I am proud to announce that my panel idea, “Big Brother in Your Brain: Neuroscience and Marketing,” has been selected as a panel at the 2010 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in March in Austin, Texas. SXSW received more than 2,300 proposals via the SXSW PanelPicker submission process, a unique digital interface that allows the public to vote and provide feedback directly on panel proposals. My panel will be one of over 400 sessions included in SXSW 2010 and among the best of the best; including discussions led by innovators such as Clay Shirky and Chris Brogan and thought-provoking panels led by speakers from companies such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook; digital advertising agencies such as R/GA and Razorfish; and brilliant organizations such as TED.
With the advent of neuromarketing, neuroscientist and researchers have been directing their expertise to marketing, using MRIs to analyze consumers’ brain activity when exposed to different stimuli. And companies like Google are using mathematics to develop advertising solutions. Will digital marketers become scientists and mathematicians or will creativity triumph? The founders of Modernista!, Lance Jensen and Gary Koepke, among others, will debate whether advertising is an art or science: Big Brother in Your Brain: Neuroscience and Marketing.
The benefits of technology and more specifically the internet, seem to be endless: information and data accessibility, entertainment, commerce, ease of communication, etc. For me, technology is attractive because it makes our lives easier to navigate. The innovation of cloud computing has made this even more apparent. The idea of syncing all of your files (photos, music, documents, etc.) and having accessibility wherever you are, is absolutely amazing.
The traditional business model for companies is to create a product and/or provide a service to customers in order to receive payment and hopefully exceed operational costs to generate a profit. However, what happens when you are not creating a product or service, but instead ideas? How do you make a profit? How can you differentiate yourself from the competition when your product is perceived as a commodity? This is a common dilemma for companies that engage in Open Source design, development or distribution. As defined by the Open Source Initiative, open source is “a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. The promise of open source is better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in.” The benefits for open source are compelling and the idea of creating a community of the brightest minds to create something new is inspiring. This idea of sharing your creative wealth to accomplish great things is something the Creative Commons embraces.
A look at creativity in advertising, an economic recession and its affect on urban revitalization. The great David Ogilvy once said, “It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.” The essence of our industry is in big ideas and creativity. These elements help to communicate information in a persuasive manner by captivating the attention and interest of individuals. Big ideas and creativity can create brand awareness and in some cases even change brand perception, preference or image. The crucial point here, from a holistic perspective, is that big ideas and creativity are the answer to change – whether in advertising or other industries.
A few years ago, I read an article in the New York Times that explained the convergence of cognitive neuroscience and marketing. Since then I have been very interested in how advertising and marketing affects culture and more specifically how neuroscience could be applied to advertising. Will the convergence of neuroscience and marketing force our industry to become a science? And more importantly, should it? Is advertising an art or a science?
Over the past few months, I have noticed that in the back of Rolling Stone there have been a few rotating lists such as Myspace Music Top 10 Songs, iLike Top Ten or iTunes Top 10 Songs. My personal favorite is the iLike Top Ten list, instead of determining popularity by sales; the list is actually determined by how many people actually listen to the song. This is a representation of how the music industry is changing now: By recognizing there are other ways to consume and listen to music (e.g. Pandora or Last.FM.). But how can they change moving forward? The music industry must integrate more technologies that create an experience for the consumer with added value. A perfect example of this is a big idea I read about in an AdAge DigitalNext article. The article explained how Drop.io and Organic are collaborating on a new technology platform: location-based file sharing.
The progression of interactive design has changed dramatically over the years. From a time when websites consisted only of hyperlinks, text and if you were lucky images. Now, interactive media such as photos, audio and video define the experience. Especially, with programs like Flash that allow the designer to augment the overall experience with creative aesthetics and animation. However, navigation has not followed the same progression.
This autumn, Hallie and I are running marathons for Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Hallie is running the Chicago Marathon (10/12) and I’m running the New York City Marathon (11/2). Our goal is to raise a total of $2,620. And if you donate you can vote on what I will wear as I run around New York City. It could be Batman, Sparty or even SpongeBob Squarepants. It’s up to you. All you have to do is donate, vote and support an amazing cause.
Hidden in Boston, you will find Bodega, a boutique, hip hop shoe and apparel store. When I visited the store I was amazed to say the least. From the street, Bodega looks like exactly what you would expect, a bodega or convenience store adorned with laundry detergent, paper towel, cereal and other items displayed in the window. As you walk in the store, you focus on the cash register and counter that dominate the room, but as you look to the back of the store you will see a soda machine and if you stand in front of it, you will be granted access to Bodega.
When Nike and Apple created the Nike+iPod device, I’m not quite sure if they knew the exact impact that it would have on the brand. Not only does the product balance form (simple, modern design) and function (allowing users to track the elapsed time of the workout, the distance traveled, pace, or calories burned), but it also fosters a growing relationship with the consumer through an engaging brand experience. The Nike+iPod website (developed by R/GA) is compelling in both design and functionality.