Archive | creative problem solving RSS feed for this section

An industry ahead of the rest

13 Mar

Contextually rich communications. Advanced technological applications. Early adoption of emerging technologies. Augmented reality.

Does any particular industry come to mind? How about the Health Care industry?

Augmented reality (AR) has applications in the diagnosis as well as the treatment of disease, and has assisted in the professional medical community for over 10 years.

AR’s interactive imaging helps doctors accurately visualize their patient’s insides – and I mean their patient’s actual insides. Various scans can be combined with each other and then be projected onto their patient to allow doctors and surgeons a completely non-invasive look inside.

AR is also applied to medical communications and education. Genzyme, a biotech company used AR to demonstrate the risks of taking calcium-based binders. Schools are now also using AR to help students visualize the systems of the body, and understand their functions.

I could talk about the exciting marking, branding, and advertising opportunities in medical communications, because you’re right, there are many. But the opportunity that excites me the most is the chance to make the lives of patients and caretakers a lot less stressful, and maybe a little more fun.

AR on the patient level could provide additional support on administering drugs or treatments and injury rehabilitation. As patients we are often bombarded with more info than we’re capable of retaining (I know I struggle to remember even a quarter of it just a little while later). AR markers added to medical product packaging, informational brochures, and patient starter kits would provide instant follow-up demonstrations, instructions, and support for patients and caretakers.

The organization that can also infuse some entertainment (read: fun) into the experience, as well as some subtle-but-effective branding wins all the prizes.

Are there other ways we can create shared-value with customers using AR? Where are the opportunities for businesses and organizations in Victoria?

(photo courtesy of Medical Augmented Reality)

Advertisements

The Copeland Collective launches in Victoria

12 Mar
The Copeland Collective from Victoria BC

(L>R front) Asmaa Methqal, Kristin Grant (back) Jodie Carlisle, Doug Brown, Derek Ford, Michael Tension, Bryan Dwyer, Dave Wallace, Kris Hageland, Andrea Merson, Danny Prew, Matt Andres, Brandon Wells

When advertising people look at potential solutions to marketing challenges, we do so through the lenses of our trade: corporate strategic planning, research and data analysis, branding, marketing strategies, ads, promotions, contests, social media…you get the idea.

But bring an interior designer or a videographer or a multi-media artist into the brainstorming fray and you see the opportunities through remarkably different eyes.

That’s the idea behind The Copeland Collective, a brand new creative community of some of the most talented artists and professionals the city of Victoria has to offer.

Logo for The Copeland Collective in Victoria, BC

The Copeland Collective is a creative problem-solving machine, designed to revolutionize the way we look at how brands and customers interact, and move away from traditional advertising solves.

In addition to Copeland staff, the Collective includes:

But this is more than just a powerhouse group of creative minds: these are connectors and entrepreneurs with their own communities, and they’re wired into the city,  into culture and into the vibe on the street.

With these amazing talents taking our analytical and creative skills to a new level, we think we can do anything the other major Canadian urban centres can – and do it better.

We’ve got projects already in the works and you’ll be hearing a lot more about The Copeland Collective and the players within it as we roll ahead. Stay tuned!

(Photo by Derek Ford, logo by Michael Tension)

Which of The Walking Dead characters would you want on your business crisis team?

21 Feb

Daryl is the coolest character in The Walking Dead

There’s always a lively discussion around the Copeland boardroom table on Monday mornings concerning the previous night’s episode of The Walking Dead.

Now that the TV series seems to be taking a welcome turn down a darker alley, the deeper natures of the main characters are coming to light.

Naturally that got me thinking how each would function in a crisis on your business team.

Who are the keepers and which ones should you best leave outside without a key?

Glen in IT

Glen is a survivor on The Walking DeadHe’s resourceful, ingenious and honest to a fault. But during the bar scene with Rick and Herschel – a quiet crisis that took maturity to spot – Glen was all set to give away the farm. His honesty and trusting nature would have spelled disaster for our castaways if Rick had not been there to moderate the discussion. Glen will panic. Yes he brings some interesting resources to the table, but he will bring disaster to you. Chuck him.

