Recently, Jack Morton Sydney took over the atrium in our building and turned it into a three dimensional spectacular - all with the use of 350 simple and inexpensive paper streamers. In conjunction with Madi Gras, we turned one of the world’s most recognizable symbols of equality into three floors worth of color, each tagged with a word describing ‘happiness’. We wanted to showcase our values and the diversity that makes up the Jack Morton team.
It goes to show how symbols, with just a touch of creativity, can be transformed into live experiences that provide great opportunity for people to share. Give them a visual feast to take part in, and it becomes their next facebook cover photo, their next Instagram post, or their desktop background.
Secondly, a single paper streamer on its own has not much value, but magnify that hundreds of times and you get something amazing. One month later at the Sydney Biennale, artist Jim Lambie used the humble gaffe tape to great effect and transformed an entire gallery into an art piece to be walked upon and enjoyed.
Hemingway’s famous 6 word story is the perfect example of what we should strive for every time we write. Succinct, powerful, poetic.
Writing is hard. Well… writing well is hard. There is plenty of terrible writing in the world to attest to that point. The key, as with most things, is simplicity. Reducing your communications to their essence whilst keeping their poetry.
Oscar-winning screenwriter Warren Beatty (and yes, Clyde of ‘Bonnie and Clyde’) puts it this way. "Talking is the fire hydrant out front, gushing into the street. Writing is the drip of the faucet on the third floor".
A while back, I was walking by the Lego Store at Rockefeller Center and I saw this amazing installation of little, humble, Lego men. They were assembled in their various colors and from a distance, they made up Lego’s Logo! How fascinating is that!
It reminds me how people bring value to a brand, and the brand in return, defines employees and what they find valuable in a company. Without people, brands in themselves… really mean nothing!
When it comes to your trade show program, are you always striving to win? Do you have a sense of how well you’re doing? We’ve developed a rate-yourself scorecard to help you figure out where you stand. Just give yourself 1 to 5 points in each category (with 5 being the highest), add up your score, and see how you did!
Do your trade show strategy and objectives support, complement, and ladder up to your overall marketing objectives? 1 - What do you mean by objectives? 5 - Yes, we establish objectives and KPI’s for trade shows specifically that align with overall business goals
Do you target your most critically important customers and prospects – and are you getting traction where engagement and sales are concerned? 1 - We spend a lot of time with ‘fluff’ attendees’ 5 - We spend all our time with our targeted audiences, and navigate them through a meaningful experience
Is your exhibit experience one that separates you from the pack? Are those who stopped in to see you still talking about you at the bar and on the plane? 1 - Attendees probably forget about us… if they even know we’re there 5 - Yes! And they look forward to meeting with/talking to us soon!
Do you engage with your audience after the show is over? 1 - I don’t know 5 - Yes, we work with our sales team/booth staff to make sure there is a clear strategy for following up and personalizing communication after the show
20 points: You are a star and are obviously doing things right. We can help you get extra credit.
15-19 points: No reason to panic – but there’s some room for improvement. With a little help (ideally from us), you can move to the top of the class.
10-14 points: Course correction required. Reboot and rethink. We can help your exhibit experience resonate with the people that matter most to your brand.
0-9 points: It sounds like your overall trade show program needs to be reevaluated. Call Jack – we can help!
To see our 7 Ways to Win the Trade Show Game whitepaper on SlideShare, please click here.
It’s a truism that a company’s brand is its “most important asset.” But brands have never been more fragile. The reason is simple: consumers are supremely well informed and far more likely to investigate the real value of products than to rely on logos.
This is worth a read…
Information overload - a myth? What role does experience play in consumer decisions as brands potentially lose potency and the hunt for information on products becomes increasingly accessible and simple?
What do you get when you cross a bunch of curious go-getters and red lipstick graffiti on the office restroom mirror?
Answer: WONDER TOURS!
