Keynote Speech: By Scott Goodson, the founder of StrawberryFrog and Chairman of the Global Future Marketing Summit in New York City, March 5th.
Let me welcome you to the future.
Welcome to March 5, 2017.
And on March 5, 2017, this is today’s front page of the New York Times through a tiny metadata chip implanted in our brains that allows us to access up to the minute news and turn the page by blinking our eyes.
March 5th, 2017
GLOBAL WARMING ENDED. ICE CAPS RETURN
AIDS & CANCER CURES - EARN CO-NOBEL PRIZE.
WAR? WHAT’S THAT?
Sound too good to be true?
Well, check out the headlines on the front page of our own indsutry journal on March 5 2017.
AGENCIES GAVE OUT BIGGER BONUSES THAN GOLDMAN SACHS IN 2016.
HIGHLY RESPECTED CMO ELECTED US PRESIDENT.
CrispinGoodbyBBHLeanMeanFightingMachineTBWA&StrawberryFrog TEAM LANDS TOYOTA-DAIMLER-GOOGLE ACCOUNT.
Maybe you think that sounds too good to be true as well.
Well, today ---I get to give you---my view of the future and…what I believe it will hold.
Not only do I think that this represents a realistic view of where our industry could be in 2017 – I think that our being there today could actually have a bearing on the 2017 world news headlines I’ve put up.
Let me explain why.
The future holds...
the new agency model, the new client model, and the new world model.
What do I see as the new agency model of the future and how will that align with a new client model?
And ultimately…how will both have the ability to feed into and help drive what I would call - a new world model.
Let’s start with the new agency model.
The agency of the future must do three things:
It must have a new ideas culture, a new value culture…and a new talent culture.
The agency model of the future is built around the value of ideas. You might say there’s nothing new about this point.
Our industry talks a lot about ideas.
But at the same time, we have allowed the emphasis, the value, and the fundamental business model of our industry today, to shift away from ideas and to focus predominantly on execution.
A lot of lip service is paid to the value of ideas, but agencies are often primarily regarded as executioners and, in that regard, purely as suppliers. In the future, suppliers will be valued less and less and squeezed more and more. It is idea generators who will be most valued – because “ideaspeople” create the greatest value, across every industry sector, not just our own.
So the new agency model has to move the value of our industry away from execution and back to ideas. Firstly, by demonstrating and standing up for the value of ideas. And secondly, by outsourcing execution.
Now, by outsourcing execution, I don’t mean for a moment giving up responsibility for execution. It is very important that we steward the process – and we do this flawlessly for some of the biggest advertisers in the world - but less important that we feel we must execute everything, and be able to provide a full range of execution services “in-house”.
The pressure on agencies, often self-inflicted to be able to claim ‘We do absolutely everything’, is entirely counter-productive to fostering a culture that focuses on and celebrates the value of ideas.
Interestingly, outsourcing execution not only re-emphasizes the value of ideas; it also re-emphasizes the value of specialist executioners. Idea creators and idea implementers are both key.
At the implementation end, the opportunity to be the Fedex of the execution marketplace is an exceptionally valuable one in its own right – when it absolutely, positively has to be produced overnight, or in some other very tight timeframe
And there are some interesting developments in this area.
At StrawberryFrog, protecting a true “IdeasCulture” has always been our aim. We haven’t embraced this change for change’s sake, but in order to ensure “new creativity” and “originality”. We have always been about the value of great ideas, and outsourcing execution was a key part of our founding philosophy in Europe nine years ago.
At StrawberryFrog, we have two core groups in New York and Amsterdam. Extraordinary talent in-house, but we also outsource into a unique network of talent literally all over the world, while we steward huge brands nationwide and across all continents. In New York, we outsource a lot less than we do in Europe, but we still pull into the team some very unconventional disciplines that you wouldn't find in your traditional agency.
Not every client is ready for this – yet. It takes a creative CMO to understand what the true value of this model really means.
Our model was not inspired by the old agency model, but by architectural partnerships and feature movie productions, i.e. the best available talent from wherever it’s assembled for the duration of a project.
