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Our people come from all around the world, with backgrounds in many different fields (not just communication in other words), and we make it a point to draw on a wide array of sources. In other words, we pour time and energy into making our newsletter a genuinely useful repository of ideas. And we’re often ahead of the curve, beating the likes of PSFK and Contagious to be first with the heads-up on the big ideas that will be shaping our industry.
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It’s been a few days since Bruce Sterling‘s keynote closed SXSW Interactive, where a bunch of us from the agency spent a whole week. All of us were SXSW virgins, so you can imagine that we were completely overwhelmed by the scale of the event – eclectic crowd of 30,000 participants, more than 300 panels and sessions, gaming and trade exhibitions, startup boot camp and what not.
No wonder it is unofficially dubbed as a geek’s spring break – the whole city was completely taken over by people with eyes on their smartphones, constantly tweeting, Instagraming, discussing implications of 3D printing, wearing all sorts of mobile health-tracking devices. Like one of the panelists joked, it’s a surprise that we weren’t constantly bumping into each other.
Five days and 25 sessions later, it’s rather difficult to summarize everything we saw and heard. Bloggers and journalists called it right, the focus was on 3D printing, space travel, wearable health monitoring devices and big data. For us it became even more clear that technology is just an activator or an active point. That’s why my key takeaways are not about the newest devices or apps. Here are just a few of them:
> Eliminating friction: Marketers should aim to make technology a seamless part of people’s lives and continue to bridge the gap between online and offline worlds. Mobile devices and apps should become more open and interact with each other. (e.g. Wallgreens mobile app or Nike Fuel band)
> Real-time participation: People are using two screens while watching TV more and more, they interact with one another or like to engage with brands in real time. Consumers are way ahead of marketers in mobile and social. Brands still have a long way to go to catch them up, to adapt to new rules and become a part of these interactions. A couple of promising examples are the Oscars backstage pass and Chevy’s #gametime:
> Big data: Is still complex and brands haven’t really cracked it yet. They should focus more on bringing great experiences to their customers by turning consumer driven data into useful intelligence.
> Instant localization: Our data should follow us so we are able to get truly personalized solutions and services, no matter where we are. Solutions that will help consumers to explore and discover things in a comfortable way will emerge victorious.
A lot of people said that there wasn’t really anything new this year and SXSW is getting too hyped. But it was my first time in Austin and I for one came back home rejuvenated and energised. And that’s all that matters.
A while back LEGO handed us the assignment to produce a 22-minute Hero Factory special. Such an awesome job demands an awesome team so we’ve assembled a formidable squad of some of Denmark’s most talented storyboard artists.
Pictured from left are Anders Hulgaard, Jørgen Klubien together with our very own Zdenko Santini, Kim Hagen, and Snorre Krogh. The special will premiere early next year.
A very famous ice hockey player once said that the only formula for winning the Stanley Cup, the most prestigious prize in the sport, was an equal measure of veterans who deliver and emerging rookies who overachieve.
At Advance, we also like to get some young creative blood in once in a while. So for the past few weeks, we’ve had three energetic and inspiring interns roaming the premises. We are getting a bit attached to them already, so we thought it was time you got to know them too.
Nanna is studying business economics and corporate communication at Copenhagen Business School. She has some experience under her belt when it comes to project management, but at Advance she is part of our insight and strategy team.
She likes to smile a lot, and thinks Jude Law is delicious, though she says Advance’s Thursday cake day tradition is a close second.
After graduation she wants to continue in advertising, either as an account planner or a project manager somewhere in the world.
Sasha is our copywriter intern. She was born in Uzbekistan, has an Israeli passport and studies at Miami Ad School in Hamburg. She chose Advance for the great Danish weather and will be mostly working on LEGO concepts with us, adding the toy manufacturer to a long list of big brands in her portfolio, including BMW, Google and Louis Vuitton.
In 10 years, she wants to be on the front page of Advertising Age, posing with five Cannes Lions next to a real-life version she keeps in her backyard.
Steen Houmøller Jensen
Steen is Sasha’s creative sparring partner at Advance. He grew up in Solrød Strand and made the move to Copenhagen a couple of years ago. He also studies at Miami Ad School in Hamburg where he is making his mark as an art director.
When he was seven, a photographer took a picture of his naked bum. To this day, Steen is convinced that that was the start of his interest in photography and advertising.
Steen really enjoys the warm and friendly atmosphere here at Advance, and since he got a taste of it with a task we gave him, he sees himself getting more and more into product development.
Nanna, Sasha and Steen will be with us until the end of March and we hope they’ll learn as much from us as we can from them.
A new year has started and if 2012 was hard to predict, 2013 may be even harder.
One of the major shifts happening right now is the movement from social media to social business. I think there are at least two good reasons why this is happening. The major players in the social media space have been focused on building their platforms and adding users (Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook etc.). Now they’re all looking for ways to make money. Secondly, brands are looking for ways to use the channels as more than just media, but as platforms for direct or indirect revenue streams.
It’s a natural maturing, but it’s also a consequence of the way many brands think. I have met many CMOs who have grown tired of being presented with yet another social media activity, just because it’s something everybody else is doing. Instead, they’re looking for social ideas that tie in with the company’s business goals.
Personally I’m a bit reluctant to only think about how social channels can add to the bottom line. My gut feeling tells me that if there’s too much business and not enough value for people, it can reduce the attractiveness of the platforms, which will obviously backfire on both the platform owners and the brands using them – a social suicide. Not to say that the brands shouldn’t think business, just that they should make sure that what they do makes sense for their brand and offers value to consumers/fans and potential customers. And by value I mean things like entertainment and utility as well as attractive offers.
I still think social media has a lot to offer in terms of branding. As social creatures, we love those stories about truly caring brands (and employees) reacting to complaints or making up for the misfortune of a loyal customer. One of my favourites right now came from one of our clients, LEGO. To me ,that shows the potential of social and also supports the strong belief we have at Advance that a company’s people are the key to building stronger relationships with customers. Employees are the brand.
I’m also hoping to see more relevant CSR in 2013. Since it’s something a lot of companies have already experimented with, it’s much harder to have an impact from CSR – basically because people are sceptical thanks to the “green washing” that has taken place. Fortunately, there are still examples of brands getting the credit they deserve simply because it’s in their heritage to do the right thing, or because of the passion of the owners.
It’s my hope that the right CSR initiatives will keep having an impact, not because they are marketed, but because they spread. Advance supports cancer initiatives and has done so for many years because our founder and several great employees have died from the disease. We have never really marketed our support because that’s not why we do it and never will be. But maybe it will spread and tell a story about the agency. And if it doesn’t, well I still think we’re doing the right thing.
Whatever 2013 will bring, you’ll be able to follow our progress on different channels. So give us a like on Facebook, follow us on LinkedIn, have a look at some of our work on YouTube or, better yet, drop by and meet us in person. We reckon we have the best agency coffee in town.