Georgie Chennells, our senior Social Media manager, delivered a lesson on getting Social Media right at the most recent Ort Jet event. Below is her presentation from the event.
So I’ve been reading up a lot of things about creativity – what turns it on and what switches it off. And there’s a really interesting bank of research by Teresa Amabile, Professor of Business Administration and a Director of Research at Harvard Business School. She helped pioneer a new direction in creativity research in the 1990s by breaking with the Romantic notion of creativity as a unique personal talent, which had dominated creativity research for decades. Instead of focusing on personality and “what makes creative people different,” she proposed that creativity could be best understood as a behavior, resulting from the interaction between personal characteristics and skills, and the social environment.
This was pretty much the first time that serious research started to look at the importance of the effect of the social environment on creativity.
One of the most intriguing things that this, and much other research, has found, consistently, over 20 years, is that making someone work for the promise of an external reward actually makes their creative output less creative.
How can this be? you wail, clutching your Loerie statue for support and hoping to God that Rob doesn’t do away with Profit Share.
The answer is more uplifting – and less damning for the Loerie awards – than you might think.
Creative behavior is fundamentally driven by intrinsic motivation. The more interested someone is in doing something for its own sake, for the reward of doing it and doing it well, the more creative their output is likely to be. The researchers found that when people were given a creative task, and promised the potential of a reward, they tended to start focusing on the reward, which made them less intrinsically motivated. Fascinatingly, they actually produced a lower quality of creative output than people who were hadn’t been promised a reward – who were doing the task for its own sake.
Does this mean we do away with awards shows and incentives?
Well, no. It turns out that the reward in itself is not the enemy. Losing focus on intrinsic motivation- on doing the work beautifully, for its own sake – is the enemy.
Amabile and her researchers found that if people were given a creative task, and taken through an exercise where they were conditioned to concentrate on enjoying the task for its own sake, their creative output was better – regardless of whether they were promised a reward or not. People who were given a reward as an incentive but not taken through the conditioning that made them focus on the intrinsic joy of the task, produced lower quality creative work.
What’s the lesson here?
Do it for love. Do it well because it’s worth doing well. Do the best work you can just because you want to. And the rewards will follow.
(You’ll also probably find that you’re a much happier human being.)
The typically more creative categories tend to get the most airtime during and after award shows, but as the Bookmarks Awards recognise effective creativity across a range of different disciplines, we thought we’d put Search Marketing under the spotlight. Quirk’s Search team was one of the best represented in the finalists list with paid and organic entries as well as an individual finalist nomination for our very own head of SEO, Graeme Stiles. On the evening Woolworths’ Always On Media Campaign scooped the only gold pixel in the category and Sun International’s SEO Campaign took a bronze.
Speaking of the handsome Search Marketer, we thought we’d ask Graeme a few questions about the evening, the awards and his own discipline, Search.
Q & A with Graeme Stiles:
What do you think about the broad category of Search Marketing, do organic and paid “fit” or should they be considered and judged very differently. If you could, would you separate them?
This is an interesting question as the two fields are closely related, yet have very different measurements. At Quirk, we like the Paid and Organic search teams to work closely together as their is a lot of data that can be shared between the two disciplines that can give a lot of value to both parties. Things like keyword data and top performing pages for example. However for the purposes of awards and judging I think the two should be separated, it is difficult to compare an SEO campaign along side a PPC campaign and chose one of the two. This is because, while at their core they are two parts of the same thing, they have very different approaches, tactics and measurements. I feel that its almost a disservice to both by lumping them together, ideally we should compare apples with apples.
What do you think sets Quirk’s SEO work apart from the rest?
At Quirk we have moved away from the standard model of dedicating one SEO specialist to a client for a protracted period of time. We have implemented an SEO Centre of Excellence, and basically this entails a centralised team of SEO specialists working as a team on client campaigns. This allows us the share knowledge a lot easier and has the added benefit of increasing specialist eyeballs on a client’s SEO campaign – allowing us to combine strengths and knowledge to get the best results possible.
What excites you most about the SEO industry right now?
The opportunity! Clients are reaching a point where they are seeing the value and power of search marketing. We are seeing clients, big and small, embracing search marketing and especially SEO in a big way. I think the value SEO drives from a brand awareness as well as lead generation perspective is becoming more apparent to clients, and its highly measurable ROI makes it a winning marketing tactic in 2015.
Give us a few insights from the night.
There are a large number of entries for each of the different categories, and Search was no different. I think this makes it really important to ensure that your entry is as stand out as possible; this goes for presentation as well as the results you are reporting on. Speaking of results, I think that the increased focus by judges on the performance side of the entries was a great step forward. We need to reach a space where more of these award shows are judged in context of their performance and ROI. The more we can hold ourselves responsible for actual return on clients’ investment the better.