Assembled means that most “in-and-out-put” happens via the Internet, because every kind of material needed to orchestrate and produce an Ad campaign can be transmitted today via the net….from early thoughts to finished commercials. Something I believe few other agencies do today – and yet it enables us to work better and faster.
Better because our choice of talent is as large as one can imagine. We get to work with those who like their freedom, who don't want to be smothered or scared to death by the environment of a big agency. We believe that pirates write better ads than the guys in the navy, because ideas which cut through the clutter can not be produced by disciplined committees.
Faster because briefings and solutions go-out-and-come-in day and night. At StrawberryFrog, someone is always working somewhere. Review boards, hierarchies, politics don't exist.
Only makers and deciders meet. StrawberryFrog comes up with solutions five times quicker than those agencies who’ve more trouble adapting to the new-world work-order, where it’s vital for communication to move faster than the competitor and the market - any market around the globe.
Case in point: Heineken. Here's some of the work that we produced out of New York. These ads have run in the US, but predominately in 155 countries, and therefore some of you won't have seen them, so forgive me if I take this opportunity to make sure you do!
" Here is some of the most successful work was the work StrawberryFrog did for Heineken to support its sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League football competition. We did a series of 10 second idents that, when sewn together, tied every Heineken lover and every soccer lover together in a magical campaign that out-performed the major advertisers connected to the event, such as Nike, Playstation and Mastercard.
Heineken has just completed their best financial year ever.
Here’s another, very different, approach to delivering great, effective advertising that focuses on the value of ideas.
OpenAd is an online network of registered creatives which calls itself ‘the world’s biggest creative department’.
As you can see from the home page, OpenAd offers you the opportunity to ‘buy advertising ideas for your company from over 7,000 creatives worldwide – faster, better, cheaper.’
The interesting thing about OpenAd….as opposed to sites like Spotrunner and LiveWorld which enable you to customize, plan and place TV/video advertising…..is that OpenAd focuses purely and simply on ideas.
It is left to the clients and creatives responsible for the idea that has been purchased, to determine how it is executed.
Whatever one might think about OpenAd's approach - and I for one have some personal reservations about creating an off-the-shelf mentality, and devaluing all the other thinking that goes into the creative process, like Cultural understanding which we do at StrawberryFrog, they are at least, as we all should be, saying that ideas are what matter, and separating those out from execution in terms of value.
On the other hand, here’s a company that’s building a rapidly growing and successful business around guaranteeing quality of execution – and, quite frankly, guaranteeing execution full stop.
Meet the “The Department of Doing”, which is based in New Zealand….but, which works with clients all over the world.
The Department of Doing, essentially, does. They state their mission as, ‘Whatever needs doing, we bring ideas to life.’
They say they started their company because:
‘A GREAT idea that fails to happen can be an absolute tragedy….In fact, ideas that go unrealized may just be the biggest cost in business…We think there’s nothing worse than a wasted idea or a brilliant plan that was never executed. These things need Doing.’
So they’ve built a business around doing stuff. And interestingly, they work with a number of agencies, including Lowe, Leo Burnett, Saatchi, McCann, Ogilvy and Grey.
Two separate businesses looking to secure their positions within the future of our industry via innovative ways of delivering, on the one hand, ideas, and on the other, execution.
Isn’t it time we pulled the two things apart and determined what we’re really good a and what we want to be rewarded for?
Which brings me to my next point.
Great ideas create value. And ideas that create value command a premium price. Or, they should do. So the second component of the new agency model is a new value culture, grounded in a new business model that sees agencies partnering with clients to generate real, tangible business value, and being compensated accordingly.
How can we do this? By demonstrating that the ideas we deliver are not superficial communication add-ons, but genuinely integrated into the way the client does business. So that agencies that deliver value become a key part of the client’s business culture.
Again, this requires movement away from an old business model that places too much emphasis on execution….and compensates based on how much time it takes to do stuff, as opposed to how valuable and effective ideas are.
I’ve already talked about how at StrawberryFrog we have exploded that model by outsourcing execution to work better and faster. If you work better and faster, you can charge higher fees…and you are still more efficient. Our clients save time and money during the development process and their advertising hits the marketplace faster and harder.