Wonder Tours had its inaugural New York adventure last month following a mysterious trail of messages that led to a secret chain of unfolding events. In the face of the OTT smooch-fest of Valentine’s Day, Wonder Tours offered Jack NY employees the chance to experience the ultimate UnValentine’s. They just had to be seduced by a dash of lipstick first…
For those self-acclaimed lovers of the unknown, Wonder Tours branded cars awaited, taking them to Brooklyn’s Made in NY Media Center where, over a few glasses of wine, they learnt about the unemotional side of lust and love with the dirty secrets of internet dating apps (algorithms and all), before going head-to-head in the techy Emotional Arcade. Next stop: bottles of champagne, food to share, and heart-shaped balloons and lollipops. A surprising night of inspiration, learning, and good old drinking! To thank the lovers of the unknown for daring to join the first tour, a single red rose at their desk brightened up their UnValentine’s hangover.
Check out all the action at the official Wonder Tours Instagram page,here.
Why Wonder Tours? Why so secretive? We find inspiration when and where we least expect it. Every employee is invited to join Wonder Tours, but they must first make a brave leap into the unknown. By not knowing what they’ve signed up for, they can’t make any pre-determination as to what they might find! Wonder Tours is on a quest to fuel curiosity and broaden creativity.
When it comes to the front page of the paper, the Editor calls the shots. But are they striking the right balance between ‘important’ vs ‘popular’ vs ‘interesting’? Do they even know what their readers want? What would happen if they chose the front page stories?
Faith in humanity has been maintained, as it hasn’t turned illustrious titles into a lowest common denominator den of salacious celebrity gossip, but the tone has changed on each one (some more than others). They’re a bit more human, a bit more local paper-like, and a bit broader.
It’s a nice experiment that suggests an interesting, disruptive way forward. Because who’s to say that there couldn’t be a more collaborative way of setting the news agenda: more dialogue, less didactic…and better than the ‘send us your pictures of the snow’-school of engagement we currently have.
Brands have been talking about ‘conversations’ with customers for a few years now. Maybe it’s time for news outlets to do the same?
Now, I distinctly remember being sat in a bar with a colleague of mine 3 years ago and saying something along the lines of, “wouldn’t it be cool to build an app that uses visual recognition technology and crowdsourcing to find similar products for sale online”.
Now, I didn’t read that article today and suddenly think that someone in that bar must have overheard me, stole this ‘genius’ idea, managed to secure VC funding and then has spent the last 3 years in a garage on the outskirts of silicon valley coding away to make it into a reality and in doing so has potentially re-imagined the future of mobile commerce. But I did wonder, “why the hell didn’t I do it?”.
Then I realised it’s because I’m a Creator not a Mobiliser. You see, according to Idris Mootee there are 4 key stages to successful innovation in design thinking* and these stages all require a very different type of personality. He states the following:
Create > Mobilise > Refine > Execute.
Everything starts with an idea, and there is no question that every organization needs new ideas to remain competitive in a rapidly changing world. There are people who can come up with ideas without really working at them; they see possibilities everywhere. There are also others who, by looking at data and making sense of even disparate data, come up with new ideas. Creating is more than being creative. It’s about seeing beyond, about seeing the possibilities.
Many great ideas have died on the vine because they weren’t picked up or never gathered enough momentum to push them forward. Perhaps the person championing the idea couldn’t convince others. On the other hand, some people are good at making things happen; they have developed the ability to sell others on an idea and to get their support for the idea’s implementation. They tell great stories and understand organizational dynamics. They can mobilize.
Refiners often play the devil’s advocate role, asking the challenging “What if?” questions. Refiners’ talents for analysis and attention to detail are often undervalued because they tend to challenge both the Creator and Mobilizer. But those responsible for developing an innovation further should beware: Don’t implement a new idea until you have listened to what the Refiners have to say.
The dustbin of business history is filled with great ideas - but they’re in the dustbin because they were poorly executed. Whether it was due to a lack of follow through or a lack of team cohesion, the execution failed - and execution is important because it is the difference between being successful and not. Individuals must execute – on their assigned roles, and the team must execute by bringing the innovation to market exactly as planned. In the end it’s all in the execution.
*SOURCE: Idris Mootee, Idea Couture.
So next time you see that great idea that you never did anything about being heralded as the latest, greatest innovation, now you know why. It’s because you just don’t have all the right attributes to see the idea through to the bitter end. You’re just too busy creating to be executing and mobilising. Or then again you might just be a lazy polymath, in which case there’s no hope.
‘Sweetie’ – Fighting crime with digital smoke and mirrors.
