smoke imageand other fascinating creations at the Digital Revolution show at the Barbican. Anyone in retail (or experiential marketing) will enjoy it. Why? With the growth of e-commerce the shop is changing-it has to evolve or die- and is becoming a form of entertainment in its own right

The digital instillations at the show are just the kind the thing that helps to reinvent the shop as a memorable experience.

The tech is expensive but as costs come down it goes mainstream – expect the likes of Nike,Apple and Burberry to pioneer it in their brand experience temples (which is what shops are becoming)

The early part of the show takes you through key stages in the history of gaming but it is the later parts that are worth dwelling on – fascinating cinematic quality animations,new ways of interacting with screens- and the story of how the film Gravity was made.

Behind this, I think,are two exciting trends

-gaming is very powerful,well funded and important in the UK and the inventiveness it has spawns flows out into all other kinds of creative work.

-Coders are now collaborating with artists and creators of all types-musicians, sculptors, painter, fashion designers. This cross fertilisation is making digital creativity somethings that appeals to all the senses.Physical,playful,fascinating.

Take the Nintendo Wii ( gaming again) and how it helped gaming open up to new audiences with its “gesture based wireless control interface” . Now that technology is being evolved in new and more creative ways. I for one could not resist seeing smoke pour out of my eyes.

To the RSA for an excellent talk by Jeremy Heimans of Purpose 

He is one of a new breed of “Movement Entrepreneurs” – who brings practical knowledge and insight about how the radical democratisation of the web is changing politics and campaigning. Now more than ever you can start a popular movement – not just locally but globally-enabled by tech.

Lots of good examples such as avaaz and getup

His top tips worth noting on how to start a movement

-Dont rely too much on The Charismatic Leader ( it can go wrong- think Lance Armstrong) – what you need is the right purpose

-Use institutional power but don’t get institutionalised

( David Milliband made the excellent point that if you want to have influence you have to map power structures. Sometimes these are not very visible or even widely known but they are very powerful – such as pension funds and mutual funds)

– a movement is not an internet meme

– Be online and especially be hyper local

-Soundbites do not engage any longer ( Forget Alistair Campbell) think storytelling

-Go transnational

-To get new members make it very easy for them to act ( remove barriers to action)

-Use the mainstream tech – don’t get over excited by the leading edge stuff – text or even fax may be better that a hip new app

-Fund well at the start and then get funding by the people

-Deeply embed participation ( great danger here is to message at people and think “gosh I have got a huge database must do some CRM”. Obama was highly participative in 2008 and then people started to feel targeted with messages

-Action leads to hope, not hope leads to action ( Supported by the idea of The endowment effect from Behavioral psychology -we  are more committed to something we have a hand in creating). Change minds by getting people to do things. The attitude change follows the behaviour change – not the other way round

The big question though is how does it work when it is not a single issue or the challenge is necessarily complex- such the ungoverned part of the oceans – being raped and pillaged according to David Milliband- or climate change). That is still a tough one . Watch this space. Certainly watch what Purpose do

Things have come a long way since a rock band simply performed a gig in front of a logo and their manager saw the brand owner as merely an open cheque-book.

One reason is a group has formed (Brands and Bands) that brings together all the different parties to share success stories and best practice. Another is brand owner and band managers are getting more knowledgeable about how to set up things in the right way and manage relationships. There are also specialist agencies in the field. Here are some top tips

-Set it up as partnership and start early on this. Share objectives and work out how the brand and the band can use their assets ( eg sales channels on the brand side/exclusive access on the band side) to mutual benefit.

See this as a business partnership deal rather than a sponsorship. ( this is probably the most important lesson)

-For brand owners Set up a music platform that is bigger than any individual band

A good example is Guinness Arthur’s day which involved 60 bands playing live in four Irish cities on one night.

Another is Smirnoff’s nightlife exchange project-which is now being give a massive boast by involving Madonna.

The key point being that the platform pre dates Madonna (and will carry on after Madonna is no longer a part of it)

There is an opportunity for brands to support emerging talent. This is more of a risk/more entrepreneurial but on the other hand it can be surprisingly inexpensive and very fruitful with strong mutual commitment in the long term. It can also be very good for brands wishing to keep their street cred fresh and current

The watch words are Authenticity and credibility– Consumers can smell a cynical relationship between a band and a brand just based around money. So there needs to a true story told about the relationship.

Bands have to commit to it.If you are sponsored by Puma you can’t go on stage wearing Addidas

Why this is set to grow.

1) Brand owners have the money and the bands do not, so bands are becoming much more business and brand aware and comfortable with it- it is no longer a sell out to commercial interests. How things have changed. Can you imagine The Clash or The Jam or The Sex pistols being up for this.

2) Brand owners want different kinds of creative ideas. It is not longer about pushing ad messages down channels but creating activity that people want to be a part of and share. Brand owners now use many platforms and need what MEC call Liquid Content. There are few more forms of content more liquid and shareable than Music.



Excellent debate in The Guardian kicked off at the Edinburgh book fair.

Here is my two penny worth

The race to the bottom-it will happen in the mass market

Simple print only E- Books are going to be almost infinitely available very cheap through official platforms (eg Amazon) or free through piracy. Difficult to see how you can stop this.

In the next three years Kindles will be given away or sold very even more cheap as the next generable Kindle comes on stream. The kindle today feels like at intermediate technology-Black and white and average useability

 Price is determined mostly by scarcity so easy and cheap availability of a file that is no more sophisticated that a pdf will result in a race to the bottom-check out the amazon top 100 ebooks. Most are 99 p or less.

