how to scratch an itch

Photo credit: HiiRagi

Rob Perkins’ session was by far the most fantastic. Partly, due to Rob’s charming personality and the fact that he’s pretty much what this survey uncovered as being the perfect planner. Although he’s not, he’s actually a creative – but he was a planner. At any rate, I found his logic bang on and brilliant. He challenged us to start injecting the word ‘inventing’ into our daily lives as planners and have more of an emphasis on discovering what people want to do, over what we want them to do.

It’s no secret that we used to build digital experiences that ended up ghost towns. You know, the old microsite. Rob points out that it’s due to two main things:

1) They’re rooted in a desire that people don’t actually have.

2) The desire is entertainment and the competition is Angry Birds, HBO and the latest and greatest YouTube video.

He says that sometimes we focus too much on the big idea and not enough focus on people’s unmet desires that fit a brand idea. We can invent ideas and experiences by truly understanding people, their unmet needs and what will drive the behaviour shift. The exercise that we went through in teams was super fun and super simple and was a strategy to uncover small, unmet desires: take a brand/product, go through the customer journey and from beginning to end write down the insights and painpoints. Then, pinpoint which points the process could be made easier, simpler and better – essentially invent experiences that the brand/product could be a part of.

His approach to the almighty brief was also interesting. He argues that sometimes we don’t tackle the right jobs with the right briefs. He argued we need two briefs: the ‘messaging brief’ and the ‘invention brief’. The former being the likes of TV, billboard, press, radio, etcerta. It’s when we want to communicate our brand idea, the most powerful thing we want to say to our consumer. The latter is for when we want more digital and experiential ideas and it’s here where we should focus on unmet desires, in specific contexts that our brand could solve. Simply saying to creatives “invent off this”, is more inspiring and useful than just saying as an add on to a messaging brief  “… and feel free to come back with any other interesting ideas that could work in the experiential or digital space.”

Photo credit: @dgonza24

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