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Back To School On Content @CMOCollective

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Big Data, Metrics & Analytics may be the most popular subjects in the hard knocks school of marketing right now. But CONTENT is still the topic putting many CMOs to the test. September 9 through 11, Boom participated in the “Back To School” Conference in Austin, TX, put on by The Digital Collective, Chicago. As might be expected, attendees were exposed to pleasing numbers, revealing graphs and illuminating pie charts. But content proved to be the source of, well, discontent.

Lesson One: In spite of all the buzz and purported experts, most brands are just fending for themselves when it comes to content. Many are daring to dive in and work through the how-to’s via trial and error. Some are standing eagerly on the sidelines, awaiting that moment when it all becomes clear or the imperative too pressing. Whatever the current stance, the executives responsible for figuring out this content “thing” are asking a lot of questions!

  • What constitutes content?
  • What content is meaningful to my customers?
  • Who creates content?
  • How does a brand brand content?
  • Where does content strategy come from?
  • How is content distributed?
  • If I host it on my own web properties, how do I drive traffic to my content?
  • How do I staff to handle content?
  • How do I go outside for content?
  • How do I budget for content creation, distribution, tracking?
  • How do I track interaction and engagement and, daresay, conversion?
  • Who’s doing content right?
  • How do they know if and when a content strategy is successful?
  • And perhaps one of the most challenging questions of all (addressed by Bryan Jones, VP North America & Commercial Marketing, Dell): Am I willing to invest in content when 80% of it may have everything to do with relationship-building and connecting personally, while only 20% has to do with selling!?

Lesson Two:  One hurdle is that the term “content” itself may be too unwieldy. Almost every conceivable kind of marketing communication has been tossed into the content bucket; from old-fashioned tv spots to text-links. That doesn’t make things any easier. Even for brands who’ve chosen to focus on one area versus another, it’s safe to say the trade is still in the pioneering days of content creation, distribution and evaluation.

Lesson Three: The carrot of measureability is being held out before us in the age of big data. The fact that content is such a conundrum is evidence enough that we still don’t know how to do it. We don’t yet know how to leverage the data we already have, learn from it and then apply that knowledge in ways that have utility for the customer and drive value for the brand. The brands who are succeeding have struck the “relevance” chord. Some are acting on the “fail fast” principle, operating on the promise that one day they’ll discover what works.

Lesson Four: There is evidence that brands are successfully “doing content.” Consider Whole Foods Market. Attendees enjoyed a Q&A with Digital Activation Leader, Nicole Lindstrom and their content partner OneSpot. Her content strategy goes beyond recipes to blog posts and guides to culinary topics and information that validates brand values, as well as the values of its passionate core customer. Their “north start” is personalization — which is likely the secret ingredient in a successful content strategy for almost any brand. After all, what is all this data for if it doesn’t ultimately lead to targeted, branded content that is meaningful to each customer?

Lesson Five: @CMOCollective indeed featured inspiring teachers:

  • Julian Aldridge, VP, Brand Evangelism & Activation, Schwab, roused our courage to create marketing with a venture capital mindset. (#killfear)
  • Bryan Jones, of Dell, illuminated us about the principles of “social selling.”
  • Philip Rather, Head of Partnership, Facebook, drove home the age-old direct marketing mantra of “right person, right message, right time,” but stirred the group with surprisingly convincing data about how FB delivers on that rubric in the new-world.
  • Stephen Webster, VP, Global Brand & Design, Mary Kay Global, shared how to be “nimble control freaks” to help a brand stay consistent, while also being adaptable enough to stay relevant to cultures and customers around the world.

Lesson Six:  Don’t give up hope. The CMO Collective introduced us to three Austin-based companies focused on addressing “content” questions like those above: Invodo, Spredfast and Umbel. Tony Weber of Time, Inc. hosted the conversation.

As for technology, Techstars offered up four start-ups who are wrangling new tools, data and metrics to shape marketing and customer experiences in the digital age: Experiment Engine, FashionMetric, MetricStory and Written.

Our Test: Here at Boom, we are applying what we learned.  Our lesson plan is to explore new and efficient ways to harness our vetted crowd’s energy to produce relevant, branded content on-demand. Stay tuned for contentment. Boom.