In collaboration with the international children’s rights group Terre des Hommes, Dutch digital agency Lemz went online with a lifelike, digitally animated persona named ‘Sweetie’ in a bid to track down child sex predators.
What impressed me most about this project was the ability to proactively police and identify suspects through using publicly available online circumstantial evidence, including handles on Skype and profiles on social networks.
The project generated seriously impressive results with awareness raised among over a billion people globally and helped in tracking down 1000 potential offenders from 71 different countries.
When my home Wi-Fi recently stopped working for no apparent reason I contacted the provider to find out why. After jumping through a series of phone menu hoops I got through to a real live person who told me it was a network fault and all I could do was wait until it was fixed.
Call me demanding but if I’m paying for a service, I expect to receive that service as agreed so I asked for an email address to which I could complain.
‘Of course,’ came the reply, ‘the address is PO Box 123, Milton Keynes…’
‘Ha, you’re funny… the email address please?’
‘There isn’t one.’
So this company, which has already wasted so much of my time and which provides technology services, thinks I should: type a letter, print it out, find an envelope, walk to the post office, buy stamps, walk to the post box, and then sit around twiddling my thumbs for a fortnight waiting for a reply.
In 2014. Really?
If I’m looking for this address I’m obviously unhappy about something. If I’m already annoyed, why make the situation worse and more complicated?
A customer getting in touch for any reason, good or bad, is a chance to impress them; turn them into an advocate; make them tell their friends what an amazing experience they had; re-woo them.
And it really ought to go without saying that the last outcome should be an even angrier (potentially ex) customer.
There is a podcast I often listen to called the Accidental Creative. The show is hosted by Todd Henry – self-proclaimed ‘arms dealer for the creative revolution’. It’s a great podcast, and I urge you to listen to it, but that is not the point of this post. Each episode he signs off by stating - “cover bands don’t change the world – you need to find your unique voice if you want to thrive”.
We hear this sort of stuff all the time, and I think we all agree that as people who turn our thoughts into value it’s especially relevant. But how can we actually go about practicing and honing something so inherent as our own authenticity?
Last September after the worst profits warning in its history, notoriously nasty Ryanair launched a major charm offensive which included a previously shunned social media presence, clearer terms and conditions, and a reduction in its much-hated hidden fees.
After years of maintaining that providing ‘cheap’ travel meant that customer complaints could be ignored, it appears Ryanair has suddenly realised that this, this,this, this, this, oh and this, isn’t generally the way a successful brand treats its customers. Although in keeping with the brand’s reputation, the about-turn seems to be for financial reasons as opposed to philanthropic ones.
So six months later, has it worked? Have the critics been tempted to give them one last chance?
Well so far, according to YouGov’s Brand Index rating, while there’s been a small improvement, Ryanair is still languishing at the bottom of the customer satisfaction scale.
This doesn’t surprise me. While it’s a good start, as a devout boycotter of Ryanair since 2007 following one too many stressful, frustrating, and downright awful experiences, it’s going to take a lot more than a snazzy new website to make me fly with them again.
Cameras and communities — Lomography celebrates 20 years online
Last October Instagram was in the news for reaching 150m users, not bad for a service that had just reached it’s 3rd anniversary. Such growth for the platform led to its much publicised purchase by Facebook in April 2012 for a cool $1bn, 7 years after Facebook first introduced photos to their own platform in 2005.
It’s safe to say that photography has been an integral part of social media platforms for nearly a decade.
But 20 years ago, a movement was born online that was soon to form a social community based on people sharing their photographs all over the world when Master Zuckerburg just entering his teens.
A theatre that seats 1000… Built in less than 3 weeks… entirely out of bamboo…
But when you go to a performance, don’t expect a full house. Most of the seats will be left empty… for the ancestral ghosts.
In the heart of the West Kowloon Cultural District , the theatre is part of a festival that celebrates the Cantonese tradition of theatre and arts and crafts, on the future site of a major centre for the performing arts and visual culture.
Bamboo theatres are typically built during the Chinese Ghost Festival/Yu Lan (盂蘭), usually in July. Traditional Cantonese Opera (戲曲) performances are performed, for the viewing pleasure of beloved ghosts of the region. In a typical nod to practicality, the structures are also built for seasonal community festivals or events. In a region where bamboo is not only plentiful, but reusable and renewable, and space is often limited, the building style is a unique solution to a significant community challenge. We’ve seen stage sets and smaller theatres constructed on soccer pitches and basketball courts- they go up in a few hours, and come down even faster.
