What A Wrong Way To Launch A Product!

Regardless of the technicalities and the final output, regardless if the commercial is a copy of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs or not as Patrick Chemali discussed in his blog post There is an important aspect of this particular product launch that is conceptually a huge mistake.

The TVC, which you can see here, shows a machine with some artificial ingredients being added to the orange and is creating the juice. JUICE, which should be communicated as being 100% natural or as far as can be from any chemical, is shown as being a machine creation! I understand the product can simply be chemically made and not from real fruits (Tang juice for example) but this aspect is never communicated, instead the marketer focuses on the results and effects of drinking the juice. It's like saying, "hey we're Candia and we just created this blend of chemicals with these several flavors which you can now drink and enjoy"

WRONG! Especially coming out at a time when everyone is becoming more product conscious and brands are coming back to nature, promoting a healthier, more nature-friendly lifestyle.

Would you try a product which communicates that it was done in a lab?
I know I won't but I'd love to know what you think.

A Reflection Of Culture

That's what advertising in any society is. A simple mirror of it's people's culture. Look around, when a society's in a booming, culturally advanced atmosphere, the advertisements become smarter and more relevant to the thought processes of the people. You notice less "offers" and more witty concepts and ideas.

On another hand as well, notice how brands simply communicate in the most subtle ways, using out of the box techniques that merge digital, social and traditional media. Clients are not desperate for a sale, they know with a smarter attitude and embracing new technologies they can conquer markets and win people over. You also see less spam, with a varied number of ads and different products promoting themselves rather than the same ad being shoved down people's throats at every advertisement break on TV and radio to an extent that the product start losing instead of gaining prospects.

Societies in cultural decline look desperate in communication. Just a reflection.

The Anti-Leadership

Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines micromanagement as "manage[ment] especially with excessive control or attention on details". Wikipedia adds: The notion of micromanagement can be extended to any social context where one person takes a bully approach, in the level of control and influence over the members of a group. Often, this excessive obsession with the most minute of details causes a direct management failure in the ability to focus on the major details.

The micromanager is the manager who must personally make every decision, take a lead role in the performance of every significant task and, in extreme cases, dictate every small step the workers take. To many employees the micromanager is, in modern parlance, a control freak. The micromanager hovers over people who are trying to get their work done and rarely, if ever, seriously considers their ideas and opinions. The only "original" thinking the micromanager recognizes is his or her own.

Most micromanagers don't think of themselves as micromanagers. Rather, they usually believe they're practicing good management while taking essential management practices to extremes. This interferes with employees' ability to do their jobs properly while creating undue stress for them.

A need for control that stems from insecurity is often the reason behind this behavior. A lack of confidence, workplace instability and pressure to produce–both individually and as a team. Deep-seated psychological issues and problems at home can also influence the way people behave at work. Many of us have the propensity to be a micromanger, but some of us rein it in better than others.

Important Points

• As annoying as micromanagers are, they’re incredibly predictable. The same patterns will show up during certain situations, times of the day or week, when they get especially agitated.
• The micromanager is almost always under pressure to produce. 
• Often hands out only the easy, boring or dirty tasks while delegating nothing of interest or importance.
• Often micromanagers are oblivious to the effect they are having on other people. They actually think all their micromanaging is producing a better work product.

How Micromanagement is Anti-Leadership

This pattern of micromanagement suggests to employees that a manager/or colleague does not trust their work or judgment, it is a major factor in triggering employee disengagement. 
Disengaged employees invest time, but not effort or creativity, in the work. 

"People leave managers not companies...in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue," - Gallop Poll Survey

The poll also determined that poorly managed work groups are on average 50 percent less productive and 44 percent less profitable than well-managed groups.
The micromanager delegates nothing of consequence, thus depriving employees of opportunity for growth. The micromanagement style creates "yes men" or "yes women," as employees discover it's easiest and safest to go along with the manager. 

Therefore it can be concluded that micromanagement is part of the main ingredients of an Anti-leader. It is mismanagement, and under it, the manager, the employees and the business all suffer.

Memes, The Communication Accelerator

In our battle against time, our daily activities becoming faster and faster, our communication and the way we pass our messages has drastically changed. This in part can be due to the fast development and integration of social media platforms in our daily lifestyle to the point where our daily acts mostly revolve around these networks and our constant need to stay connected.

In this rise of the fast, of the straightforward and of the "instant gratification", our visual sense "developed" to include what we now call as memes. These, have risen to become such a popular way of impersonal communication.

Memes are visuals that can be text-based but the majority include a main image. While the format isn't entirely rigid, a large majority of memes will play to this common structure - enhancing familiarity, and reducing the need to supply context to the image. Memes serve as a great way to tell a simple story, with the image providing quick context - and the text structured as a classic joke, with set-up above and punchline beneath.

What makes memes interesting to study is their own in-built context. It has come to be processed on an almost sub-conscious level, and is capable of transcending language barriers. This instant gratification, without the need for investment, is part of what makes memes so easily digestible - reading even a short joke in a text format requires far more effort than simply glancing at a picture.

Sites such as 9gag & Reddit made it possible for memes to be shared and spread virally with simplicity and ease. This also helped a lot in making memes popular and the more it is shared, the more successful it is. In addition to that, the massive growth in "meme culture" reflects the information overload we are living through.

It's a shame, for those of us who prefer solid, worthy content - but it's just evidence of a shift in communication in the internet age. Memes are the equivalent of idle chatter - they're not supposed to be deep, or meaningful - but a simple way to express ideas and tell short stories.

If we are to project the current state into the near future, we will definitely be seeing fast and easy content lasting for quite some time!

