Go from Creative Chaos to Strategic Momentum

Posts Tagged: ideas to go

Text

In February 2012, we sponsored the Yale Center for Customer Insights Trends in Marketing ConferenceThe Higher Velocity Marketplace: Technology, Innovation, and Engagement in the New Marketplace. This intimate, one-day gathering of marketing innovation thought leaders highlighted emerging trends and ideas in technology and customer engagement across a wide spectrum of industries.

Ideas To Go Chairman and Facilitator Ed Harrington and Word Processing Specialist Rickie Friedberg attended the conference and highlighted some of the learnings that we’ll post over the next few days. We hope you enjoy Part 3!

Ross Martin, EVP at Viacom and consultant for MTV, knows a lot about Millennials. He has to, in order to keep MTV relevant as the time between cultural milestones is continually compressed. “Millennials don’t just think about life differently,” he tells us, “they live it differently. The internet is not where they talk about real life—it’s where real life is happening.” With their sheer numbers, diversity, immense ambition, instantaneous access to information through technology, and $890 billion a year to spend, Millennials have the power to kill a slow-to-adapt company through disinterest.

Martin’s example: Blockbuster. The widely visible death of the brand demonstrates that old ways of marketing don’t work anymore. A brand can no longer push ads out hoping that people will look at them, absorb them, and admire them. Content doesn’t move anyone anymore—experience does. And the winners are the brands who create engaging experiences.

Martin has witnessed this process in action. MTV partnered with Dr Pepper Snapple Group to update Sun Drop, a citrus soda previously only available in the Carolinas that hadn’t been advertised in over a generation. The challenge: how to market this beverage to Millennials who refuse to be swayed by a discount or celebrity endorsement. The solution: a nationwide campaign featuring a young woman dancing awkwardly to hip hop music in a variety of situations. The combination of pop culture and embarrassment was a hit and the commercials went viral on the internet, receiving 15 million views on YouTube.  Then, fans started creating their own “Drop It” videos. The audience took over the marketing campaign, giving the user-generated content over 30 million views. 

This example proves that marketing to Millennials means giving them the power.


Ideas To Go is pleased to also sponsor the upcoming 7th annual Yale Customer Insights Conference in May. Registration has already begun. The fee is $495, and seating is limited. Register for the conference here.

Comments
Text

In February 2012, we sponsored the Yale Center for Customer Insights Trends in Marketing ConferenceThe Higher Velocity Marketplace: Technology, Innovation, and Engagement in the New Marketplace. This intimate, one-day gathering of marketing innovation thought leaders highlighted emerging trends and ideas in technology and customer engagement across a wide spectrum of industries.

Ideas To Go Chairman and Facilitator Ed Harrington and Word Processing Specialist Rickie Friedberg attended the conference and highlighted some of the learnings that we’ll post over the next few days. We hope you enjoy part 2!

“When Axe body spray came to the United States and Canada,” tells Gina Boswell, EVP of Personal Care for Unilever North America, “consumers didn’t know what to do with it. It was a new form, not recognizable as deodorant.  Teenage boys treated Axe like cologne, spraying it in the air and walking through the cloud.”

The brand was losing penetration among their target demographics, so Axe needed to intersect the rituals of young boys and teach them how to use the product. The key to their strategy was an insight: “Guys love learning moves.” Boys know that mastering a move or a trick earns social currency, so Axe set out to teach them Double Pits to Chesty. This “ridiculous move within a move that boosts a guy’s girl appeal” also teaches the proper technique for applying Axe body spray. Instead of targeting boys through television commercials that would likely go unseen in the age of DVRs, Axe introduced Double Pits to Chesty through a multiplatform game—receiving more than ten million game plays. Research proved that guys exposed to the games were significantly more likely to use the product correctly, and recommend the brand to others. 

Axe’s latest campaign, Axe Anarchy, tests a new insight: “Everyone wants to be noticed.” In this ongoing, online graphic novel, consumers submit ideas—and vote on where they think the story should go. Any fan whose idea gets chosen is added to the story by the novel’s artists. Content is uploaded every 2-3 days, so young consumers accustomed to the speed of social media can see the story take shape. This focus on content development—and increased engagement—has allowed Axe to better connect with an evolving media landscape, and the consumers growing up alongside it.


Ideas To Go is pleased to also sponsor the upcoming 7th annual Yale Customer Insights Conference in May. Registration has already begun. The fee is $495, and seating is limited. Register for the conference here.