Freelance Talent? Take Five Tips from AdAge. Or One Tip from Boom.

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BOOM. THINK OF US AS BOUNDLESS IDEA ENERGY.

AdAge just published a fine article that recognizes the growing reliance, among ad agencies, on freelancers “Best Practices For Managing Freelance Talent.”

The opening statement describes precisely the environment in which Boom Ideanet was founded in 2011: “A succession of economic downturns, long-term marketer budget cuts and a new generation with a different workstyle has ushered in a heyday for freelancers at ad agencies.” Boom is not a one-to-one freelancer work model, but we do provide opportunities for freelancers and offer creative bandwidth for agencies.

We are indeed operating in an ad world that represents growing opportunities for freelancers matched by growing challenges for agencies. And the reverse.

How does a creative manager find productive, experienced  freelancers? If you’re lucky you know a freelancer(s) and he, she or they are available. Or you engage a temp service. Or a contractor staffing firm. Or you venture into something like Behance. Or, more often than you care to, you just ask someone on staff to work a little longer, a little harder.

How does a talented creative find productive, talent-worthy challenges? Don’t most creative freelancers live with the mantra-like question, “Where will my next project come from?”

Boom Ideanet offers one best practice to both sides of the equation. Our model hosts vetted, experienced, NDA’d creatives, with idea energy available on a project basis. And we host legitimate creative opportunities, available when time and interest allows. Check out our Work or Services pages for examples.

So take five and apply one best practice: Engage Boom Ideanet.

Boom: A Platform In Sync With The New Rules Of Work

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“The old rules of work applied to an economy of factories and offices, a world of “standard”, stable employment with large employers, over careers with more or less predictable trajectories. The new rules belong to another universe—flexible, precarious, and entrepreneurial, less and less tied to specific times, places, and employers.”– Ross Perlin, FastCompany, “These Are The New Rules of Work.”

Here’s a recap of the new rules Perlin outlines and some quick notes about how Boom aligns with each:

1. “WORK CAN HAPPEN WHEREVER YOU ARE, ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.” You leverage connectivity to take on Boom challenges. Great ideas come from anywhere. Welcome to Anywhere. Boom Ideanet.

2. “YOU’RE ON CALL 24-7.” Flexibility exacts a toll — if you let it. With Boom projects, members always choose whether to participate or not.

3. “YOU GO FROM GIG TO GIG, PROJECT TO PROJECT.” Boom offers up gigs, with a little competition mixed in. But we seek a balance so you aren’t gigged by the gig.

4. “FOR BETTER OR WORSE THE LINE BETWEEN WORK AND LIFE IS ALMOST ENTIRELY DISAPPEARING.” This is true as am employee and as a freelancer. The freelancer may have a bit more freedom to meld the two or allow the boundary to flex.

5. “YOU WORK BECAUSE YOU’RE “PASSIONATE” ABOUT A “MOVEMENT” OR A “CAUSE”—YOU HAVE TO “LOVE WHAT YOU DO”.” If anything, Boom is about shared interest. For now, that interest is commerce-driven creativity — or commercial art. The members of Boom are moved to meet challenges, solve problems, apply idle creativity, practice a discipline, enjoy the satisfaction of conceiving of an effective element of advertising or design … and also earning some cash.

Go back to Daniel H. Pink’s “Free Agent Nation.” Or the ongoing “Future of Work” podcasts hosted by Jacob Morgan, or any number of articles in FastCompany, The Wall Street Journal and others. Visit the growing number of freelance organizations and businesses built around serving contractors, such as MBO Partners — and the growing number of crowdsourcing platforms and you have all the evidence you need that the nature of work is changing.

Boom Ideanet is founded to be in sync with this new world of work. And our goal is to do in an ethical fashion that provides opportunity, balances competition with compensation, and offers an advantage to clients without taking advantage of creators.

What We Talk About When We Talk About The Future

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In an AdAge article published May 4, 2015, “Mad Men” 2025: Ad Leaders Predict the Future of the Industry,  notables in the industry dare to look into the future. We’ve lifted remarks from their contributions that argue for models such as that of Boom.

