In an age of digital transformation and digital transportation of ideas, creativity still matters. I would even argue that it matters more. According to Menmood Hanif, quoted in a Huffington Post article, the average internet user gets 11,150 ads per month. Another CBS News report stated that in the 1970s consumers were exposed to about 500 ads per day and now they are exposed to about 5,000 ads per day. So somewhere between 11,150 per month and 5,000 ads per day lies the opportunity to be seen and heard. But based on this quantity of exposures, it better be creative if you want it to be seen or heard.
Ads don’t come knocking on the door announcing that they are ads any longer (think TV commercials). They sometimes find their way into your online social community as YouTube videos you love to watch and celebrities that you follow. They are in your feeds and part of the shows you love to watch. They provide the landscape in the game you are playing and are probably in the songs on your playlist. In addition, the rapid rise of mobile as an advertising medium has challenged everything we have learned about how to capture attention and tell stories. Advertisers had decades to get familiar with and proficient on traditional mediums like TV, but mobile is presenting a whole new set of opportunities and challenges. Given the potential for consumers to see lots of ads, it is even more important that if we want to stand out in this crowd that we work at being creative. That is, being imaginative, original and emotionally compelling.
Facebook recently reported that in their analysis of over 800 video ads from 2015 and 2016 of major advertisers in North American and Europe, only 22% could be understood in the first 10 seconds without sound. That presents a huge missed opportunity as consumer’s attention spans are shrinking given the number of exposures and viewing options. I agree with Barbara Dyer, president and CEO of The Hitachi Foundation, when she said that creativity is rapidly shifting from a “nice to have” to a “must have” quality for all types of successful organizations – from delicatessens to design firms. A firm’s embrace of creativity in their workplace culture requires a disciplined approach to unleash the chaos of inventive ideas.
Here are some of the things we can do to cultivate a culture of creativity among our teams according to Inc. magazine to ensure that we are developing work that will be seen, heard and experienced.
1. Build a Diverse Team – Having everyone on the team look alike and come from the same background stifles creativity and presents a missed opportunity for your company and team. Seek to build a diverse team whose strength lies in its members' range of work experience, education and cultural backgrounds that play off of one another.
2. Surround Your team with Inspiration - Whenever you see something from the big wide world that captures your attention, put it on display. It can be any discovery: an awesome ad in a magazine, an unusually arranged menu, or even a well-written email that made you laugh. The more provocative, the better!
3. Flip Your Assumptions - Over the course of the day, identify all the tasks you do without thinking. Take a moment to talk about how you could do them differently. Sometimes it won’t work (spell check might always be the best way to proofread your work). However, it will often lead you to find a new way of doing the same old thing.
4. Bring it to Life - Put your thoughts into words, your words into pictures, and your pictures into prototypes. When people can see your idea, they’re less likely to forget it and much more likely to take it seriously and become involved in its development and bullet-proofing. Even a bad drawing is better than no drawing.
Happy New Year! We are all saying and receiving that greeting, a lot, these days. As it fades into the background amidst the noise of the work that awaits us, at Orbital Socket we are reminded of some key fundamentals that will help it indeed be a happy new year. We call them the "Three C Essentials" for a happy new year.
As we execute our plans to continue to help world-class companies win in the modern marketplace, we are reminded of these fundamentals that help keep us focused and inspired. It involves calibrating ourselves and our teams for impact as we help our partners see what’s possible. It is incumbent upon us to be very clear about what is working in the marketplace today and what our over 25-years of working with world-class, game-changing brands has taught us. Wisdom.
So, our simple but effective prescription for a prosperous new year calibrated for success is about Clarity, Conviction and Courage.
The Three C Essentials
Clarity – It is essential that we have a clear vision about why we do, what we do. We must pause for a moment to either remind ourselves of our vision or discover our vision; our reason for being. It is also critical to note, that before we can discover it for our teams, our company and our partners, that this must become a personal realization. Do I know why I do what I do? As we define or rediscover our “why” we become centered which helps us live our purpose and powers us to be more effective as we contribute to our team’s and our partner’s success.
Conviction – Now that I am clear on my “why,” the second step in calibrating for a new year is conviction. Conviction is about the quality of showing that one is firmly convinced of what one believes or says and the ensuing actions that result. If we have clarity, it is critical that we have conviction or actions that support and power our clarity. What am I doing that demonstrates my clarity? Based on what you stand for, how does that give energy to a platform that propels you forward? It is about being convinced that the plans you have made are right and allow them to fuel your platform. How do you show up? What are you communicating and what is the desired outcome?
Courage – Many dreams are being snuffed out simply because we lack the courage to pursue them. Three years ago my partner at Orbital Socket, who also happens to be my wife, and I set out to act on our convictions, with courage, that were based in our clarity that we could create a world-class marketing communications organization. An organization that would give an authentic opportunity for all people, especially people of color that have been by and large shunned from the advertising and marketing industry. It took us being clear about our purpose and putting action to plan with conviction, but it also took a lot of dag gum courage (in my Roy Williams, UNC Basketball coach voice). You got to be brave. With courage, you can stand when it gets hard and the doubt surfaces from both external and internal sources. The world is depending on you to succeed. SO, GO MAKE IT HAPPEN!
