Featured below are excerpts from AoC contributors. The Age of Conversation in its entirety will not be available for sale until August 2008, so in the meantime this is the place to get a sneak peek at all the fantastic insights to come!
"...this is a radical reframing of the artist formerly known as creative director (or even the strategic planner!) as an agent/broker, the hub, of a social network of diverse experts who apply their insights and perspectives on our client's business and communications problems."
"The conversation may have started with you, but it’s not yours to keep; you can try to guide it, and hope people ‘get it’ but if it veers off target, let go of the reins and set that wild horse free."
"Jesus Christ, NOBODY’S READING THIS! You’re all somewhere else! Checking out those bigger names who have glommed onto this project now that it has some heat, I bet."
"Success on the Web-it is not a 'tech' thing it's a 'talk' thing!"
"To carve a niche in this era of wildly dynamic change, pencils & pixels will have to adapt to be a whole new animal in the creative jungle. How do you become this huge, mighty, smart beast?"
"Companies that can quickly turn what they learn from customers into action have a strong advantage over their competition."
"We ‘digerati’ – the people who are creating incalculable masses of content that exists only online – are a treasure trove of material for the social historians of the future. But just as spam debased e-mail, and as flogs debase blogs, the sheer quantity of what we’re all doing may make the future historians’ job impossible."
"...audiences are looking for the most relevant information, compelling experience or stuff that meets their needs. This is true online or offline. I call it little ‘m’ media."
"We can help," said the excited account executive. "We have some of the best creative minds around. Don't worry, sir! You can count on us."
"Do you remember Theodore Levitt’s “Marketing Myopia” about defining something too narrowly? Move forward to today’s Age of Conversation, enabled by social media tools - like wikis, blogs, social networks, and RSS - that many define too narrowly."
"I love to create. Although the canvas might change, I constantly keep the creative juices flowing and sharing my creations with everyone. What are you doing to add to the gallery? Don’t be afraid to try a new medium."
"Connect with your People: Some call it your tribe, your audience, your cohorts, your group. What is your area of interest? Look for opportunities to help others. Bookmark the blog sites you like to read. Better yet, subscribe in a “Feed Reader” which allows you to easily see when your favorite blogs have been updated. Start to comment by asking a question, adding to the conversation."
"There are Non-Human Entities among us. Many people have seen them, or claim to have seen them. They move amongst us quietly, unseen by most. However, they carry immense power. These things can make or break companies, individuals, and careers."
"Marketers have been conversing with customers for centuries. Simply go back to the first retail transaction, where a farmer had livestock to sell or a craftsman hawked his wares at a bazaar. The marketing conversation was pretty simple:
'I have this chicken for sale. Want to buy it?'
'For such a scrawny chicken? Too much. I'll give you one.'
'One and a half.
... and the conversation continued until both parties were satisfied."
"Tomorrow's business leaders are more comfortable in a digital cone of silence than we thirty-something's and beyond. I've caught myself saying, "These darn kids today just can't communicate!" after which I pause to ensure I'm not wearing dark blue dress socks with loafers and Bermuda shorts. (So far so good)."
"My blog is called Leading Questions because I see the value in asking questions every day. This morning in a client meeting, we are starting a project where we assume that we don't have any answers, so we asked questions. The result of the meeting was far better than we thought it would be going in."
"...Can you imagine what someone like David Ogilvy could have done if he had lived in this day and age of Social Media, if he had had networks and touch points like Face Book, My Space or YouTube? Can today advertisers imagine it?...
"I was just about to schedule a meeting to talk to my boss about my recent breakup. It was going to be at noon. Relationship status should always be discussed after client status and before lunch."
“Increasingly, successful workers weave in mind-bending research about human brains to ignite their business models. By knowing the neuroscience … and implementing it … in understandable workplace lingo … employers are creating common sense models.”
“And these days, when a client or fellow executive says ‘Why use Social Media?’ (in any of its manifestations), it’s not enough to say ‘Why Not?’
"For baby boomers in small town America, the test was our parents, not the paper. Into my 20’s, I thought my dad could find out “anything.” There were no secrets. I still miss that slap up the back of my head."
"The digital ramblings of my Twitter friends brought to mind nothing so much as the frantic clacking of 100 monkeys pawing at typewriter keys. And here I was, peeking over their shoulders, expecting to discover that they were Crowdsourcing (or perhaps barrel-sourcing) the Great American Novel. And man, was I disappointed to find that they weren’t."
"My wife has no idea that we’re in the Age of Conversation. She’s not embarrassed that she doesn’t participate. She doesn’t envy me that I do. She’s blissfully ignorant of web 2.0 and, in a way, I envy her."
“It’s vital to understand the (sometimes intensely specific) needs of niche communities – it’s more likely solutions will come from someone within a niche than it is from someone observing it. At the same time, the tools of social intercourse supplied by the internet have provided a medium through which these marketers – be they inventors, manufacturers, enthusiasts - can communicate with members of their niche.”
"It’s easy for people to talk and connect – when the boss is not around. Establishing a culture of trust is essential before ideas can naturally flourish in the Enterprise."
Jeff De Cagna
"Associations have been part of the fabric of American society since the 18th century, but in the Age of Conversation, many associations find themselves confronting perhaps the most difficult strategic question imaginable: what is our enduring purpose in the 21st century? To find answers, we will need to dig deeper than we are today."
"...We are all craving conversation. It’s a shame that the church down the street from you is not the first place you think of for a conversation like that."