Comments
Text

In February 2012, we sponsored the Yale Center for Customer Insights Trends in Marketing ConferenceThe Higher Velocity Marketplace: Technology, Innovation, and Engagement in the New Marketplace. This intimate, one-day gathering of marketing innovation thought leaders highlighted emerging trends and ideas in technology and customer engagement across a wide spectrum of industries.

Ideas To Go Chairman and Facilitator Ed Harrington and Word Processing Specialist Rickie Friedberg attended the conference and highlighted some of the learnings that we’ll post over the next few days.  We hope you enjoy! 

According to Converse CMO Geoff Cottrill, “Converse believes that unleashing the creative spirit will change the world.” So when the company wanted to connect with its consumers, they let their core customers make their voices heard—literally. 

Chucks-wearing musicians living in Brooklyn told Converse about their difficulty getting noticed by labels, in an industry where professionally recorded demos are both essential and cost-prohibitive. Converse responded by building Rubber Tracks, a place where musicians can record for free—no strings attached. Deserving artists get access to the studio’s state-of-the-art equipment and professional sound engineers, and they get to retain all rights to their music. “They don’t even have to wear our shoes,” says Mr. Cottrill.

In just eight months, 438 musicians in 146 bands have recorded there. The young musicians are eager to share their experiences on Facebook, resulting in millions of impressions. Since the studio opened, Converse’s Facebook “likes” have risen from 16 million to 40 million. Estimated media value? $12.7 million. Converse lives up to their core marketing principles by making meaningful connections, giving their consumers something of value, and then allowing growth to happen naturally over time.

 

Ideas To Go is pleased to also sponsor the upcoming 7th annual Yale Customer Insights Conference in May. Registration has already begun. The fee is $495, and seating is limited. Register for the conference here.

Comments
The image on the left shows an example of an image taken with a fast shutter speed; the image on the right demonstrates the effect of a slow shutter speed.
Innovation as a Camera: Part 3
By Greg Cobb, ITG Facilitator
(Photography is the art of taking billions of scattered photons and creating an ordered image that tells a story, evokes emotion—or is just plain pleasing to the eye. In the same way, idea generation at Ideas To Go is the high energy art of taking the chaotic cloud of ideas in any organization, and refining them into a strategy with a clear purpose and feasible next steps. In this blog series we’ll delve into this photography-inspired metaphor as a practical and helpful way to think about the innovation process.)
Shutter Speed - How much do you let in?
Shutter Speed is the speed at which the shutter covering the camera’s light sensor opens, regulating the amount of light that hits the sensor for a given photograph. Shutter speed can vary greatly depending on the desired effect, lighting conditions, and other camera settings.
A slow shutter speed lets in more light, making it useful for scenes that have many details, or are dimly lit. The majority of impressive night shots employ a low shutter speed. However, if the ISO and aperture are set incorrectly, the picture can appear washed out—making it too bright, and lacking in shadows and dark colors.
A fast shutter speed is ideal for capturing a moving target, or a highly detailed photo close-in to the subject. But if the shutter speed is too fast, the image can appear dark or unresolved. 
Application: Project Stimulus and Setting Criteria
Time is at a premium during ideation—and Creative Consumers® associates and other stim panels can generate a huge amount of content. Letting in too much stimulus can make a project lose focus with a myriad of directions. But letting in too little may cause you to miss out on all the possibilities you wished to explore.

At Ideas To Go, we make sure clients have the final say on content—how much, how broad and how varied. During ideation, the client decides when they have gotten enough—letting Facilitators know they are satisfied with the number of possibilities—whether it’s generated by Creative Consumers® associates or by their own team. During convergence, it is also up to the client to decide how many ideas are worth pursuing, as well as how the final concepts will be developed.

The image on the left shows an example of an image taken with a fast shutter speed; the image on the right demonstrates the effect of a slow shutter speed.

Innovation as a Camera: Part 3

By Greg Cobb, ITG Facilitator

(Photography is the art of taking billions of scattered photons and creating an ordered image that tells a story, evokes emotion—or is just plain pleasing to the eye. In the same way, idea generation at Ideas To Go is the high energy art of taking the chaotic cloud of ideas in any organization, and refining them into a strategy with a clear purpose and feasible next steps. In this blog series we’ll delve into this photography-inspired metaphor as a practical and helpful way to think about the innovation process.)

Shutter Speed - How much do you let in?

Shutter Speed is the speed at which the shutter covering the camera’s light sensor opens, regulating the amount of light that hits the sensor for a given photograph. Shutter speed can vary greatly depending on the desired effect, lighting conditions, and other camera settings.

