Last week, a new Pantene ad became a conversation starter with a convicting call to action: women of the world, stop apologizing. The commercial was a follow-up of sorts to an ad Pantene Philippines ran last year about labels society gives successful men versus successful women. The message was simple…and infuriating.
They get their point across clearly once again in this new ad. It shows women in a variety of situations, apologizing where an apology is not needed- for example, before sharing an opposing idea in a meeting, or after being jostled by the person sitting next to her. Then, the ad replays the same encounters, only this time the women don’t apologize.
Through this ad, Pantene shines light on an unfortunate habit while encouraging women to shine strong. They’re proving to be an authentic brand and staying true to their promise of celebrating strong women and educating them to overcome societal expectations. It turns out Pantene is more than shampoo- its a gender bias revolution.
It was reported this week that BA are facing the threat of new strike action this summer. Having watched A Very British Airline, the BBC’s recent behind-the-scenes look at the company, I can’t say I’m surprised.
In a segment on the airline’s steward training programme, the voiceover cheerfully revealed that as labour supply far outstrips demand new starters are paid next to nothing. We then saw young hopefuls booted off the course for such trivial misdemeanours as being two minutes late or not wearing enough lipstick.
Officious trainers patronised and reprimanded wannabe cabin crew in scenes interwoven with clips of first class cabins being inspected for even the tiniest scratch. It goes without saying that in the airline industry a rigorous employee vetting process is essential, but everyone ought to be treated with respect whether they’re drinking the champagne or serving it.
As discussed in more detail in our ‘Your people, your brand’ white paper, successful experience brands don’t just focus on the customer, they create a consistent, compelling experience for every stakeholder – not least employees on the front line.
Customer Experience Secrets Revealed! Barely 30 minutes into the Forrester Customer Experience event in NYC this morning and already the big reveal. Forrester’s work on Customer Experience has always focused on 3 core dimensions - Effectiveness, Ease, and Emotion. Each of these dimensions contributes significantly to the quality of your brand’s overall customer experience. But what are the drivers of those dimensions? Forrester principal analyst Megan Burns gave us a sneak peek into the most recent research into the factors that drive the most important of those dimensions in 11 of the 17 industries Forrester evaluated - Emotion. If you want to drive customer loyalty - grab them emotionally.
But how exactly do you do that? The new study reveals there are 3 drivers:
Where the first 2 are kind of d’ohs - the last one is a bit of an aha. We know all you brands love your jargon (almost as much as we agencies do) - but save it for the office. Your customers want to feel valued, listened to, and treated like intelligent people - and nothing kills those feelings like an avalanche of blah blah blah.
There’s never been a more exciting time for creativity than right now, said Marc Pritchard, Global Brand Building officer for P&G. Media fragmentation may have killed the golden age of advertising but it has given birth to a golden age of ideas — where we can work with an ever-evolving and expanding creative canvas of marketing opportunity.
But how do we get those ideas? According to BBDO Guerrero you have to create a lot of crap ideas to get to a good one and they have created an online tool, the Crap Ideas Generator, to help you get there. While it may not be necessary to have a specific tool to manage idea-creation, the principle of idea volume is a sound one. Sturgeon’s law that 90% of all art forms are crap is commonly cited, but he wasn’t alone — as David Guerrero mentioned in his talk, former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli concurred that 9/10 books are nonsense. So it stands to reason that if most ideas aren’t great, then we need to create lots of them in order to get a good one and even more to get a great one.
There’s a very healthy debate in the industry about how we go about creating these great ideas — as evidenced throughout the week at Cannes. Training yourself to find opportunity by thinking in the left-field is a common theme. Jason Silva spoke of ‘the adjacent possible’ where we can seize opportunities by asking ‘what if?’ and Sense Worldwide challenged us to ‘embrace the ugly’ because breakthrough ideas often don’t look aesthetically pleasing. As Guerrero said, we need to find ways to get our brains to jump out of their pre-set patterns.
If this is a concern for us in the industry, where at least we are having healthy discussions on the topic, how much of a concern should it be for our children? Tham Khai Meng of Ogilvy & Mather said this week, “We are all born creative. We just got it educated out of us.” This, the next generation of creative marketers, are more often than not in an education system structured to create workers for a 19th century industrial economy, not the ideas economy of now and the future. And it’s not just about effective marketing. Astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson warned us that our culture will fade unless we value problem-solving creativity.
This is exactly the issue Sommer + Sommer addressed in their workshop ‘How to Foster Creativity in 21st Century Education?’ Along with the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, the German creative agency asked Cannes greatest minds (and more than 100 other creatives and futurists in 35 countries) to inspire an innovative framework for 21st century schooling which will be published as the Classroom Thinktank. I can’t wait to read it. Creative thinking starts in the schoolroom, and if we want our industry to thrive we need to actively participate in the future of education.
