We recently held our Christmas party. Those who know us would know we love the opportunity to present the logic of unordinary thinking versus conventional wisdom which would go some way to explaining Christmas in February. But on this occasion, it was simply a result of prioritised client engagements and a bout of man flu which kept our Christmas party 60 days apart from the norm.
And so, to the occasion – we are in a vibrant office space in Great Titchfield Street, W1. We share our space with three other companies. Surrounded by the biggest names in fashion, TV and advertising, it’s a rich and colourful palette to pull from when developing strategies for brands.
Whilst there’s much inspiration to pull from outside the office, I realised we’d never stopped to see what ideas were being cooking up amongst the companies we live with. So at the Christmas (okay February) party, we asked them to pitch their business and best ideas to us so we could get to know them better. And secretly I wanted to know if they were geek, chic or freaks.
They proved to be part chic, part geek (in an endearing passionate about their business way) and apart from a disturbing walnut whip thieving streak, no part freak.
We discovered TV making, musical talent promotion and search engine beautification (I will explain) were the preoccupation of the brands riding alongside Lexden. Each with their distinct style of offer.
Meet 40 Partners
First up was the film and TV makers 40 Partners. On behalf of the partners, Emma explained the concept as this…40 handpicked creative and technical partners from the world of film and TV programme making have come together to create ground breaking and exciting new formats for TV.
The partners include film makers, directors, actors, producers, writers etc. They share ideas, they share the development of ideas into content and ultimately they share the fame and the fortune that follows commissions. It has meant they’ve got a crazy and innovative number of programme ideas they are working through and a really bright bunch of talent who want to tread an alternative path to TV commissions.
We also learnt that unlike our industry where giving ideas away is seen as helpful and demonstrates an endless well of ideas (as a lovely client once said to me, “if you are prepared to give that idea away, I can’t wait to see what you come up with when you are on the payroll”), in their world ideas are as precious as an NPS Promoter is to a rail company. They did tell us a couple of ideas, but we are sworn to secrecy. Our only challenge to their model was how they get all 40 partners on stage when they collect their first industry gong!
Charles is a man about musicality town. He’s been involved with plenty of big bands and big music projects working for others. He’s now set up on his own bringing music, events and brands together. Having had success working with ad agencies as a resident creative director of music on their client’s briefs, he is now building his own content and events calendar.
He’s looking to push managed talent, such as the Blue Jays (one to watch) and create new events, such as night golf networking (a bit harder to watch). As mad as it sounds, that seems to be Charlie’s line of work, making ideas that shouldn’t work.
He gets his ideas from his trips to see bands and music agents across the world and restyles them into his own unique mould. So if you see an event you think, that’s odd, but the music was great – check out who is behind it, it might well be Charlie and the musicality factory.
I’ve left Zenigo until last because, they shared their idea last, they start with a ‘z’ and if I’m honest I’m still not sure I get it. But given the speed at which they are growing, their audience clearly does. But that’s okay, I’m not their audience.
So here goes explaining the offer. Zenigo show retailers what damage to their reputation is being caused when the social media sites present them from an image perspective. Why is that important? Let’s say I take a pic of my local Leon outlet because I like the logo design. But it might be blurred, shaky and show a knocked over coffee on the floor in the background. However, its location tracked. Now given my huge Twitter, Instagram and Facebook following (I’m lying) it means it comes up in the search for others looking at Leon. So they see my grubby snap first. Not good for Leon. So Zenigo arrange for better pics and greater priority in social media rankings with these improved images. Their customers sign up for an annual licence and receive reports showing the improved results on SEO.
Everyone is happy; assuming this is a criterion that impacts consumer’s consideration and preference. With retailers from here to France signing perhaps they are clearly onto something. I think it would also be a great ‘additional’ service for companies who focus on improving business for retailers such as payment providers, SEO companies and others to add to their own offers as well.
It was an insightful session and we learnt about three completely different business models at play with 20 metres of our desks. From them we will no doubt take a few ideas and store them to retrieve one day as part of another idea for someone else’s challenge.
So whilst it was a Christmas party, we also learnt new, interesting and entertaining stuff too. Freaky!
Posted by Christopher Brooks
Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the start and the heart of marketing strategy
We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experience strategies and creating engaging customer value propositions.
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