Rick, Managing Director

Rick is a survivor from The Walking DeadLike Glen, our Head Boy Scout is honest to the core. He is also growing a pair as the series matures. Does he make some woolly-headed decisions? He sure does. Leading those swamp zombies around like pets on a leash to appease Herschel? Poor strategy and no evidence of being quick on his feet. He wants to do the right thing and is ethical to a fault. But the business world is changing and he has finally realized he needs to change right along with it. Keep him.

Shane in Sales

Shane is a survivor from The Walking DeadAmbitious, unorthodox, disrespectful of authority (unless its his own) and a classic whack-a-doodle. He will do what no one else in your company will do to keep the business alive. He is the G. Gordon Liddy of the team. You turn him loose at your own peril. On the flip side, he will see the crisis coming while the rest of your team is playing kerplunk over chips and salsa around the boardroom table. He’s a survivor, but he will survive over your dead body. Your call.

Lori, Head of Marketing

Lori is a survivor from The Walking DeadYou can decry the lack of solid female characters until your throat is bleeding, but the smell will only attract the walkers. Lori – memorably nicked Olive Oyl by Daryl – has a big department to look after and often can’t see the forest for the trees. And she’s a mess behind the wheel. Yes, she’s loyal and has the MD’s back, but she also slept with Shane in Sales, so she’s not a pivotal person on your crisis team. Send her out to buy sandwiches. Don’t let her back in.

Dale in Accounting

Dale is a survivor in The Walking DeadHe’ll be tut-tutting everything that doesn’t line up with his own personal moral code, which makes him a bit of a negative-nelly-I-told-you-so irritant. He also has a smug satisfaction in being old school. The thing is, Dale has experience. He manages to keep his wits about him when all hell’s breaking loose and keeps his eye on the guns. He also knows a rat in the woodpile when he sees one: that kind of insight could prove useful. I say keep Dale, but keep him quiet.

Andrea, Research and Development

Andrea is a survivor in The Walking DeadShe sees that Shane in Sales is ambitious and gravitates to him as the future of the company, which has alienated others on the team. On the other hand, she is one of your superstars, growing by leaps and bounds, and crisis invigorates her. She is best utilized in a supporting role for now. Turn her loose on crisis management best practices and have her deliver a white paper to the entire team. Give her some responsibility that recognizes her forward progress – but mind her blinders when it comes to backing the wrong horse.

Daryl the general contractor

Daryl is a survivor in  The Walking DeadJust because he’s under the sink hooking up the dishwasher hose again for the hundredth time doesn’t mean he isn’t listening. Or learning. Who cares right? He’s not even on the team! He’s just some contractor who’s always there fixing things. Well pay attention to the working class guy. This redneck sees past the business bullshit to the true nature of a crisis. Is it a lack of intestinal heft on the team? Are you over-thinking the problem or over-reacting to it? Daryl’s your guy. He’s not a people person, but he’s a problem solver. He’s handy with a Bowie knife too and doesn’t suffer Shane’s ambitions. Just don’t expect him to hang around if a better job comes along.

Herschel, the Chairman

Herschel is a survivor in The Walking DeadCrisis does one of two things to people: convinces them they are not up to the task, in which case they turn to drink, or forces them to change and grow. Your old Chairman has been doing things his way for so long, it’s hard to imagine him changing at this stage. The technology scares him, he hates social media and doesn’t know what the hell you mean by cross-analyzing the data sets. But he didn’t get to where he is without entrepreneurial skills and a willingness to roll up his sleeves. Since Dale is such a wet tea bag, put Hershel front and centre on your crisis team as the voice of experience. Just make sure Daryl is standing behind him with a loaded crossbow.

Carol in Human Resources

Carol is a survivor in The Walking DeadAsk her to go outside and pick some flowers for the boardroom table. Lock the door behind her.

 

 

 

 

Ok great – the team is in place. Now throw open those boardroom doors and meet the crisis head on!

zombie hands coming through the door

(Daryl photo courtesy of tvfanatic.com)

Creative problem-solving for an over-crowded planet

17 Jan

Problem: shortage of affordable space for hotel and dormitory accommodation in Hong Kong.

crowded buildings in Hong Kong

Solution: space age capsule pods complete with WiFi, TV and a pull-down privacy screen with an image of the earth.

interior of Hong Kong capsule pod

row of Hong Kong capsule pods

I’m not sure how that earth image will help you get a good night’s sleep but it photographs well.

The makers of these steel and plastic, fire resistant pods claim that their model is the progeny of the cross-breeding of existing Japanese pods with astronaut cockpits.  I want to therefore call them cockpods, but I know I shouldn’t.

They will rent for about $30 a night, a fraction of what you would pay for that grotty room in Tsim Sha Tsui, where the walls have been decorated with the guts of mosquitoes and the spittle of generations of slobs.

Aside from the space-terror feel of this creative solve (I’ve seen Alien too many times), they will probably prove popular with students and tourists, and could very well solve another critical social issue in Hong Kong – the housing of the poor.

The pods are a vast upgrade on the dehumanizing steel cages, which slumlords have rented out to the disadvantaged for half a century.

Poor living in cages on Hong Kong

(Cage apartment photo courtesy of Global Sociology. Pod photos courtesy of Galaxy Stars.)

Are you paying for a campaign and getting an ad?

19 Oct

The word “campaign” gets tossed around a lot in boardrooms and creative meetings. Advertising purists will tell you that the ultimate test of an advertising idea is whether or not it has “legs”: in other words, is the idea executable in multiple iterations?

I’ve always found this misleading, as I suspect clients often pay for campaigns when all they really got was an ad.

What’s the value of a campaign over a single ad?

Multiple executions can build on a story or message, creating new angles to look at, so the audience can get a more comprehensive and memorable view of the product or service or business. That can be even more valuable over time, when a single ad seen too often enters your advertising blind spot, whereas a fresh execution of a strong idea pulls you in all over again, but with less heavy lifting required from the message.

So when is a campaign not a campaign?

Take a look at this series for Send4Help, an emergency service that uses satellite technology to allow you to send an alert when you need assistance. Could be a life-saver.

Send4Help ad with woman

Send4Help ad with man

Send4Help ad with woman 2

The way I see it, it’s just the same gag over and over. The models change and the wraps change, but the ads are indistinct from each other. None of these ads is likely to move you more than another. Nor does the story build or become more interesting with each subsequent telling.

Here, one ad would have just as easily communicated the benefit to the audience. Somehow the agency managed to convince the client to go the whole hog.

(Another issue I have with the campaign is the tired old “there’s a better/easier way” approach – where you show people behaving in a ridiculous manner to suggest how challenging the problem is to solve conventionally. This sums up half of the advertising out there it sometimes seems. But I digress.)

Now check out this campaign for UK mag Nuts.

Nuts Magazine Stripper ad

Nuts Magazine ad "from behind"Nuts Magazine "not pregnant" ad

The ads look more or less the same but they are not. They each build the case for the magazine, using different situational prompts. You are likely to have your favourite, or at least one you dislike the most! Is the story less interesting and effective if you start whittling the campaign down to one ad? I would argue that it is.

Not so with Send4Help.

There are countless worthy campaigns out there, but too often there are single ideas masquerading as more.

If you’re a client, are you getting less than you paid for?

So based on the criteria of my rant, what do you think of the next series. Campaign? Or single idea?

Lowell Blonde ad

Lowell Brown ad

Lowell Dark ad

Tree planter to ad agency boss

18 Oct

(Guest post by our Managing Director 4 a Day winner Grace Campbell)

Copeland's Managing Director 4 a Day winner Grace Campbell of Royal RoadsThree months ago

I plant my 800,000th tree, pack up my tent, move to Victoria, and begin Royal Roads University’s Bachelor of Professional Communication Program. I have no Twitter account, no fixed address and no idea who Doug Brown or Copeland Communications are.

One month ago (to the day)

Doug visits Royal Roads to speak about online self-branding and invites my classmates and I to enter Copeland’s Boss 4 a Day contest. I immediately freak out about my lack of an online presence and my limited knowledge of social media. In a desperate attempt to prove (mostly to myself) that I haven’t “wasted” 5 years of my life planting trees I decide to enter a video in the contest.

Four days later

I create a Twitter account and use my first tweet to submit my video entry. I share it with friends and family on Facebook and YouTube just in case it goes somewhere.

CAMPAIGN WEEK

Monday, September 26

I receive an email from Doug telling me that my video has been selected for the finals. I am so shocked that I forget to respond to his email. Doug has to email me back to confirm that I am still interested in the competition.