Mastery In Silence

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." - Walt Disney

I've written about our Age Of Distraction but the idea here is not limited to that. We're getting used to noise. And so, we need more noise. Louder communication, bigger visuals, more notifications, better lights, brighter advertisements, louder music, bigger festivals...a total mess of chaos. 
Yet, in silence comes focus and the ultimate clarity. A stream of thought that's directed towards what matters and what really needs to be done despite all the noise around. 

In silence comes clarity, which causes consistent action. And eventually, clarity breeds mastery.

The Battle For The Title

We live in a world obsessed with image, with labels and how things "look". We live in a country where unfortunately how you seem matters hundreds of times more than what you really and truly are. In fact, we put every major inch of our resources to feed that monster, the monster of image and titles.
But the truth is, the world has changed and is changing rapidly. People are embracing the core and essence of things based on what results they are getting from them and are learning to grow and develop based on facts rather than image and aspirations. We are finally coming to the conclusion that delusional dreaming will get us nowhere. Take for example a freshly graduated student. His main goal, from the moment he or she steps foot in the business world, is always to climb the corporate ladder and earn title after title in hopes a major conclusion, the massive crescendo of becoming a "leader" of some department or owner of some company. Yes, and this battle to the title is fed everywhere and in every detail by images the media is feeding us, culture within every business, school and family.

Our current culture is infested with the virus of the "look at me" of the "I'm better than you" just because we try to look the part and promote it everywhere. We try to take over and seem like we know what we're doing by using big words and trying as hard as we can to prove what we look is actually what we are.

But sadly, reality is different and things don't work that way. In fact, the big guys in every business, the companies we dream of working at, the corporations we wish we'd establish are all not based on who is the "entrepreneur" or the Head of (insert department here). The big guys are big because they deliver. They lead the field without caring about any titles, they just wake up in the morning to deliver 10x the value a client expects from them and to create the "wow" effect with everything they touch, leaving people, work and teams better than they found them. It's what you do when no one's watching that matters.

Our world has become a world of service, people are connected 24/7/365 days. People are closer than ever, looking for answers which can be easily found anywhere. The challenge today is to let go of the title, let go of the label and deliver like a leader...and the world will come to recognize you as one of the best and eventually, your goal would have been reached and surpassed, without a title. 

Gareth Emery: Rebranded

It's lovely to see the growth of an artist in front of your very eyes. Their music evolving and fan base developing and growing. Gareth Emery, one of leaders of the electronic dance music scene is one example.
After creating a massive following and hungry fans aching for his shows and music, and releasing single after single Gareth took the time to create a full artist album, Northern Lights.
After unleashing the full release and following it up with a remixed album, Gareth decided that the time has come to create yet another musical gem and so, he locked himself in the studio to work on some fresh material.

This period, just like it is with a butterfly developing in its cocoon, resulted in a fresh, more mature Gareth Emery and resulted in the need to upgrade his identity as well, and so his new logo was born.

A perfect image in harmony with his exceptional unique sound, the logo reflects a personal touch with the introduction of a serif font, used in the name, it fuses with the bold, stable surname that reflects stability and creativity (note the line of the letter A that also uses the letter E from the name). The serif font also reflects a melodic tone and the bold edgy letters used in the name "Gareth" visualize his unique sound.

A very well developed logo, reflecting growth and the real unique character that is Gareth Emery.

Check out his upcoming single "U" with Bo Bruce, which will be released on February 4th.

The Challenge Of Every Organization

We live in a world where information is in the palm of our hands, on-the-go, all day long. Where a simple few words on your Google home page would get you endless pages of potential answers and information. Where solutions to our problems and answers to our questions are indexed from all around the web.

And when it comes to every business which provides a service to its clients, the biggest challenge goes beyond knowing what the client wants. Once a client knows what they want, its easy to find it through search. Answers are a click away.

As organizations, we have to curate choices, and dream for people who don't have the guts or time to dream for themselves. And the scary part is when the reply is a big NO (scary in this case goes both ways) which simply shows that what you're offering is making an impact.

Lead where you are, it makes a difference.

George Lois on Courage

Its no secret I'm a big fan of design legend George Lois.
Watch him answer the final question (regarding courage) after his talk for CreativeMornings at the Metropolitan Museum. I believe this short answer is something anyone would benefit from.

CreativeMornings Short: George Lois on Courage from CreativeMornings on Vimeo.

Watch his full talk HERE

A Must See: Hit Record

Today, I started my day with the usual daily ritual and came across one of the most interesting global projects I've seen in quite a while. It's called hitRECord.

hitRECord is an open collaborative production company, and an amazing show where everything you're gonna see was made collaboratively on the site -- hitRECord.org -- and the work of 426 Contributing Artists is featured in this particular episode (episode one shown below).

There's gonna be 8 episodes this season, each revolving around a different theme, like RE: Space, RE: The Other Side, and RE: Money. And since this is the first ever episode, Joseph Gordon-Levitt the host and front-man of the project, figured the theme of this one would be RE: The Number One. HITRECORD ON TV will be coming out on January 18th on a new cable channel called Pivot.

Make sure you check out: http://www.hitrecord.org/ and you can at any time collaborate with hundreds of others and be part of this amazing creative movement. From music, to animation, arts, writing, video, illustration, animation, design....anything works, anything goes and anything creative can be put to use.

I highly recommend watching the full first episode below.

"I'm deeply proud of this show, and I think you're realllllly gonna like it. Honestly, making this thing together with all the artists from around the world in our hitRECord community has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life so far. So, without any further ado, enjoy the show!" - Joseph Gordon-Levitt