But the new business model requires a rethink of ideas as products – in other words, generating ideas that can be turned into actual products, and revenue streams that derive from the sale of these products.
For example, Anomaly’s pitch for their now client Virgin America involved plans to design the interiors of the new A320s and create the content for the pay-per-view system. They won a compensation deal that combines fees with reward for ideas - a cut of sales from the inflight products they have helped develop and design, including Virgin-branded suitcases that passengers can buy when service starts this spring.
Crispin Porter Bogusky have carried their thinking and ideas through into product development ideas for Mini…
…and now, Volkswagen’s Eos.
Together with design consultancy Aruliden, they’ve developed a high-end line of cashmere scarves and driving shoes, all branded Eos and designed to appeal to the women drivers the Eos is targeted at.
Again, Crispin believes in a new business model that embraces “equity” stakes in clients’ businesses.
What is worth noting is how the highest levels of the client’s business are seeing this as a smart way for them to offset development costs for product development and work with innovative agencies that are much broader than the archetype agency.
And here at StrawberryFrog we developed a rather unique product for one of our clients.
We wanted to develop an impactful marketing initiative for our client Asics for the last Olympic Games.
So we produced Canned Hero Breath and sold the cans at retail and online, earning profit partially from sales.
The actual breath of former Olympic Gold Medal Champions, canned and marketed as the world’s first legal performance enhancing drug for athletes.
Onitsuka Tiger by Asics has used innovation to beat Nike and Adidas, and we stewarded the brand from 0 sales to 400 million pairs of sneakers in 4 years!
In our industry, we talk a lot about innovation. Well, innovation is important because it’s a way to make money. And innovation for agencies only works when you can make a living out of it. The new agency model demands that we develop a new value culture, live by it and prove that it works where it needs to most – the bottom line.
And finally, the third component:
I believe that the new agency model demands a new talent culture, with idea generators valued at all levels across all disciplines…
…but ultimately working together in a way that means that the agency of the future will be structured differently and staffed differently, and agency organ-o-grams will look very different to the traditional hierarchies still operating today.
We’ve already seen how the necessary fusion of “strategic-planning-and-media-skills” have given rise to communications planners, experience planners, channel planners.
We’re already seeing multifaceted individual creatives and designers breaking out of the art director/copywriter team mold.
At StrawberryFrog our creative teams have always included everyone, because we believe an idea can come from anyone.
Our teams consist of a digital creative, a writer, art director, creative technologist, a designer, a business mind, a culturalogist, a PR mind, etc…
Onitsuka Tiger which is owned by Asics is one account that has benefited from our unique combination of innovative talent. Here's some of the work that talent produced.
We launched the brand from scratch almost 5 years ago, and today it has sold over 400 Million pairs of shoes. The latest campaign is called Made of Japan.
Digital is no longer one area of expertise – digital infuses every idea and every agency role.
The fact that increasingly clients are awarding mainstream advertising accounts to interactive agencies, like IKEA hiring Agency.com as its lead agency, indicates that we need to rethink what we call “our skill base” and exactly what we value within it.
Did you know that when Wall Street evaluates companies in our industry, they tend to value traditional agencies at 4 to 7 times profit over earnings, and interactive agencies at 12 times profit over earnings?
Here’s a thought for the future: as we create a new talent culture that celebrates individual talent, attitude and responsibility over outdated job titles, why not give clients the opportunity to put ‘dream teams’ of cherry-picked talent together to work on their business and generate the best ideas out of a revolutionary inter-agency dynamic.
If a client decides, I don’t want an agency, I just want that particular team, made up top talent across these areas – why wouldn’t we agree to collaborate on shared business with shared reward?
Finding whole new cross-agency dynamics to inspire and energize exceptional thinking and ideas?
We could do that today to come up with the best advertising ever to raise money for Cancer and AIDS research and rid the world of them.
Ideas, value, talent: the three components of the new agency model. But importantly, when you put those three things together, what you have is a more engaged, involved, meaningful culture overall –
which leads to more involved, more meaningful client relationships;
and more involved, more meaningful output.