Tuesday, September 27

Boss 4 a Day contest goes to a live vote. I share it on Facebook and recruit my Royal Roads class of 39 students to my cause. I let the other finalists know that I am in it to win it!

Wednesday the 28th

Begin to use my new Twitter account to share my progress and keep followers (all 14 of them) updated on my progress.

Thursday the 29th

It becomes clear that Brandon Wright from University of Victoria and I are duking it out. So, I appeal to the Royal Roads community for support. I create little flyers with links to Copeland’s Facebook page that read:

Royal Roads University vs. UVIC

VOTE FOR THE UNDERDOG!

I hand 120 of these flyers out at the Royal Roads Fall Fair and make contacts within the three other on-campus cohorts to try and keep the buzz going.

I also create a Facebook group called “Grace Campbell Needs Some LOVE!” Strangely, this is my most successful campaign initiative, teaching me about the power of a simple slogan, no matter how desperate it seems.

The race is so tight that I begin to send personal emails asking for support.

Friday the 30th

I make sure to continue thanking all the friends, contacts, and organizations who have been supporting me. Even if I don’t win, I don’t want to be that annoying girl who asks people to vote for her and then is never heard from again.

3pm– Two hours of voting left and Brandon is 19 votes ahead. As my classmates head to the pub I ask one last time for their help and hunker down with my laptop in the now-empty classroom to virtually battle it out.

4pm– I can’t seem to catch up to Brandon. I send Doug an email saying, “I am chugging water right now to replace the fluids I have lost from sweating and the fluids I might lose from crying.”

4:55pm– My classmates are sitting in a pub with their laptops out, frantically trying to keep me in the lead. I now know exactly what “Too close for comfort” feels like, because I have been uncomfortable for hours.

5pm– I have no idea who has won, but I can’t take the stress any longer. I phone Copeland and beg for the results. 4 votes. I won by 4 votes out of over 1400. I am exhausted.

GRACE’S TAKE-AWAYS

1. Appreciation for the value of both in-person and online networks.

I had no idea I had such an amazing network that would readily support me and share their influence. At first, my personal sphere of influence seemed small, but through social media and extended networks I had votes from Chicago, Korea, South Africa, Costa Rica, and beyond!

2. Importance of knowing my audience.

I had to learn quickly how to frame this contest in a variety of ways depending on my audience.

For example, with the tree-planting community I framed it as a chance for us planters to prove that we are not wasting our lives doing something we love!  But for the Royal Roads community, I positioned it as a David vs. Goliath story, in which we needed to prove to UVIC that we were worth competing against.

3. I don’t regret a single day spent tree-planting.

This competition was both rewarding and exhausting, a combination that all tree-planters are familiar with. The feeling of trailing by 19 votes with only two hours left is not so different from the feeling of facing nine hours of outdoor labour, knowing that the forecast is sleet and a grizzly bear has been sighted in the area. Both situations seem insurmountable. Both situations are entirely worth the effort.

Even if I hadn’t won in the polls, I learned so much more about marketing myself in four crazy days than I thought I could learn in months.

What about you? Have you ever faced a steep learning curve and decided to charge at it full speed? How did it work out?

(NOTE: Grace enjoyed her day of tyrannical rule yesterday, October 17. She was spectacular!)

How to make a video go viral

30 Aug

You can’t “make” your video go viral.  Everyone knows that.

You certainly can’t promise it if you’re a videographer. All you can do is make an interesting film and hope like hell it will take off, right?

Not according to Dave Wallace.

This Victoria-based videographer  just intentionally created virality (that’s my word) for online photo printer Clickpixx.

His strategy was to create two videos simultaneously. The first uses stop motion photography to seduce the eye.

The second is a making-of-the-video video that tells the story.

Dave reasoned that a pair of vids would have a far greater chance of being picked up on the big technology blogs – which was the key demographic.

The main video was released two weeks ago and was quickly featured on sites likes Gizmodo, Fstoppers, PetaPixel and Devour. Within a few days he had a break-out viral video on his – and Clickpixx’s – hands. Nearly 75,000 viewers saw the video in its first week.

Ok this is not Rebecca Black territory, but for a small Boston-based photo print start-up, it was the kick they needed.

Amazing what a strategy, an understanding of the audience, some smart tactics and a stellar product can achieve.

%d bloggers like this: