Coca-Cola’s Jonathan Mildenhall, responsible for global advertising strategy & content excellence, has his part in making sure Coca-Cola became the Cannes Advertiser of the year in 2013. His Content 2020 manifest (part 1 | part 2) which was shared at the Cannes Lions a few years ago inspired more than just the marketers at the Coca-Cola company. He has proven that creativity and commercial success go hand in hand, but also states that creativity belongs to all of us as you can read in this interesting interview:
The key to Coca-Cola’s change, says Mildenhall, was understanding that creativity is everyone’s responsibility and remit, individually and inside the organisation. “To change, Coke had to take creativity in the widest sense back from the agencies. It couldn’t belong only to the hairy elites of agency creative departments.”
In the same interview Mildenhall defines how he thinks of creative leadership, sharing his 9 principles on the topic:
Creative directors are the soul of the company or brand they lead
They amplify the creativity in everyone they work with
They distort reality and make the impossible seem possible
They are relentlessly optimistic, exuding positive, infectious energy
They create a culture of curiosity, never stop asking or learning, and have the best questions
They establish trust, honesty and belief by giving away credit
They make unpopular calls to do the right thing by the work
I did a talk about mobile in marketing at the Mobile Convention Brussels today. It’s not the first time I write about social objects or social currency on this blog, but in the case of mobile the device itself is in essence a social object. It allows us to connect with people, remember Nokia’s claim? And going from Dumbphone to Feature Phone to Smartphone (and yes I like these retronyms) the connections have multiplied. More tech, more possibilities and more people to connect to. Fantastic.
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
So the mobile phone is a social object. Literally because it allows us to connect with people around the world. And it isn’t a social object, thinking about the definition we use for that in the conversation economy because it doesn’t trigger conversations, on the contrary. So there’s an opportunity in marketing to make the mobile phone a real social object, to use it to trigger conversation. To use it in a way it’s not the object itself that matters but the conversations around it.
Like we tried to do with “Reborn Apps”, the campaign for organ donation that won a gold Cannes Lions at this year’s festival.
Or also with older cases like “A Blind Call” or “Baby Connection“. These projects are not only there for conversion (which is also an objective of course) but are created mainly to kickstart conversations.
A few things to keep in mind when you want to use mobile to create social objects:
Digital is not about technology. There’s little technology involved in the case of Reborn Apps for instance, it’s not by focusing on the tech that you will find the great ideas. And sometimes technology can spur fantastic ideas obviously and also that can be a good briefing, but in general it’s not where you start to find the answer to your problems.
Context is key. Also here way too often that is immediately translated into technology, into things such as responsive design for instance in which responsive is just a way of saying how the design adapts to ‘every’ screen. I think that’s limiting ourselves, context is about which device, when, for what purpose, by whom, … and responsive design should be about a way of designing experiences that keep all of that into account.
Find a unique (provocative) insight. I’m planning on doing a separate write down on the ‘provocative insight’ and how we defined that at Duval Guillaume Modem. The important thing to remember is that you need an insight that has a bit more edge to it, that people have an opinion on if you want it to generate those kind of creative ideas that will provoke conversations.
Tap into real human emotions. It’s what makes it situations, projects, products, advertising, … recognisable. You can image yourself into a certain situation, you can immediately see how something like that could also happen to you. It makes it all so much more powerful.
Make it irreverent. Challenge the status quo. Don’t accept things to be like everyone says they should be, don’t take things too seriously, think the opposite. When everybody zigs, zag.
Yes it’s been a lot of hard work for everyone at the agency. But what a reward. Being celebrated by the industry both locally and internationally for the work is just friggin’ awesome! What a good way to celebrate my 3 year anniversary at the agency :-)