Ideas and creativity remain the cornerstone of their visions:

QUOTE: “Technology will make things easier for sure, but the need for human creativity across the marketing landscape will still play a critical role in tapping into consumer psyche and driving action.” – Sarah Hofstetter, CEO, 360i

NOTE: Human creativity — Almost strange that the most unassuming word in that statement is the word “human.” Boom keeps the humanity in crowdsourcing. It’s not all technology and expedience. We never forget that people are creative, people are the source of ideas, not some digital ISP scattered around the globe. Unless we’ve crossed into The Singularity by 2025, the human mind will still be the wellspring of ideas.

QUOTE: “There will still be creative ideas that play out across multiple channels, and the smart ones will transform their clients’ businesses. So at its core, not much change. But the window dressing will continue its breathless pace of transformation. Faster, cheaper, better …” – Robert Senior, worldwide CEO, Satachi & Saatchi

NOTE:  Faster, cheaper, better. — Echoing one of the mantras of Boom: More. Better. Faster. Cheaper. We share more ideas. We have disciplined creators. We move fast. And — We don’t cut corners. We cut waste.

QUOTE: “When the riots are in full swing, the streets are burning and all seems lost, an ad-guy pipes up and says “I think I’ve got an idea….”” – Rei Inamoto, chief creative officer, AKQA

NOTE: When called upon, everyone has ideas. Ideas really can come from anywhere. Boom welcomes you to Anywhere.

QUOTE:  “There will continue to be more ways to reach people — and yet people will never be harder to reach, making the power of ideas even more important.”– Pam Hamlin, global president, Arnold Worldwide

NOTE: Power of ideas. There’s no question that ideas intrigue, appeal, captivate, motivate. Boom taps into boundless idea energy to generate those ideas.

QUOTE: “In the advertising industry — whatever it will be called then — we will still discuss the importance of creativity. If anything, creativity will only become more important, despite the influence of data.” – Harris Diamond, chairman-CEO, McCann Worldgroup

NOTE: Importance of creativity.  There’s an extraordinary pool of idle creativity in the world. Boom is all about tapping that creative surplus – offering members the opportunity to apply their creativity in productive ways.

If those quotes indicate the future, Boom is ahead of the game — hosting creativity, delivering ideas. Now.

Click here to download our new eBook on how to build the creative Department of the Future Now.

Crowdsourcing a company name?
(Or anything else for that matter?)

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Naming a company or a product or an event or a promotion can be a daunting exercise. And some brands invest extraordinary sums in bringing science to the naming process. But to put it rather crudely, there are times when brute force can win the day. Times when hurling a volume of naming ideas at the target and seeing what sticks may get you to a wholly unexpected, yet rewarding place.

24 Ideanet members generated 502 company names in 72-hours for a restaurant launch.

Boom created 502 company names in 72-hrs for a restaurant launch.

Of course, you wouldn’t do that without some parameters. But you can do it quickly and affordably with the Boom model. Imagine crafting a succinct brief that defines the object/entity/activity to be named, provides guidance around personality and tone, and sets a few loose parameters. Then activating a world of bright minds to generate naming ideas.

We smash the idle energy of bright, disciplined minds into a targeting brief and see what the collisions yield. The network finds these challenges to be very stimulating. Not to mention downright fun. And clients love to dig into the candidate names, seeking out gems to be refined or uncovering outright winners.

Here are some company name examples:

  • A restauranteur turned to Boom to generate naming ideas for a new casual dining concept (over 500 name ideas).
  • An entrepreneur tapped the Ideanet to generate names for a marketing strategy start-up (over 1200 candidates).
  • An advertising agency tapped Boom to rename an umbrella company that was integrating its various subsidiaries (250+ names from six assigned talents).
  • The very name of Boom Ideanet was generated by its initial talent network — as well as the logo.

B2C. B2B. Anything goes. Find out more about Boom Ideanet’s company naming power.

It’s Time To Actively Connect Crowdsourcing Work Models and Shared Value

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Michael Porter and Mark R. Kramer published the essay, “Creating Shared Value,” in Harvard Business Review in January 2011. A seminal statement in that essay: “Shared value, then, is not about personal values. Nor is it about “sharing” the value already created by firms—a redistribution approach. Instead, it is about expanding the total pool of economic and social value.”

