09 November 2006

The IDEA Conference Recap 2

This is the second post on Advertising for Success blog detailing highlights of the IDEA Conference: Redefining Creativity and discussing implications for small businesses and online marketers.

5. Digitize everything: Not just your ads, but also your store, your product and even your employees. Here to help you is Linden Labs CEO Philip Rosedale, creator of the virtual world Second Life. What was once the futurist domain of "Tron" is now something anybody with a broadband connection—and potentially an ailing first life-can tap into. Think you can't make an emotional connection in the digital world? Then you should have seen the star of a heart-tugging video Mr. Rosedale screened, a woman who found a husband and a career in Second Life.
Second Life is a huge online community, with real estate, employment, singles groups, you name it. Want instant status? Purchase an island. This 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents, 1,320,732 virtual citizens. There are even virtual reality shows-really!

6. Nostalgia is death: Quoting Bob Dylan, Paul Budnitz, founder of Kidrobot, took aim at the marketing world's tendency to slavishly ape bygone pop culture. (That means you, VH1 and Hello Kitty.) Mr. Budnitz said there's no creativity behind thinking derivatively=—like, for example, when marketers create toy spinoff- of blockbuster films. He offered the notion that real creativity is about making something that is "entirely new and in the moment." He did, however, distinguish nostalgia (bad) from appropriation (good), in which familiar themes serve as a jumping-off point for the creation of a completely fresh idea, as evident in the twisted work of Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami.
Murakami's work ranges from cartoon-like paintings to minimalist sculptures to giant balloons and many other promotional items inscribed with his signature character, Mr. DOB.

7. Let consumers inside: For the Barenaked Ladies' first independent release on the Nettwerk record label, co-founder Terry McBride wanted them to be able to work outside the 12-song-per-album box. Their recording sessions yielded 29 songs, from which Mr. McBride pulled 250 tracks for fans to mix into their own versions. The mixes will be submitted for a forthcoming fans' EP. "It's not about control, but the fact that the fan owns the brand," Mr. McBride said during the Corbis "Who Owns Your Brand?" breakout session. "Fans do all the marketing for us."
Choices. Give your customer choices on your website. Fresh, varied content. Extraordinary products and services. Interactive features that empower customers and clients to find what they want on your site. Make your site "sticky" so people stay.

8. Prototype early: That way, said Paul Bennett, chief creative at IDEO, you won't end up with "dinosaur babies" (a product "so ugly only its mother could love it"). Creative teams can sometimes get so wrapped up in a project they can't let go or realize it's not going to work the way they initially intended. Making prototypes early on in the creative process helps with troubleshooting and allows for feedback on the more complicated areas of the product. "The notion of prototyping is, if it's bad, you can let it go."
Prototyping. Try your product or service out before you are committed to costly development and distribution costs. This IDEA seems to conflict with the "trust your gut" philosophy advocated by David Jones (See 2. from yesterday's post here). What do you think?

9. Drugs won't supply your 'Aha!' moment: They no longer fuel the creativity of Alex Bogusky, chief creative officer at Crispin Porter & Bogusky. "There was a time where I'd be working on something where I'd need to drink," Mr. Bogusky said. "The problem is, the longer you do it, the smaller that window for creativity gets. And then you're trashed." He also pointed out that getting to that eureka time requires hard graft and is often about ripping up lots of OK ideas and starting over. (And you thought it was just brilliance and the occasional bong!)
This was a personal declaration and makes a very good case against substance abuse. This is good advice for any occupation, but makes you wonder how about Mr. Bogusky!

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