Tag: strategy

02
Jul

Step 2: Why Your Company Needs to Build a Brain Trust

Now that we’ve talked about creative entrepreneurship, let’s build a brain trust, shall we?

It takes more than one person and half an idea, which is why entrepreneurs need to set art, imagination and design loose into the company. One’s particular if not unique talents are small in comparison to a generative, empowered brain trust. By setting talent into motion, they can systematize imagination and let art and strategic design help solve problems collaboratively.

hands-people-woman-working (1)

A company is only as good as its people. For imaginative and capable people, everything is a canvas for the imagination, to paraphrase Thoreau. But with not so capable people, ideas are a punishment to be endured. So, cultivating great talent means not only finding the right people, but also planning and building out a brain trust. As Steven Johnson has argued, most of us walk around with half ideas in our heads; and we need others to test our assumptions, put them into practice and, ultimately, accomplish our visions.

Talent who can create, spread and adopt ideas are integral to a brain trust. They animate the organization’s environment and shape its culture – no wonder creative teams need to be intellectually, creatively and temperamentally diverse. From loud to quiet, left to right-brained, logical to free-form, a blend of perspectives and skill-sets is what makes an exceptional creative team. While the process is a raucous bustle and tussle of talking, arguing and sharing, it’s how truly innovative ideas take root and grow.

We’ve built this into our culture. Transcending the design discipline to include social scientists, MBAs and humanities graduates, our brain trust is unconventionally dynamic and collaborative.

It’s not unusual, for example, for one person to question the purpose of the traditional upfront while another deconstructs a logo from a different perspective or investigates the history of lower thirds, transitions or swipes. As Johnson puts it, “chance favors the connected mind.”

09
Jan

Winter Offers Creatives Opportunities To Quiet The Busy Mind: Are You Listening?

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons, John Lagzo

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons, John Lagzo

With the arrival of a new year, we are filled with anticipation and excitement. We can feel transition working its way through our minds and into our desks; the old giving way to the new, the future’s blank slate awaiting our touch, time and efforts.

Many of us make the mistake of turning our focus to lists of highly structured goals in the new year. And often when we share them with others, we conflate our anticipation and discussion for change with actual change. Instead of approaching 2015 with a list of resolutions and to-dos, try starting it off by doing nothing.

A difficult concept for those in our laborious and demanding industry, but this liminal time is a great opportunity to rethink our creative craft. We don’t often get opportunities to settle into the terrains of our minds, relax and daydream, or step back and ponder how we ply our trade.

But we must.

For one, the idea that long days and nights will fuel our creative selves is simply not true. On the contrary, we must recede into our brains and engage the senses. Because, whether you’re daydreaming, reading or listening to music, a relaxed and diffused mind reinvigorates creativity.

For creators of every stripe, it’s an always-looping process of doing work and then stepping back to prime the pump, so to speak, and starting all over again; it’s how we re-acquaint our talents with our profession.

The good news is, you can start 2015 by creating an atmosphere of productivity and energy, bringing vigor and awareness to your work. So, keep some of the following in mind as you clear out your calendar.

First, you have to fully appreciate the value of doing nothing for your creative work. Most artists visualize their creative preparation as “time out of time,” such as being out of sync with schedules, offices, obligations, phones, or the demands of our narrowly focused attention. Writer Don DeLillo describes this as transitioning into a new world. Ancient philosopher Plato so revered the time for creativity and thinking that he thought artists and philosophers shouldn’t be attached to any form of work because it took them away from contemplating “the good life.”

Writer Henry Miller thoroughly plotted his time spent prepping to work. He scheduled time in cafes, chats with friends and even booked himself solo explorations of whichever city he happened to be visiting. Time to doodle, draw graphs, diagrams and charts were ways Miller relaxed his mind to broaden his perspective and ease back into the work of holing up to write.

We can apply these same principles to the cluster of days at the beginning of the New Year, when colleagues and clients are still transitioning back into the workflow and meetings and schedules are noticeably, but temporarily light.

We must harness that crux of excitement and possibility with the openness of time we are temporarily allowed. Unfettered and unabashedly unproductive thinking fuels your creative work. It provides the big picture and the background noise for your creative process.

So, rather than spending that precious free time poring over upcoming budgets, projects and strategy, clear your calendar for nothing. Nothing except time spent to remember how you create.

30
Dec

Audiences Want Stories With Context & Connection

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, Oracio Alvarado

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, Oracio Alvarado

Co-Founder & Director of Strategy and Research Kate Canada recently wrote an article for MediaPost about how brands can authentically provide context and connect with their audiences.