That pool, in a very real sense, is defined by an expanding population of workers around the globe performing tasks, solving challenges, driving innovation in crowdsourcing platforms. While it may be a simplistic view to connect their framework for “Shared Value” to crowdsourcing, it may also be legitimate.

Even while Porter promotes notions of clustering and local sourcing, the reality is that new connectivity can make almost anyone anywhere “local.” Perhaps it is easier to demonstrate the societal value in a local setting and easier to hide inequality when a worker is thousands of miles away. But connectivity also facilitates transparency and communication, so a worker and his well-being can be just as “present” as is the work performed.

In the essay, there’s no mention whatsoever of crowdsourcing. But one could hardly fault the authors for neglecting this labor model even four short years ago. In that interval, the number of crowd-based platforms has increased, the kinds of work being assigned to crowds has expanded and the number of workers looking to crowd platforms for earning prospects has climbed into the many millions.

As such, the model won’t stay in the shadow for long. A recent column in The Wall Street Journal, “On-Demand Workers; We Are Not Robots,” hits broadly at fair labor practices, notes current litigation, and stirs up semantics issues as basic as the definition of employee, contractor, freelancer. The controversy has only just been initiated. Will crowdsourcing platforms be exploitative and exhaustive or will they be respectful and productive?

What the situation calls for is a willingness, teased at by Porter and Kramer, to establish ethical practices for all contract labor, particularly that hosted by crowdsourcing platforms. Self-interest is actually better served when businesses respect the society that fuels its profits. And those profits need to be redefined, per Porter & Kramer, in terms of positive societal impact, rather than merely short-term returns. From their essay, “It is not philanthropy but self-interested behavior to create economic value by creating societal value. If all companies individually pursued shared value connected to their particular businesses, society’s overall interests would be served.” Crowdsourcing can be a contributor to that societal value, rather than a exploiter.

It’s time to promote ethical crowdsourcing models — in which the hirer, the hoster and the worker all benefit equitably. To learn more and engage in the discussion, visit Medium Channel “Ethical Crowdsourcing.”

Pressed for Campaign Concepts, Ad Agency Taps Boom as Instant Creative Department.

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A regional ad agency (who prefers to remain nameless) recently ran headlong into an opportunity to pitch a telecom (also to remain nameless) assignment with, shall we say, a pressure-cooker timeline. Not only that, the endeavor straddled Spring Break and the agency’s creative department was lightly populated. So the agency turned to Boom Ideanet. Within 36 hours, we had a brief and the network was off and running.

Five days later, Boom turned over 75 campaign concepts. The agency team reviewed the ideas, did some remixing of its own and went back to the Ideanet for a round of iteration and expansion. Seventy-two hours later, Boom turned over another 50+ ideas and the agency creative team reviewed, incorporated and prepared final concepts for presentation. All in less than two weeks!

Maybe it’s a bit sketchy that we can’t identify the agency or the brand. But just as anonymity is a value to many creative people in the Ideanet, it is a value to agencies and even brands. It means, they can tap into instant creative bandwidth without missing a beat. And without missing an opportunity. Boom’s crowd of vetted, NDA’d creators steps in seamlessly and generates a wealth of fresh, disciplined, on-brief thinking. The agency controls the ideas and decides how to use them.

Boom doesn’t demand the limelight. Boom just thrives on creative challenges, from campaign concept to naming, from brand identify and logos to videos, not to mention content, content, content.

For a similar scenario, with brand names included, check our our campaign concepts page or this blog post.

Kansas City Business Journal Raises Awareness of Crowdsourcing

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Wherever you look in business today, you’ll see conversation around “cultures of innovation.” Brands languish without new ideas — and new ways of generating them. Idea categories include process, product development and certainly marketing.

Marketing teams are being challenged to find new ways to keep the brand fresh and engage consumers. More organizations are starting to consider crowdsourcing as a way to meet the demand for ideas and content. The recent crowdsourced spots from Doritos aired during Super Bowl XLIX and other advertisers in the past, solidify the promise of such a model.

However, creative crowdsourcing goes far beyond commercials. The model can be used for creating branding, logos, naming, direct mail, landing page design, social copy, video, any marketing communications element.

