Regardless of how many advertisements you see, commercials you watch or billboards you drive by, nothing beats word of mouth. Chances are, you will be more or less inclined to try a new store, restaurant, etc. after you’ve talked to a friend. It could be someone you’ve known your whole life or someone you’ve just met. Recommendations from a real person will always boost whatever company is in question.
Now, how can that concept extend to other types of advertising? It’s simple: have a book burning party. Now, before you get your book spines in a twist, let me explain that there’s no actual party. But you freaked out a little, didn’t you?
A library in Troy, Michigan was about to close and instead of taking the insult lying down, someone had the bright idea of calling attention to the problem. Not just any kind of attention. Righteous indignation. The kind of attention that rallies people to call for the wrath of God and the thunderbolts of Zeus. They advertised for a book burning party. Around the middle of the campaign, they explain that the party was a hoax and that a vote to close the library was like a vote to burn books. Needless to say, the library was saved.
Now, why did this method work? Because it touched on something deeply imbedded in the citizens of this nation: freedom of speech. Book burning is something that isn’t tolerated by most people. It was a surefire way of rallying the people of the world around one little library.
And it worked.
When you’re filling out a resume, you probably throw in terms like “hard working”, “passionate”, and “detail-oriented”. I’m sure these are all true, but the problem is that the majority of the people applying for that same job will also be those things. So how do you stand out? Fast Company believes that you have to pushed passed the go-to cliches and challenge yourself.
They give the example of “excellent communicator”. Ok, a lot of people are excellent communicators. Especially if you’re in a communication field. So, take the description farther down the road. Ask why. Why are you good at communicating? Then ask why again. Keep asking until you’ve not only come up with a different way of expressing your skill, but also a different way of describing yourself.
The most important thing about filling out a resume or application is that you have to be able to back up what you say. Don’t write that you type 45wpm if you can only type 30. Don’t say that you’re comfortable handling money or answering phones if you’re not. You can express a desire to get better and learn, but don’t puff yourself up more than you can handle. It’ll backfire.
Everyone loves a good underdog story. They like rooting for the little guy, the one that no one else thinks will win. Well, that principle applies to technology as well. Xerox is a term that most connect with photocopies. But originally they were known for much more than that. Xerox had the monopoly on high tech breakthroughs until they didn’t. Steve Jobs, a young and dewy eyed inventor, decided to visit Palo Alto Xerox branch and he saw that they had interesting things. Such as a mouse, and icons, and menus. He loved it. He saw the future of computers.
Apparently this caused issues when Xerox fell from grace and Apple picked up speed. Apple used the concepts that Jobs saw and made them better. Made them easier to use. Jobs was more interested in a computer everyone could use. There’s an article that shows how paths can cross in the most interesting ways. Jobs and Starkweather, the inventor of the photocopier we all know and love today, have a great story that anyone can enjoy, even if you know nothing about technology.
This article shows that taking the leap and fighting for something you believe in, can change your life for the better.
Seth Godin did a presentation for TED explaining that ideas can’t just be good or interesting anymore. They have to be different and they have to be spread. He starts off using sliced bread as an example. Everyone uses the phrase “the best thing since sliced bread”. The problem is that when sliced bread first came out, no one was interested. Not many people knew about it. Wonder Bread came along and changed the image. Now, it’s hard to image life without it.
Godin uses humor and logic to get his point across. Ideas need to be remarkable. They need to be talked about. Advertising doesn’t do the same job it used to because our society tunes ads like nagging girlfriends. We fast-forward through TV commercials, we change the station on the radio, we flip through magazines or scroll through a website. We put up our blinders and ignore the constant barrage of ads being thrown at us all day every day. So, how do you get your product to the public? Word of mouth. People love to talk. They love to talk about things they know or have experienced because it makes them feel in-the-know.
Instead of marketing to the middle-of-the-road people who won’t be all that interested, market to the fanatics. Market to the people who live for your kind of product. They will be the ones talking about it, rating it, and recommending it to others.
Technology, Entertainment, Design conference. TED. Also known as the world’s new Harvard. A forum of speakers that broaden the viewers horizons in an interesting, insightful, and sometimes humorous way. With videos that range from politics and science to technology and education, these lectures are not given by your parents’ stuffy college professors. You will not fall asleep, doodle in your notebook, or glance at the clock. These speakers are engaging, passionate, and determined to make a difference.
TED has been around since the early 1980s, when Richard Saul Wurman started the conference as a way to host the “world’s best dinner party”. It became a way for innovative people in all fields could get together and create brilliance. This networking extravaganza allows for a collaboration of minds that wouldn’t have previously met. In such a creative and charged environment, crazy ideas are accepted and welcomed, which means that our future could very well be conceived through TED.
People who watch these videos attest to the life-changing effect that TED has had on their lives. It makes sense, right? When people talk about things their passionate about with conviction, their audience will be more receptive. Everyone loves charisma. They’re drawn to it. Meaning that previously boring topics can become interesting, informative and, dare I say it, fun! When people feel like they’re having a good time, or getting something out of an experience, they are more open and willing to try new things. This is the attitude that is going to change the world, and TED will be a big part of that.
Education today focuses on math, science, and concrete skills that students can use to get into college, which will help them get a good job, make money, and be happy. So basically, education today teaches students that you need money to be happy. That’s both BS and depressing. It’s depressing BS.
Sir Ken Robinson spoke in 2006 about education and its lack of creativity. His speech was hilarious and insightful. He explained that public education ingrains the idea into children’s heads that being wrong is the worst thing they can do in school. Wrong answers equal failing grades. However, Robinson then points out that creativity, true creativity, is dependent on people not being afraid of being wrong. Everyone is, though. People don’t want to admit when they’re wrong, they don’t want to speak up in a meeting for fear of having their idea laughed at or criticized. Because of this mental restriction, brilliant and creative people grow up believing that they are either below average or that something is wrong with them. This is not how children should be learning.
Robinson emphasizes the concept that artistic ventures should have equal time in schools, right along with math and science. Not all children are going to have a capacity for those concrete topics, so why punish them for being creative? Why punish the dancer, the musician, the artist for seeing the world differently?
In the beginning of his speech, Robinson states that humans are born creative. Humans have that capacity inside of them from day one. The problem is that education, and even society, educates that creativity out of them.
Now, having said all that, things are starting to change a little bit. Maybe not in schools, but in society. The creative, think-outside-the-box people are the ones who are stepping into positions of power. They’re starting their own companies. They’re taking over the technological world. Being different and creative is becoming popular and accepted. The next step is to change our education programs to accept it as well. I can guarantee that kids will see school differently. It won’ t be a chore. It’ll be fun, interesting, and something that they will look forward to every day.
When it comes to advertising, we tend to throw our blinders up. We have commercials, magazine ads, billboards, etc. Ads are everywhere, so now we just tune them out. Unless, of course, something really grabs our attention. The indie ad agency Wieden and Kennedy started out with Nike as its first client. However, they started to realize that not every client was going to be like Nike. Meaning they were going to have to approach each client differently.
After the facelift it needed, Wieden and Kennedy became Ad Age’s Agency of the Year. With top ad spots for Nike, Target, Chrysler and the makers of Old Spice, W & K has shown the industry that creativity is still a driving force in advertising. People today ARE tuning out ads, which means you have to grab their attention. Doing something to make them think, laugh, cry, do a double-take.
For example, the Paul Harvey Dodge Ram commercial that ran during this year’s Super Bowl became one of the hottest topics of the night. Ads can still mean something, even in today’s pessimistic and jaded society, and W & K is doing its best to keep a connection between the public and its client’s products. They’re not just saying “buy this stuff”. There’s more to it than that. Consumers are not cash cows. I’m glad that W & K has stayed independent. I think it helps keep their work a little more honest and sincere.
It’s no secret that technology is taking over our lives. It’s what we want, right? We want our electronics to do as much for us as possible. However, should complex technology be complex? In 2006, David Pogue did a presentation that addressed the rising need for simple technology. In his demonstration Pogue used humor and every day frustrations to relate to his audience. He compared Microsoft and Apple on several platforms, explaining that intelligence is more important than broken down instructions and that common sense should be used when creating software for the public.
Having said that, there is an amount of responsibility that must be placed on the user, as Pogue stated when he talked about his experience listening in on some customer service calls. You can imagine the level of frustrations of both parties when the woman couldn’t get her mouse to work, no matter how many times she dragged in across the screen.
This was six years ago. The problem today is that people bigger and better in the smallest package possible. We’re a society of instant gratification and if it takes too long or is too difficult, we bounce. We’re off to look for the same app or phone or computer that’s easier to manage. That contrasting demand means that sometimes the technology we get won’t always be exactly what we want. And we need to learn to be okay with that. We’re spoiled and it shows.
However, customer service sucks to some degree, no matter what company you call. We can all agree on that.
Memory is an ever-fleeting thing, especially in today’s society where information is thrown at you from several different sources. In order to keep up with all the input, people usually turn to the freakish technology we have today. However, Google can help you with your homework, but not your memory. Or can it? Phil Libin has been on the prowl for a company that can not only make money, but also help people. Determined to put his techie brain to good use, Phil created and sold two other companies before he found his home in Evernote.
What is Evernote? Evernote is like having a friend live in your computer and smartphone that can remember everything you’ve ever told it. Can’t remember that restaurant you went to in OKC with your sister? Search for the photo you took of the menu, the dish you ordered, the city you were in, or even the person you were with. Libin created a searching software that recalls things like your brain. You’re in a meeting and you record the audio and you take notes and you remember the day it was on; all of those items can help you find your file.
Now, as amazing as this is, does it work? According to the international explosion that has taken over electronics, schools, and Silicon Valley, yes. Yes it does. The new generation is growing up in a society of fast-paced living. They’re used to this constant barrage of info. They have short attention spans and can multitask like the speed of light because that is the kind of environment they’re comfortable in, which means that apps like Evernote can help tidy up their chaotic world.
You would think that something as sophisticated as Evernote would cost money, right? Only if you feel like it. Libin was determined to have the free version of app just as capable as the upgraded version. And what’s more, you only pay $5 a month. So why upgrade? Because you get more storage space. And when you have that little friend remembering your life for you, you need that extra space.