Archive for communications

[unconventional wisdom] Granada: Graffiti City

Posted in wisdom with tags , , , , on August 8, 2010 by wisdomlondon

Granada is an amazing city, most famed for the incredible Alhambra – breathtaking Moorish architecture, design and art.

But what struck me as we walked around was that Granada has a language all of its own on the streets: graffiti.  People with things to say – especially social messages about capitalism, folk heroes and religious and political matters – do it through their street art.  No building is untouched – from the most basic daubs to pretty astonishing features over entire sides of buildings.

Like it or not, it’s communication….

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The Story of Wisdom

Posted in brand, creativity, wisdom with tags , , , , on June 21, 2010 by wisdomlondon

We have been asked plenty of times why Wisdom London is called Wisdom London.  Good question.  So here’s the story…

I was scooting home one day in December 2009 when a careless minicab driver drove into me.  All very dramatic – ambulances, police  and A&E, but fortunately nothing broken. That was my epiphany moment – I was going to do what I loved doing: communicate.

So the idea for a communications consultancy was born but I needed a name.  I started to write down the words that meant most to me, and Wisdom was the first one. I thought about what Wisdom meant to me and to my fledgling business.  It was this:

  • In business, we are all selling wisdom.  Whether it’s the know-how to do something, the insight to solve problems or the foresight to see what will be big…it’s all some form of wisdom
  • Wisdom London is about helping businesses tap into, harness and share their individual and collective wisdom through brilliantly thought-out marketing communications
  • Wisdom is an amazingly powerful asset and businesses often don’t recognise it in themselves, or are somehow unwilling to use it
  • Everyone’s wisdom is different...and therein lies the beauty of it. It’s all relevant
  • Wisdom London is passionate about connecting with people through communications, and often wisdom is the gift that we offer to make that connection – from tweets to sharing ideas over coffee to advice
  • Hence, wisdom is – to me – the best of thinking: being wise, thoughtful, well-judged, analytical, pragmatic and honest

Wisdom wouldn’t go away – it was absolutely my first and instinctive choice, and I loved it more when Drew Creative Branding helped bring it to life through their beautiful brand treatments. The ‘London’ bit was partially practical (trademark reasons) and partially emotional (the city about which I am beyond passionate).

I still have that scribbled page in my battered Moleskine notebook.  I never fail to smile when I look at it.  And I do, especially when I need to make a big decision – instincts are rarely wrong.

Kate Spiers is the proud founder and CEO of Wisdom London, a creative communications consultancy.  She is more in love with wisdom now than ever.

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2010 is Year of the Agency

Posted in creativity with tags , , , , , , , on April 14, 2010 by wisdomlondon

After a dark and uncertain 2009 for the marketers and communicators of this world, it seems that 2010 is fast becoming  the year of the agency.

Why?

Lots  of reasons (not least that we are very, very busy), but perhaps for the most part it’s the sense of confidence and  renewal that is seeping back into business of late. Yes, it’s been tough, businesses have been kicked when they’re down, squeezed for results and margin but it’s time to reframe, reassess and get back to it.

It’s back to business, but not as we know it. It’s clear that clients have had to reassess their engagement of agencies in the past few years – not just for financial reasons, but in terms of accountability and changing business needs too.   And relationships between client and agency, I think it’s fair to say, are looking a little different these days. (That’s a good thing).

There’s less of the clunky, transactional retainer business. There’s more action, spontaneous activity, experimentation and collaboration. Business demands more of us agencies and right now, we’re in a great position to deliver.

Here’s why:

We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto

The world (and therefore consumers and business) is changing pretty quickly – just look at the communications landscape.  We’re shifting to touch-screens, UGC, social conversations and a personalization. It’s hard for businesses to keep up with what that means in terms to how they market. They still have core business issues to address.  But it’s the job of the agencies to know it, follow it, shape it and use it.  And that’s what’s happening right now…

Bring back Pick ‘n’ Mix…

Pick ‘n’ Mix at Woolies was popular for a reason: You could decide, control, help yourself to what you wanted and when.  And you paid only for that.  Same with agencies.  There is an array of marketing and communications brilliance out there to choose from – in the shape of full-service players, niche agencies and some outstanding freelance experts.

Many organisations out there have had marketing resource cut, leaving generalist expertise and less of the specialist and technical stuff.  Agencies are still, in the main, the best way to get flexible, cost-effective expertise.

Talk costs nothing, but is worth a lot

Us agencies talk to each other.  We’re not afraid of competitors, they way that some businesses are.  We social network, ask questions, challenge, share ideas, meet up, introduce people and …yes, collaborate.  That’s why we’ve got our fingers firmly on the pulse of what’s happening, who’s doing what and what’s working.  That’s worth something.

Of course, I’m generalizing.  There are plenty of agencies out there who are not all of the above, who are cumbersome, insular and over-priced. But there is a whole load of brilliant talent out there… go take a look and see.

Check out some of my favourite thinkers and collaborators:

www.wearesocial.com

www.drewlondon.co.uk

www.napoleoncreative.com

www.brightone.org.uk

www.uscreates.com

Kate Spiers is CEO and Founder of Wisdom London (NOT one of the rubbish agencies)

Time to drop the marketing/communications distinction?

Posted in marketing strategy with tags , , , on March 16, 2010 by wisdomlondon

After a conversation with a colleague last week, I was left thinking about the age-old debate of marketing vs. marketing communications and the distinction between the two.

The conversation we had lamented the fact that many of us work within a marketing team, or perhaps for a marketing provider, when in fact what we are delivering is tactical marketing communications – not the traditional definition of marketing.  It’s a fairly common scenario and the source of huge frustration for some marketers who find their time spent more on press releases and less on market segmentation or offer development.

But – as a communications professional with a strong marketing interest [treads carefully] – I wonder whether this endless argument over the distinction between the two disciplines is somehow de-valuing the role that marketing communications has to play? And perhaps the argument is defunct – is it time to redefine what marketing means anyway?

Part of the problem lies with the fact that ideally, marketing and communications are disciplines which should be recognised as being at the heart of the business strategy.  But often it sits further down the food-chain, so marketers are not involved in market-based decisions – rather, tasked with marketing communications once the strategic path has been set.  For me, marketing is unequivocally part of business strategy, and in its broadest sense communications is – or should be – too. I don’t think it’s marketers or communicators who have it wrong, necessarily – it’s a business-led culture tied up somewhere in hierarchy that has led to this.

But as marketers, communicators or both, we also need to be flexible – the whole landscape for interacting with our target audiences is changing fast and makes different demands on our roles.  Marketers must apply comms know-how in their ‘pure marketing’ activity since the online world defines so much in terms of buyer decision-making, just as comms without an eye to the business objectives  just isn’t marketing communications.  But more than that, the onus is perhaps on management strata to invite in views and ideas from the frontline at a strategic level – and for us marketers and communicators to continue to push for inclusion, whether by sharing unsolicited ideas, lobbying or simply asking outright.

Might sound simplistic, but we’re all in the business of persuasion, after all… aren’t we?

Share your views and experiences…is the definition of marketing changing?  Are marketing and communications getting closer, or further apart?

Kate Spiers is Founder and Director of Wisdom London