Life changes

I’ve recently made a big decision and decided to go freelance – so far so good!

Really loving the flexibility it is giving me, the insight into different companies/agencies and the variety of work.

So, if anyone has any interesting creative projects they need a producer for then let me know!  Although I’m a digital specialist, ‘ve got some ATL experience too and keen to expand my experience in this area too.

Experience Economy

Really jolly interesting article about consumer motivations from the New York Times.

Must write my musings  about ‘seeking out meaning not money’ and what this will mean for people like myself working with technology (and at an ad agency!).

But, perhaps when I’m not about to drop….Zzzzz.

Just when we thought we were getting digital

Just been reading an interesting article about Creative Technologists by Crispin Porter & Bogusky which was food for thought.

Creative Technologists are beasts which already exist in many digital agencies, but often is the case that ‘traditional developers’ are still at the fore.

What do I mean by the traditional developer?  Basically someone who is passed a brief, and asked to build something, pretty much without asking questions. This is compared to a Creative Technologist who in the ideal world is involved in the project from the start to finish, pushing the boundaries, not hemmed in by their particular programming language and looking for opportunities to apply technology creatively for brands they work with to help them grow their brand. Which will win? As technology infuses our lives further and further it only makes sense that roles like the latter become increasingly significant in creative agencies and account planning.

But to truly make the shift I don’t think this will be easy, for all parties.  For ‘traditional developers’ it would be a steep learning curve and shift in skill set: understanding branding/brand communications and being able to apply technology to the brands, improving communication skills so they become more like account people in a way (technology sales people essentially), generally being less code driven and more creatively driven (therefore a wider tool box of technological knowledge that reaches well beyond what a programming language) – they also need to be infinitely curious and open to learning, to prove their true worth and stay ahead of the fast moving curve.

For account people and producers, it will be a challenge to open their eyes fully to the breadth of technology and understand how this can fit into projects and account planning.

For clients it will be to be brave and work in new unchartered territory.  Balancing any risk with the fact that this is often where the biggest wins can be found. And ultimately recognising how technology is going to become more integral to our lives as themes like the ‘internet of things’ start to breathe more life.  This being the idea that we will live in an intelligent world of objects, things and products all conversing with each other throughout a network – it’s no longer about the internet, it’s about a whole infrastructure of technology supporting our lives and interactions.  The new opportunities for brands will be there for the taking, if they can keep their eyes open to new types of opportunities, models and partnerships.

Naturally it will be developers who will make the easiest transition to this new mind set.  You can also see that masses of developers have natural leanings towards creativity.  However I think true Creative Technologists will be relatively rare in the current market place and not it’s not particularly anyone’s fault, it’s just because many developers are used to being delivered a brief and not being part of forming the brief so they aren’t in the habit of trying to inform the solution creatively and being an agnostic source of technology information.

I guess the key is starting to put developers even more at the heart of the creative solution (and not just lip service) – otherwise they won’t have the mandate to behave as such.  There will also be a job to be done in skilling up in the areas that aren’t part of their current tool box (less about code and more about the brand angle).

New creative team models will also play a role. I think creative teams could and should in future include: art director, technologist + ‘a/the’ brand expert (which depending on the agency set-up could already be the Art Director already), to provide a good balance of perspectives.  The old model of copy writers and art directors, seem less relevant, although not entirely irrelevant.

I think for any one who works in an agency, it’s going to be a whole new learning curve away from creative applications of digital and towards creative Technology, new business models and new concepts of the role of agencies for their accounts.

…just when everyone thought they were getting digital!

Case study: Kopparberg and integration

I also sat in on a case study about Kopparberg the drinks brand at my recent excursion to JUMP conference.  They’ve done some really interesting and creative work which has travelled brilliantly across platforms and media.

What’s interesting is that have created an almost cult-ish following by moving away from their original creative based around their arguably stale image of Swedish heritage, towards an underground, youth focused image, whilst keeping the idea of being something authentic and credible.

