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Be the Change

To test and scale ideas faster, Spyglass developed the Brand Collaboratory™—a learning lab approach that involves key stakeholders in the creation of messages and materials. We firmly believe that “doing it together” and iterating quickly outperforms the old agency model. 


Are you moving through the day doing what you’ve always done—struggling with (or avoiding) the same persistent business or brand issues? Do you have a scattershot strategy, a mucked up PowerPoint or a story that just doesn’t sing?

Welcome to the club! The fact is, most of us aren’t optimizing our efforts and time. Which makes perfect sense, because individuals and organizations are actually hardwired to maintain the status quo, and we require certain conditions to make sustainable change, especially the big transformative kind.

At Spyglass, we have powerful processes to help our clients break out of their ruts and accelerate the adoption of new solutions—to generate the kind of meaningful results (and paradigm shifts) that so many businesses now require. Here are 3 key principles:

Ask better questions: In the old days, agencies like ours would receive a stated assignment or challenge from a client and begin brainstorming answers. Today, we start by asking new and better questions (an approach that spookily aligns with this meaty HBR Better Brainstorming article). For example, a recent assignment from a client was framed as a marketing communications project. A bit of deeper inquiry revealed that a trust- and relationship-building initiative was what was actually needed—and that’s what we proposed.

Get there faster: Too often it seems like the juiciest (and most differentiating) ideas get diluted and bogged down by the traditional research/review/approval process. To counteract that inertia, we’ve been deploying a new fast and focused Brand Collaboratory™ approach in order to rapidly iterate ideas to a point where they can be evaluated, tested and refined with real audiences sooner rather than later.

Do it together: Now, more than ever, we believe it’s time to reach beyond the marketing department to engage diverse stakeholders more meaningfully in the creative process—both to ensure relevance and build trust. A more collaborative process increases internal enthusiasm, belief and buy-in, which is essential to the adoption of an impactful, market-relevant and potentially game-changing story.

This part is critical, because companies are often structurally resistant to doing (and saying) things in new ways. According to innovation consultant Stefan Lindegaard:Change is frightening to many elements inside the typical organization. Change threatens people’s power, their status, their egos, and, in some situations, even their jobs. Change can make someone’s expertise obsolete and thereby make them obsolete as well. Because people are afraid of change, innovation efforts often cause the eruption of corporate antibodies that fight to kill innovation and maintain the status quo.”

Maybe you’re not trying to reinvent the wheel (or your category) but simply need some fresh eyes and juice to jumpstart your marketing. Let’s get started!

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Brainstorming: Yay or Nay?

The old axiom claims that there are no bad ideas… but anyone who’s been in a brainstorming session knows that’s just not true. Since cavemen first sketched on walls, humans have been capturing concepts and exploring possibilities on vertical surfaces.

Certainly in creative agencies, brainstorming is a time-tested way to generate new solutions to thorny problems. Yet as a discipline, it’s typically undisciplined at best.

“Brainstorming is Worthless,” provocatively proclaims a recent article in Inc. “What a brainstorm session should be is a place to challenge the ideas that have already been vetted,” rants author Nicolas Cole. “Not a free-for-all breakout session where anything and everything goes.” Cole thinks it’s a waste of time to have a group noodling together and tossing out whatever ideas happen to flow. Instead he advocates a process whereby each team member has done their own generative thinking and comes to the table with winnowed-down directions they are ready to defend.

Meanwhile, over in the Harvard Business Review, Hal Gregersen takes a thoughtful (long) view on different protocols and processes and advocates a “better brainstorming” approach that he claims yields the most fruitful futures. Interestingly, over 20 years of practice, he has observed that “the people least likely to engage in the exercise and follow the rules are the folks with the highest positions or greatest technical expertise… who cripple the truth-seeking capability of the entire group.” He emphasizes the importance of organizational culture in creating environments conducive to truly meaningful brainstorming. “Leaders must show humility, vulnerability and trust, and they must empower others and treat them equitably.” Sounds like a recipe for all kinds of transformation and growth!

Here at Spyglass, we’re evolving our collaborative creative process (see our Be the Change post) and have experienced the direct benefits of using a more structured, inclusive and nimble approach. We’d love to show you.

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Tweeting the Games: How to stay out of a hot mess in 140 characters or less

lead_Oympics_BlogFullThe 2016 Olympics in Rio are shaping up like a steamy jungle adventure. Here at Spyglass, we feel like a bunch of Indiana Joneses ready to chop through the dense vegetation of negative media hype, hoping for a little less focus on mosquitos, banditos and leaky-pipe-oritos—and more magic moments of culture and competition. If your brand is thinking about jumping on the social media bandwagon during the games, you’ll need to know the dos and don’ts of Olympic tweeting. NBC spent almost $1.3 billion for the rights to air the event, and reports say NBCUniversal believes it will sell well over $1 billion in advertising for its telecast. It’s no surprise that those brands, including the Olympic brand itself, are drawing a legal line in the sand to keep unpaid social media interlopers off their paid media turf. But if you play your cards right, you’ve still got a chip, a chair and a chance to make your mark.