A slow shutter speed lets in more light, making it useful for scenes that have many details, or are dimly lit. The majority of impressive night shots employ a low shutter speed. However, if the ISO and aperture are set incorrectly, the picture can appear washed out—making it too bright, and lacking in shadows and dark colors.

A fast shutter speed is ideal for capturing a moving target, or a highly detailed photo close-in to the subject. But if the shutter speed is too fast, the image can appear dark or unresolved.

Application: Project Stimulus and Setting Criteria

Time is at a premium during ideation—and Creative Consumers® associates and other stim panels can generate a huge amount of content. Letting in too much stimulus can make a project lose focus with a myriad of directions. But letting in too little may cause you to miss out on all the possibilities you wished to explore.

At Ideas To Go, we make sure clients have the final say on content—how much, how broad and how varied. During ideation, the client decides when they have gotten enough—letting Facilitators know they are satisfied with the number of possibilities—whether it’s generated by Creative Consumers® associates or by their own team. During convergence, it is also up to the client to decide how many ideas are worth pursuing, as well as how the final concepts will be developed.

Comments
Text

Team alignment works when there’s nothing working against it. Here are just a few of the enemies of team alignment:

  • Downsizing + Shorter Timelines: Many find themselves juggling too many projects, with not enough time to get the team on the same page. And, due to downsizing, people are doing more than one job. Expectations around alignment are inferred—simply because there’s no time to assume otherwise.
  • Lack of diversity and appreciation for individual strengths/creative styles: When putting together a team, diversity is key—both in expertise on the topic at hand, and problem-solving/creative style. Thinking you know the answers is different than having a team that can see the full picture and attack it from every angle.
  • Politics: From hidden agendas to pet projects, internal politics can stop a team’s ability to unify from the get-go.

For more on this topic check out our latest issue of Insightings.

Comments
The image on the left demonstrates a photograph taken with a small aperture, leaving the entire image in focus. The image on the right demonstrates the shallow depth of field produced by a wide aperture. 
Innovation as a Camera: Part 2
By Greg Cobb, ITG Facilitator 
(Photography is the art of taking billions of scattered photons and creating an ordered image that tells a story, evokes emotion—or is just plain pleasing to the eye. In the same way, idea generation at Ideas To Go is the high energy art of taking the chaotic cloud of ideas in any organization, and refining them into a strategy with a clear purpose and feasible next steps. In this blog series we’ll delve into this photography-inspired metaphor as a practical and helpful way to think about the innovation process.)
Aperture—What’s in focus?
Aperture is the camera setting that determines the size of the opening through which light will pass. Adjusting this setting determines the depth of field—or how much of the image is in focus. It also affects how much light will enter the camera. Aperture is often set based on the types of images the photographer would like to create:
Opening the aperture wide will result in a shallow depth of field. This brings a narrower area into focus, blurring the background.

A wide aperture is used to call attention to a specific subject, obscuring the details of the scene around it.


While a wide aperture captures one aspect of a scene in a compelling way, it can make the context of the scene difficult to determine.

Restricting the aperture opening to a fraction of its capacity allows more of a scene to come into focus.

Small apertures are used to take pictures of landscapes, and scenes in which detail throughout the depth of the image is desired.


A small aperture captures all of the detail of the scene, but is more difficult to compose—and can lack focus or meaning if done incorrectly.  

Application: Innovation Process Facilitation
Innovation, like photography, requires experienced guidance to successfully utilize content and deliver on project objectives. An effective facilitator not only understands how to uncover ideas that are far outside of a client’s business plan, but can also avoid collapsing into close-in, safe ideas that won’t deliver the “push” clients look for. 
 
Ideas To Go Facilitators are masters of process, actively guiding each project based on a client’s needs—while keeping each participant focused on the goal. During ideation, insights and possibilities generated by both the client team and Creative Consumers® associates are facilitated with a process designed to optimize quantity, variety, novelty and detail over the course of the session. At the convergence stage, Facilitators again encourage clients to focus on their business objectives—while still allowing some stretch and risk-taking—as they go through the difficult process of selecting their top ideas.
 
In the end, although the scope of a project is set by the client team, it is the responsibility of the Facilitator to create a project design and process that ensures that the area of focus is neither too narrow nor too broad—and results in the best innovation scene possible.

The image on the left demonstrates a photograph taken with a small aperture, leaving the entire image in focus. The image on the right demonstrates the shallow depth of field produced by a wide aperture.

