August 15, 2012 4

In Praise of Inefficiency

By in Allgemein, Experience

It was a discussion about that sometimes prosaic subject, CRM. One of the participants, a young marketer, used an oft-heard term. “Of course,” he said, “digital technology revolutionized CRM.”

His companion thought for a moment. “I can see how digital technology has made CRM faster and easier, but we’re still doing the same things we ever did.  Keeping lists, making contact by phone or mail, and giving privileges to our best customers.  Hardly a revolution.”

The younger man paused. It was a bit like the moment when a teenager realises, for the first time, that his parents must have had sex.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.  In the digital world, the more things seem to change, the more we end up doing what we always did, only faster, and a hell of a lot more frequently.  

Mail-order shopping has been around a long time—Amazon just made it easier. We’ve written letters for centuries, but email lets us write more of them than ever before.   We used to book travel over the phone; now, we do it on any number of websites, and it’s enabled more of us to go more places, more often, more cheaply.

But what has digital technology actually changed? For most businesses, digital is an efficiency tool rather than a game-changer. Business 2.0, or simply Business 1.99999999?

Fast, plentiful and inexpensive.  Business reads these words, and hears the pleasant hum of efficiency. Normal humans confront fast, plentiful, inexpensive communications and decode them like goods which appear in the same fashion.  They think cheap.

Cheap content clogs my digital inbox, my Twitter, my facebook feed. I click away silly, intrusive web-dreck as I try to read Slate, Salon, The New Yorker, or watch a friend’s wedding on YouTube.   Reaching me this way as a consumer, is easy and cheap. It feels like it.

Here’s a radical suggestion for commercial communicators. As yourself how you can make your digital interactions less efficient.

How can you slow them down?  How can you engage fewer people, but have them like it more?
Remember, liking your message contributes more to it being spread.

Maybe an actual physical letter to your customers might return as much on your investment as dozens of web-encounters. Maybe a sincere, unscripted phone call from a well-informed, professional employee—which costs far more than a robo-call—might serve your purpose better.

Often, we achieve efficiency by stripping our messages of the time and space to create meaning.
Should we be surprised that the returns for our efficiencies are often illusory?

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Juli 4, 2012 3

The Social Network.

By in Rethink Advertising, Social

Guestpost by Patrick Matthiensen.

We all know, Marc Zuckerberg’s idea to socialise our daily life online worked pretty well. What he probably didn’t know was the fact that he also build a platform for social responsibility. A true social network.

Introducing Germany’s biggest search for missing children: “Deutschland findet euch” (Germany will find you). The world’s first organized Facebook-based search for missing children was launched under the core slogan of “Deutschland findet Euch”.

This newly created Facebook platform had the ambitious goal of recruiting a significant number of search helpers, activating them, encouraging them to share information and sensitizing them to the topic. With virtually no (advertising) budget, the key challenge was to establish the new Facebook platform in the shortest possible time to make it prominent alongside all the thousands of other platforms created every day, thereby attracting as many people as possible to get involved.

The fast and direct nature of the internet made it possible to maximize the critical factor of “speed” in the search for missing children. Profiles of missing children were set up on the platform. Reports and information about missing persons could be posted, background information could be exchanged, an interactive map showed the locations where the person was last seen – all with the goal of finding missing children, protecting children and raising awareness.

Numerous tools (from options for embedding the “missing person profiles” on external webpages to an “offline” flyer with QR code) enabled users to publicize information about the search for a missing child while at the same time drawing other people’s attention to the “Deutschland findet Euch” platform.

To generate the traffic needed particularly for the launch phase of “Deutschland findet Euch”, a range of different initiatives, advertising materials and tools were deployed to draw attention to the Facebook platform. Underlying each measure was the idea: “Deutschland findet Euch”.

Whether public figures and publishing companies were featured or just “normal” people – each measure stood for the dedication and commitment of the particular person/institution. Each initiative communicated the Facebook search platform and sent out a universal message:

Join in the search!

Until now 4 children have been found.  A result that truly attributes a new meaning to The Social Network.

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Juli 2, 2012 4

Save a life

By in Allgemein, Product, Social

Using your creativity to make clients more succesfull makes you rich in terms of money. Using your creativity to make the world a better place makes you rich in terms of true happiness. There’s a place to celebrate this kind of creativity: the Cannes Grand Prix for Good. It rewards only work made for charities and public services.

This year a piece of work won that actually safes lifes. It’s a box of bandages that doubles as a marrow donor registry kit. The next time when you cut yourself, just put some blood on the attached swab, put the swab in the attached pre-paid envelope, put the envelope in the mailbox and your’re a potential lifesaver. This idea made the whole registration process much simpler and tripled the amount of people signing up as marrow donors. The strategy to catch people when they’re already bleeding and turn it into an act to save a life is just brilliant.

Creativity at its best can solve almost any kind of problem. Let’s also use it to make the world a better place.

Mai 9, 2012 0

Meaning + Relevance = Brand UX

By in Allgemein, Experience

Guestpost by Christian Vatter (

 „Marketers are rapidly losing ground“, Paul Polman said, CEO of Unilever, at the annual lecture of the British Marketing Society just a few days ago. Because consumers were often ahead of marketers, Polman promoted the solution to learn the language of the crowd in order to get back ahead of people. As an example, Polman states „provenance“ (origin) necessary as being added as one of the Ps of marketing.

(Bild P. Polman, Bildunterschrift: Paul Polman, CEO Unilever, at the British Marketing Society, April 30, 2012)
Personally, I think this won’t help companies practicing traditional marketing in the long term. Marketing needs to change more than just adjusting messages that are being pushed out. Why?

