users. iterations. disruptive thinking

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Project for Dave Allen's Digital Brand Strategy course.

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  • USERs. Disruptive ideas.iTerative thinking.

    An exploration

  • we are going through some sort of paradigm shift, there are things that are changing and my guess would be nobody clearly knows what it is . . .-Harsha Gangadharbatla

  • WTF is water?Many of the ideas covered over the term pieced together a complicated philosophy that goes beyond digital. In order to better understand abstract thought, it is important to be able to apply it, which is what we wanted to do coming out of this class. For this project, we decided to take what we learned and engage in conversations with other people to see how and if any of these ideas apply to them.

    Hoping to bring the class concepts down from a buzzword level to a real world level, we interviewed seven people in advertising, education, journalism, product design and manufacturing, asking them how the following ideas play into the work that they do: User experience, idea generation, iterations and disruptive thinking.

    Similar to water, we do not o!en think about these theories and how important they are as stand-alone concepts, whatever "eld or reality in which we exist. By relating our research to the concepts explored in the past eight weeks, and in conjunction with the Ad Schools teachings, we were able to triangulate a clearer understanding of applied strategy.

    -Kelsey harris, ranjit steiner, Kiefer Versteegh

  • Nickolaus SugaiJunior Copywriter, 72andsunny

    Thoughts on idea generating and iteration: Ideas are less tagline and more conceptual at 72andSunny. 72andSunny has what he refers to as a wall culture. If you have an idea, it has to be placed on the wall. Once the idea is there, it belongs to the team and people can then work, add, and delete from said idea. O!en times briefs have a turnaround of a half day, leaving little room to iterate. Once his creative team receives a brief, it is more about generating multiple ideas, and then multiple sub-ideas from one of those ideas etc. #e 72 creative model focuses more on coming up with many angles and ideas in hopes that one or two of them will be on target, and less about coming up with one idea and shaping it to "nd the path through the maze, so to say. It is constant idea generation, all completely di$erent ideas; red, green, blue -- all a part from each other.

    Thoughts on the user: Inherently if you are following brief you are following what users and

    consumers want, so you are de"nitely trying to hit very speci"c markets. As a creative, measuring the value of your work in the "eld of advertising can be hazy, especially when trying to "nd a happy medium between your ideas and what the user wants. #at is something I have been trying to ask

    myself, because there are two sides: one side is, Oh I made great work, this is my voice, I see myself and all my creative energy that I put into that work and the other side is, Well, I made this ad and it increased sales by 15%, that is a successful ad but I think personally, at this stage in my career, I am more concerned with the former.

    Besides persuading people to buy a product, user response to your creative work can be tricky to measure. He gives the examples of the Facebook ad, No one really liked that ad, but if I wrote that ad I would be stoked, it would be an awesome piece for my portfolio, versus the Levis Go Forth campaign where, A lot of people liked those adsbut at the end of the day it did not help Levis sell jeans, but it was shared and it became kind of endemic to people, to the target market anyway

    Thoughts on creating in academia versus industry: #e freedom you receive in the ad program is both a liability and an asset, Nick says. You never again will have the ability to take on every role or to come up with an idea and just run with it. What I have been learning at 72, is you cannot have emotional ownership of your ideas. He wonders if that realistic heartbreak and hacking apart of your creative concepts is something that should be taught more.

    Inherently if you

    are following brief

    you are following

    what users and

    consumers want, so

    you are definitely

    trying to hit very

    specific markets.

  • Assistant Professor, University of Oregon

    Harsha GangadharbatlaThoughts on idea generating and iterations: Harshas research is more conceptual than applied, he says. #e approach is, Lets try and understand this idea and then build from that knowledgeIt may not look like there are immediate implications from the work that I do, says Harsha. So, if he is curious about something, he will then experiment to see what he may "nd. #ere may be a general goal of understanding, but what that understanding is and how he will get there is not always certain.

    Thoughts on the user: As far as my research is concerned, when I ask questions, I dont think about what the implications are, says Harsha. It is something that I read or talk about, then I get curious and think, Oh, I wonder why that is, and then I follow that line of thought; investigate more to see why that is. It is more curiosity on his part, not whether or not people will be interested or a$ected. But, considering that his research focuses on how

    consumers process advertising, when such an e$ectiveness measure is noted, brands or clients are usually interested in such a "nding.

    Thoughts on working in academia versus industry: Harsha does not usually have to think along the lines of what the immediate impact of his research will be or the monetary value.I guess that is one of the advantages of being in academia, because your job is not tied to whether your idea is going to bring in money or if your idea is politically correct, etc, he says. Brands cant

    a$ord that luxury of "nding things out for the sake of "nding things out, they always have to come back to some justi"cation for the time and money they spent either creating a product or doing research for a product or the behavioral change they are trying to bring about.

    Brands cant afford that luxury of finding things out for the sake of finding things out, they always have to come back to some justification for the time and money they spent

  • Thomas SteinerSEO Strategist, AKQA

    Thoughts on user experience and iterative processs: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a relatively new addition to strategy and is quickly becoming a vital tool across all markets. With the importance of inbound marketing and the general shift toward push-pull marketing, SEO uses insight into a users tendencies to push certain products. SEOs focus is in understanding consumer behavior, trends and processes, particularly in search and media. It is important for them to look at who is engaging with the site, says Thomas. If we are working off an existing site, we can analyze the types of devices and technologies the visitors are using and what channels are driving them to the site. This provides an understanding of who the user is, so his team can effectively decide were to allocate demand. He recalls a moment when they had to simplify

    a site due to some new user insights: One of our sites had a tremendous amount of iPad traffic, but a disproportionate amount of search traffic from Yahoo, he says. The assumption was, You have a lot of moms using the sitethis led us to believe that we need to simplify the experience for a less tech-savvy consumer-base. The data forced

    them to take a step back and reassess the site for the user, rather than having to create a less than stellar product or scrap the entire thing. This back-and-forth

    interaction between the user and the site is the foundation for AKQAs strategy and provides the creative department with reliable insight.

    Thoughts on Strategy and Execution:Thomas does not consider himself a so-called creative, stating, SEO strategy is not founded in the ah ha moments, but rather by data driven analysis. Common sense problems are addressed prior to data analysis, and only after these

    issues are ironed out does AKQA begin to shift its focus to the type of engagement the site expects to receive. The sites needs are then adapted based on the research, the target audience or the client, offering the creative and UX departments information to shape the next step. This research also provides a platform to fall back on in case of any unexpected change.

    Thoughts on Disruptive Ideas:Thomas emphasizes the importance of individuality on both a personal and organizational level. At AKQA we are constantly trying to push whats possible, he says. For our clients, we are not trying to fall into the pattern where most competitors imitate the market leader-our goal is to leapfrog them.

    SEO strategy is not founded in the ah ha moments, but rather by data driven analysis.

  • Ivar vongMobile and Web developer, emerald media group

    thoughts on disruptive ideas in a static industry: Ivars work places him at the intersection of technology and journalism. I felt like college kids should be at the front of the curve but we werent, says Ivar. #e internet is the best tool for storytelling, but for some reason journalism has lagged behind the rest of the innovation on the internet, so we need to do something about it. #e Emerald Media Group is a business, so while the move to digital is vital to its long-term survival, they must balance making this as a successful transition that can generate pro"t, especially considering most of its ad revenue comes from print. We can switch from being a capital J company to being an information company, but how can we build an information system that both helps students and funds a nonpro"t news company? says Ivar. He goes on, Right now our revenue from digital is 3% and our goal is 20%. In "ve years it may be too late to make this digita