It was heartening to hear at the IPG breakfast – ‘Breakfast with Women Who Bring Home the Bacon’ of the increasing number of woman members on the Cannes juries. And of how mostly they didn’t experience a gender division on the juries in terms of attitudes towards creativity, aside from a very few entries that prompted a showing of latent machismo amongst some members.
Meanwhile Vasudha Narayanan, Creative Director at Lowe Lintas was interviewed regarding the ground-breaking campaign for Tanishq highlighting the stigma of second marriage for women in India. It served as a reminder that women around the world still face very real restrictions to the kind of life choices many of us take for granted and give us the freedom to focus our energies elsewhere, such as our careers.
Yet there is much to be achieved here, as Sheryl Sandberg pointed out in her seminar – only 3% of creative directors are women. And she credits this huge imbalance to a cultural problem – as a society we don’t expect women to be leaders. This was echoed by Leslie Sims, ECD McCann NY, who argued at the breakfast that since many women are not naturally great self-promoters, but rather great team builders, we need to do a better job of actively recognising and promoting those that are excellent in their jobs because they are far less likely to step forward than their male counterparts.
This may be so, but think also of Courtney Love who during her Cannes seminar put her success down to her sheer fearless ambition – perhaps as agency women we all need to channel our inner Courtneys a little also.
This is a love love. Paint the faces of soccer stars on a giant canvas using only a soccer ball. Simple. Brilliant. World class World Cup experiential idea.
It was fascinating listening to futurologist Jason Silva at Cannes Lions - as he said, quoting Shakespeare: ‘We know what we are, but know not what we may be.’ The possibilities for the future of humankind are mind-blowing. Silva referred to the opportunity as being able to see the ‘adjacent possible’ –the myriad ways in which the present could reinvent itself if we can only seize the opportunities that our exponential rate of knowledge growth can present us and ask ‘what if?’. It made me think that, whilst on a slightly less monumental scale, we should apply the same principle to our work in marketing – we should be asking ‘what if’ and looking for the ‘adjacent possible’ in all that we do.
There were certainly many parallels to be drawn in other sessions. Sense Worldwide had some great comments about our need to go to the extreme in order to achieve real insight. Bearing in mind that the majority of people are broadly ambivalent about most brands – we need to think like the people at the extreme – the ones that passionately love or hate the brand to help us find new opportunities to add value to people’s lives. And Iris talked about looking at the outlying areas in data analysis, rather than the obvious – the need to be data curators juxtaposing and revealing new patterns that can inspire new ways of thinking. And whilst these represent just some aspects of our industry, it’s an inspiring thought - whatever field of marketing we work in couldn’t we all benefit from looking for the left-field, to find the adjacent possible.
Solving employee pain points doesn’t always have to be difficult. An Oakland-based start-up has designed an app called Comfy to improve employee satisfaction. How? By turning up the heat (or turning it down as the case may be).
Faulty and inefficient HVAC systems cause employees to freeze during the summer or overheat during the winter, so Comfy is stepping in to put temperature control in the hands of the employees. The app plugs into a building’s existing hardware. Then you can tell it if you’re too hot or too cold and it sends a blast of air directly to your part of the office. Over time, Comfy learns what temperature a group of coworkers likes at a certain time of day and adjusts accordingly.
The system can also figure out when people aren’t in a particular part of the building, minmizing waste and cutting HVAC bills by as much as 15-20%. The app creators plan to add more features to Comfy as Beacon technology improves. Down the road, you might be able to walk into the building and have your desk start to cool down for you, or have your light adjust to the level you want.
"The future for great online brands is offline." -Andy Dunn, Founder of Bonobos said at Northside Festival on Friday.
Andy shared the thinking behind his powerful e-commerce brand turned popular brick and mortar “Guideshop” franchise and challenged the popular assumption of instant in-store gratification. Although many marketers still believe that a happy customer is a customer who leaves with product in hand, that’s not the idea behind Andy’s guideshops. Customers are invited in to try on Bonobos’ cultishly popular, tailor-made pants in a mind-blowing number of sizes and fits, make their selections and order online-because guess what? there’s no in-store inventory. Andy says 80% of people who shop in store, buy online, so how’s that for the future of retail?
This past week, I had the privilege of checking out the “Innovation Program” at Northside Festival in NYC- soaking up the goodness of the unofficial “SXSW of Brooklyn.”
One of my favorite panel conversations from the program centered around the future of brand identity in an increasingly customizable world. The speakers, all entrepreneurs from their respective 3D-printing and scanning companies, discussed the idea that creativity is inherently iterative, so the disruption that 3D printing has introduced is the question of “who owns the design?” (e.g. Ikea designers may have originated a desk’s design, but if you scan it and print it in a different material elsewhere, who does that intellectual property belong to?) …Sadly no answer was given, but here are the two ways of thinking about it:
The old school view looks at this problem and says, the brand always owns the design. There’s no way the Burberrys of the world would ever let customers change the colors or stripe width of their iconic plaid print.