The State of “Perpetual Beta” and Creating Great Ideas
What makes a good idea? That’s a tough question, but Kinney Edwards, Group Creative Director of TribalDDB, shared with us how advertisers can set themselves up their “Aha!” moment.
Coming up with a good idea today is much more difficult than the Mad Men days of catchy radio jingles or funny print ads. For one, advertising today needs to resonate in traditional media as well as the ever-changing digital landscape.
“You used to be able to shout from a mountaintop, and everyone would flock to where you are,” Edwards said. “Now you have to go where they are. You have to become a better listener.”
To Edwards, part of being a good listener is putting the power into the hands of the consumer, that means being open to feedback (both good and bad) from consumers.
“I think pushing things out there that are still in beta and getting initial feedback is cool, I think that’s where advertisers need to be,” he said. “We should throw things out there to the general public or the consumer and let them react to them, if they think it sucks or if it’s awesome.”
An example of this would be the evolution of social networking sites.
“You can have the greatest idea, but if you’re not the first to do it someone else is going to come in and get even better,” he said. “We’ve seen this from Friendster to MySpace to Facebook, each one has just gotten optimized. And Facebook is in a state of perpetual beta, which I think is a good place to be in.”
Since the dawn of Friendster, the social media sphere has become much more fragmented with sites like Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram gaining users and influence. So how can an advertiser make sure their message isn’t lost among the myriad social sites?
“The easy thing to do is to walk into a room and say we’re going to do something here and something there and then call it a campaign,” Edwards said. “Something we’re doing at Tribal is trying to avoid coming up with an idea for each platform, we want to have an idea that can span across multiple media and branch out.”
Edwards said changing up the internal agency structure can help advertisers create a great idea to do just that.
“My ideal structure would be being able to create multidisciplinary teams who can sit and think about a project,” Edwards said. “You could include people from tech, user experience, production and project managers. You need an element of collaboration to shape an idea and change it. You need that internal challenge.”
But even when you think you’ve come up with a great idea, you can never be sure until it’s out in the public.
“Every idea’s like a child,” Edwards said. “Some will survive when you send them out to the wild, some will come back and sleep on your couch for six months. You never know how it will perform until you put it out there.”
Keywords: agency interviews, sxsw 2012