Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Can we get over the Big Idea already

two ideas are better than one!, originally uploaded by big bozo.

So growing up in the old style of advertising and in recent years moving closer to digital. I am starting to loose my patience with everyone always talking about the big idea concept. I realised a while back the fact that a lot of what we do in our industry is more so as a communications or reference point internally with all the stake holders in the marketing process, more than the right thing to address the objectives of the problem at hand.

With all the specialisation that has happened over the years. There is a huge amount of people involved in the entire process from agency side (how many agencies sit at the table now) and even more so client side. The confusing thing is everyone wants to put their two pence worth in. Have a look at this example here where a marketing department creates a stop sign.

So why do we use the big idea concept. Because having a clear linear direction that everybody in the process gets behind makes it an easier concept for multiple companies and people to get behind. Client can say in the hallway to the finance director....

'hey chuck (I know very american) we have spent that £15mill on a great BIG IDEA.... its all about ......., '

in response

'Well done Dav, thats a great big idea, that I can tell all my friends at my dinner party on saturday night about . Im not going to cut your budget next quarter' .

It also is about big brands doing big things.... big TV ads... outdoor sites, homepage takeovers etc. But we kind of missed something that I think its really important. People are not linear. We are in a world were people want personalised and customisable experiences. Even BBC is getting onboard with the upgrade of the site and iplayer. The digital world has blown this way of working apart.

I am going to turn to someone I really admire, David Armano who has addressed with in a great presentation about Microinteractions . He explains the power of a microinteraction on slide 43 and his view that every little thing counts. This is where communications planning began I thought, but it seems to have gone back to the big idea concept. But this isnt right in the digital world and in the new world of brand building.

Why dont we look at the No.1 brand to check it out.... Well Google is now the number one brand in the UK. How did they get there. Making a great simple awesome search algorithm... a Big Idea. But that didnt get them to number one straight away. It got them a long way but its the recent work alongside that big idea which is the rest of al the little ideas they launch constantly that pushed them up there.... look at slide 46.

I still think there is a lot of legs in big ideas like Sony and Gorilla. But what will really drive it into the next realm is the little interactions that are personalised and customisable experiences for different audiences, that will take your brand even further than just the Big Idea concept.

So we need to start adjusting the way we work with clients. The processes we have, our structures and remuneration. Its going to be hard work.... but easy jobs are no fun


Valeria Maltoni said...

I will be interested in any thoughts you can offer on remuneration and process for agencies. The other concept that really fascinates me is the "not invented here," which flies in the face of micro interactions executed properly, each building on the other.

While big ideas may be important to hang your hat on for a company to exist - the differentiating point, which you allude to in you post - I think execution to tuck in many small ideas around that is crucial to success. Feedback loops, alignment, etc.

mike said...

I love your comment about a feedback loop system. i will drop you a note