Innovation as a Camera: Part 2

By Greg Cobb, ITG Facilitator

(Photography is the art of taking billions of scattered photons and creating an ordered image that tells a story, evokes emotion—or is just plain pleasing to the eye. In the same way, idea generation at Ideas To Go is the high energy art of taking the chaotic cloud of ideas in any organization, and refining them into a strategy with a clear purpose and feasible next steps. In this blog series we’ll delve into this photography-inspired metaphor as a practical and helpful way to think about the innovation process.)

Aperture—What’s in focus?

Aperture is the camera setting that determines the size of the opening through which light will pass. Adjusting this setting determines the depth of field—or how much of the image is in focus. It also affects how much light will enter the camera. Aperture is often set based on the types of images the photographer would like to create:

Opening the aperture wide will result in a shallow depth of field. This brings a narrower area into focus, blurring the background.

  • A wide aperture is used to call attention to a specific subject, obscuring the details of the scene around it.
  • While a wide aperture captures one aspect of a scene in a compelling way, it can make the context of the scene difficult to determine.

Restricting the aperture opening to a fraction of its capacity allows more of a scene to come into focus.

  • Small apertures are used to take pictures of landscapes, and scenes in which detail throughout the depth of the image is desired.
  • A small aperture captures all of the detail of the scene, but is more difficult to compose—and can lack focus or meaning if done incorrectly.

Application: Innovation Process Facilitation

Innovation, like photography, requires experienced guidance to successfully utilize content and deliver on project objectives. An effective facilitator not only understands how to uncover ideas that are far outside of a client’s business plan, but can also avoid collapsing into close-in, safe ideas that won’t deliver the “push” clients look for.

Ideas To Go Facilitators are masters of process, actively guiding each project based on a client’s needs—while keeping each participant focused on the goal. During ideation, insights and possibilities generated by both the client team and Creative Consumers® associates are facilitated with a process designed to optimize quantity, variety, novelty and detail over the course of the session. At the convergence stage, Facilitators again encourage clients to focus on their business objectives—while still allowing some stretch and risk-taking—as they go through the difficult process of selecting their top ideas.

In the end, although the scope of a project is set by the client team, it is the responsibility of the Facilitator to create a project design and process that ensures that the area of focus is neither too narrow nor too broad—and results in the best innovation scene possible.

Comments

How Can A Font Help Brand a City?

Typeface designers are working to give Chattanooga, TN, an identity through its own font. Which got us thinking, how can we apply this type of design thinking to our clients and ourselves.

Source: GOOD

Comments
The image on the right is “noisy” because the photographer used a higher ISO, permitting the camera to interpret too much information as valid.
 
Innovation as a Camera: Part 1
By Greg Cobb, ITG Facilitator
Photography is the art of taking billions of scattered photons and creating an ordered image that tells a story, evokes emotion—or is just plain pleasing to the eye. In the same way, idea generation at Ideas To Go is the high energy art of taking the chaotic cloud of ideas in any organization, and refining them into a strategy with a clear purpose and feasible next steps. Over the next few posts we’ll delve into this photography-inspired metaphor as a practical and helpful way to think about the innovation process.
ISO—What’s noise?
The International Organization for Standardization (or ISO) provides the standards used to represent film speed—or the equivalent sensitivity of a digital camera’s sensor. The term hails from the days of film when the chemical composition of the film determined how much light was absorbed during the exposure.
In today’s digital camera, this setting allows the photographer to decide how much of the light absorbed by the camera’s sensor should be kept as the picture, and how much should be dismissed as noise. Lower ISO settings produce clearer images by filtering out unwanted light and electromagnetic interference, but require longer shutter times—requiring that the camera be completely still, and wreaking havoc with the focus if the camera is not on a tripod. Higher ISO settings will perform better in low light, but are more susceptible to noise caused by the electromagnetic radiation produced by the camera itself—resulting in tiny specs of color and a grainy appearance. A low ISO will help the photographer capture very fine detail, while a high ISO will help the photographer capture a scene in difficult conditions.
Application: Objectives and Project Purpose 
Deciding what counts as quality input—and what to filter out as noise—is the first step in ordering the chaos. It’s important to set these standards early on, so that the end product not only captures the fine details, but does so before the whole image goes out-of-focus.
At Ideas To Go, our initial conversations with clients are designed to identify clear objectives, while creating a project purpose—which acts as the framework and filter for all of the remaining work to be done. These objectives not only set guidelines for the client team, but also apply to idea generation, target area identification, idea selection, concept development and refinement. These objectives provide the basis for well-aligned decision-making—creating a mutually agreed-upon list of criteria with which to judge, without being so restrictive as to throttle creativity. Additionally, the project purpose serves as an effective filter for outside input—in our case Creative Consumers® associates—providing a structure for ideation that allows them to stretch while staying aware of the project’s limits.