“Just as experts predicted that computers would bring about the paperless office, so too have experts prophesized how online communications would cultivate a more detached, impersonal world. I'd suggest, however, that the impersonal nature of communicating via the internet has become ever so personal in today’s digitally connected world.”
"Shortly after they rolled the dice on me, a guy who only had one marketing class in college, I quickly realized that it’s easy for agency folk to claim that clients just don’t get it. It takes guts to show clients the light."
“The Marketing Matrix is everywhere. It’s the belief that if advertising reaches enough people, enough times, then more than enough sales will happen. The Marketing Matrix is beyond repetition and recall, it’s an issue of control and conversation.”
“Companies who understand that customers extract value through their experience, not the product, and facilitate great customer experiences are thriving. Companies who don't get it are forced to chase customers who are indifferent to them and their products.”
"True Digital Social Media is not a soft cost. It is a redirection. But is it compelling enough to the bottom-line to support massive redirection, to drive real change?
Change challenges the enormous objects-in-motion that are corporations. Change is often a long term investment in the indeterminate future."
"'They' will get it
if we are less consumed with them getting us,
and more concerned with us getting them."
“Connected, converged, efficient, e-mail me, poke me, message me, search me, phone me, TXT me, contact me 24/7. Living life in the conversation fast lane. I am judged in work and play by my ability to communicate, the size of my social network, my ability to respond at any time from anywhere.”
“If I visualize what happened it looks like a cemetery. Each gravestone a big, exciting idea on how to talk about an issue, a trend, a company that was stillborn…In the end, all dead ideas, never seeing the light of day because of my mistake. I forgot to burn down the obstacles.”
“Writers, filmmakers, musicians, comedians and artists of all kinds have embraced the social media age and are bringing their unique gifts to people like never before.”
“Welcome to the club, you’re a creative.
Even you, Suit, you’re a creative.
Hell, even if you’ve never stepped into an agency, you’re a creative.”
Matt J. McDonald
"And all of a sudden, I wasn’t the person that really mattered anymore. I wasn’t flying solo. I had become i."
"People are their secrets. And the more people you tell you their secrets the less of them there is. And maybe they don't even tell their secrets to themselves. Don't expose me to the pitiless gaze of my own superego. I want to be swaddled in ignorance."
“Oh no, Mommy’s driving and twittering at the same time,” has oft been shrieked with fear by my children aged 8 and 12."
"Given as Machiavelli states, that mankind is incredulous to new ideas until they experience them themselves, how then do you move your company, business, yourself, into this new world?
You let them experience it – but only on a much smaller scale. Moving your organization to a new level where conversations become action requires you to reduce the risk – and it is both simple and difficult. Simple because it is common sense – difficult because it requires faith in something new."
"Oddly, intrusive advertising fatigue is causing a more complete integration of advertising within our lives. While the 30 second spot is disliked or ignored, we’re less concerned about being served advertising based on what is written in our personal emails."
"Getting it infers that you care about your customers, your products, and your staff."
“What we need is not less Conversation, but a better idea on how Conversations can work for our brand.”
“Within brains beyond yours, and even in your brain, lie hungry and thirsty parts to learn more. More about you, your business and all that it could be. That said it’s an opportune time to tap into multiple intelligences as a way to engage readers, workers and clients alike.”
Ryan Barrett (me!)
"Sure, some people disagree with my views. Some commenters call me a moron. A loser. LAME. But so what? It’s hard to get a good game going without engaging your Queen."
" … every observable action is an artifact of who we are and how we interact with the world. By making public our hearts and minds in the language of shared data, we have the potential to not only interact with the present; we may at some point converse with the future."
“As the BIG Kahuna (owner of Brand Identity Guru), I am shocked at how many business owners/marketing professionals just don't get it when it comes to understanding the value and importance of creating an effective, enduring brand identity. After all, brand identity is to business as oxygen is to life. Without it, you're in trouble.”
"To solve for 'wickedness', agencies will have to start speaking in a new language of engagement frameworks and architectures (EF+A), not ads and/or campaigns. "
"We don’t make it clear why people SHOULD “get” something that….
- can inhale your available time
- involves occasionally frustrating technology
- Overwhelms with many tools and applications; things like blogs, YouTube, flickr, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Del.icio.us, digg — does your head hurt yet?"
“Marketers need to shift their focus from ROI as return on investment to ROI as a return on ideas.
"I’m afraid of asking questions. I’m afraid of making mistakes. I’m afraid of sharing my ideas. I’m afraid of what people might think. I’m afraid of what people might do. I’m afraid of the endless possibilities."
"Inspiration: Action is what drives the economy, from international business to individual transactions at a garage sale. Communication from business to consumer is no longer a one-way street. Now consumers can talk back, and talk to each other about the business. It means a surrender of control."
“Remember the wrinkles in the water: it starts somewhere, some place, then keeps on spreading. Until the wrinkles reach the shores and they fade away. Same principle, only the lake is now the ocean and the wrinkles don't fade but amplify.”
“To reveal the undiscovered, the first thing to do is look. Go where something is happening, and watch.”
"There is a tremendous amount of power – and money – to be had by controlling the microphone. But centralized communications will steadily lose their hold...We have the microphone now. And we’re not giving it back!"
"Conversations are messy. And in that messiness is richness for you to mine, if you’re paying attention. Conflict doesn’t escalate and get out of control because people disagree, it escalates because people stop learning and start telling."
"An internet playground developed that toppled the walls of culture and geographical distance. Conversations exploded."
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"Just like the coal mining or manufacturing business, the disruption business will not disappear without a fight: But unlike other businesses, people will celebrate this death as a victory."