The big idea = if you find Koppaberg you’ll find cool stuff.

It was done on a relatively low budget too apparently by tapping into existing underground gigs, films, events etc.  Through these they created a fully immersive experience based around the theme of ‘discovery’ (and they also managed to create loads of creative assets relatively cheaply in the process).  They ‘sponsored’ The Joy formidable and created a promo for them, which became their ad and also used photography from the gigs for print.  The band are now tipped to be one of the biggest new acts of the year.

Facebook fans 7k > 24K. Sales up 52%. so can’t have been a bad job!

Have a look: http://www.findkopparberg.com/

‘Find a new place to party, an undiscovered band, an underground event or a new creative talent. Find the special, the rare and the wonderful. Find Kopparberg.’

Heineken and the value engaging digital content

Gosh it has been a while since I posted.

Anyway,  I went to a conference earlier this week about the convergence of digital with traditional marketing.

Thought I would share something interesting, seeing as you are likely sat around chomping on your sarnie.

First one is a case study from Heineken, which originally started as a PR Stunt for the Italian market and the video of it went viral globally and reached an audience of 40 million (so they say).

Definitely worth a watch for some creative inspiration.  Reminds us of the power of creating engaging and entertaining content is one of the most powerful things on the web (not static brochure websites!).

There was a good quote from the campaign:

‘Don’t show me the script, show me the press release’ (Founder of Crispin Porter and Bogusky)

SEO checklist

The WebConfs website has a very useful list of “Best and Worst Practices for Designing a High Traffic Website.” Basically they collected all the major factors that might affect the search optimization of your site, attributing a score to them. The score ranges from -3, which is very bad for your site, to +3, which is very good. Below you will find a summary of the most important factors:

Keywords

  • Keyword in title tag (+3)
  • Keyword in URL (+3)
  • Keyword density in document (+3)
  • Keyword in H1 and H2 headings (+3)
  • Keyword in the beginning of document (+2)
  • Keyword in ALT tags (+2)
  • Keyword in Meta tags (+1)
  • Keyword stuffing (-3)

Links

  • Anchor text of inbound links (+3)
  • Origin of inbound links (+3)
  • Links from similar sites (+3)
  • Links from .edu and .gov sites (+3)
  • Anchor text of internal links (+2)
  • Many outgoing links (-1)
  • Outbound links to bad neighbors (-3)
  • Cross-linking (-3)

Meta tags

  • Description Meta Tag (+1)
  • Keywords Meta Tag (+1)
  • Refresh Meta Tag (-1)

Content

  • Unique content (+3)
  • Frequent updates (+3)
  • Age of content (+2)
  • Poor coding or design (-2)
  • Invisible text (-3)
  • Doorway pages (-3)
  • Duplicate content (-3)

Other factors

  • Site accessibility (+3)
  • Sitemap (+2)
  • Site size (+2)
  • Site age (+2)
  • Top-level domain (+1)
  • URL length (0)
  • Hosting downtime (-1)
  • Flash (-2)
  • Misused Redirects (-3)

A noble cause – web accessiblity

Accessibility is all about making sure your website, app etc is accessible to all regardless of any disability.  See wiki for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_accessibility).

I was recently looking to educate myself a little more about this topic and found this article on accessibility which summarises some of the key points.  So even if you aren’t going for the top  AAA standard (apparently fairly hard to attain), this is a good starting point for the basics:  http://www.accessible.org/accessible-web-designs.html.

Examples include:

  • Making sure buttons make sense by themselves i.e. if it says ‘click here’ a partially sighted person tabbing through content won’t know what they are clicking to see.  So better to say ‘click here for news’.
  • Making sure the images and text are enlargeable.
  • Making sure images and maps have alt tags.

Etc….

The guidelines come from the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Guidelines – which I believe is the main document everyone referts to for AAA standards and has lots of detail in it: http://www.w3.org/WAI/