That’s it. Sweet and simple. I recommend at least a daily dose of the "Three C Essentials" for the first week and then a weekly dose for the remainder of the year. Monday’s preferably.
Oh, and Happy New Year!
Strategic Innovation + Experience Design = Shareable Brands
Real power in the modern marketplace comes from igniting innovation and creativity. Experience design unlocks the power of innovation and creativity, creating paths for people to connect with a brand in a meaningful and engaging way. That is at the core of experience design. At Orbital Socket, we define experience design as the practice of designing products, processes, services, events, multichannel journeys and environments, with a focus placed on the quality of the user experience within culturally relevant and engaging solutions.
A particular instance of personally encountering or undergoing something.
Design is a process to develop purposeful and innovative solutions that embody functional and aesthetic demand based on the needs of the intended user. It is applied to digital and physical services, processes, and environments.
Experience design is about telling great stories and creating dynamic adventures for your customers to travel along with you. It’s about helping them see the value of your product or service and how it meaningfully aligns within their lives in ways that feel organic and intuitive. They discover your product or service along the way, adopt it as their own, and become a co-creator of what the brand expression ultimately becomes.
Strategic innovation takes the age-old marketing principles that have worked for a long time and dips them in modern marketing approaches and roles them in innovation.
It forces relevant and meaningful differentiation that leads to new spaces where new conversations and customer engagement is provoked.
It answers questions like who do you want your customers to be and who are they trying to become? What is your highest most exclusive value and how does it align with their journey? It sets in motion, keyword “motion,” a sustainable platform and engine that will fuel growth for a prolonged period of time. It is anchored in digital realities and energized by technology.
It is steeped in ideology and a deep sense of thoughtfulness around behavior and how and why people do things that lead down paths of how they can and will do it differently.
We help you discover, through strategic innovation, how you can see clearly in the marketplace to WIN! Consistently and effectively. It makes you a hero while making your brand king of the category. A category that you define and own and your competitors envy and want to emulate.
Now, who doesn’t want that?
One of the most important dynamics for brand building in the modern marketplace is creating a brand that is shareable. At Orbital Socket, we have made this a core part of our offering and our approach to building successful brands that win in the modern marketplace. Sharing among people has clearly proven to be one of the most powerful ways for brands to win Fueling that process is the challenge and opportunity. Once you figure out who they are, where they are going and what drives them to share, you are much closer to having big consistent wins in the marketplace. The core dynamic of sharing is primarily fueled by relationships. That would include the relationships that people have or can have with brands but more importantly, it is about how brands fuel engagement between people.
The New York Times Customer Insight Group discovered that there are five key reasons people decide to share things with others. This study on the psychology of sharing and word-of-mouth movements presented a critical opportunity for marketers who want to connect more deeply with their audience and engage with them in the sharing process. If we can better understand why people share, then we can leverage this information to drive key drivers of brand and business growth.
Most experts will acknowledge that people buy (and share content) from those that they know, like, and trust. Most sharing, as it turns out, is primarily dependent on the personal relationships. The 5 most common reasons people share are:
It was also found that some users share as an act of “information management.” 73% of respondents said that they process information more deeply, thoroughly and thoughtfully when they share it.
So, how can we make this work for your brand? Here are several ways that can be very effective and game-changing.
Source: The Psychology of Sharing: Why People Share Online, The New York Time Information Group, October 2011
The greatest challenges often produce the greatest opportunities. The challenge of keeping pace in the constantly changing digital landscape presents lots of opportunities to connect with people at a deeper level. This more precise engagement leads to stronger relationships with a greater lifetime value.
Orbital Socket is a brand engagement company that leverages strategic innovation and experience design to help brands see what’s possible, by finding new places to live and engaging people who will join them there.
We do this by building Brand Colonies™, a methodology that creates deeper, more connected consumer relationships moving beyond the transaction to advocates for your brand. We bring together strategy, creativity, and technology to deliver impactful and transformative marketing communications that will help grow your business.
Give us a call today at 704-931-3529, or shoot us an email at email@example.com.
We look forward to helping you #seewhatspossible.
Every once in a while we get asked, "What's with the name?" We normally give one of a myriad of responses, which we will be happy to share with you. Why don't you give us a call -- 704-931-3529.
In the interim, here's what you really need to know...
Orbital Socket is a brand engagement company that leverages strategic innovation and experience design to help brands see what's possible, by finding new places to live and engaging people who will join them there.
There are five core areas of impact for our engagements:
Let us help you grow your business. Give us a call at 704-931-3529, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Oh yeah, don't forget to ask us about our name, Orbital Socket.
