Tag Archives: wayne hemingway

It’s official, giving at Christmas is still more rewarding than receiving

Last week I attended the DMA Awards at Old Billingsgate market. I was there as a guest of the DMA and a presenter of one of the awards categories. But more than any awards I’ve attended in the past I felt like the winner on the night. I’ll explain why…

Let me be the judge of that

I’d been asked a few months before to chair the judging for one of the sector categories; financial services. Having worked with over 30 financial brands across Europe, I don’t mind admitting I was flattered. A harmless nod of acknowledgment of my twenty years working in marketing (1), much of that in financial services and some previous judging experience. Following a precise and diligent briefing from the appointed invigilator, along with my fellow judges we settled in to review nearly 30 entries. And under the organised conditions and precise nature of the task I felt 100% in control (2); a rarity in today’s often frantic and demanding marketing environment.

IMG_5602[1]The best of the best 

As we poured through the nominations measuring them equally for strategy, creative and results excellence, it dawned on me why the next 3-4 hours would be a special half day in the working calendar. I would be reading and enjoying what the marketing industry’s finest (FS Finest rather than Tesco Finest) had to offer (3). As I read each entry I was captured by the various magic moments the teams must have been through; the client intention, the creative craft, the planners deliberation, the production finesse, the analysts analysis – all working toward this moment. A moment that now I was enjoying the magic of. The entries were of a high calibre; such is the attraction of the dmas. And when I left The Cumberland (above) for the category judging and then the Lateral Group following the Gala Prize judging, with Wayne Hemingway residing this year, it reaffirmed my belief that there are some brilliant people and ideas in our industry (4).

The gospel according to Stephen

IMG_6066[1]On the night of the awards the compere was Stephen Mangan. I’d seen Stephen run his corporate patter past the Loyalty Awards crowd a few months earlier, so I felt a little short changed at first. But then I recalled that at the Loyalty awards I’d spent much of the time listening to my fellow table guest talk about a new opportunity or something (I forget to be honest) and being a bit too accommodating to say ‘shhhh’, I half listened and nodded politely – which meant I didn’t fully hear Mr Mangan.  So this second chance allowed me to this time give it my full attention. And I am grateful I did. It was very witty and a well polished performance. Stephen proved if you can get your message (and pitch) perfect, you can re-use it again to great effect (5) – as Mr Mangan, delivered with as much conviction and energy as he did the previous time. It proved if you can connect with an audience on an engaging topic such as  ‘savour the moment when you win, it may not come along too often’, you can connect with the emotions of the people on the room rather than their egos (6). I’ll hold back on the content as it really is worth seeing Mr Mangan at work.

All present and correct

IMG_6087[1]When the awards ceremony began and the winners started to arrive  on stage to collect their gongs, I could sense their excitement and appreciate what that meant from afar, having recently read through the entries. And when it was my turn on stage to present an award, I ensured I’d learnt my ‘walk on’ drill to perfection; a new experience quickly conquered (7). I walked on the stage to a small cheer (#unexpected – but it was the 3rd to last award so maybe spirits were a little high). When the winners of Best User Experience came forward I was beaming with a sort of undefined pride for the winning team from LIDA (one agency I haven’t worked with before). I realised that I’d earned my place on the stage, like they had. Winning awards in the past certainly was enjoyable, but not nearly as rewarding as giving one (8).

And the winners is…..me (on the right)

In my opinion, from this encounter I gained as much as anyone else:

1) Recognition of experience

2) Stay in control of the outcome

3) Be surrounded by the best

4) Have Profession pride

5) Recognise the power of a good story

6) Remember emotional engagement is a powerful force

7) Instant learning occurs at age

8) Seeing others succeed is most important

If I can apply the above on any given day in the office, it’s a great day. I very much enjoyed my latest judging expedition, and for the reasons of receiving inner fulfillment explained I hope I get to give again and again. If you get the opportunity, put everything you’ve got into it and see what you get in return.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a marketing strategy agency which creates unordinary propositions to motivate customers and deliver commercial advantage for brands.

