Category Archives: Strategy

Digital agencies teaming up with start ups

I am sure you have already noticed:  digital creative agency work heavily overlaps with start ups. I am hardly the first to notice that talent, ideas, formats and processes are very similar in nature. It’s no wonder some talented staff leave agencies to pursue their start up ideas. Murat Mutlu has delivered a great rant on it here. Similarly, whole agencies team up with venture capital to pursue start up ventures. R/GA’s Connected Devices Accelerator comes to mind. Check out the crowd in this new YouTube content called ‘That Start Up Show’ (you can read my review here). You’d be hard pressed to tell the people apart: agency geezers or start up folk?

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Photo by Heisenberg Media under CC

Or look at the photo above: is it a group of start ups or a digital agency? Click through to Heisenberg Media and you will find out. So in many ways there is little difference. The reason we are still somewhat different is how agencies deal with a variety of industries & clients rather than one target market or one vertical. And most importantly, we differ in the way ‘our businesses work’. We agencies handle risk and reward a lot different from start ups. More often than not, we agencies would love to follow up, evolve, optimise and perfect our ideas for apps and services. Yet the budget often isn’t there for those last hard yards. On the side of the start ups people must often re-adjust their ideas and pivot the whole entreprise. And still their genius might hit a wall. Or the money might run out. Or the market might not react at all.

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Photo by Heisenberg Media under CC

Despite those differences, I thought there is so much to be gained from getting closer to the start up world. I investigated our own Reactive agency & start up relationship further. And as part of our constant Research and Development, Reactive has started a relationship with Telstra’s incubator program Muru-D.

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Through them we got to know a Sydney start up called ISSUE. Their venture is a browser-based authoring tool that creates mobile/tablet ready magazines with e-commerce and affiliate marketing, all built in. Or as they would call it: “Mobile magazines with shoppable stories”.

Issue application site

Last week Reactive Sydney turned into a little film set, hosting the ISSUE crew shooting a demo reel with us. Reactive is acting as their partner agency in this video (with yours truly among the amazing cast). The final video (see below)  features fashion & design bloggers Lisa Hamilton from See Want Shop and Terri Winter, founder of Top3 by Design. They worked together with us to create an amazing interior design and fashion mag – and we had a blast being part of it.

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We will post this ISSUE hype video once it’s finalised. In the meantime you can check out the elaborate set and suave actors in these ‘Behind the scenes’ shots:

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Cannes Young Lions 2014

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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.

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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:
http://www.newscorpaustralia.com/young-lions-digital-competition

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Tractor Design School

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Experience the Experience! How we digital agencies explain what we do.

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.

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or AustralianOpen’s Social Shack.

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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’. Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 6.30.00 PM 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.

Content Marketing for WeightWatchers

Among our latest work at Reactive is fresh content marketing for WeightWatchers.

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Understanding weight issues and weight loss as well as making healthier choices in your life has become a critical issue for Australians. By many statistics we rank as one the heaviest nations in the world. And that is tons away from our self-perceived ‘beach-bronzed surfer chicks and dudes’ ideal. Check out the various exercise tips, recipes and psychological advice in the University of Incredible or as a series of presentations on the WeightWatchers Slideshare account.

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YouTube videos and live events like Google Hangouts and Twitter chats with WeightWatchers experts complement the offering.

6 in 6 - sneaky workouts at work-1 Why Stress Is Like A Ninja_16x9-22 Why Stress Is Like A Ninja_16x9-08 Flatter your figure-01 WWS036 - Awaken the Incredible You in Minutes_v015 Daily Distractions & Sneaky Saboteurs_v57 WWS036 - Breakfasts Not Borefests_v0216 WWS036 - Breakfasts Not Borefests_v024

Using Innovation for Good at SXSW

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.

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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

The Most Powerful Arm Ever Invented

Here are the details of Emad’s and my panel: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_IAP22776

Tim and Emad at IAB Mixx Awards

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.

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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:
http://schedule.sxsw.com/user_events/628a38f5b2d3793e35cb91f72719527cabe74cd0

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Design and Colour Trends 2014

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

PANTONE® Color of the Year 2014 Predictions Infographic, November 2013

Infographic: Top 10 design trends, November 2013