One of the highlights of ad:tech Tokyo was the keynote of Clark Kokich, Chairman of Razorfish. He introduced the audience to his soon to be released book “Do or Die: A complete rethinking of how brands create and sustain customer relationships.” Interestingly, the book will be released as an iPad app, not a printed book. (The preview site is still a work in progress and not live, and the publishing date of the book wasn’t clear to me, definitely early enough to be a stocking stuffer.)
Advertising used to be about changing perception. Now it’s about changing reality.
That was one of Kokich’s most dramatic paradigm shifts the advertising industry has to deal with in the future. While Einstein might not agree with him, (He famously said: “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”) but I believe Kokich understood and distilled a very important insight advertisers have to deal with for a long time to come.
Things aren’t always what they seem. Marketers relied on this fact to make us see things- the way they want us to see them. But wandering through life, letting others create our perceptions, can make a very unfulfilling life. The declining power of mass advertising and the increasing control of customers leads people to desire to be in charge of their own perception of reality. As marketers, changing perceptions is just not that effective anymore. You need to change reality.
Redefine the definition of a big idea
Vail Resorts Epic Mix app redefined the big idea: It was not a huge campaign, it was not some big initiative, it was an app that changed the skiing experience. It was based on the insight that skiing as a solitary experience needs to be complemented by a social experience to enjoy a fulfilling vacation you want to share with your friends. Vail Resorts stayed away from telling people how enjoyable it was to vacation at their properties. Instead, they worked hard to make the actual experience more fun.
Reverse the process: From “Channel up” to “Channel down”
Sure, the commercial is memorable but the real meat of the campaign was a grassroots campaign that allowed fans around the world to write their own future through a unique experience on NikeFootball.com and their Facebook page that gave fans the power to create personalized videos, photos and information that put them on center stage at the World Cup 2010. Fans were then able to take their customized content to build their own Facebook campaign in an attempt to get noticed and selected for “The Chance” which is an elite Nike Academy football camp.
Master the art of collaborative creativity
The “Write the future” campaign from Nike was developed through a collaboration between AKQA, Razorfish, Mindshare and Wieden & Kennedy under the leadership of Nike. None of us is as good as all of us. This can be very effective if the collaboration is organized properly.
Don’t get up in the morning and think ‘What can we we say about the brand today’. Instead, get up in the morning and do something in the spirit of the brand, based on its core beliefs.
Kokich’s closing thought.
I’m looking forward reading his book.