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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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Transform Your Morning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you up with the sun or a reluctant riser? Do you meditate, make to-do lists or chug coffee on the run? In many ways, how we start our mornings sets the tone for what’s to come in the days (and years!) that follow. Such is the premise behind “My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired,” a new book by authors Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander, who interviewed 300 highly successful people about their morning routines.

We ordered the book, but haven’t received it yet, so we took the liberty of asking a few people around the agency about their morning routines and heard this:

“I set aside my phone and watch the news while I’m drinking my coffee. It helps ground me in what’s going on in the world and gives me a bigger perspective.”

“On most days I go for a run. Sometimes it’s just racing to the bus stop with a forgotten backpack or lunchbox. But that’s something, right?”

“I take a shower and think about all the stuff I want to wash away… worries, disappointments, mistakes. It helps me start the day fresh and leave yesterday behind.”

“I’d like to say I meditate, but it’s more like I’m just staring straight ahead mindlessly while I’m waiting for the caffeine to kick in.”

Not exactly the breakfast of champions, perhaps, but maybe once we get the book, our habits can improve. Here’s hoping!

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Will work for font: Turning cardboard messages into cash for a cause


With the homeless begging for money on virtually every busy street corner someone had a cool idea. Why not turn some of the more interesting scrawls into original fonts? Then, sell them and donate the money to homelessness causes. Here’s the clever story. 

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Why taking a shower may be your best, last resort to brilliance.


Whether you’re marketing to the masses, fixing your bike, doing the crossword or trying to out-Jobs Steve with a sexy new innovation, changing thought patterns can be the key to unlocking a universe of new possibilities. Here’s why.

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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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Super Bowl Snoozer and the Banned Ads They Wouldn’t Air


Who would have thought it — a double dose of Bob Dylan for the Super Bowl? There he was shilling for Chrysler and the American can-do spirit while also serving as the musical backdrop for Chobani yogurt. Only fitting, because the game was like a good folk song. Too long and easy to tune out while you’re doing something else. It was hard to pay attention. The conversations percolated more, the trips to the food table got more frequent and the gigantic TV in the middle of the room just didn’t get requisite face time. Even the halftime was meh. In the end, it was the most lopsided Super Bowl victory in 21 years. What was supposed to be a storied matchup of #1s turned out to be a second rate dud. It took the Broncos 45 minutes of game time to put points on the board. Manning, the brilliant student of the game, looked overmatched and out of it. Just like most viewers. Budweiser’s predictably poignant ode to animals “Puppy Love” won top honors on 2014 Super Bowl Ad Meter. And Heinz got away with a fart joke that took way too long to develop. And that pretty much said it all. No big surprises here. Just the score. Watch the ads deemed too controversial to air here. And here’s a link to honest company slogans that reflect common brand perceptions. Just cuz. Happy Monday!

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Super Super Bowl Marketing: How Two Guys Inhaled the Right URL at the Right Time

Interesting article on two savvy entrepreneurs who knew that if the two states that legalized pot got to the big game, they could score big profits. Also shows how the NFL/pot tie-in is helping lots of people make hemp while the sun shines. Like we tell our clients about URLs – while they may not be the end all to profits and performance – it’s a good idea to snap up what you can before someone else gets to them. Full article: http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_25001056/stoner-bowl-xlviii-marijuana-matchup-has-really-gone

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Finally, an Ad Award that Celebrates Products that Define Brand Space.

Cannes Lions Ad Awards announced a new award category: Product Design. If you are not familiar, the Cannes Lions represent quite possibly the pinnacle of creative achievement, so this is an interesting development. After having done branding work for many outstanding product manufacturers – and even brands that help those manufacturers design incredible new products – we know how important product design is to brand perception.  Your products reflect something beyond functionality and reliability. They reflect your aesthetic. What a brand thinks of itself. Your view of the universe you operate in. Where you think the market is heading. And why someone should pay attention. For brands who see these factors before they design their products the rewards are big. From attracting top talent to building awareness and sales faster, great products have great impact. Now, there’s a prestigious award that can go with it. And that is always an outstanding PR opportunity with plenty of unpaid media potential.

(http://adage.com/article/special-report-cannes/cannes-lions-adds-a-awards-category-product-design/291249/)

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(Mini)minneapolis: Our New Favorite City

Miniminneapolis. Ever heard of it? I couldn’t find it on Google maps so there is no way it actually exists.  Well Starburst would disagree. In their latest ad they feature miniminneapolis, where their new miniature candies are made.  Spyglass calls Minneapolis its home so we were instantly intrigued, but what really made us pay attention was the thought behind the ad.  It was perfect.  They managed to introduce a new product, make people laugh, and gain instant interest from anyone with a fondness of the original Minneapolis (or just Minneapolis as we call it). Not to mention it only took them 30 seconds to do so. Think about your own brand. Could you make a play on words to help gain awareness?  We can.  We are already getting the whiteboards out and creating new cities as we speak…. And we can promise you they are filled with new characters and taglines to fit your brand. Which sounds much more intriguing than the weather here, so let’s get started. Right here in Spytopia, a creative municipality located here in PolarVortexasota.

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