Firstly, marketing has lost it’s meaning to people. The number of messages per day is too high to comprehend, and and due to excessive sugar-coating of reality, people have lost their trust in marketing communications. Instead of invading space to place selling messages, it is important to add substantial value to people‘s lives.

Secondly, marketing is not about messages and communication anymore, it’s about direct experiences with brands. It became increasingly difficult to anticipate trends (fast-changing) and consumer needs (more demanding) to craft relevant, more targeted messages. Nowadays, it is vital to create meaning and relevance. More meaning by experiencing usefulness, usability and seamless flow in dealing with brands. And more relevance by having these experiences at very central brand encounters like products, analog or digital services, commercial environments, and of course employees.

Crafting such ideal user experiences dealing with brands needs to move more strongly into the focus of marketers. People trust experiences, whether their own, their friends‘, or even strangers‘ e.g. in online forums ( Whenever we encounter a brand, we expect to be treated with good service, whether it is their website, employees or their actual products and services. If you had a good experience, you are very likely to come back. And a good experience makes it very likely that you recommend this brand.

Creating a unique and pleasant Brand UX at owned and highly relevant „channels“ helps not only to add more value to these touchpoints, but also adds value to the brand.  And this in return helps the brand gaining necessary preference.

For more information on Brand UX please visit

Viva la revolución!

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März 5, 2012 35

I want more. Do you?

By in Rethink Advertising

Guestpost by Joakim Vars Nilsen (Twitter: @joakimnilsen )

I want more.  

Like us, Follow us, + us, watch our Youtube video, Klout it, Pin it, AR this, QR that, retweet etc. Every brand is now more or less on social media. But I don´t get why 90% of them are. And what do they need likes and followers for? And more importantly why should we like or follow them?

Watching TV, commercial break. 90% of TV commercials either talk about how insanly great the product is, or try to be funny.  Why should I buy your product? Because you make a boring sit-com in 30 sec? Because your roll-on is 12% bigger than your competitors?

People are not interested in brands. Only a few loyal fans are. And key for growth is getting more people to buy  - and buy more. Alas you need to communicate to people who are not really interested in your brand. Who really do not care about what nice things you can say about yourself be it on mass-  or social media.

So why focus on building more and more Facebook likes and Twitter followers. Why create another TV commercial that focus on product feats or being a little bit more funnier than the others.

Why not try to instead focus on helping me with what I´m most interested in? Read the rest of this entry »

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Februar 16, 2012 0

Half for happiness.

By in Product, Social

For everybody who share the dream of a better future, check out this product concept.
















Februar 6, 2012 0

Solving Problems is the heart of a product

By in Entertainment, Experience, Product

This is a meaningful and inspiring example. Check out a company, that has the empathy and creativity to solve problems and brings creativity into the live of their consumers. Successful products by CRAYOLA:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Februar 4, 2012 4

Audi Fan Messenger

By in Allgemein, Entertainment, Experience, Product, Rethink Advertising, Social

Racing is everything, but nothing without fans. How can Audi once again demonstrate “Vorsprung durch Technik“ and, while doing so, encourage their fans to share real passion for motor racing? This was our callenge a couple of months ago. Together will a small, multidisciplinary team from the German ad agency kempertrautmann we didn’t create just a campaign. We created something new.

The Audi Fan Messenger: an LED device installed in an Audi R8 LMS to write light messages in the air that could only be seen on long-exposure photos. Collected using an app on various Audi Facebook fan pages, the fan messages were spread at one of the world’s most famous racing events: the 24 Hours Nürburgring. During the night phase of the race the best messages were captured on photos and then published in an online Audi gallery so fans could share them with their friends.

Casefilm “Audi Fan Messenger”

Over 250,000 fans attended the race, millions of people in 190 countries saw it live on TV. During the campaign, Audi’s number of Facebook fans grew by 12%, traffic almost doubled and the participation rate within the fan community was above 15%.

Our learning: Sometimes an ad is not enough. In this case we enabled people to do something they love – in a way they haven’t seen and/ or experienced before. And in almost every case that’s the better way to create meaning for a brand.

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Januar 30, 2012 7

Empathy is key

By in Allgemein, Experience, Product, Service

A couple of weeks ago I had to spend an hour between two flights at the Zurich International Airport. There was absolutely nothing to do during that time so I just made some private phone calls. After a few minutes my cell phone battery was quite low. But where can you recharge it at the Airport – especially when you don’t have your specifiy battery charger with you? This seems to be a common problem at airports. There are many people with low battery mobile phones.

But in my case there was help. One brand must have put itself into my position and offered the perfect solution, for free: A stationary mobile device recharger from Sony.

On a touchscreen you select your specific mobile device, then one of the boxes opens and there you’ll find the right battery recharger for your phone (even if it’s not a Sony). Enter your personal code, close the box and get your cell phone back fully recharged whenever you want. Thank you, Sony.

And this is what I mean with “empathy is key”. A good brand is characterized by deep empathy in relation with its customers. It knows and really understands their needs and finds the right solution to satisfy them. This empathy is the key to success. If you don’t have it, you will never produce any relevant products or offer any meaningfull services.

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Dezember 31, 2011 11

To an exciting New Year!

By in Allgemein

Exactly one year ago we started the Create Meaning Project. And a lot has happened since then. We´ve been trough many ups and downs, struggled to find the time to write and had a lot of technical problems with the blog. But overall, the last twelve months have been very inspiring, exciting and fulfilling to us.

We´re looking forward to 2012. And we have already a lot of new thoughts and ideas that we want to share with you.

Happy New Year everybody!