1000heads: Creativity + Curation

This past week saw the Exeter-based gathering that is known as the LikeMinds 2010 Autumn Conference.

likeminds starting day 2

Photo via the lovely Benjamin Ellis

If you’re a regular reader here at 1000heads you’ll know that LikeMinds has become one of our favourite things ever since our first attendance back in February of this year. I’m pleased to say that last week’s event – based around the themes of ‘Creativity + Curation’ – was no disappointment.

Unlike February’s event, where the one key takeaway (for me at least) was the audience-wide understanding of the importance of listening, this time around the lessons were much more broad; touching upon various different subjects, specialisms and industries including; Music, Film, Publishing (traditional and new) as well as other, more thought-provoking pieces along the lines of the impact of social technologies and the much-discussed ‘Big Society‘.

For me personally, the highlights came in varying forms. First, the opening Publishing ‘immersive’ session hosted by Andrew Davies of Idio was rammed to the rafters as everyone came together to discuss the impact of the social web upon the traditional publishing industry. For such a packed event, Andrew facilitated well as the rest of the group swiftly leapt from one area to another covering off not only the real value of brand/consumer relationships (throwing in some real world examples to boot) but also whether or not true curation is just filtering other people’s content.

LikeMinds resident live-blogger, Adam Tinworth, happened to be in the room also and his blow-by-blow recap is definitely worth a look.

Second, Chris Carey from the PRS, yes really – the PRS. Chris is an in-house economist for the music industry and he used the patterns that he is paid to spot day-in and day-out, to illustrate the pitfalls in any market of relying on what you think you know. His example of NBC’s mistake of turning off the Gossip Girl stream on their website was a lesson to us all.

And the third and final one (again, that spoke to me personally) was that of Benjamin Ellis. Who, with one phrase, captured the whole audience:

“A fish would be last to discover water”

— and to give that context, I’d spend some time looking over his rather awesome presentation –

Benjamin Ellis: Why the ‘We’ Generation ‘Knows’ Different

View more presentations from Like Minds.
We’ll be back with more LikeMinds analysis at some point later this week (or maybe next).
In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you on any of the above.. So why not leave us a comment! 🙂

1000heads: What is WOM?

Diving into day two of our month long 10th birthday celebrations, we’re going to answer one of the longest-standing questions that we get asked almost weekly (if not daily)…

Exactly what is Word of Mouth?

Our creative team has been beavering away on a handy little infographic for your viewing pleasure –

Download the PDF from slideshare (recommended)

We’ll be getting a couple of these framed and put up in the office very shortly, in the meantime – if you’d like your very own version of this poster, leave a comment and we’ll get in touch when we start printing.

In the meantime take a look and let us know what you think, share and share alike 🙂

“Word of Mouth: The Most Powerful Force in the World!”

See you back here tomorrow, for more Birthday shenanigans…

1000heads: Solidarity

Our very own Thom James shared this with us last week and we loved it so much we thought we’d put it on our blog –

“A clever use of ‘message as the medium'” – as Thom so rightly put it last week.

Powerful too. Good stuff.

Rough translation via Google Translate:

“On the occasion of World Water Day, BDDP Unlimited partner NGO Solidarity International, which specializes in coverage of basic needs (including water supply), has created an unprecedented public event: to better detect bystanders, the agency has devised a poster of a new genus, using water directly as a medium. A wall of water events was set in the very heart of Paris and delivered messages for one week causing the awareness of pedestrians on the damage caused by the non-potable water in the world.”

1000heads: The 'word of mouth' election

Our word of mouth spider sense started tingling this morning when we came across this article from Labour Matters.

“Gordon Brown MP, Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party, and Sarah Brown, were joined by Cabinet colleagues today to personally canvass voters, up and down the country, by phone from Labour’s head office in London, as part of a mass canvass with thousands of supporters on the doorstep as well.

Labour’s “word of mouth” election campaign has seen thousands of activists spreading the word on the doorstep, by phone and through Labour’s cutting-edge virtual phone bank and iPhone App.

Both Gordon and Sarah Brown, plus several Cabinet Ministers, got to work on the phone bank and asked for people’s support at the ballot box, direct and down the line.

They called unscreened voters, listened to their views and explained Labour’s five pledges for a Future Fair For All – a Britain in which no one is left behind and everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their talent and share in future prosperity.”

We don’t think this qualifies as word of mouth.

At all.

In fact to us, this is broadcast in its purest sense; (cold) calling people and explaining pledges with one breath and with the next asking and soliciting support for the party in question. This really doesn’t qualify as word of mouth. Not in our book.

The piece continues with this quote from Harriet Harman:

“This is a word of mouth election, won by people not posters, and Labour is determined to make sure this is a grass roots election campaign, direct and authentic from start to finish.

“That’s why thousands of activists up and down the country are spreading the word on the doorstep and on the phone to warn that the Tories would wreck our economic recovery and leave families to sink or swim in tough times.

This isn’t conversation. This is bringing those very posters to the doorsteps of the nation and whether it will work or not remains to be seen.
But one thing’s for sure – this isn’t how you start meaningful, long-term relationships with advocates or detractors. This is as close to old-school, scatter-gun marketing & advertising as it gets.
Will it work? I doubt it. Is it conversational? Not really.