So Bookshops and publishers are in trouble- no question

Second Piracy may be over-stated.

Early adopters tend to be more aware of the free option and seek it out-the majority may prefer official channels especially as e-books are cheap.

For example, studies among early adopters of PVRS ( such as  Sky+) suggested that the TV ad was dead as everyone would skip the ad break- turned out not always to be the case among the average coach potato ( like me)

Some future scenarios

The arrival of cheap/free e-books is big a disruption and survival will go to those most ready to adapt.

Supermarkets had a similar effect on food retailing and this experience mostly tells us that it is a mistake to be stuck in the middle. You should either be about scale/mass or premium/niche/specialist. Some of these premium/niche/ specialist markets are not small- in fact thanks to the internet they can be global

So where are the opportunities to add value and margin produced by this disruption?

Some general principles

Add value in different ways

For example:-

-Reintroduce scarcity.

-Deliver things that digital /electronic media cannot do

-Be innovative using the capabilities digital gives you

Some ideas (some of which are happening already)

-Bookshops will stop selling just books and sell experiences- see Daunts and Toppings

-Literary festivals will grow that as they sell experiences- alongside books/ebooks

-Some sectors will thrive in paper such as children/photography/art books because the pleasure of ownership and use is intensely physical and sensual. The e-books challenge will cause a reaction- they will become even more desirable-with more emphasis design and presentation. Just as fast food spawned slow food so the cheap ebook will stimulate even more gorgeous and desirable physical object

-Digital will liberate some sectors to become a completely different “product”-some children’s “books” will become “multimedia experiences” by harnessing some of the UK’s leading edge techies.

-Travel books will be better as ebooks-light to carry/multimedia and with ecommerce links

-Writers will (again) publish work in installments and sell direct to readers via a subscription arrangements in order to avoid piracy and reintroduce scarcity ( others have said this)

-A new type of publishing company will emerge that helps authors connect with readers by using digital marketing and social media, globally.

These publishing companies will also orchestrate the multi skilled teams needed to produce next generation multimedia e-books

And much much more-the only response to this disruption it seems to me is to see it as fuel for creativity and “added value” 
Or more simply-innovate to produce things that people value enough to pay for

When i started in advertising we rarely had brainstorms- a brief was written and handed over to a creative team to come up with “the idea”. Now agencies have them on an almost daily basis. The reasons?

-Social: a larger team needs to be enlisted to execute a campaign and you need to get more people committed to an idea to execute it well

– the nature of ideas: no longer a finely honed message these days but often the starting point for conversation and interaction. And a belief that ” the idea can come from anywhere”

Quite a lot of people harbour a secret dread of  “The Brainstorm”- and many of them are badly run which wastes a lot of peoples’ time. How to use them better? My 12 top tips are

-Don’t have too many Brainstorms and invest those that you do with greater significance

-Define a clear problem to be solved. Use an active verb to define it as in

“Win new customers”,”Change the image of the brand”,”Deliver better service”

-If the problem is not clear have a separate  session to sort it out-otherwise the first part of the brainstorm will be lost in debate

-Separate the “problem owner” and the brainstorm facilitator- don’t try to be both

– Don’t try a Brainstorm in under 90 mins

– Have a warm up at the start just as you would before playing sport ( most people have left brained jobs and you need to get the whole of your brain moving) eg; Draw your own logo/tell us something exciting that happened to you recently etc

( I have lots of these just ask)

– it is a good idea to get attendees to do some prep to get in the mood but keep it simple and give only one task or it wont get done

-Get a diverse group of people together

-Make sure that people are prepared to play the game and that hierarchy will not be a problem ( I once had disaster in Italy because ” the boss’ showed up so everyone sat and listened to him)

– Run the Brainstorm in a light and airy room

-Have regular breaks every 90  minutes at least

At last nights Big Thinkers event at COI Richard Thaler gave a glimpse of the opportunities to Nudge that will come from mobile/new technology- such pillboxes that mail you when you havent taken your medicine and IPhone apps that can test your blood sugar.

Smart phones, which are the devices that support these innovations, are still a middle class thing but in short order will be in the hands of most people in most parts of the world

All part of a wider picture in which we will have to do more for ourselves and health services around the world will have to be more efficient and sparing in the use of its professionals and experts time.

The other big driver of efficiency, according to Thaler is open access to data which government wills increasingly make available for private companies to present in useful ways. Such as the BART app for people looking to catch a bus.It is real time information about where your bus is and when it will arrive. It is simply  based on making the GPS data that each bus produces available.

The Peer to Peer model, made famous by Zopa and Betfair, is coming to the foreign exchange market with a new service called CurrencyFair.

The benefits are , of course, a much keener rate than the banks offer-close to or at interbank- and the ability to post a rate and see if is matched. The service is based on the simple truth that everyone in FX is both a seller and a buyer .The (anonimized) exchange set up by CurrencyFair  matches up buyers and sellers. Could be the start of something big in FX once people have got used to the idea.FX is a dirty little secret of the banks-they gouge the average punter with commission and the spread between what they buy at and sell at. Just check your next currency exchange against CurrencyFair to prove the point

Declaration of interest: CurrencyFair is a Joined Up Company client.We have had fun developing the service- hope you like it Launch team as follows:

CurrencyFair: Jonathan Potter and Chris Porter

The Joined Up Company: Brand Strategy,Website Development and Communications Strategy- Julian Saunders, Janet Grimes and Patrick Collister.

Joff Buels: PR, Press relations and PR launch

London Interaction:Social media research and social media engagement strategy-Sarah Ward and Tomas Gonsorcik