Creativity in the age of social media, part 2

No sooner had I posted yesterday’s version of this exercise, than James Sherrett of AdHack sent me Google’s presentation from Advertising Week. While much of it doesn’t fit the true definition of social (community, conversation, sharing) it offers some great examples of what you can do with the many platforms, APIs and technology available to us all. It’s also evidence that in the world of advertising and marketing you better make sure you have plenty of developers in the midst of your “creative” department.  And always be thinking in terms of participation, not messaging. The story isn’t the story you tell, it’s the one you inspire.

Here are some favorites.

Too cool for categorization

Picture 7

I have to admit this is a favorite.  This collaborative music and spoken word project by Darren Solomon from Science for Girls, with a little help from his friends, allows you to play all or some of these videos simultaneously, and even adjust the mix. In a nutshell, it’s crowdsourcing, co-creation, and user participation unified into one very cool project. This should inspire ways to market music for sure. But why not let someone re-edit a movie scene. Or change the sequence of a story. You can even think about how to take this model into other places. Why not combine different ingredients into a recipe?  These examples may not work the same way, but play with this for a while and you get all kinds of ideas for how to create an experience that engages a community.

Crowdsourcing a symphony

Picture 3

Not meaning to focus on music, but this is simply a reminder that you can crowdsource anything, from products to content. The Google presentation offers plenty of examples, from HP to Sour, and, of course, this one.

The art, science and possibilities of sharing

OK, there is only so much any of us want to know or have the time to even acknowledge. But think about the possibilities of offering customers the chance to compare themselves to others (works well for Nike Plus). Or, if they’re B2B customers, to serve them up information that’s relevant to their business, inventory, sales, market share. This platform, Datum, lets you collect, categorize and communicate almost any data you can find, capture or generate.

Inventing experiences with Google maps

Picture 4Obviously there would be plenty of these examples in a Google presentation, but this Zappos application, showing what people are buying and letting you link to the product is a cool example for a marketer.

Check out the entire Google presentation if you have a chance and leave your comments as to what you like and find inspiring. There are obviously lots of ways to be creative in the new age of social media, from how we tell stories, invite participation and encourage propagation. Got anything else to share?

13 comments
Amy Flanagan
Amy Flanagan

“The story isn’t the story you tell, it’s the one you inspire.” I love that line. It's not only so true, it's why a strong brand is more important than ever. In this new world millions of people are allowed to finish your brand's sentence - but you still get to start it. I really believe that if you have a strong brand, a good brand and a relative brand you will be able to trust the crowd to finish your sentence in a way that inspires you back.
That said, thank you for this post. Darren Solomon's creation is blowing my mind.
.-= Amy Flanagan´s last blog ..The only problem with an alarm clock that wakes you to the sounds of nature is that you get conditioned to wake to the sounds of nature. =-.

Paul Zink
Paul Zink

"The story isn’t the story you tell, it’s the one you inspire." Well, I would say sometimes yes and sometimes no.

Perhaps writers like me are overly-sensitive about singular authorship, but I believe that a strong individual vision often creates the most compelling and enduring results in writing, art, music and other creative endeavors, from Bach's "Chaconne" to Hal Riney's "The Bear" spot to Armani's suits.

I can't disagree in theory when you say "you can crowdsource anything", but I wonder if the resulting camel you may get (no matter how interesting) will do the job of the horse you might have had in mind.
.-= Paul Zink´s last blog ..Lionfish invade Bahama reefs, gobble up everything. =-.

meg
meg

Lucas films 'make your own star wars' movie fits nicely into 'social creativity' . Although its not on the website now, you can read about it here.
http://www.ifitsmovies.com/2007/05/24/create-your-own-star-wars-movie/

In India, we attempted something similar for a personal care brand where we allowed users to create their own movie using a library of clips & drag- drop feature into a timeline. users could add custom text and upload their pictures which featured on billboards inside the video.

Surprisingly though, we realized that giving too many customization options to our consumer often resulted in many dropouts. maybe its a cultural thing? Or do people feel more comfortable creating in a group dynamic (say if the entire app was connected to facebook and people could offer suggestions to the creator - real time?)
.-= meg ´s last blog ..trippyhippy: @jtwinsor bakedin blog asks for password and authorization. =-.

Scott Karambis
Scott Karambis

"Not about the story you tell but the one you inspire" is a nice maxim. It reminds me, like everything else, of teaching. As you've heard me say before, Edward, the goal of many great teachers is not to communicate their idea but to inspire the student to have their own idea.

On a less inspiring but more practical note, I was just working through some social media ideas with creatives today and it struck me that the process was--to your point--less about the idea than what we imagined/hoped the consumer would do in response. Our strategic/creative efforts were focused on imagining a flow of behavior, feedback and conversations across multiple platforms that "worked." That is: they made cultural sense, they would motivate people to participate, they would spread on their own, they would ultimately be good for the consumer and the brand.
.-= Scott Karambis´s last blog ..A call for new tools: starting with observations on successful Facebook applications =-.

Mike
Mike

I agree with the bit above about "The art, science and possibilities of sharing." But I think "sharing" or even "comparing" denies the baser instincts involved in social media.

I don't think social media is about sharing. It's about taking. Social media is a game. There are winners and losers. It's played differently depending on the platform, but ultimately it's about grabbing the most cultural and social currency.

If I retweet something, it's either to say "look who I follow" or "I saw this before you did" or maybe it's just to signal my ongoing social media participation. I share, but it's motivated selfishly. And I feel it when I'm retweeted myself – it's naked pride.

On Facebook it's even simpler – it's all about whose kids are cuter, whose job is cooler (or who's working harder), who's funnier, whose travels are more interesting, whose happier, who posts the most current, cool link.

Those who lose the social media game do so because they add nothing to it. I think brands need to find ways to feed those base instincts. I don't want to interact with a brand. I don't want to be friends with a brand. I want to take something from a brand that augments my online ego or image. Of course, depending on the brand, I may be able to take something simply by interacting, but I think that's a rare case.

Jim Mitchem
Jim Mitchem

Wow. This post is an epiphany. Now I feel like I'm no longer needed since I never really had to try very hard to tell the story, but this programming stuff is way over my head and I'm afraid it might be too much of an effort to justify. Oh well, I can still teach Dickinson to HS kids.
.-= Jim Mitchem´s last blog ..The Power of Social Media Defined in :30 =-.

edward boches
edward boches

Amy:
Thanks. I recently heard Harry Gold say that advertising is what you say about yourself. Social is what others say about you. WOM. Simple as that. So be definition, if a brand isn't going go to all the talking, it's job is to try and influence the conversation and the stories told. I get pretty tired of people who still think the big idea is a message. Or an execution. Those are merely two of many techniques to inspire the story you want passed on.

edward boches
edward boches

Paul:
You can tell great stories yourself, no doubt. But, I assure you, in *social* media people don't want to be spectators, they want to participate. I love great books, the New Yorker, movies and MadMen, too. Wouldn't want to crowdsource any of that. But in social media, it's about participation. BTW, an awful lot of great bands, musicians, artists and even writers are now crowdsourcing and co-creating, allowing others to play and contribute. Don't fear it; welcome it. You may get a camel in stead of a horse. But what the hell, you can then take a trip through the desert. :-)

edward boches
edward boches

Meg:
Not sure on the customization thing. We all suffer from the impotence of abundance and need brilliant UX and filtering. I for one am so Type A I can't make it through a lot of content or anything that meanders. The bflat thing was so simple and mesmerizing that it was hard not to like. However, it's inherent problem is that you'll check it out, pass it on, and that's it. You'll probably even forget it in another few months. Which brings us back to creativity in the age of social. How does it build or foster a real relationship. One that might actually last?

edward boches
edward boches

Scott:
Well put and a thought I'd like to build on. We think in the following terms: not just what can we give in the form of content, but what can we create or invent that will inspire real participation that is beneficial to all. Not simply conversation back and forth, but propagation because it's either fun or useful; helping people (customers) meet others who they might be interested in connecting with; co-creation that can help a brand and make a consumer feel good; etc. I have another line I've been using: "A blog post isn't the end of the discussion, it's the beginning." These are good ways to look at making stuff happen in the social space. Don't be surprised if you see more thoughts here about inspiring the story.

Mike
Mike

You say potato.... :)

edward boches
edward boches

Mike:
Maybe you're just more needy than others. :-) Taking, as a word, while sounds a little selfish. It may be true that's what we all want. But aren't there more "social" way of putting it? I want to learn, be inspired, get connected, discover, find co-creators, etc. Also, you're looking at it, I think, from the perspective of an individual. Think about a brand that wants a relationship -- granted a mutually beneficial one -- with its customers. It has to give to get. And it's likely that in many cases a customer doesn't simply want to take, but have a voice and a say and an impact. Perhaps that's a form of taking, "gimme my chance to influence," but I think we're also beginning to see the value of the crowd and the community.

edward boches
edward boches

Jim:
I have no clue how to do or make any of this stuff, but I do know how to think it up and be inspired by it. And, as I'll remind everyone in a subsequent post, one of these days, among the five things every creative person has to do is make friends with a developer. Many of them know the technology but have no idea what they should do with it from a marketing perspective. That's where you come in.

Trackbacks