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SUBMIT: Why Crowdsourcing Invites Controversy. ENTER The Alternative.

By News

New_Submit_Button sLanguage matters. Words have meaning.

Consider the creative crowdsourcing world. Talented people conceive a campaign concept,  produce a video, conjure up a name or slogan, or design a logo; load their creation — their intellectual property — into a web application; then press that little SUBMIT button and wait for the payout.

Seems harmless enough. But is it?

In fact, that button is far from harmless. The term “submit” may be a rather innocuous verb, but it literally does signal submission. Creators by the thousands submit themselves to the rules and stipulations and the will of platforms and clients. Often without any compensation whatsoever. In almost every crowdsourcing platform, the crowd member is a submitter. Should they choose to read the fine print, they’ll typically discover language like this:

“The Member agrees and acknowledges that all title, interest, and rights to the Works submitted for the applicable project shall be assigned in full to the Sponsor of the Project.” – Other crowdsourcing platform

Not cool. And in many cases, they’ve already been expected to supply ideas that could shape an entire business!

At Boom Ideanet – in our quest to operate an ethical crowdsourcing platform – the crowd member retains his or her intellectual property until purchased by the client or, to use the euphemistic legal term above, sponsor.

It’s part of our zeal to give the client an advantage over traditional models without taking advantage of the creator. You know, the talented, inspired, hard-working human beings who are contributing their work. That’s why we are careful about the terms we use. Enter rather than submit. Entry rather than submission. Contributor rather than submitter.

Boom shows respect from the outset:

“Entry of your ideas constitutes your agreement with these terms of entry. You will retain intellectual property rights to any ideas you suggest … unless you win.”Boom

Yes, there is competition in the Boom model. There are winners. And even losers. But we insist that the model seek a balance between competition and compensation. Otherwise, the crowd-driven platform is just a churn model that uses up talent and creates trash piles of intellectual property that benefit no one, least of all the creator! Long term, nobody wins in that scenario. Not even the sponsor.

We recognize that creative people are contributing their ideas and their thinking. But we believe they need not sign over all their rights to that idea in the simple act of clicking a button.

We accept that there will continue to be controversy around crowdsourcing. But if we start to care about even little matters like the language employed in these models, we may begin to establish sustainable crowdsourcing models that benefit all parties, including the creators.


The NFL Draws A Different Kind Of Crowd

By News

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“Goodell said the competitions received more than 1,000 total submissions. Not all of the ideas were brilliant, though that was sort of the point. ‘Out of what we think might be crazy, you might find a gold mine [for safety],’ he said.”

That remark was made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, regarding the league’s exercise in crowdsourcing solutions to the concussion problem. They just declared the winners of its second “Head Health Challenge,” in an “open contest for devices or ideas that can make the game safer. The program, a joint effort among the NFL, Under Armour and General Electric, produced three winners.” (Quotes from the December 3, 2015, issue of The Wall Street Journal.)

So … even the stodgy old NFL is doing things a new way!

His position is exactly one that ad agencies, brands, and start-ups can take as well. Shake things up. Break through routine approaches and engage Boom Ideanet for a wealth of original thinking around marketing challenges.

Your “gold mine” idea could come from the most unexpected place. Boom is here to help you find it.

If you want to put some heads together, ping us. Brainstorm with our idea directors about any marketing challenge. First hour is free.

Boom Ideanet Hosts Happy Hour with Faris Yakob

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Faris Yakob is co-founder of itinerant innovation and strategy consultancy Genius Steals. He and his partner Rosie have been living on the road for 100+ weeks (and counting), helping brands use creativity to solve business problems. They’ve traveled to more than 43 countries, working with iconic brands like Marriott, Coca Cola, P&G, and Gibson Guitars, amongst others.

Faris joined Boom Ideanet on November 10th to share thought-provoking observations captured in his recently published book, Paid Attention. Faris explored how ideas move people and how advertising can and should change in response to changes in the communications landscape.

Sample his captivating style in a video here:

Of course, if you’d like some captivating, original ideas to address one of those challenges that keeps you awake at night, contact Boom.
We’re on it.

Back To School On Content @CMOCollective

By News

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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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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

By News


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?)

By News

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

By News

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.

By News


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.