Category Archives: Creativity

Brand Fast-Trackers #195 – Innovation Comes from Practice

Brainstorm, Innovation, Tom Fishburne
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Contrary to the cartoon above, you don’t always have to face the maze of destruction when bringing an innovative idea to market.

Innovation, Debra Kaye, Red Thread Thinking

Today we speak with global innovation & trends expert Debra Kaye. Debra is an author of the brand new book Red Thread ThinkingWe have covered innovation in the past before with both Mark Sebell and Bryan Mattimore. Mark’s episode focused more on how large brands can innovate from the C-Suite and what that process looks like. Bryan focused on the brainstorming process itself. What I really like about Debra’s perspective is the tie to profit.

Let’s be honest, ideas are great. Innovation is better. BUT unless you can take it to market and make a profit out of it, it is just another idea. And in the immortal words of Dave Knox, “The problem is, people have ideas and aren’t taking action.” Applying this to Debra’s book, it is fundamental to tie new ideas to profitability. Debra puts it simply:

“I think what holds us back is fear and doubt; that’s what actually holds us back a lot in life in everything. Right? And innovation’s really all about connections. [. . .] You don’t really need to have any creativity. You just need to do a really good gap analysis of what’s missing. Any company today that really looks at their marketplace and looks at gaps and looks at consumer needs can be great innovators. That’s what innovation’s really all about.”

One of the key things that Debra touched on is separating creativity from innovation Once you realize that it comes down to analytics and seeing an opportunity, the pressure of being creative goes away. Take a listen to the episode below and hear more from Debra about this and her nuggets on insights. Enjoy!

Connect with Kat on Google +LinkedIn or Twitter.

[Lead Image by The Marketoonist | Tom Fishburne]

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Brand Fast-Trackers #193 – Gordon Gekko is Dead

Gordan Gekko
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Today’s guest is Peter Shankman, perhaps most well-known for founding HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which he then sold to Vocus. Peter has a new book coming out in April called Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management Is Over–and Collaboration Is In

In a lot of ways, the theme of Peter’s book is something we have discussed many times on this show. The episode we did with Havas Global CEO David Jones comes to mind when we discussed his book, Who Cares Wins. This was also echoed when we spoke with Edelman’s Carol Cone. The era of Gordon Gekko is over.

Peter’s key takeaway? People, your customers, want to do business with nice companies, and that translates to how companies treat the environment and how they treat their employees. Customers are taking a stand and will support nice companies over less responsible ones. The last numbers on this I read were in the Edelman Good Purpose study and almost 80% of customers will choose the more responsible or cause-focused brand over one that is not that way. The best part is that these companies are discovering that ‘being nice’ and ‘being responsible’ grows their bottom line. Seems like a win-win to me.

Of course, according to Shankman, there’s one more bonus to this behavior. He shares:

“Companies, screw up, they screw up all the time. It’s not a question of if your company will screw up, it’s a matter of when. So what you want is to have a good attitude and to be a good company with good stewardship and good management that takes responsibility for your actions all the time so that when you do screw up, your customers do come back to you and they are not running away in fear. They say, ‘you know what? everyone screws up and we are willing to give them another chance’ as opposed to the company who is go, go, go, kill, kill, kill. The one time they do screw up, they don’t really have that bag of saving grace.”

Peter goes on to share many more specific tips to brands and brand manager with recent real world examples. He also offers his thoughts on entrepreneurship and reveals the thing that drove him to start his own business. Tune in below, on iTunes or check us out on Stitcher.

Connect with Kat on Google +LinkedIn or Twitter.

[Lead Image via The Inquisitor]

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Brand Fast-Trackers #192 – Branding an Ingredient

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Woohoo the theme is now live!! I am beyond thrilled and hope you will stand by a wee bit longer as we perfect any kinks. :-) And of course, as always, I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Branding an Ingredient

Marketing Silos

On to today’s podcast….we are returning to our series with Chris Brace  (See Episodes 140141144147149155, 159), and despite the numerous episodes we have done with him, something new clicked for me and made me pull out my copy of Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston‘s fantastic Marketing in the Round. We spoken a lot about consumers and shoppers and we have spoken about integrated marketing, but what I never quite hit on was that marketers must put the needs of these two together. As Chris put it:

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Brand Fast-Trackers #191 – Marketing is a Joke

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Today, I’m thrilled to discuss our recent interview with Joseph Jaffe, someone I read via his regular MediaPost column and listen to regularly whether on his own podcast Across the Sound, Bob Knorpp’s The Bean Cast or Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation. Joseph is a matchmaker who pairs big brands with new start-ups because he believes (and I agree) that both have something to offer each other. Learn more at Evol8tion.

Two things really hit home for me in listening to Joseph speak. The first is that the marketing department, led by the CMO, has fairly limited power within most major brands. And this despite those $4 Million per spot Super Bowl ads. As Joseph puts it:

Today, marketing is a joke. Today, the chief marketing officer, we all know the stats, tenure of less than two years. They own nothing anymore, except for promotions and advertising. They don’t own distribution. They don’t own pricing. They don’t own R&D. They don’t own a lot of the things that even pertain to the four P’s.

In a way this was not surprising and yet hearing that the four pillars we can all recite in our sleep – priceproduct,promotion, and place - are to a certain extent out of our power is extremely disheartening. So how can we overcome this? Especially since marketing is changing so rapidly. Perhaps it is, as Joseph puts it, the blending of IT and Marketing. I’ve certainly read a lot about the coming of the CMTO and it makes a lot of sense. Joseph speaks about it this way:

I was discussing with someone today, this prediction from IBM that marketing will spend more on IT, or technology, than the IT department will. I said to them, ‘Yeah. That’s true, but the real question is will the IT people figure out marketing before the marketing people figure out IT?’ If they do, there will be more marketing.

I think the real key to this podcast and Joseph’s prescription to fix marketing is for technology and marketing (Silicon Valley & Madison Avenue) coming together in innovative partnerships. This kind of creative collaboration will eventually not only change how marketing is perceived, but also change how effective it can be. This certainly echoes what we heard from R/GA Chief Creative Nick Law.

What do you think? Is a match between Silicon Valley and Madison Avenue the perfect match?

Connect with Kat on Google +LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Brand Fast-Trackers #189 – Idea Storming

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In today’s episode we speak with Bryan Mattimore, founder of innovation consultancy The Growth Engine and author of Idea Stormers: How to Lead and Inspire Creative Breakthroughs.  Say the word ‘brainstorm’ to a colleague and you just might get an eye roll as a response. Brainstorming has gotten a bad rap.

Bryan shares that brainstorms are poorly designed most of the time, both in who gets included and how ideas are generated. They can result in plenty of ideas, but ideas themselves are not innovative. It is what you do with the ideas that becomes innovative. As Bryan puts it:

“There are dozens if not hundreds of creative challenges that lie in the way when bringing a product to market, so it is easy to give up.”

Bryan specializes in helping companies tackle the ideation to innovation barrier and bring exciting products to market. So brainstorming becomes idea storming. I think whether you are an entrepreneur or in the words of Ekaterina Walter, an intrapreneur; whethere you are on the brand team or the agency team; whether you work at a small business or a large business, there are nuggets here to help bring new ideas both to life and to market.

Tune in below to here more.

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