“During the phone canvass, Gordon Brown was told that the Party had made its 1,000,000th face to face relationship since Jan 1 2010.”

With respect Labour Matters, but… I’m not even sure what this means.

If you’re not registered to vote, do so now.

Pass it on.

1000heads: Talking about Jerusalem

This is London’s Apollo Theatre, currently showing The Royal Court Theatre’s production of ‘Jerusalem’.

This ‘comic and contemporary vision of rural life‘ has been the subject of many a rave review with such headline grabbing one liners such as:

– The Guardian

– The Daily Telegraph

– The Independent

These rather catchy and awe-inspiring reviews are in fact so good, that the company in question has had them blown up and put on the outside walls of the theatre itself.

However, when I buy my ticket later this week it won’t be because of any of the press that I’ve demonstrated so far. Nor will it be thanks to the rave review that my hairdresser gave me only a few weeks ago.

The reason I want to see Jerusalem (and in fact the only reason I want to see Jerusalem) is this:

See them?

This photo was taken at 9:26am on a Tuesday morning. Every day I walk past this theatre on my way to work and every day since the play first opened, there has been a queue of at least twenty people waiting in line, in the rain, to get their hands on tickets of their own.

Yes, the play really is that good.

But what of word of mouth? I already confessed that my hairdresser had told me herself that it was good. But that wasn’t enough.
I’d read the reviews, again – still not quite enough.

This final piece of the puzzle, this commitment to the cause made real, completed my purchasing journey almost instantly.

In short:

  • Your customer’s purchasing journey could start anywhere.
  • Is this WOM? No. But I’m telling you, right?
  • Did WOM help? Not really, but it was part of the journey.
  • Above you can see at least twenty nascent advocates CRYING OUT to be engaged with. Apollo umbrellas? A thank you for their patron? Something?

How can you make your guest experience more conversational?

Think. Just think.

1000heads: Word of Mouth Optimisation

I screamed at the TV this weekend. Twice.

Here’s why:

They did it. They finally did it.

After imploring them just over a month ago (and then watching Ikea getting in on the act), Homebase finally went and decorated a (very) public place, Carlisle Train Station to be precise, with all their latest furnishings.

Good job.

Photo via 28Gywn

According to some of the photos that can be found on flickr (which I can’t show you, as they’re not under Creative Commons but we’ll come back to this later), Homebase shot the ad above on February 10th. A mere two days after our post recommending they do so.

Just call us 1000-psychic-heads…

Joking aside, it’s good to see this kind of friendly disruption. Interruptive yes, but not combative. It looks like it was all rather enjoyable and fun and it would also seem that Homebase aren’t just stopping there either.

According to their latest promotion ‘Transforming the Nation‘ Carlisle Station won’t be the only place in the UK to get such a makeover. You too can get your community involved and nominate a public space near you to get ‘the Homebase makeover’.

While we applaud the over-arching theme and campaign mechanic (disrupting schemas and getting local community involvement; breadth and depth), we still can’t help but think that there are a few missed opportunities here.

Scott Gould recently spoke at the WOM Espresso about SPREADABILITY vs REACH and in doing so touched upon the key point of GUIDANCE vs GOVERNANCE.

This sign, posted by the Homebase film crew at Carlisle station reminded me of just that:

Photo via 28Gwyn

I’ve worked in television, I know that the above ‘waiver’ is a legality box that must be ticked. However, there are ways and means, surely? Why not have two signs? One with all the legal spiel on it and another…

Oh I don’t know, maybe one like this one:

So I’d like to give a gentle nudge in the direction of the content creators out there – and I don’t just mean those Flickr fanatics or YouTube aficionados, I mean content creators in their purest form: those that create conversation, those that will get to work and actively seek out their friends and peers to amaze and share with them what they have seen.

At the time of writing there are 139 photos on Flickr tagged with ‘Carlisle’ and ‘Homebase’ but only FIVE that are actually licensed under Creative Commons and are therefore spreadable.

Yes, this may have happened already. Of course it did. But there really is no harm in lending a guiding hand along the way.

Homebase shot a TV commercial that happened to take place in a train station.

What else could they have done?
Off the top of our ‘Heads:

  • Where’s the digital component?
  • Have we invited any bloggers along? (Trainspotters? Home Decorators?)
  • Should we invite the local staff along to meet and greet?
  • Is there a twitter feed or a hashtag for this?
  • Could we blog the progress of the build?
  • Should we set up a Facebook page: ‘My town was Homebase’d’
  • What about Easter Eggs? Can we make it more than just a sofa?
  • Is this driven by insights? i.e.: are the products on show there for their popularity?

Here at 1000heads we call this (and a whole lot more) ‘WOM Optimisation’, as in – what are the word of mouth triggers that we can put in place to make this event/activity/content as shareable as possible?

Next time you’re attempting anything like this, take a moment and think:

What can I do to to make this really spreadable?

1000heads: IKEA on the French Underground

Thanks to Zee for spotting these images of Ikea’s latest fun and games in and around four key locations deep inside France’s Parisian Metro system.

If you think this idea sounds or looks familiar, take a look at this ‘Disrupting the Norm‘ post from last month suggesting the very same activity here in London.

I wonder if it would have the same effect?