Is this the solution for our next venue-challenged project?
Security 101: Why is data constantly being stolen and what can I do about it?
Target, Bell, Neiman Marcus, and Yahoo (to name a few), have all recently had customer data stolen and it’s a trend that will continue to rise. Data is the new currency of the millennia and your data is worth a lot of money to a lot of people – Google pretty much runs their whole business on that fact. The three main reasons it’s difficult to keep data secure are 1) ease of use 2) costs and 3) human error.
1. Ease of Use
The easier things become, the greater the chance that could lead to a security risk. Remember when you used to create a log in for every website you visited? Now you can bypass all of those long forms and just login with your Twitter or Facebook account? Yes, it’s easier but do you know specifically what data you are sending to those websites? Do you know what that website’s security practices are? How do you know they will treat your data as secure as it should be treated?
In what is my inaugural post of the Jack Blog, I may already be late for the party.
2014 has spawned numerous tech trends and predictions for the coming year, as well CES - and I’m not going to rehash what was unveiled there. You’re all intelligent folks, you’ve read what you need to know. What no-one could have predicted was Google shelling out a cool $3.2 billion for the NEST Thermostat (and it’s smoke alarm sibling).
NEST has long been the ubiquitous device used to proclaim the warning of the Internet of Things (IoT), and the star of many a Powerpoint presentation on the subject. In response, there’s not a week that goes by where we don’t see a genre-defining-device unveiled by a hip, new StartUp on Kickstarter. In fact, one of those Spark have even released an OpenSource alternative.
The reason why NEST remained the go to Poster Child for IoT is that it was not only beautifully designed (in no small part thanks to it’s creator’s ex-Apple status) but that it bucked the trend of Internet-only available devices by getting itself onto the shelves of American shopping-giant Target and in front of the mainstream consumer.
Ok, again. Tell you something you don’t know, ‘cause that was like so last week.
What got me was this. $3.2 Billion? Crikey! That’s a lot of dosh! I mean where would Google get that kind of money? You know Google, the big friendly search engine, who own youTube and allow us to enjoy music videos, cats and ‘epic fail’ compilations at our desk, who provide free email and circles (and other shapes I’m sure). I think we collectively labour under the assumption that the Consumer digital world is Free, and this is largely due to Google. The very word has become synonymous with information. #LMGTFY Let Me Google That For You So who paid for Nest? BIG Data? And who’s data is that? It’s yours!
As I walked by the Starbucks store outside my place on the way to the Subway station, I somehow noticed this sign posted on the door. “Take Comfort In Rituals” Starbucks clearly understands the value of their store’s position just outside the subway stop. They know hundreds of people will be passing through that subway each day to work and back.
Starbucks, ritualizes the experience of walking into their stores daily as a way to ease the first time customer into a routine of purchasing a drink each time he or she walks by the store, just like how the subway is a routine daily ritual for thousands across countless cities. Smart way of building brand loyalty!
Whilst scratching my head as to what to write for this, my premier blog post, I stumbled across this website. Now i’ll be the first to admit that I was looking for some inspiration and hoping I could find a nice piece of content that I could most probably reblog. Hence saving myself some time in a day where I have eight hours of back to back meetings.
Well there’s a thing: experience experts Apple have been caught napping.
Forrester Research’s 2014 customer experience study is in its third year of tracking 17 major consumer electronics firms operating in North America. For the first time, 7,500 respondents - asked to rate brands on how easy, enjoyable and effective their brand experience was - have put Samsung, Sony and Microsoft higher than Apple.
They’ve all still got a way to go before they reach Amazon’s staggering 91/100 rating…but it’s a sign that the Brand Experience wars are hotting up, as companies realise the importance of (and competitive advantage in) taking control of their experience touchpoints.
Because its not like Apple have done anything wrong (they’ve actually gone up from 80 to 81)…its just that the others have got better. And that’s a big win for the customer.
Post CES last week, I rambled a bit about wearable health tech becoming quite a big thing. Here’s a pretty damn exciting sample of that. A contact lens that measures glucose, and lights up to warn of unsafe levels. Now we’re starting to get towards unobtrusive tech!
