Circus lesson #3: Act now, think small.
Joe Crump of Razorfish seems to think we shouldn’t underestimate the value of doing the kind of stuff we often lump into the ‘digital’ basket sooner rather than later. He tells us to ‘trust (him), in 24 months from now your brand will be doing it (with or without you).’ Because your audience will expect it.
Joe’s a digital anthropologist (no, really) and has worked for years to study the ‘evolution and mutation of brands and the people that are affected by them’. He knows as well as any that brands and organisations must continue to keep pace (adapt) with the people; and the brands that are winning have been doing it for years.
Faris Yakob, also speaking ar Circus, supports this citing Moore’s Law, Kryder’s Law and Guilder’s Law – which tell us that computers get twice as fast and half as cheap; disk storage doubles in density; and bandwidth triples every 18 months. The convergence of these laws suggest that the resulting ubiquity of internet access and speed is the very thing that not only fuels online behaviour but sets behavioural expectations. Consider this: cognitive drift (getting bored and doing something else) begins to occur after one second of a page load; and 25% of users abandon if the page doesn’t load in four seconds.
So we get it, right? Now’s good. But how? Joe and his Circus-speaking peers can tell us a lot about what we need to be doing (see later posts), but I think just as critical is the question of how? How can we set ourselves up as agencies and marketers to do it, now?
Sometimes we look at the kind of brave new world ideas than win creative and effectiveness awards around the world and even if everyone in the room agrees on the awesomeness, there’s still a sense of apprehension. Be honest (agencies and clients alike), how much of a risk does it feel like to say ‘____ yeah, let’s do this thing’? Something’s going wrong if we spend more time talking about IF we do it, than HOW we do it best.
Well, here’s an idea… change the way you think about these ideas. Change their bigness. Joe’s provocation, which is supported by many (including Marcus Westbury of Renew Australia who spoke to us later about ‘the power of small ideas’) is to ‘go BETA’ – test stuff, experiment.
I propose that as an agency (or as a client) you develop a team ecosystem that supports experimentation. Think about how you can lower the perceived risks, lessen the real costs of failure – and jump in together. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect – think about who will actually care because your audience won’t. Mark Zuckerberg says that “if it’s perfect we know we’ve done something wrong”.
WTF, right? Launch something that’s not finished? Well that’s the whole premise of BETA. In the world we now live in, consumers are actually happy to help… in fact the businesses that are doing it well rely on their audience to test everything from software to soft drink.
It’s an oldie but a goodie, but ex-Air New Zealand marketing chief Steven Bayliss perhaps put it best (although @faris kept reminding me that almost all quotes can be misattributed to half a dozen people, such is the myth of originality), Bayliss: “(create) a system of lighting little fires, see which fires people choose to warm their hands by and then throw petrol on that fire and watch it take off.”
So the lesson… do it now, and think small.