Hilary Burns Staff WriterCharlotte Business Journal
Greg Johnson still thinks back to his days with Nike regularly. Johnson runs his own Charlotte-based business that helps other companies leverage and build brands. So his time with Nike, one of the more iconic brands on the market, is relevant.
Johnson served as marketing director for Jordan Brand in the early 2000s before moving back to the East Coast to be closer to family.
EnlargeGreg Johnson is the co-founder and managing director of Orbital Socket, a local marketing.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GREG JOHNSON
After a few years with BooneOakley, a local ad agency, Johnson and his wife launched Orbital Socket in 2014, a marketing firm that specializes in branding.
The husband-and-wife team now runs Orbital Socket out of the Portal building at UNC Charlotte. Orbital Socket works with startups to create and shape their brands. They also work with larger companies to “energize” part of the business.
"The best practices I gained over 25 years, I apply it (all) now to these companies," Johnson says. "It has been incredibly invigorating to me. I feel so fortunate."
I caught up with Johnson recently to learn more about branding. Here are excerpts from the conversation, (edited for brevity and clarity).
What are common mistakes you see companies make with their brands?
I think they oversimplify what they think a brand is and therefore never really get to the rich, meaningful story behind what their brand can be. They then lack the type of connectivity they would have with their customers.
It starts with the deep customer development — understanding who they are and importantly where they are going. And do you align your real promises that your company or brand is making with your journey?
How does company culture play into that?
I think now more than ever culture is critical. Everyone’s excited about the millennials and that’s important because it’s a fast-growing group that spends a lot of money, but the thing is they shape culture that’s really what is powerful to me about millennials — they shape culture. The things they do we ultimately all end up doing. Culture is critically important. I study culture, and it’s a big factor when I talk about customer development. It plays a big role in that process.
Are there any specific experiences at Nike that showed you why branding is so important?
In my experiences there has not been a better example of what happens when you really understand your customer, and you really have developed a rich story around what your brand stands for.
Michael (Jordan) was great. He’s the best basketball player ever in my opinion. He had an incredible shoe product that he then turned into a brand and now that brand makes training products, baseball cleats and football cleats and there is apparel — it has people lining up with great anticipation for the next show all because he did the work around understanding his customer, understanding where they are going with their life and how his brand can be important to them along their journey. That is really the model I base the work I do on.
The 31st Annual Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards were held Saturday, January 21, in Nashville, TN. The Levine Center for the Arts spot, #LongLiveArts, created by Orbital Socket and produced by Priceless Miscellaneous won the Promo Spot/Image category. #LongLiveArts is the marketing campaign Orbital Socket developed to promote Levine Center for the Arts. Located at Stonewall and South Tryon Street in Charlotte, NC, this cultural center includes the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture, John S. and James L. Knight Theater, and Mint Museum Uptown.
“There is a critical need to identify the real meaning and value of museums to the community and the individual,” says Hillary Cooper, Director of Advancement & Communications at The Mint Museum, representing Levine Center for the Arts. “By combining forces, Levine Center for the Arts does a great job at creating these vital and rich cultural experiences that can’t be missed. It’s a collection of Charlotte’s art, a symbol of pride.”
“We wanted to create a video that showcased what you will experience at Levine Center for the Arts,” says Greg Johnson, Managing Director at Orbital Socket. “The video itself had to be a piece of art, which I think we successfully achieved. It’s quite stunning.”
You can learn more about the #LongLiveArts Campaign here. Or, click here to learn more about how Orbital Socket can grow your business by leveraging modern approaches to build engaging customer experiences.
Here are a few branding rules that have been helpful to us at Orbital Socket. These are some rules that come out of our expertise around creating strong brands and that have helped many companies see what’s possible. So, here are our rules:
1. Seek out strong insights – A strong brand beings and ends with great consumer insights. It’s not about what we want the brand to be and how we want it to connect, but it’s about who they (the consumers) are and where are they going. How do we effectively identify key insights that will unlock their willingness to become aware of and eventually engage with the brand. There has to be an ongoing ferocious commitment to learning about the consumer.
2. Develop a distinctive positioning – There has to be clear, distinguishable positioning that brings a clear and distinctive point of view to the marketplace. It should be clear and distinctive (did I say that already?).
3. Define invigorating touch points – The strong brand positioning should fuel perspective around how the brand can become “touchable” or accessible by the consumer. They should get it and want to get to know it. Defining the touch points that align with where they are going is essential.
4. Create a powerful experience – Creating experiential touch points is essential. As marketers, we are in the experience business and must make sure that all that we are doing works hard to create emotional connections to the consumer. Remember to seize opportunities to surprise and delight the consumer.
5. Infuse brand within your culture – Make sure that everyone on your team fully understands and embraces the brand. Your best ambassadors work for the company. There are many rules about branding that many people have proclaimed over the ages, but these rules seem too particularly important in this modern marketing age. They serve as guides for us as we help companies see what’s possible for their brands and bring them to life in new and powerful ways.