The Kansas City Business Journal recently interviewed Boom Ideanet about this trend, and touched on further insights into how the approach can benefit companies by saving time, money, team stress, and more. Boom Ideanet members shared their perspective on where crowdsourcing may be headed.

Check out the article on the Kansas City Business Journal here.

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Super Bowl Advertising – Crowdsourced Creative Among Top Spots

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As you know, there were many themes apparent in the SuperBowl XLIX commercial portfolio.

There was dad-dom (Nissan, Dove Men+Care). Puppy-dom (Budweiser). There was overcoming-disability-dom (Microsoft, Nissan). And scantily-clad-dom (T-Mobile. Victoria’s Secret). There was also borrowing celebrity-dom. (Kia. Snickers. Wix).

Plenty of “doms” to go around.

But the surprising results from the night belong to Doritos. According to Ace Metrix research, Doritos’ crowdsourced spot appears among the year’s Top Spots. AdMeter seemed to agree, ranking Doritos’ crowdsourced creative in the top 5. Yes, it’s fan-based creative. And not every company is in a position to turn its brand over to its consumers. But the Doritos fan crowd does suggest that there is certified creative power in the crowd.

In light of this, if your CEO is asking you, “Should we be doing this crowdsourcing thing?” you’ll want answers.

We can help you with answers. We can help you decide if a crowd can work for your brand. Even if you aren’t airing a Super Bowl commercial! And suggest how you can test the crowdsourcing waters.

Visit this link and download our free eBook about “Everything You Need To Know About Crowdsourcing Before Your CEO Asks.”

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It may just come in handy!

Crash Course: Everything You Need To Know About Crowdsourcing … Before Your CEO Asks.

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This weekend, its the Super Bowl® and The Ad Bowl, all wrapped up in one super-hyped package of anticipation. Regardless of how the game goes, the advertising will stir attention and conversation. And maybe even drive some business! Doritos®’ “Crash The SuperBowl” campaign will be part of the conversation, in particular because it is “crowdsourced.” And Doritos is not alone. Lincoln, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Pizza-Hut and others are spinning crowdsourcing, too.

Could your company use crowdsourcing? How did Doritos do it?

Fortunately for you, today, there are platforms out there that can serve as your short-cut to crowdsourcing. And we’ve prepared an epaper to help you prepare. But Frito-Lay® had to invest a great deal of time, money and operational structure to mobilize its fan base.

Beginning in 2006, Doritos established a contest for a “fan-made” commercial that aired in Super Bowl XLI. They used advertising and other channels to assemble the crowd, which is renewed each year. Crowd members are self-selected. Fans invest not only an idea, but a finished video. An even larger, secondary crowd of voters determines how far an idea goes in the contest.

In year nine, “Crash The Super Bowl” is far more a marketing strategy than a creative strategy. The brand likely spends as much assembling each contest’s crowd as they do in airing the winning-spot. Not only is Doritos paying $4.5M for a :30 spot in Super Bowl XLIX, they are promoting participation in 29 countries, hosting a website, polling and paying out prize money and benefits totally over $1M for 30 finalists.

Chances are, your company doesn’t have those kinds of resources to apply to one advertising event. Even one as “commercially” relevant as The Super Bowl.

But this “crowdsourcing” thing appears to have legs. You hear the term more often now. You think, “Our company will never do a Super Bowl spot. Maybe it works for Doritos, but can it work for other brands, retailers, even B2B companies?” Or you ask, “Do we really want our users creating our advertising? Are there crowds that aren’t “fan-based?” What kind of challenges can we give a crowd? Is it a good thing to “get one great idea from hundreds of entries and just pay the winner?” Can crowdsourcing really produce useful results, or is it more trouble than it’s worth? Why would I share my business challenges with a bunch of people we don’t even know?” Wow!

But you do know that on the Monday morning after SuperBowl XLIX, your CEO may ask, “What is this crowdsourcing thing? And should we be doing it?” Are you prepared to respond?

Check out this eBook to be ready with all the answers:

“Everything You Need to Know About Crowdsourcing Advertising Before Your CEO Asks.”

Doritos has been tapping the crowd for years. But it’s still anyone’s game out there in crowdsourcing country. Read the paper. Be the MVP. Or at least be ready to play when your CEO asks, “Should we be using “the crowd?”