Sunday, July 08, 2012

Planes On Your Road

British Airways has a great new site that integrates Google street view to enable you to ride in a 777 plane down your road as part of the build up to the London Olympics. It's a brilliantly executed piece of work and based upon a new TV spot that (I guess) is running in the UK.

Check it out at

You need a UK post code to make it work - if you don't have one try these to compare and see how the street view data is used - W1D 3HA and WC2E 9LG.

Monday, May 28, 2012

There's no such thing as a Digital Strategist

I've had some interesting conversations recently with a number of frustrated planners in different parts of the world over the notion of an agency role called "Digital Strategist."

To be clear as I begin this, it's my own personal view that there is no such thing as a Digital Strategist (and I'm really sorry if that's the job title someone has foisted upon you, but chances are you're not a strategist).

Why do I believe this?

Simple. Strategy is by definition a broad, encompassing area of commercial pursuit. It's about the master plan, a grand design or game plan. Focussing on a single, narrow channel means that you are not taking into account the full picture of the landscape that your brand, your consumer, your shopper lives within. If you focus strategy on a single channel it becomes tactical and operational by definition. 

Part of the annoyance in these conversations has to do with bosses. Mainly male, white and over 50. All of whom struggle to understand what is going on in the digital landscape and, for fear of missing out, need to be able to point to the new shiny things to be able to say that their agency "gets it". But all it does is prove the opposite. If you have digital strategists in your agency, your agency doesn't get it. 

Account planning has always been about the synthesis of lots of different bits of data and the connection of dots between brands and the people who use them. All that has happened is an expansion of that data, the channels, platforms and places where people and brands can come together. You have to be able to see the entire picture in order to develop ideas that will be effective across all connection points (even if your agency only executes a few of them).

Obviously today's planners need to have a deep knowledge of all things digital, as well as deep knowledge of older media channels, experiential, retail and so on to build a brand, make a sale, launch a new product etc. That's the role of a planner in any type of agency.

No matter what it is called though the important point is that planners should focus on understanding the journeys people go on, bring clarity to the roles different channels play in a brand's mix and identify how brands can be built by participating and interacting with people on these journeys. 

In the agency context then, someone who claims to be a digital strategist most probably isn't.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Neither Left Nor Right Brained

Really interesting RSA film from psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist. Our belief that we predominately use one side of the brain is wrong. There are no left brained people. There are no right brained people. We need both sides to reason and to dream. You can see the full lecture here.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Time and Space to Think

Never has this been more important, nor misunderstood.

Time and space to allow new ideas to appear is a fundamental part of working in creative businesses and we don't put enough effort into it. As Don Draper said:

Thanks to @trendrag for sending on this image.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mixed Messaging

I guess you have to be in the know for this not to be a mixed message.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Brucie, back in the day. Inspiration for Tebow?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Being Pinteresting

So the challenge of posting something in photo form everyday is proving to be a challenge already. By way of compensation (to myself) I've finally updated my page to include a 'follow me' link to Pinterest. I've been a member for a while and I love it - just haven't pinned very much up as yet. But it is on the to do list for 2012. My intention (and we're full of those this time of the year) is to curate my own architectural library of interesting architectural features as I've decided it's now my thing. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Puppet Fun (or why simple always wins)

Après ski activity, après ski school session two, lesson one. Kids happy hour as well as adult happy hour, courtesy of Ripperoo, Keystone. Simple strategy that pulls in kids, adults, and their wallets. Proving that simple is always a winner.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Sad. Men At Work

Construction in the office. The specificity of this sign made me laugh. We males do like to advertise when we are doing hard graft and to make it clear to everyone in the vicinity exactly who is wielding the big hammer.

It's 2012 and sad that such sexism still runs rife in our cultures and our work places. Or perhaps that's being too sensitive to political correctness. Perhaps it is actually just a statement of fact. But did it need the gender specification?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Teaching Kids about Money

This is an interesting recent PBS news piece on how Colorado schools are meeting their obligations to improve financial literacy in the public school system under a new law that came into effect in the autumn of 2011.

I think it is a great initiative for the state schools and the film really speaks for itself. Take a look and see if you agree, but I think that if the last few years in the global economy have shown us anything it is that many people around the world could have used this kind of education when they were in school.

Have to make some disclosures on the film though. My son is in it along with his class mates and his utterly marvelous and totally fabulous 4th Grade teacher, Kristin Berstien, who is doing a fantastic job of leading her kids to a bright future. School and parents alike are all grateful to Great West (who also happen to be a client while I am in full disclosure mode) for their donations to schools in support of this initiative and the great work it is enabling.  


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Small But Meaningful Gestures

Back to work today, and one of my wonderful colleagues gave me this small gift of Fruit Pastills - a small taste of the home land. The small gifts, small gestures are always the ones that touch us most. Something many organisations could learn from in their brand behaviours.

Monday, January 02, 2012

So That Was Christmas

Lights down for another year. If the number of lit houses and the number of lights on those houses were any kind of economic indicator then our neighbourhood told us this holiday season that 2012 won't be any easier or better than 2011. No worse either which has to be the good news.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Game of Life

New Year's day 2012. Education for the children. Always such a good game when I was a youngster it's interesting watching my own children deal with life choices. It's a great strategy training game for all ages (well at least 8 and up) as we've not quite made it to Risk yet.