The image on the right is “noisy” because the photographer used a higher ISO, permitting the camera to interpret too much information as valid.

Innovation as a Camera: Part 1

By Greg Cobb, ITG Facilitator

Photography is the art of taking billions of scattered photons and creating an ordered image that tells a story, evokes emotion—or is just plain pleasing to the eye. In the same way, idea generation at Ideas To Go is the high energy art of taking the chaotic cloud of ideas in any organization, and refining them into a strategy with a clear purpose and feasible next steps. Over the next few posts we’ll delve into this photography-inspired metaphor as a practical and helpful way to think about the innovation process.

ISO—What’s noise?

The International Organization for Standardization (or ISO) provides the standards used to represent film speed—or the equivalent sensitivity of a digital camera’s sensor. The term hails from the days of film when the chemical composition of the film determined how much light was absorbed during the exposure.

In today’s digital camera, this setting allows the photographer to decide how much of the light absorbed by the camera’s sensor should be kept as the picture, and how much should be dismissed as noise. Lower ISO settings produce clearer images by filtering out unwanted light and electromagnetic interference, but require longer shutter times—requiring that the camera be completely still, and wreaking havoc with the focus if the camera is not on a tripod. Higher ISO settings will perform better in low light, but are more susceptible to noise caused by the electromagnetic radiation produced by the camera itself—resulting in tiny specs of color and a grainy appearance. A low ISO will help the photographer capture very fine detail, while a high ISO will help the photographer capture a scene in difficult conditions.

Application: Objectives and Project Purpose

Deciding what counts as quality input—and what to filter out as noise—is the first step in ordering the chaos. It’s important to set these standards early on, so that the end product not only captures the fine details, but does so before the whole image goes out-of-focus.

At Ideas To Go, our initial conversations with clients are designed to identify clear objectives, while creating a project purpose—which acts as the framework and filter for all of the remaining work to be done. These objectives not only set guidelines for the client team, but also apply to idea generation, target area identification, idea selection, concept development and refinement. These objectives provide the basis for well-aligned decision-making—creating a mutually agreed-upon list of criteria with which to judge, without being so restrictive as to throttle creativity. Additionally, the project purpose serves as an effective filter for outside input—in our case Creative Consumers® associates—providing a structure for ideation that allows them to stretch while staying aware of the project’s limits.

Comments
Text

Ideas To Go is happy to announce the hiring of two new Innovation Process Facilitators: Bob Taylor and Greg Cobb.

Bob comes to us from Chase, where he was VP of Retail Marketing Innovation. And, being a part of several ITG projects with Chase, Bob understands ITG’s innovation process first-hand:

At the heart of innovation—and good marketing in general—is the need to identify and discern true consumer insights. It’s hard work, but great brands do it effectively. I worked with ITG on several projects while at Chase, and found Ideas To Go to be one of the best in doing this work. The process and methodology of having clients work with Creative Consumers® associates allows you to explore and uncover deep, rich insights that can’t be found in something like a focus group. It was always a great collaborative process for my colleagues and me, when I was a client. I also found the Facilitators to be not only very experienced running projects, but because they had a marketing perspective, they could expertly guide us to the applicable insights for our marketing or messaging strategy. We always walked out with several concepts to move forward—and, importantly—we came out smarter.”

Greg, who most recently worked at custom market research firm Psyma International, connected with Ideas To Go while attending the CPSI (Creative Problem Solving Institute) Conference:

I met Susan Robertson at CPSI in 2007. She was teaching my Springboard class, and she mentioned that she worked for Ideas To Go. After she explained ITG’s ideation process, I just thought it sounded like the best thing in the world—it gives people permission to be creative by setting up the right environment and priming them for that.”

Welcome Bob and Greg!

Comments

"When I started managing this brand, current leadership said the strategy was to steal market share. ‘Innovation is not possible, the segment is mature and there is no hope for new products.’ One week at Ideas To Go and their minds were changed. Listening to the insights and ideas from the Creative Consumers® associates lifted the blinders from jaded executives and helped breathe life into the organization. Our session resulted in 13 concept tests being quantitatively tested and 6 scored well enough to become projects. We now have a robust 6 year innovation pipeline that will no doubt propel this company forward."

- AJ Bernstein, Brand Manager, Digestive Health, Fleet Labs

Comments