The Origin Of Creative Executions


The creative execution is an evolution of a concept.
The concept is an evolution of an idea.
The idea is an evolution of the brief.
The brief is an evolution of the strategy.

A single brief can give birth to a number of interesting ideas. Ultimately, the fittest concepts survive. Some characteristics of the original strategy carry through. Others morph. Many disappear.

And it’s why strategy matters. That kind of growth – those myriad of possibilities – must be built on a strong foundation. With the proper conditions, truly incredible things can come to be.

Those incredible things are why I don’t mind being the ape.

Interested in more stuff I find interesting? Follow me @casey_flanagan on Twitter.

The Social Bucket List

Applications and social startups are born at a faster rate than babies in the boomer generation by hopeful entrepreneurs anxious to be the next Mark Zuckerberg and Biz Stone. The majority of these startups never get off the ground, but a tiny fraction of them have the formidable combination of – a smart idea, unmet need, monetary support and most importantly, the agility and wherewithal to adapt and evolve – that ultimately launches them into the arms of Early Adopters.

One startup that’s caught my attention is the freshly released social start up, WhereBerry. The brainchild of Nick Baum and Bill Ferrell, former Google techies, seems like it could have a fighting chance.

Most social networks capitalize on what we’ve done in the past or what we’re doing now. The logical next step is for people to share what they want to do in the future. WhereBerry, which opened to the public last week, allows people to post activities they want to do… someday – from restaurants they want to eat at, to movies they want to see, to places they want to visit – people can organize and store their desires in one convenient place, turning the familiar “bucket list” virtual, and most importantly, social.

As a society of “dreamers” it is in our nature to make plans and set goals. As a rising society of “sharers” it is in our nature to broadcast these plans to friends. WhereBerry seems to have what it takes to capitalize on these popular behaviors. But it is at a fragile and vulnerable state in its growth, where important decisions can either make or break its success. I believe that if they can successfully accomplish the following, they could in fact be the next big thing:

  1. Community & Groups: With the rising popularity of social networks, we not only want to share, we want to be part of a community or group. What users of WhereBerry are going to want next is the ability to join together with others around entertaining, thrilling, educational and delicious activities. Providing users the ability to share plans with smaller, private groups will not only be a feature users are interested in using, but will allow the application to spread virally as friends plan together.
  2. Sharing on Steroids: The sharing is currently very straightforward: add to your list, post to your wall, see your friends’ to-dos in your feed, etc. WhereBerry should evolve the “share factor” by using a more complex formula – connecting people who have similar interests, presenting users with to-dos that seem to match with their trends (and location), suggesting plans their friends have, and more. The key is, users want the service to do the work for them and provide them with value they wouldn’t have on their own.
  3. Competition and Achievements: Based on your bucket list and the items you accomplish, users should be able to achieve recognition or status for their completed tasks (e.g. Advanced Foodie, Dare Devil, Movie Buff, etc.). This brings a level of competition to the utility and drives participation, stretching users to try more and more – and therefore use the social network more.
  4. Businesses & Brands: Selling this idea to brands by presenting the benefits to their business and getting them involved will provide substance to network by providing users with recommendations, deals and rewards, and will be the push to eventually turning this start-up into a money maker.
  5. Continuous Evolution: WhereBerry needs to pay close attention to analytics, use, feedback, and the industry as a whole to learn what users want. They need to quickly evolve, adapt, grow, simplify, and integrate in order to meet users’ rising expectations.

The tech world today is a rough one to survive in, and the get-rich-quick theory very rarely applies. In 3-5 years we may see WhereBerry checking “10 Million Users” off their bucket list. Or we may be asking, “What’s WhereBerry? A new BlackBerry device?”

The Tower of Babble

A little vibration on my thigh signals the arrival of a text message.  The billboard up ahead is digital, sending out a different message every 8 seconds.  The elevator pitches me lunch options on the way to the lobby.  News, weather and sports are on 24/7. Whatever it is I may become interested in next, there’s a magazine, cable channel and three thousand blogs about it.

Despite the endless flow of information we are presented with everyday, it seems as if no one’s got the time to read.  Thank you for taking an exception here.  Item: Publishers are decrying the fact that young men simply don’t read.  Item:  More and more we’re becoming a multi-lingual nation where we no longer read the same language, and when we do, it is difficult for everyone to understand the same idioms.  The result: Clever headlines aimed at catching people’s attention are not getting the reaction they are looking for.

So I better choose my words carefully, here.  We all should.

We’re spewing more words to less effect than any time in our history.  An art director friend of mine suggested we should respond by simply spewing more pictures.  I think he’s right.

The successful marketers are emphasizing design throughout their brands.  Simplicity has become the essence of cool.

Martin Luther said, “The fewer the words, the better the prayer.”  Apparently, not a lot of people got the message.  The cathedrals of Europe sit empty.

Marketers better listen or their pews could sit empty too. That white noise you’re hearing out there is saying, “Keep it simple.”