of attention-grabbing event moments in appointment to watch television that spark conversations and actions to quick-minded reactions.

The landscape continues to change too. Facebook seemingly changes weekly, while only showing interest in numbers that are in the billions. Instagram was the anti-Facebook. Then Facebook bought it. WhatsApp was the anti-Facebook – the place where the tricky to pin down youth demographic hung out. Then Facebook bought it. Snapchat launched and was much better than Facebook’s Messenger app. And then… well, not yet.

Facebook said it changed itself from a utility to a mobile company because 65% of all social activity takes place on a mobile device, according to ComScore. Mobile devices are where we’re spending more of our time. Marketers instinctively look to target this audience. Which is why you hear “mobile first” as a mantra.

We instinctively gravitate to mobile because it’s shiny. In the same way that social was shiny before Zuckerburg started sucking the dollars out of the marketing budget with diminishing returns. The mobile device is always with the consumer, so clearly we can target them exactly when and where we want. But sadly, this is mainly where broadcast media went wrong. The 30-second spot became so popular that it became wallpaper, forcing consumers to fast-forward the ad break and agencies to dial up the creativity to stand out.

Digital banners are ten a penny. Most of us have banner blindness and an odd acceptance that a 0.1% response rate is amazing. That’s 99.9% irrelevant. Mobile is heading the same way. Inventory is cheap. Reach is high. Bang ‘em out, right? Wrong.

The Newest Integration

In a recent study from Adobe entitled “Digital Roadblock: Marketers Struggle to Reinvent Themselves” personalization was the most important priority on marketer’s lists. That’s right – it out ranked mobile.

Now, we need to understand the role of mobile in a customer’s relationship/journey with a brand and the points where you can intervene and helpfully add value.

Integration has never been more relevant. Today’s integration is nimble, without boundaries, creative and impactful. Today’s integration understands the multiple and complex client and brand issues and the unstructured, unbound customer and prospect relationships with your brand and each other. Today’s integration understands how to use and blend the many, many tools – including mobile – at our disposal and how you can leverage them to work together.

The newest integration could be a responsive website, a useful app, a near-time response to a customer complaint in social media, an experiential stunt to surprise and delight or even a telly ad to stamp your brand and what you stand for right between the eyes.

For your brand to be successful in The Newest Integration, consider the following:

1. Think about the bigger decision making journey

Don’t get bogged down in the details by creating a banner ad. There are so many things that influence a decision. Identify the key experiences that consumers will resonate with to make a decision. Then, activate against an approach rather than just an idea.

2. Don’t be biased to one particular channel

If the environment is not right, then fix the environment. Don’t try to polish the turd with pretty creative. That will just be a waste of time, money and resources.

3. Avoid the temptation to attain the social status of another brand

Brands and consumers both want to be authentic. Create your own trends and establish your own voice to increase engagement and overall business results. Don’t be another me-too brand in our me-first world. It simply won’t work.

Distraction and the Internet April 17, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in distraction, internet, productivity, social media, Uncategorized, website, webtrate.
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65% of us get distracted by the Internet. Distracted form doing stuff by doing more stuff like emails, general web surfing and of course, social media. 53% also admitted that the reduction in productivity caused them dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

I can empathise. I’m far too easily distracted at present. I need to switch off. And now you can with Webtrate. Despite the site looking like it’s come from the 90s – deliberate given the context of what they’re trying t do I hope – you sign up and get a number of options to turn off all these distractions and focus. Anything from a simple timer to a complete lock down. Splendid.

Image source.

Soundbites from MediaPost OMMA London Panel: Channels, channels and more channels. April 12, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in Uncategorized.
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I was invited to be a panellist at Mediapost’s OMMA London conference on 2 April. The panel was Channels, Channels and More Channels with a large focus on mobile and video content. Although you’re welcome to watch the 45 minutes in full here, I’ve done a little deck of the soundbites from me just for fun.



small data March 26, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in big data, small data.
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I’ve been travelling a lot lately for work and the simplicity of the Dutch train system as a foreign traveller always impresses me. Not only is it incredibly simple to buy a ticket and found out which platform your train is going from at Schipol airport but once you’re on the train, the large TV style display makes it easy for you to track your journey to the minute. I’m sure there’s a gazillion data bits that sit under this but the outcome is that in a country where I can barely understand any word of the language (Dutch is hard), I can get myself around incredibly easily and it works pretty much all of the time. Compare this to the on-train service in the UK (specifically South West Trains) where the announcements are largely impenetrable and inaudible. The on-screen dot matrix horizontal scrolling is not permanently on so if you glance up to see where you’re at after you’ve dozed off, you really have no clue.

So I’m avoiding big data and becoming a fan of small data. The small things that make a big difference.



i almost did it September 16, 2013

Posted by nicholas gill in productivity, social media.
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I’ve tried to switch off from email and social before. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. After changing a few holidays around due to work commitments this year,  I was determined to switch off from work this time round. And that also meant an opportunity for no tweeting, facebooking, checking gmail etc.

It’s a lot harder than it seems. I turned off the work email and realised that my weakest time is putting the kids to bed. When they’re in the little period between shutting their eyes and then properly in the land of nod. Sometimes this takes a few minutes, more usually about 10 – 20. Usually time to attempt the inbox zero challenge and catch up on the social firehose.

Easiest to not look at was Twitter. I went the whole week. No desire to check it. Next was work email. Turning it off stops the easy lapse. I only weakened by need rather than choice as I needed to extend my break due to unforseen circumstances. So had to quickly do this on the Sunday. In and out. 90+ unread a pleasant surprise and quick eyeball meant no horror stories on the return. Switched off. I did plop a few Instagram photos out. Mainly during the kids sleep time when I got frustrated playing Minion Rush (damn, it’s hard. I must be getting old).

I only Facebook’d a few times. To share our boy’s birthday and first day at school pictures.

It’s quite surprising how the urge to take a photo, tweet or update your status is subconsciously gnawing away at you. All the time. I didn’t miss Twitter at all. I think if it had not been a birthday/back to school occasion I would not have felt the need to Facebook either. And after two days I didn’t feel the constant need to check work email either. I only looked at the home email as we’re trying to move house and lots happening there.

As a result, I’m trying not to be always-on. I’m trying to do it in bite-size chunks as I get distracted too easily. I don’t need to turn the phone on in the morning and check. I find it more relaxing. We had our son’s birthday party at the weekend and I kept my phone firmly in my pocket. No tweets, no pictures, no status updates. Just an enjoyable afternoon out.

Image source.

they do things differently in singapore September 11, 2013

Posted by nicholas gill in mentos, viral video, youtube.
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Weird huh? A country proposing to another country. Match-making land masses that have some things in common (well-educated etc.) and er, Finland is cold and Singapore is hot. But also because Finland has loads of space and Singapore is rammed. Which makes last year’s effort even more confusing: encouraging Singapore residents to make babies on the national day to address the declining birth rate. Put together, they make even less sense. But hey, it’s a bit of fun from Mentos. The tunes are catchy even if the content doesn’t really translate beyond the home country. Also, at 4 minutes, the new one is way too long and seems to suffer from the poisoned chalice that is the follow-up viral with c. 147k views Vs over 500k for the first one.

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