Here’s how to stay out of hot water on social media and develop a gold medal strategy for riding the social waves.

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Blowing it up? Scion introduces new inflatable pitchman

After one of your long weekend hikes this fall in and you’ve savored the sweet brisk fall air and evolving cornucopia of colors (preferably before kick-off), you may have had the chance between chores to sit back and critique the ad geniuses that bring you the game. It’s important to note that ESPN just paid four times the going rate to air NFL games. Cable companies pay a king’s ransom to ESPN—a whopping $6 monthly per subscriber. Why? Because ESPN is paying for the ratings, and cable TV is still making a killing. So it makes sense that advertisers have to up their game too, what with all this over exposure. That means the fine art of a brand’s ability to cut through the clutter to plant that one seed of brain remembrance is now at an all-time premium. But implanting a memory is harder than you think. See how Scion is playing their weird card to entertain you in the increasingly surreal world of automobile advertising.

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Think Green: The Top 8 St. Patrick’s Day ads


“I married an Irishman on St. Patrick’s Day.”
“Oh, really?”
“No, O’Reilly!”

See the top ads for St. Patty’s Day.

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Beast mode: Tim Palm panels AMA’s 3rd Annual Super Bowl Ad Review

Rousing ovation ensued. Spyglass had a great time at Tuesday night’s American Marketing Association event held at Olson HQ. Spyglass Creative Director, Tim Palm, shared thoughts on the best and worst of this year’s Super Bowl ads along with Olson CCO Dennis Ryan, Carmichael Lynch and Spong Senior Partner, Julie Batliner and Nerland Co. CEO and CCO, Nathan Nerland. The audience learned that spending a whopping $4 million for a 30-second spot, or $8 million for a 60-second spot is well worth the money. With 140 million viewers at stake, it catapults you into a collective consumer conversation that is well worth the cost of admission. This year’s ads were heavier than ever with messaging geared towards a female audience, who constitute roughly half of all viewers. In short, ads we loved were the Snickers Brady Bunch spot for its twist on an established formula and the Always “Like a Girl” spot for its breakthrough approach and messaging. And, although we collectively found the Nationwide Insurance “Make Safe Happen” to be a downer and the Budweiser “Lost Dog” to be short on surprises, we agreed that they likely hit their mark.

Check out this Forbes article on whether or not a Super Bowl ad is worth the investment.

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Snow blind: Why finding your own typos is a mind-melting task

If you work in the world of marketing and advertising, you know that typos are a killer. They erode the faith of clients, hurt brands, and put you squarely on your heels in a conversation you wish you weren’t having. But the truth is, thanks to some quirky brain activity, its just plain tough to spot typos in your own work. Find out why.

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It’s never too early to hype: Newcastle teases us with 2016 Super Bowl ad


Newcastle pulled off something entirely new this year. They co-branded a Super Bowl ad with not just one partner, but plugged 37+ brands into a single one-minute clip. It was brilliant (to coin a competitor’s catch phrase) and effective. With 5,477,756, views and counting, it put the bold beer brand ahead of other stalwarts like McDonald’s and Toyota. Now, they already have a snarky teaser for what they have in store for Super Bowl 50. Yes, 50. The Super is going to digits instead of the Roman numeral L. Are you ready for some football? Newcastle gets our gold star for keeping the conversation going.

Check out the teaser spot

See this year’s Newcastle Super Bowl ad

Learn why it’s Super Bowl 50, not L

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Hot cheese! YouTube has a Super Bowl halftime show

You say you’re not a Katy Perry fan? Well, imagine that. Lucky for you, you’ve got an alternative this Super Bowl. This year YouTube will be adding its own halftime show to your bulging buffet of visual content. They guarantee it will be brimming with original content including fake ads, music and a general array of viral mayhem. The potential to capture even a slice of the Super Bowl eye pie is enormous, not to mention an excellent opportunity to boost the profile of YouTube’s own cast of kooks. Think about it: YouTube makes billions of dollars on people re-watching actual Super Bowl ad content and they have their own original Super Bowl half time content.It’s like eating your cash cake and having it too.

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Something to chew on: Meet the Mike Tyson of the 2014 FIFA World Cup

On the bright side, he missed the ear by a long shot. Uruguay striker Luis Suarez bit into the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. It’s not the first time this guy has chomped, but it’s the most notable. It gave social media a super buzz foothold – and advertisers loved it.

Video of the bite.

Some of the funniest Tweets from brands about the bite on Mashable.

Twitter page for #BanSuarez.




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