Let the Customers Do All the Work (Sort of)

On day two of Advertising Week, a common theme that resonated throughout many of the sessions: ideas are being shaped by culture. Strictly speaking, brands are going directly to the source in order to boost authenticity and are approaching the creative process in a non-traditional way.  In one of today’s panels, “The Crowd Sings Back: The Best Ideas Shaping Culture are Shaped by Culture,” Colleen DeCourcy, President of Wieden & Kennedy, took us through a Nike’s “Nothing Beats a Londoner” case study where they facilitated creation of a campaign straight from the community. When Nike was beginning to feel like the brand wasn’t connecting with kids in London, they literally took it to the streets. W+K’s marketing team spoke with the kids and made sure that each piece of the video was based on a real story in order to make it truly relatable.

Another example of this came from a recent project done by Starbucks. In the seminar, “Iconic Brands Made Young: How Creative and Experiences Drive Brand Loyalty,” Kyndra Russell, VP Loyalty & Partnership Marketing explained how Starbucks re-launched the pumpkin spice latte this year. The launch of the PSL happens every fall.  So, what could they do to to make interesting this time around? Using Facebook, Starbucks created a “secret group” and invited “Fall enthusiasts,” giving them a platform to interact. Sure, they talked about pumpkin spice lattes, but they also formed a community that grew and flourished organically. They shared recipes, decorating tips and “all things Fall.” Of course, something like this can be a huge risk, but Starbucks took the chance of giving their audience a platform to create a story where their brand fit into that story…which is essentially what we do as creatives when we create new ideas for brands.

This idea of the customer creating the story is an interesting way to flip the script with the ideation process, and more importantly, to remain authentic and stay relevant to your audience.

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