The Creative Agency Podcast: Forbes contributor and agency veteran Will Burns joins us to talk about how agencies are changing and whether the “Agency of Record” model still exists. Will discusses his experience working at big agencies like Weiden & Kennedy, Arnold, and Mullen. He also talks about the agency he founded: Ideasicle. Ideasicle is a unique agency that sources experts for idea generation. Because they focus on ideas and not execution, Ideasicle is free from biases that most agencies are subject to.
When it comes to creative outcomes, "diversity" when defined only by the color of one's skin or by one's gender is a superficial concept. The only "diversity" that matters to creativity is diversity of thought. And that kind of diversity can come from our outlook on life, our experience, and our talent.
According to Dr. Lenhardt, many health products designed to solve a particular health problem actually make the problem worse. Further, the manufacturers of these health products pitch "temporary relief," which in many cases is factually true, but not without long-term and detrimental (and self-serving to the companies) consequences.
Agencies love to blame stupid clients for bad creative presentations. The client just doesn't get it, they'll say. Or, this client wouldn't know a good idea if it hit them in the head. Or the ever-popular, the client doesn't know what they want until they see it. These defensive reactions are really just an agency's way of retaining its pride, but we have found after six years of Ideasicle ideation projects that there's an easy way to avoid these issues. And it involves numbers...
I post a lot about Ideasicle and the benefits of virtual ideation here on this blog. But I do so from my perspective. But what about the Experts? They're the ones doing all the intellectual heavy lifting here. I wanted to know what they think of this virtual ideation process. So I asked them. I'm turning the tables with this post and disclosing their answers to that question below. What follows are captured verbatim from their emails back to me. We'll call it...expert testimony.
This week I wrote a piece on Forbes.com entitled, "How To Overcome Organizational 'Working Memory' And Liberate Your Creativity." In it, I describe the parallel of our own working memory and how gets in the way of our creativity to a company's collective inertia and inability to get out of its own "ways" when it comes to creativity. What I could not say - only allude to - is that Ideasicle serves this role with our clients all the time.
We are excited to announce a new division at Ideasicle. And that is, Ideasicle: She. As the name indicates, Ideasicle: She will be solely focused on marketing ideas to women. To that end, we have recruited a team of Experts who are not just genius creative people and strategists, but are professionally potent in another way: deep expertise in female marketing. As many clients know too well, it's difficult to find women at the higher ranks of advertising creative departments. Well, imagine a whole team of them - the best of the best - pre-recruited and ready to think about your marketing problem.
The contrast with Trump and Hillary is great because the Johnson platform takes what many think is good about Democrats (socially liberal) and good about Republicans (fiscal discipline) and melds them together into one ticket. That alone may be enough to lure Millennials -- particularly the socially liberal part coupled with their general distaste for Clinton and Trump. But, as a marketer, I don't think ads like this one will be enough. There is a bigger opportunity here.
It's perhaps the most important project in Ideasicle's six year history, as this client's purpose is to counter violent extremism. It was a naming project and this client had outgrown their current name. I say "outgrown" because they were moving from an old model to a more flexible and innovative organization that will have a transatlantic presence. Our assignment was to rename this organization to better reflect its evolution.
It's the first of its kind to combine new media, communications, on-the-ground networks, cutting edge new research and high level policy advisory work, all countering violent extremism. It's an organization that will do what none other has: reach out to youth and compete proportionately against extremists trying to recruit. It's grassroots but focused on big ideas.
We wrote recently about our intention to develop vertical Ideasicle "panels" for brands to tap into in our, "Ideasicle As Ingredient," blog post. Today we launch our first such panel: Ideasicle Sport.
As the name indicates, this division of Ideasicle will be solely focused on sports-related marketing ideas. We have recruited a team of Experts who are not just genius creative people and strategists, but have an added superpower: deep expertise in sports marketing.
At Ideasicle, we come up with lots of different kinds of ideas - names, tag lines, promotions, app functionality, you name it. But our favorite kind of idea isn't a "kind" at all. It's so blue sky that's what we call it - "Blue Sky Ideas" - and it's when a client asks "How are we going to launch this?"
With Blue Sky projects, the client does not dictate what kind of idea, just illustrates the problem. Sure, we ask for any parameters around the project like budget and timing, but that's really it. Anything goes.
A new study out of The London School of Economics and Harvard dispels the myth of the lone genius toiling away in solitude until the brilliant insight finally hits him or her. That's how we traditionally think of Edison, Darwin, Einstein and countless others. But according to this study, the creative output of these and others are more often the result of socialization of ideas, cultural connectedness, and what the researchers call "collective brains" (love that).
The study focuses on the passive effects on ideas, in general. Meaning,
As many of you know, I love to study creativity. Research studies that uncover scientific ways we can improve our creativity are like crack to me. Well, a few years ago I stumbled upon an interesting study that measured the influence of colors on our mental activities.
It was determined empirically that the color green, when presented to an unwitting subject just prior to a creative test, improved his or her creative abilities.
Green body-slams all other colors when it comes to creativity....
The creative brief is a sacred document that has one singular goal, and it’s NOT to inform, though that is a secondary result. The creative brief’s singular goal is to inspire your creative team to come up with great ideas. That's it.
Think of the things in your life that have inspired you. A sermon, or a lecture from a certain professor, or a particularly fantastic musical performance. What do these things have in
Yes, Ideasicle comes up with ideas for our clients. But the process we have pioneered - we call it "Expert Sourcing" - increases the odds of ideation success in profound ways. Whether it's the creative presentation dynamics, the exponential forces of four experts, or the two rounds of ideation, the Ideasicle model is designed to increase the odds of getting to the big idea.
Currently, Ideasicle’s Experts, though they each have their own specialties, talents, and expertise, are considered “generalists” when it comes to Ideasicle work. I have said many times that you could choose any four of the twenty four Experts out of a hat and they would rock any assignment.
But I was approached recently by an entrepreneur who is starting an advertising agency and wants to include Ideasicle as an “ingredient” to the agency’s offering....
We believe in the power of our ideas to the point where we are open to revenue-sharing arrangements. If we can isolate the variables and are convinced we can measure the real impact of our idea then we’re happy to put our money where our mouth is and come up with a revenue-sharing agreement that keeps your upfront costs down.
The beauty of this kind of arrangement is that our motivations are 100% aligned. If our ideas don’t work, then we don’t make as much money and you don’t pay us as much...
Back in the 1930s, such creative giants as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield (all pictured), among others, gathered in their dormitories at Oxford or in the local pub to share their writings with each other. Picture them with scotches, pipes, and transcripts and you’ve got the scene.
The idea was for each to share his ideas with the other brilliant minds to help shape the work. And Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet, and Williams's
When I started this little thing called Ideasicle five years ago this month it was with a germ of an idea, faith in the power of creativity, and the blind optimism of an entrepreneur.
It’s an idea that stripped away the normal agency requirements of, well, an agency (the building), the overhead, the salaries (except mine), even the execution of our ideas. Ideasicle would be new kind of idea generating machine that was better than crowdsourcing, nimbler than advertising agencies, and faster than freelancers.
I can say with empirical confidence the following virtues of virtual ideation are actually true:
ONE. The removal of physical cues (meetings) seems to liberate my Experts from intimidation, stress, and other social barriers that are present with in-person meetings. TWO. The removal of what I’ll call “appointment creativity” seems to give my Experts more control over their own creative methods. They no longer are forced to create RIGHT NOW OR ELSE! They create whenever inspiration...