Which is, I believe, exactly what the clients of the future are looking for.
Here’s a thought about, if you like,
a new client model.
When it comes to the future of marketing, I see a new business culture developing centerd around the whole concept of culture itself.
At StrawberryFrog we believe fiercely in the…..Culture Economy……where the most successful brands define or redefine culture in a social and business context, and where culture drives business decisions.
At Strawberry Frog we don't develop communications programs – we spark cultural movements for brands, via an approach we have called “Cultural Connection”. Using our strategic process, called FrogLogic, we create a blueprint for cultural connection.
Because fundamentally the Culture Economy is all about the broad social and cultural context of a brand.
It’s about relevance and true interactivity, not the old paid TV advertising model.
In the context of the culture economy, I believe the future holds a new business culture revolving around, again, the value of ideas.
Our commitment as agencies to deliver ideas that have the power to reshape business is reflected in our clients’ commitment to exactly the same thing.
We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the beleaguered chief marketing officer – in the job an average of twenty-three-point-two months, according to Spencer Stuart’s study on the subject, and under more pressure to deliver across a vast array of fronts than ever before.
Well, I believe that a new client model which sees ideas coming out of the marketing and communications interface that redefine the course of the business, will see CMOs revalued as they should be traded like MVPs.
Just as agencies will restructure themselves based on new talent valuation, so will client teams – they already are.
The new marketing all-stars are intellectual, strategic, creative people who embrace the “new interactive consumer culture” and the ideas that embed their products within it. Because the ideas aren’t coming just from agencies and clients…….. They’re coming from consumers!
There’s been a lot of talk about
And…my prediction for the future is…
…the rise of user generated products.
As our-and-our clients’ business becomes redefined by the true meaning of ‘interactive’, the new client model actively welcomes and integrates an ongoing channeling of consumer input.
We decided to leverage this trend back in the summer of 2006, when Microsoft asked us to spark a national cultural movement for it’s small business software.
We came up with the idea of
issuing a call for user generated ideas.
IdeaWins.com sparked an avalanche. We’ve generated millions of downloads. And millions of Americans are engaged in some form with the search for the America’s best small business idea at Ideawins.com.
Here are just some of the remarkable user-generated business ideas which have been submitted such as Do It Yourself Wallpaper design and the Endless Closet, a high end Women’s Fashion Rental store.
Starwood is another organization focusing on building interactive interfaces with its consumers that feed into user generated products.
Ahead of launching its new value/style W Hotel sub-brand, Aloft, it built a prototype in Second Life and invited users to experience Aloft virtually and input into the final product.
In fact, consumers aren’t waiting to be invited in to come up with product ideas. They’re doing it on their own.
Here’s a website called CrowdSpirit
This is a site dedicated, as it says, to ‘Electronic Products Crowdsourcing’. It invites members to submit an idea for a new, innovative electronic product. Members then vote, define specs or invest money in products. Once finalized, the site then enables members to test and recommend products to retailers. Based on what you contributed to the project, you can then earn a share of the revenue generated by the CrowdSpirit community as a whole making great ideas happen.
This is the true interactive consumer culture that business and the new client model needs to embrace.
Because what it delivers is more involved, more meaningful relationships with audiences/consumers – and therefore more involved, more meaningful businesses.
You might consider ‘involved’ and ‘meaningful’ slightly odd words with which to describe businesses.
I consider them crucial.
Because, I honestly believe, that taking the direction I have outlined above, via the new agency model and the new client model…moves all of us closer to the BIG one –
the new world model.
What do I mean by this?
David Jones, global CEO for Euro, gave an inspiring speech at a conference last year where he challenged our industry to use creativity to tackle what he called ‘the bigger issues’.
I couldn’t agree more.
Because everything I have talked about today represents, in microcosm, exactly what our world needs now.
At a much broader level, great ideas are aimed at connecting people who make decisions with the people who are affected by those decisions.
Universal connectivity can equate to greater understanding, social change, AND betterment of life.
Ideas can generate social value.
Cultural connection is a concept that goes way beyond the day to day work we do in our industry – all the way to how all of us can and should try to change the world for the better.
Every client I work with, I try to make the world better through them.
That might sound like high-minded idealism but it translates into sound business sense – because it makes that cultural connection and spreads ideas that have the power to change the world.
Take our client Mega Brands, for example.
Parents feel the magical imagination of childhood is under threat (Just look at Little Miss Sunshine).
Free playtime is shrinking as childrens’ lives are increasingly overscheduled and over structured.
Since 1980, unstructured children's activities have declined by 50%.
At the same time, children are filling their remaining free time with overly High-Tech toys and mind numbing video games which parents feel are making their children grow up too fast.
Unstructured free play….the kind of play where children use their own imagination with toys to play and create, is crucial to building a child’s self expression and creativity.
If this situation continues, we may have to imagine a future generation devoid of creativity. MEGA promotes children’s creativity and champions the power of creativity in the fight against time-sucking video games and other non-creative pursuits.
Because we believe that creativity can make the world a better place.
As you can see for yourself, a Cultural Movement is much bigger than just an ad campaign. Because it's about relevance.
Another very good example is Al Gore, and his use of the entertainment industry to create and drive a political campaign that is an incredible growing grass roots movement for change, and also for him to take the seat in the Whitehouse. Here’s a passionate man with a crystal clear vision for our world, and he has used this vision in a truly remarkable way to inspire perhaps the world’s biggest interactive grass roots movement ever.
It’s truly brilliant.
And Project Red
perhaps the most high-profile example today of how businesses, and their marketing and communications, are helping to change the world in a way that also benefits them – in a highly persuasive win-win scenario. Red is one of the first and most visible steps in what I am identifying as the movement of the future - getting companies to build corporate social responsibility, and ideas to enact it, into their business models and marketing plans. Although I don't think the celebrity-led movement is necessarily the right approach to take. In fact I'm a little skeptical.
Here is a full page ad for the World Council for New Thinking that appeared in the New York Times on February 14, written with the input of Edward de Bono.
It asks, ‘How can new ideas solve old problems when new ideas
are a problem?’
It goes on to say, ‘If we want to stop new problems becoming old problems and old problems getting older, we really do need new ideas.
But where will they come from? Representative bodies, such as democracies and the UN, can’t have new ideas. First, because there’s a contradiction between representing current thinking and a new idea which, by definition, isn’t current thinking.
And second, for the simple reason that new ideas are high risk for the members of these organizations.’
So the World Council for New Thinking has been set up to ‘encourage, generate, collect, publish and publicize new ideas in any field.’
They provide some examples of new thinking.
For example, ‘The one child policy in China has resulted in a deficit of one hundred million women. A different ‘one boy’ policy would have saved millions of lives, and provided a balanced and declining population.’
Or one I suspect we can all relate to: ‘There is a need for a positive word to describe ‘a fully justified venture which for reasons beyond your control did not succeed.’ The available words such as ‘failure’ and ‘mistake’ are unfair.
What I find interesting about this is the emphasis placed on ideas as what the world needs.
What better source of ideas of any kind than the industry represented by everyone in this room?
The new world model is about ideas contributed by everyone, whomever or wherever they may be,
to address and resolve the issues that concern and impact on all of us, be they social,
Ideas that all of us bring to life.
What better way to contribute to a new world model, than by ensuring that the power of ideas can be channeled, harnessed and endorsed by the involvement of businesses.
Businesses who have a responsibility to contribute ideas that will enable them to operate as productive,
profitable, socially responsible entities?
And what better way, than to use what we DO,to develop ideas in a way that always ensures that we are defining or redefining culture in a social and business context, that in however small a way we are doing it, we are doing together with our clients, to benefit the community, society and the world?
Let’s go back to those headlines I put up right at the very beginning. I believe, based on the future I envisage……that these are entirely possible.
And if we all work together to generate ideas that create more involved, more meaningful cultural connections, which drive business decisions that create more involved meaningful consumer relationships which feed back into companies as a virtual circle of interactivity that can leverage the company’s position to identify and effect relevant…social, environmental, world change –
well who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
That’s why I say to you, however grandiose it may sound, my take on the future of our industry is change the model, change the world. We don’t have a choice.