Inside Abbey Road, the best poster in the world, Conversational Commerce … #worthwhile

Hello there!

Trying something new this time around, I’ve divided my list into 2 –

  1. Create (work / executions / interesting things that have been made) and
  2. Think (Trends / thoughts / ideas worth thinking about)

scott | @thescott



Inside Abbey Road with Google

Inside Abbey Road

As far as depth of experience goes, I’d say that this piece of work done by Google is a case study for how it should be done. The integration between StreetView and the content provided by Abbey Road is quite smashing.

Inside Abbey Road is a site built by Google in partnership with Abbey Road Studios. The aim is to enable anyone in the world to follow in the footsteps of musical legends, and step inside the famous British recording studio as it’s never been seen before. Once inside, you can explore every nook and cranny of the three recording studios, and discover stories, images, videos and music spanning the decades. You can also be guided around by producer Giles Martin, Head of Audio Products Mirek Stiles, or broadcaster Lauren Laverne, and even play with interactive versions of pioneering Abbey Road Studios equipment.

Inside Abbey Road is a collaboration between Google and Abbey Road Studios, and is not endorsed by the artists featured.

A billboard that pours free beer? Carlsberg’s “Probably the best poster in the world is a great example of where value creation and demand generation overlap.

Carlsberg UK (@CarlsbergUK) | Twitter


Ricky Gervais can’t be bothered to do these Australian Netflix ads

EasyJet’s Low Fare Finder isn’t a campaign, it’s a tool that I wish all airline sites would provide. So easy to use and it really feels like a more transparent process (who knows these days though!) to flight pricing and booking.



Hyper Island Toolbox

Welcome to the Hyper Island Toolbox. A resource kit for anyone who wants to apply creative collaboration to unleash potential in their team or organization. It’s a collection of methods and activities, based on Hyper Island’s core methodology, that you can start using today.

4 Steps to make experimentation a repeatable process in your business

So you’ve bought into the idea that you need to be more innovative by trying new things more consistently, perhaps the 70/20/10 rule is something you’re considering. But how do you take that 10% and make it count?

“Practically every company innovates. But few do so in an orderly, reliable way. In far too many organizations, the big breakthroughs happen despite the company. Most executives will freely admit that their innovation engine doesn’t hum the way they would like it to. But turning sundry innovation efforts into a function that operates consistently and at scale feels like a monumental task.” via

Conversational Commerce

This is an important piece. Chris Messina talks about a future of ecommerce not tied to the paradigm we currently know it to be – a destination site where all your transactions take place. But instead one where the stream becomes the experience, convenience trumps everything, orders (and fulfilment) will become more granular (1 jersey today, some socks next week, more washing powder VERSUS 1 shopping cart with all that stuff in it).

“And just because everyone has a screen in their pocket doesn’t imply that they should be forced to look at it to interact with your service. Conversational commerce is about delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go, with only partial attention to spare. I expect more service providers will shift in this direction, becoming more subtle in how they integrate into our lives.”

Beyond the campaign – Marketing in a digital world.

[I recently presented to a team of marketers on the topic of brand innovation. The slide deck is embedded at the end of this post, my “director’s commentary” follows…]

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Henry Ford

Of course, Henry Ford wasn’t talking about the state of marketing and how it needs to adapt to a digitally enabled world. But if he was around today and he was a marketer, I’m sure he would be saying exactly that.

I think the time has come for us to look at the comfortable groove we’ve got ourselves into as marketers, and hold it up against the very definition of marketing. What we’ll see quite quickly, is a rather unbalanced system where storytelling (in the form of campaigns) far outweighs the actual value (in the form of products and services) that our brands are creating for the consumers we seek to serve.

Marketing is that function of the organisation that can
keep in constant touch with the organisation’s consumers,
read their needs,
develop products that meet these needs,
and build a programme of communications to express the organisation’s purposes.

Kotler & Levy, Journal of Marketing, 1969

This is 46 year old definition is as sturdy today as it was when Kotler and Levy wrote it back in the summer of ’69.

My summarised version:

Understanding the needs of people,
creating value for them,
and then generating demand for the value we create.

This maps out into a neat diagram that shows the tightly knit relationship between value creation and demand generation activities. Product/service enables the story, story reinforces the product/service.

The Value and Story system 1

If you were to resize the two circles in relation to the amount of resource most brands today are assigning to both value and story activities, I imagine it will look rather unbalanced.

Value and STory out of balance-1

Year in, year out, many of us are telling different stories about the same thing.

the campaign mindset-1

We’ve taken our eye off the ball by not focusing on the continual drive for product differentiation. I think this is mostly because we as marketers work in organisations where innovation and product development is someone else’s job.

Times are changing, and for brands, and ourselves as marketers, I’m convinced that our behaviours need to change too. With the widespread fragmentation of both media and attention (making it increasingly harder to reach people en mass), the rise of the socially connected consumer (where realtime response is expected), the lowering of barriers to entry for competition (enabled by digital tools, data, and social dynamics), and the growing importance of the user interface as the “physical” manifestation of the brand, how can we not see it coming?

It’s no longer about the role of digital in marketing, but the role of marketing in a digitally enabled world.

Rebalancing the system

In focusing more attention on value creation for the benefit of your target consumers, the Value // Story system begins to find a healthier balance – the complete end-to-end brand experience starts to feel less forced and more credible. You start to make things people want rather than trying to make them want things.

Getting there

1. Establish a role, a mission, a north star – “What is our role in the lives of the people we serve?”

A well-defined role transcends campaigns and products, it is the overarching guide against which the entire brand experience is held up against.

A well-defined role transcends campaigns and products, it is the overarching guide against which the entire brand experience is held up against.

Side note: a purpose is not to be taken lightly. It’s your organisation’s pivot – a mission without the means – and so needs company-wide buy-in and adoption. This could take a long long time. I propose that this purpose could scale down and be something a smaller team could adopt to create focus internally (and with partners).

Your purpose fits in nicely with the part of the definition of marketing that speaks to understanding (reading) what people need. If your purpose does not align with the needs of the people you serve you may find an “experience gap” forming between you and your target audience’s expectations.

So the complete picture of the marketing system looks more like this:

Brand Innovation - A Point Of View.key


2. Instil a culture of trying new things, no matter how small.
The 70 / 20 / 10 rule applies:


70 20 10 innovation-1

3. Nurture the 10%
When done properly, the 10% work becomes your area of greatest learning (a competitive advantage), attention from others (internally and externally), and growth (success breeds success). Add a 10% challenge to agency briefs, always be asking “what are we learning from our current 10% experiment?”, be cool when things don’t work – as long as you know why and how to refine and make it better.

In wrapping up, Marketing is getting more complex. What got us here will not get us into the future. To be a marketer today means evolving at least as fast as the pace of change (evolving before your competition is recommended :) ) and the biggest area for evolution is your product/ service.

I’ll leave you with one last visual of the system, but this time as a stack of layers, ’cause i’m a sucker for stacks…

The Brand Stack - Story Product Purpose


Well, what are you waiting for?

Oh, before I forget, here’s the presentation:

Brand Innovation – staying relevant in a world of change. from Scott Gray

Borrowed Time and Legocy Intiatives

Check out Spratty on CNBC Africa’s Tech Busters talking about the two pro bono initiatives we did recently;  Borrowed Time and Legocy.

To read more click here (link).

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