Tag Archives: eg2006 unconference

Russell’s thoughts from abroad

Russell Davies has been in California at eg2206 and has a great writeup of the highlights. (This is one of the things I love about blogging… that if I miss a great conference I still get to enjoy some of the learning.) Sounds like there was some effort towards making it an unconference though it was based around keynote speakers.

I’ve picked out a few snippets of Russell’s reflections that I enjoyed but if you’ve got time, read the whole thing..

It’s easy these days to be seduced by the delights of little, ‘authentic’ local brands, we like the the specialists and the mom and pop size. Brands like that have real appeal and emotional advantages. But a big brand that uses its scale effectively (ie not to bully or bewilder people, but to connect and delight them) has a rarer and more interesting opportunity. We shouldn’t use communications to try and make big brands small (which is often the temptation) we should use them to help big brands connect and make their scale something positive for people…

That’s a nice insight; a way to “Yes, And” the mega-ness of brands that we might otherwise simply reject as too domineering or clumsy.

There was some inspiration from the music biz too.

Walt Mossberg talked about the impact of the ipod etc. He made the point that the unit of exchange for music is the song; the album ain’t that important (mostly) and no one cares about the label or the store. And that similarly the unit of exchange for TV is the show – no one cares about the network. Which seems an interesting way to maybe think about other businesses – what is the important unit of exchange and what’s irrelevant?

That sounds like a good point too… though on Sunday morning my brain isn’t doing well at thinking of other examples. All offers welcome.

..I guess music ‘works’ because it continually sets up little expectations with harmony and rhythm. Sufficient regularity means you unconsciously recognise all sorts of patterns in the music and your brain expects certain resolutions to those patterns. But a good piece of music is constantly messing with that regularity – not so much that it causes the patterns to break down, but enough that you’re kept attentive and interested and emotionally/neurologically engaged.

Or something like that.

Yes, and I think the need for requisite variety is what gets excluded from too many brands with their overlong identity manuals and top-down management. What gives them life is a mixture of some consistency and some variation. To my mind, that variation comes from giving people some freedom – like Southwest’s cabin announcements, I guess.

…Games manufacturers strive to get as much game play and content into the processor in the console – this is limited by cost and technology and that. But Wright made the too-obvious-to-realise point that there are two processors involved in game play; the one in the box and the one in your head. And that if you could get those working together effectively you’d get much better games play.

This is another thing those of us in communications would do well to remember. The content isn’t in what we make. It’s in our audience’s heads. They’ve got processors in there.

Oh yes indeed.