#SMWLDN “The pursuit of an idea” by BBH

It’s Social Media Week in London and one of the hot topics is about creativity in social. With shrinking attention spans and user generated content (UGC) to compete with, BBH discuss how advertisers need to zag when others zig to find the space where culture is created.

Strategist Damola Timeyin and Creative Kate Murphy give us three things you can use in your pursuit of an idea.

  • Context
  • Bias
  • Data

Context – In terms of your working environment, do you get the feeling they’re all much the same? What do our colleagues and our peers look like, not much diversity there either? FB friends all the same? It’s ok to be similar but how do you gain inspiration from our workspaces when everything resembles a beige cardigan?

Start a brain trust!

Who to include in your brain trust?

Uncover people who have suggestions that make you uncomfortable like Jean-Michel Basquiat, a neo-expressionist artist in New York in the late 70s. “Basquiat’s art used ‘suggestive dichotomies’, such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience. He appropriated poetry, drawing, and painting, and married text and image, abstraction, and figuration, and historical information mixed with contemporary critique.”

Is there anyone in your office who has this layering of thought within them and their process? Get them involved.

Oh. Not really inspired when thinking of those you currently work with?

There are sweeping changes you could make according to The Great British Diversity Experiment, a diversity initiative designed for and by the communications industry. Their experiment uncovered five things you can do now with the purpose of enabling ideas to win through meritocracy not cultural consensus.

  1. Change your creative process – Don’t fixate on speed and ease and instead embrace messiness.
  2. Change your leaders – Grow them or replace them
  3. Implement the Rooney rule – demand every new role has a diverse short list.
  4. Total diversity – how many people in your office are from truly different backgrounds or physical and mental abilities?
  5. Access new tribes – hire new people and gain access to new communities.

Bias – can we manage bias to ensure distinctive ideas received a fair trial?

What biases do you encounter when bringing new ideas to the table? Did you reveal your idea too soon? If you’ve got a damn good idea that’s ready to share, then commit to it and fight for it.

Tesco’s Father’s Day ad was an uncomfortable idea. Using all real stories, real people, with real messages, it felt a bit out of control.  What if their audience didn’t like the stories? It was a big barrier to use real people of no set ethnicity, ability or age. You have to stand against natural bias to achieve the outcome you want. Be brave.

Another great example of challenging bias is the Malteaser’s ad aired during the Paralympics.

Data – Are we using big data in the right way? Do you look for trends when it’s already too late? Are you doing social listening and focusing on the cluster when you should be looking at the outlier?

Clarks Originals took the idea of heritage but decided to show rather than tell. They literally took personified outliers of three cultural revolutions at a time when Clarks shoes where becoming part of sub-cultures, showing the shoes in situ through a WhatsApp campaign.

BBH Takeaways: 

  • A contrarian route to ideas that create difference. Assemble your brain trust
  • Understand your bias and challenge it
  • Look for outliers that arouse suspicion
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