The Cannes Young Lions 2014 competition for creative teams under 28 has just opened (deadline is April 4). In past years, digital entry levels have unfortunately never reflected the size of our industry or the depth of talent within it. I have been Chairman as well as juror of this competition and have seen and written about how teams have struggled to enter top quality work. The entry levels reached only 25% of the Print entries which in light of where the work is going, didn’t make any sense.
Reasons for it were twofold in my opinion. Firstly, it was (and still is) challenging to succinctly explain a digital campaign. Keeping the core idea separate from the complexity of execution is a skill that not every junior team has mastered yet. Secondly, the competition had until now required the teams to actually build their concepts. Which had to be in the format of display banners. This “smallest common denominator” approach led to a watering down of concepts. Teams entered what, according to their technical skill level, they thought they could actually build in Flash and HTML.
In 2014 it it is now no longer required to build the concept a.k.a. a display banner. This is going to broaden the scope of the ideas significantly, for both the local competition and the international version in Cannes, France. Reactive’s young ones in Melbourne and Sydney will challenge themselves to be among the best young digital creative teams in Australia. And I am looking forward to their results.
If you feel like you got what it takes, stop lurking behind your more senior colleagues. Enter, win, make your way to Cannes and take out the prize for best digital creative team in the world. But before you practice your acceptance speech, you should probably start by entering the first round before April 4:
If you lead an agency or marketing department, you know what the bane of our industry is: it is starved of really good digital talent. Talent that can fuse genuine, explosive creativity with systemic thinking. The ‘systemic’ part means that these people know a lot about and can use existing digital formats, e.g. media, video or social content. And then combine these two realms to create new, innovative solutions.
One of our new recruits at Reactive actually took a course in Digital Design at Tractor last year, a school established to address this lack of creative, digitally-savvy newcomers. And this year, with help from us and some other industry heavyweights from places like DT, R/GA and MentallyFriendly, Tractor is growing up to become an accredited school. Some of the sessions will again be led by one heck of an inspirational teacher-posse, in the shape of my colleagues Gabriel, David and myself.
Additionally raising Reactive’s profile as a place of excellence for digital creativity is my mate Tim Kotsiakos, ECD of Reactive in Melbourne, on the advisory board.
If you want to invest into your own career, sign up. Courses start March 3. If you already know a lot, why don’t you give back and offer your help in the shape of talks, playing host or other course support? Those digital superstars of tomorrow won’t grow on trees you know.
So are you ready to ‘experience the experience’? Because you will quite often hear it from us digital agencies: We have to get the brand-, product- and service-experience right. The ‘customer experience’ and its special subset, the ‘digital customer experience’. Plus the one you might be more familiar with, the ‘user experience’. These three ‘experiences’ have spawned popular new job titles. They are combinations of ‘user interface’ (UI), ‘user experience’ (UX) or ‘customer experience (CX) with an appendix of -designer, -architect, -strategist or -developer. Apart from job titles, this experience work is also producing new deliverables like ‘experience maps’. Below you see a simplified example we created, describing the sometimes emotional roller coaster customers go through when buying into a brand and product.
Other examples of our digitally enhanced experience work is our The Most Powerful Arm –
or AustralianOpen’s Social Shack.
It’s interesting to look at how agencies and digital product companies describe this ‘experience’ offering in their own marketing. Our own Reactive site throws back no less than 548 search results when you look for ‘experience’. Have a read of what other firms use to describe very similar things:
- DT Digital – “We create Customer Experiences that connect brands with people.”
- Razorfish AU – “The Digital Experience Marketing Agency” with their international unit of “Emerging Experiences“
- Nurun – “We apply human-centered design to help businesses thrive in a connected world”
- Huge – “We create experiences that transform brands, grow businesses and make people’s lives better”
- Grow – “Grow is a digital agency with a passion for big ideas, little details, and a better approach to creating world-class interactive experiences”
- Method – “We design integrated brand, product and service experiences”
- MercerBell – “We’re a Customer Experience Agency”
- eConsultancy– “Customer experience is the single most exciting opportunity for 2014”
- Adobe – “Measure and optimize digital experiences to accelerate marketing performance”
- Sitecore – “Sitecore is a platform for driving one-on-one engagement at every touchpoint. Know every customer. Own every experience.”
But don’t forget to get in touch with us at Reactive first, after all, 548 ‘Experience’ search results don’t lie.
The interactive-film-music conference juggernaut SXSW (South by SouthWest) comes around early March and this year I and Emad Tahtouh are lucky enough to be panelists. Reactive and Finch will present together our joint work for ‘The Most Powerful Arm‘. In the panel ‘Using Innovation for Good‘ we discuss the possibilities of using innovation and experimental technology for worthy causes.
And best of all, you can participate by tweeting question that will be written in real time by ‘The Most Powerful Arm’ robot itself, live, in the room! Use the hashtag #SXSWArm and it shall turn into words on paper.
The Most Powerful Arm Ever Invented
Here are the details of Emad’s and my panel: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_IAP22776
If you happen to attend the interactive part of SXSW, please connect with us on SXSW’s social platform and/or say hi at our panel.
I am also currently piecing together my own schedule of favourite events, which you can publicly see here. Maybe we can match interests or share interesting events:
Recently istock approached creatives from around the world, including yours truly, to collect the strongest trends in colour and design: Pantone’s Color of the Year and Top 10 Hot or Not. Remember, you heard the challenge for ‘better flatness’ here first.
Both surveys are now published as handy info graphics. Study them and you’ll surely be #winning at your next creative presentation in 2014. As a cheat sheet (or cubicle poster), you can download both info graphics as PDFs: Color of the Year / Hot or Not