For more information please contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com  or call us on T: +44 (0) 7968 316548. And you can follow us on LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter @consultingchris 

Who we work with…

clients mar 2013

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Five Magical Proposition Development Ingredients – No. 2 Liberating ideation techniques

So who has the best ideas within the business? Marketing? Propositions? Customer Services? The Board? They will all make a claim to the prize. And in fact, they would be right to. But equally we have witnessed brilliant new ideas coming from compliance, operations, actuarial, data analysts and HR too.

How can this be so? In our experience at Lexden, which is not insignificant, it’s more to do with how the ideation session is constructed, than who rocks up. If it’s well crafted and focused on the cause in question, the best ideas will shine through. And like all marketing, the making of the success is in the preparation.

We’ve often been commissioned to help clients who are finding their established proposition development process is delivering tired, well-worn or self-fulfilling solutions. When we look at their approaches we tend to find it’s broken in one or more of four places. We’ve listed these below and included some of the suggestions we propose to reinvigorate clients’ approaches.

1) Too much has been rationalised out before the idea build process even begins.

Typically this is driven by IT constraints, resource capacity or speed to market concerns. Whilst all valid, these constraints are simply not relevant until an idea is formed. If the idea is strong enough (e.g. noticeable commercial opportunity + brand aligned + customer appetising + competitive distinction + business vision enabler) it’s amazing how momentum builds and barriers will fall away or be knocked down.

2) Not enough value is placed on the ideation session set-up.

If this is where the magic happens, it needs to be set up that way. Rooms should be selected and dressed. The session programme content and work sheets should be built exclusively in consideration of the purpose of the session and the environment – maximise it’s potential. And of course stimulus should be chosen without compromise and prepared with care – it is your springboard for visually inspiring your creators. If you’ve run an ideation session recently, how much time did you give to this point? Did you compromise? If you did, so will your output be sadly.

3) Restricting attendance.

The guest list should be inclusive and respected. Your attendees are the creative inventive assets. See them as Steve Jobs, James Dyson, Roald Dahl, Tracey Emin and Wayne Hemingway and watch the magic happen. Push beyond the usual set of attendees. Involve individuals typically left on the shelf such as legal and HR. If you can’t see beyond the compliance officers and operational managers in them, neither will they – and you deserve exactly what you get in terms of output from the session (or don’t get as is often the case). However, they are an often untapped source of ideas – so help take their business constraints cuffs off and they will blossom.

4) Starting a session at the wrong point.

Turning attendees into creators does not mean letting them run wild with a ‘what if…blue sky thinking’ unconstrained remit. It’s the opposite in fact. It’s about getting everyone to a very specific unified starting point. And that point is the one at which the customer enters our equation. And then like Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy walking through the wardrobe into Narnia, Dorothy waking up in Oz and Alice stepping through the looking glass they too will be transported into a new world. A world where ideation rules are set to be customer centric. This world has its own rules – customer driven rules.

And what you will find is the ideas are new, fresh and bountiful.

Ideas which will resonate with consumers (and if you’ve set the rules correctly at point 4) and the business.

And it’s from here the hard graft of making the ideas work, on a customer’s terms separates the proposition pioneers from the parity pushers.

So good luck. There’s no reason why you can’t create the magic in-house, but if you want a helping hand or advisory inspiration, we are only a click away.

Lexden’s five magical proposition development ingredients 

1. Clients ‘inspired by customers’

2. Liberating ideation techniques

3. Expert insight synthesis and interpretation analysis

4. Sharp commercial and viability alertness

5. Energising approach with a ‘go-to-market’ attitude

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a marketing strategy agency which creates unordinary propositions to motivate customers and deliver commercial advantage for brands.

For more information please contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or , or call us on T: +44 (0) 7968 316548. And you can follow us on LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter @consultingchris .

Who we work with…

clients mar 2013