Love, Ducks, Pancakes, Sex, Drugs and a Cup of Tea

It’s almost impossible to use a simpler heading to describe my first few weeks at Love Creative. No amount of preparation could have anticipated the “organised chaos” that is working in an agency – especially a really good one.

Week one and my project had the green light, in fact it had 3 green lights as the MD, Chris, told me that I was going to be dipping into almost everything that the agency has wanted to do for a long time, but never really got round to it. A day of making pancakes for all my colleagues was followed by a reality cheque: I had eleven weeks to leave my mark on this company and not just float in and out unnoticed.  A social media audit, research and insights, a trip down to London for a Glug event and I’m not even half-way through.

From my very first week I was invited to sit in on brainstorming sessions and got to see first-hand how an idea is born, under loads of pressure to be the best in the industry. I could see how that idea is transformed into a concept, backed up by market insights; and one day soon it will be one of those great advertising campaigns that get all my friends talking (and buying).

I’m not sure if all agencies work in the same way as Love, but I find the decentralised structure a great benefit to creativity and good communication. Formal channels are blurred and the team morale is awesome. With a really feminine Spotify playlist on, as Ed and I work in a part of the office dominated by a dozen or so ladies, sometimes I wish I had my headphones on. However the atmosphere is otherwise fantastic and it’s really hard to be the first one to go at 5:30 when I look around and the office is just as busy as it was at 9 in the morning.

I guess one thing that makes an agency different from client-side marketing departments is the diversity of working for different awesome brands like Umbro, Nike and PlayStation at the same time, making sure we don’t go “native”, working on the same brand, in the same way, and failing to see the bigger picture.

Six weeks to go and it now becomes all about results and justifying my time spent with this agency that I have grown to LOVE.

Power Rangers – A tough battle ahead

The now infamous “social media task force”at work, had its first meeting today.

In true “you can see I was recently a student” style, I came prepared with a Powerpoint presentation, handouts for everyone, wearing an “I Love Social Media” t-shirt and really enthusiastic to get the ball rolling. You see, I absolutely LOVE change above all things. Change keeps life interesting, always something fresh, a reminder of our mortality.
However, not everyone loves change…
The meeting was not bad, as such, in fact it was exactly what it should have been. The people that are in the right positions at the company to help me, gave me feedback which was useful and insightful. But the challenge of creating a culture within the company which embraces social media, is going to be an uphill battle.
Change has become both my super-power and my kryptonite.

I have a Hunch

A new discovery on my quest into the very deepest, darkest secrets of social media (and beyond) is the website HUNCH.

A few words of warning before you rush off to look at it – this site is very good at the one thing my employer (and most others) will frown upon – decreasing employer productivity. It is one highly addictive social network. Thank God my time spent on this one was for research purposes (mostly).

So what is it all about? It is a site based on a computing problem that has troubled even the leaders in the industry for quite some time now – recommendations. This is a simple idea that suggests: I can let you know a little about me and you, with a fancy algorithm and some statistical genius, will accurately suggest products, places and ideas that will appeal to me – and all this without the help of Leo and his band of Incepticons (great movie).

Hunch asks you questions, you answer, they tell you what’s good for YOU. So why was I playing around on Hunch when I should have been working? My colleague Ru tasked me with the daunting task of providing her with a means to explore the holy grail of marketing – what young, connected people want, do, think, like, say and BUY.

So I e-mailed a chap at Hunch asking him how I can extract insights from all the data they have about their users, and believe me, they have like everything (thanks to Facebook Connect and the millions of questions people have answered on their site), and now I’m scheduled to have my first ever transatlantic conference call next week (YIPPEE!).

In the meantime, I found a fantastic tool they released ages ago which gives you some idea as to the potential of the data they are collecting. It lets you search for a question and then tells you, depending on the answer you choose, the other highly correlated questions and answers . Check out the example below if you’re confused:

I answered “Of course I have…” and got these highly correlated, very interesting results:

Talk about PROFILING someone!

Anyway, you’re either confused at this point or you totally see the potential behind this site – either way, check out what Wired magazine recently had to say about the company or just dive straight into the site and check it out for yourself.
One other use (other than market research) I have already found for the site is to read what people are saying about different brands – e.g. sports equipment (like Umbro… hint hint). Some reviews are REALLY detailed (as if people don’t have anything better to do than go on and on and on); which reminds me, check this out as well – battle of the brands
Back to work!