You can read the full post here, but we’ve included an extract:

Today’s audience is craving a real connection, and authentic stories that represent the changing demographics of the American landscape are one of the most powerful ways to establish that connection. Stories tap into the emotions we all share. Stories are universal ways of telling our personal view from the individual and tying it all up with what’s going on in the city, country and globe. Our job is to create stories of possibility and resonance.

I see two related opportunities for brands to meaningfully connect with audiences using story: as content for context and as content for everyday storytelling.

Content as Context

2014 was the year for telling the Big Family story, content as context. The 2014 Coca-Cola America Super Bowl spot and Honeymaid’s This is Wholesome commercial are examples of telepathic compelling campaigns; piquing our emotions without running too much in the way of sentimentality. In these spots, we see the “wide screen format” of storytelling as context. It gives the reader the emotional landscape.

Content for Everyday

The smaller but nonetheless still potent pieces of the story are what I call snap-shorts of everyday life, the smaller bits that make up our big picture. P&G’s Tide with a Problem-Solving Dad doing laundry and French-braiding his daughter’s hair; the Thank You Mom featuring kids and falling and learning with lots of support from mom; Chevy Malibu’s The Car For The Richest Guys On Earth piece or the Cheerios Here’s To Dad where the narrator looks straight into the camera and says, “We make the new rules… this is how to ‘Dad.’”

As advertisers, we are responsible for taking the constellation of social dots of demographics, sentiments and media connectivity and turning them into tactics and actions, shaping the data into meaningful ways of reaching out and engaging with consumers. In so doing, we will be able to, as David Ogilvy suggested, respectfully and empathetically become trusted partners with consumers, smart and savvy social beings who live in the world.

07
Nov

Agency Post Profiles Kate Canada Obregon

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 10.22.30 AM

Our Co-Founder/Director of Strategy & Research Kate Canada Obregon has written extensively about the power of data in helping brands to better understand and connect with their audiences in authentic ways.

Agency Post recently profiled Kate on the marriage of social science and research in Oishii Creative’s work for both design and brand clients.

Here’s an excerpt:

Should creative ideas always be based in research and data? How does this foundation provide brands with a more impactful strategy or campaign?

The best creative emerges from a conversation with qualitative and quantitative data sets. I like to know the facts and the big picture that numbers can readily tell us. With that said, numbers do miss the subtleties of opinions, perceptions, and desires. This is where semiotics, ethnography, or other social science methods are extremely valuable tools. The best campaigns I’ve worked on are those where I’ve been able to dig deep into all sorts of data and turn up something unexpected and new. These campaigns end up being the most timely and talked about beyond a quarterly life cycle or the next ad buy season. I like partnering with clients who want to be relevant and let the research lead them beyond trends and into real meaning and relevancy. Audiences and consumers want this, too. 

Check out the full interview here!

03
Oct

Oh My, Look at the Time

Image via n4bb.com

Image via n4bb.com

When the biggest brand in consumer electronics revealed its newest ground-breaking product, the Apple Watch (so far, the brand is breaking its “i” naming trend, staying away from the moniker), earlier this month, the internet went wild. The long-rumored watch — speculated on since 2010 — was finally available for consumers to view, and purchase, sometime early next year for $350. A small price to pay compared to the $1,500 and awful aesthetic of Google Glass and with voice- and touch-activated functions that allow users to check email, call contacts, look at photos, track exercise, and yes, tell time, all with stylish interchangeable bands.

Now, wearable technology is nothing new. We’ve had bluetooths since 2000 and digital hearing aids, technically a form of wearable tech, since the late ‘80s, but in fact, as Mashable reports, it was tech geeks in the ‘60s and ‘70s trying to cheat casinos who are credited with pioneering some of the first forms of wearable tech.

But, outside of computerized wristbands and even rings, mostly used to track fitness levels, while wearable technology has quickly been gaining ground, nothing has broken into the laymen’s market yet. Yet. Looking at how Apple changed the cellular communication market, making smartphone ubiquitous with cell phone, or really, even phone, and considering their enormous database of loyal customers, if anyone is primed to crack open this market, it’s Apple.

And, the consumers are ready for it. According to a poll done by GlobalWebIndex, 71% of 16- to 24-year-olds would like to own wearable tech, which the poll defined as smart watches, smart wristbands or Google Glass. And according to the same study, 64% of global internet users say they have worn or would like to wear a piece of wearable tech, with men dominating that number at a 69% affirmative rate and women at 56%.

As marketers and creatives, we’re always being asked to anticipate “the next big thing” or being bombarded with what the media has dubbed “the next big thing” (Anybody employing holographic teleconferences yet? Didn’t think so.), so sometimes, we can be most blind to designing our campaigns for emerging platforms. Just look at how long it’s taken us to crack the mobile market, and how clueless many big brands still come across on social media, and you’ll see that as much as this industry loves something shiny and new, they don’t always understand how to use it to best serve them or how soon to become a part of it. The best strategy we can have for wearable technology is to figure out ways to experiment with it now. Maybe it’s a one-off stunt as part of a bigger campaign or maybe it’s an in-house experiment. Whatever we do, we need to do it fast because as soon as that Apple Watch gets strapped to your client’s wrist, they are going to be asking how you can get them a marketing presence on it.

Wearable technology is going to be a whole new platform to us. A more intimate version of mobile that will open many doors, and present an equal number of challenges, but isn’t that the fun of it? In this business, I’ve seen enough tech trends come and go to see that wearable tech isn’t going anywhere. Whether it comes in the form of an Apple Watch, a more accessible version of Google Glass or the product of a startup founded by someone who hasn’t started high school yet, soon, it’s going to be second nature to us to strap on our tech. We don’t need to anticipate this as a trend, we need to embrace it as a new part of our lives.

 

19
Sep

Congratulations, You’re A Creative Strategist! Now What?

Attribution: Flickr: Tunisia-3433

Attribution: Flickr: Tunisia-3433

My former life in academia and my current one in branding have taught me everyone has the skill set within them to be what I call a creative strategist. I believe strategy is a creative skill, requiring our whole brains; the logic and rational working effortlessly with the non-verbal, passionate and the visual. A creative strategist knows how to use data, ethnography and trends to tell a story for clients. To talk about what’s going on in the world without vague platitudes. (Millennials want authenticity and honesty!) Creative strategy sets into motion a brand study or brand integration that is both granular and deep.

Creative Strategist: Person who uses several types of data and applies to a problem or project.

While we should all be strategists, the fact is our work environments and thinking habits get in our way.

In our work lives we must hit metrics, make deadlines and take back-to-back meetings at the office. Our days are consumed with finding ways for everyone to do more with fewer resources, money, people and time. We spend our waking working hours thinking small. And by that I mean we grow accustomed to solving operational problems rather than the big creative knotty ones. We don’t allow ourselves the time to contemplate a project with depth or rigor what I call, thinking big skills.

And thinking small isn’t necessarily bad.

It’s a necessary part of running a successful creative work environment. But, when thinking small preoccupies us and becomes a fixation, it diminishes the culture, business and eventually, the people around us. People start getting in the way of their own thinking and creative capabilities; they look to what others have done before them or try formulas. People begin to believe it simply takes too much energy and time to think big for clients. The work culture and individual habits form a dysfunctional quality, where changing demographics, consumer tastes and technological disruption become a blur of problems without solutions.

What is the relationship between strategy and creativity?

  • Some would say they have little in common. But I think they are more interconnected than many assume. Strategy involves combinatory thinking. Combinatory thinking looks to data, but to other sources disciplines and trends. You’ve got to read up, mix and match, and spend time listening, reading, doing and applying to creative work.
  • Creative Strategy uses a visual thinking toolkit. Visual thinking combines our imagination and drawing or visual techniques. A toolkit has exercises to stimulate ideas and take you out of your ordinary brain strengths. We tweeted about one such exercise: Sit in your chair and imagine the buildings behind you. What are people doing there? Go to the building behind the first building. What are people doing there? Write down notes and draw pictures.
  • The best strategy comes from operationalizing creativity into the office.  Tag on 15-minute work sessions after other less creative meetings. Research shows creative work sessions after “boring” meetings can spur divergent thinking, the fuel for creative work.
  • Strategists daydream. When tackling a creative problem, and after you’ve met with other people to collaborate, give yourself time to process the information. Creativity flows from the unconscious and once you’ve stuffed your brain with the food of data, trends, information, books and thinkers, let your unconscious have its way with the problem.
  • Creative Strategists have disciplined individual habits. As much as I’ve talked about unleashing your talent, the best work comes from a disciplined set of work habits. Work at the same time every day, produce visuals or writing with set goals, and fuel your imagination with quality books and movies.

How do you think big? I’d like to hear how these tips work for you!

— Kate Canada Obregon

 

30
May

Meet Carlos Penny, Our New Head of Business Development!

Carlos PennyWe’re excited to welcome Carlos Penny as our new Head of Business Development. He comes to Oishii with more than a decade of business development experience, including positions at TV production company SD MEDIA and digital content agency FILTER.

Bringing Carlos on board is part of our continued evolution by embracing strategic partnerships with a focus on multidisciplinary talent and investing in proprietary technology, mobile video and multi-channel networks.

What makes him right at home at Oishii? He’s passionate about emerging industries and technologies, he’s in tune with the future of our company and our industry, and he brings the same energy and ethos we do when working with clients. So everyone wins.

When he’s not surfing or cooking sliders on his rooftop deck in Venice Beach, you can find him supporting the local community, which he’s proud to call home (Oishii’s a close second, of course). Carlos also volunteers with the Surfrider Foundation and is working towards launching his own non-profit, Surfunite.

16
May

Why Ad Agency-Created Products Fail

Why Agencies Fail_Mona Lisa

We read a recent Fast Co.Create piece by Leif Abraham, partner at Prehype, a New York-based venture development firm creating new digital products and companies together with startups and bigger corporations. In “Spike and Die: Why Products Created By Ad Agencies Fail,” he argues that the current culture and agency business models just aren’t conducive to real product innovation. Namely, that agencies trying to do product work typically treat the production of an app or product in the same way they treat the production of a TV spot.

Abraham says this has two effects:

1. It’s a torch relay

Just like in a TV production, each person finishes his or her work first, before the next one starts. That means the designer completely designs the app before the developer even starts to code anything. Though this can sometimes work, it also bears some risks, such as the developer finding mistakes in the design at a very late phase in the process.

2. An ad agency is not set up to maintain

In a campaign process, people are used to making some thing, put it out there and then never touch it again. This does not work with products, because they need on-going maintenance and a dedicated team to further develop it and deliver support.

As a result, product-like launches coming out of agencies don’t have long-term plans — or budgets — in place to maintain and sustain them.

Abraham further offers a few suggestions for how an agency could become a real player in the world of product innovation. Agencies should treat product development more like the founding of a new company — acting like a startup — versus treating it like another project. This inevitably marries the creation process with the business side of things. And both agency and client are equally invested in the long-term success of the product. To quote Abraham, “…if, as an agency, you believe in and enforce the rule of ‘my success is your success,’ you will have an interest in things running efficiently as possible.”

His other point is something that we at Oishii Creative are very passionate about, and have written on extensively, which is building company culture. Some of our best ideas come from fostering an open and collaborative environment; what we like to call “generative workspaces.” When your team feels excited about building a company — and not just a product — then ultimately, they’ll also feel incentivized and committed to the other aspects of the business.

As our VP Kate Canada Obregon recently wrote on The Agency Post, people like to work in open office spaces, or ones that promote a collaborative spirit, because they feel connected to the company’s organizational mission and to their fellow office mates. It’s about creating community within the office, and ultimately, the effects of this virtuous cycle translate into your output as a company, whether that’s launching a new product or a new TV campaign.

A vibrant and generative company culture takes the long-view for clients and projects. This isn’t always easy because it’s not a matter of providing short-term fixes or campaigns to fill holes. It’s about coming up with innovations that work seamlessly and consistently across platforms. This kind of generative culture asks more of staff and creative resources than replicating the status quo. It means working harder and longer on projects that hopefully, many are willing to do. Because what it really comes down to is thinking and creating with the future in mind, and always finding ways to partner and deliver for clients.

26
Jul

Part 4: Defining Your Objectives & Visual Pitch Strategies

marketing-your-crowdfund

• When it comes to Crowdfunding, who is your target audience?

Your target audience should be driven by your project and strategy and will be supported by the platform you choose. For example, technological innovations should be geared towards the appropriate platform or else your great pitch will be ineffective and speak to the wrong audience.

• How do you create an effective video / social media campaign?

Authenticity is key. People invest in ideas and products they care about. It’s essential to connect with your audience quickly and build a real relationship with them. Your video campaign needs to let your personality and vision shine. It should be informational, accessible, clear, short and concise. Be specific with your funding goals, timelines, and explain why you’re passionate about this idea, product or experience. Why should they believe you? What are your credentials? What can supporters expect in return?

Social media is a great way to provide updates, stay in touch with your investors and fans, and respond to their questions and feedback. It’s also a useful tool for building excitement and increasing engagement.

01
May

Bring Everyone Coffee…

Looking to make the next teamwork session more productive? Try making everyone coffee and bring to the meeting

Psychologist Sonya Lyubomirsky, sonjalyubomirsky.com, has studied happiness and has discovered the many  downstream benefits of cultivating a smile and generous emotions for your  work mates.  For creatives, where “producing” content is critical, feelings play a role in the process of idea generation.  Postive feelings about ones self and others fosters empathy which in turn allows the mind to flourish and generate ideas. So, pick up the coffee and let the ideas flow…

 

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