Launched in 2013, PeekInToo allows users to anonymously share and request a 12 second glimpse of each other’s lives anywhere in the world.
The creators advocate it as a way to sneak a peek at a gig you’ve missed or report a blackout at a football game, but potentially it could also be used to record and raise awareness of major news events, for more mundane things like checking how busy your local shopping centre is and, of course, plain old voyeurism.
As it’s fairly new with few users, there isn’t a lot to see yet. But I did get to view 12 seconds of not much happening in a random New York street. Fairly dull in itself, but it was fascinating in principle to experience a brief moment of a stranger’s life on the other side of the world in real time.
As with any new social network, how it could eventually be used by brands remains to be seen. But given that experience is at the app’s core I’m sure this will become apparent — competitions, teasers, mini promos, creating buzz at a product launch. Time will tell.
As Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer pointed out, “There are no earlids.” Since that’s the case, and hearing is such an integral part of the human experience, why is it that sound is so often an afterthought?
Sound causes a powerful cognitive and emotional response in humans – it is integral to our survival, after all. A chord can bring us to tears, the 8-bit music of a Gameboy can make us ache for our childhood (yes, I am a young man). We are constantly bombarded by noise, especially in built up environments, and our brains are fantastically adept at filtering through them and choosing which ones deserve a response.
The power of this interaction in the retail space is staggering - a 1998 study by Adrian North, David Hargreaves and Jennifer McKendrick showed that in a bottle shop (liquor store or off-licence for you non-Aussie folk), playing either French or German music drastically affected the sales of French and German wines. This lesson, however, translates across all mediums of communication.
Nike does a fantastic job of leveraging this interaction. For example, their 2013 installation ‘The Art + Science of Feeling’ was an interactive experience that used the brains reactions to different sensory stimulation to trigger auditory responses. Understanding that real time auditory feedback would stimulate a highly intimate response, the activation was very effective at showing how the new Hyperfeel shoe allows our bodies to connect to the environment.
This is the exception though, not the rule. Sadly sound (and I don’t mean narration or library music) is often overlooked as a vehicle to communicate with our audiences. So in our world of designing experiences where the brand is a verb, the way people sonically connect is definitely worth a thought.
It’s Festival time in Sydney. While I’m super excited about taking my inner child by the hand and having a bit of a frolic on Sacrilege, the true sized inflatable bouncy castle Stonehenge in Hyde Park’s Festival Village, I was interested to read this in The Australian
FESTIVAL organizers measure success in terms of ticket sales and economic impact, but a new cultural metric may be tweets and pictures on social media. Last year, an enormous yellow duck was a hit of the Sydney Festival, where 1.7 million people could not have missed seeing it at Darling Harbour. Some 14,000 images were posted on Instagram using festival hashtags.
Mmmm. ‘Cultural Metric’. Good notion. Loads of tension in it:
“Last year the Sydney Festival attracted more than 500,000 people with more than 120,000 tickets sold to paid events, including more than 33,000 people who attended events in Western Sydney. In 2012, it injected almost $57 million into our economy”
From that perspective an arts investment looks like a pretty good return to the taxpayers hereabouts. I wonder how they’d value those tweets.
Early last year MoMA curator of Architecture and Design Paola Antonelli led a discussion about Culture and Metrics, (which I’ve entirely re cut below):
the reality is that cultures come and go over time. If we don’t know what’s valuable about a particular culture, we run the risk of losing it forever.
not all art is concerned with culture, and not all culture is arts-based
Measuring culture will require us to think of new ways to measure and share the story of a project’s insights and impact.
culture and value
"For me, The Gates was never about whether the saffron curtains and plastic frames were art. Some people argued that it was a hideous monstrosity while others loved it. Instead, I just felt lucky to be part of the flow of conversation and people as we passed together through The Gates on a beautiful blue and gold day. I felt lucky to be a New Yorker. And that’s the point of culture. It gives us a sense of place while at the same time evoking a deeply personal experience of the universal. "
As Rita observed, and who was at the MoMA talk, it brings to life one of Andy Warhol’s statements:
“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.”
Creating a deeply personal experience of an enterprise, creating a real and vibrant culture, feels like a bit of an art, and has the same kind of challenge: