Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gift Ideas for Your Creative Friends #in

Check out these sweet gift ideas including my favorite: the "f the rain" umbrella

Thanks @miamiadschool for the heads-up.

Posted via web from Ideas & Observations of John Mills

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Study Finds Companies Not Fully Capitalizing on Research #in

If you've worked in the marketing industry for 10 minutes, you know that most companies don't leverage the power of research. Or they think that they already know their customers/clients well enough to jump right to developing creative tactics.

A client from my old agency spent $75,000 to build a content rich microsite in hopes of engaging current clients and attracting new ones. However, they never conducted one bit of research to find out what their audience might want. No poll on their current site. No email. No third party survey. No industry survey. Nothing.

The fallout, of course, is when a project like this is deemed "unsuccessful," it's put on the agency. Our business has a short term memory problem, so reminding a client that you suggested research many times doesn't play.

So, how can we help companies understand the importance of market research?

Present more case studies of its effectiveness?
Change the name from "Market Research" to "Creative Discovery"?
Only work with clients who understand the importance of it (yeah, right)?

Seriously, what can we do? What do you do?

Posted via web from johnmills's posterous

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Social Media Club of Richmond -Trailer of last night's event - #in

Last night at the Science Museum of Virginia, the communication directors for the Republican and Democratic parties gave us a glimpse inside their gubernatorial social strategies. It was much more civil than I had hoped, but interesting none the less.

The SMCRVA events keep getting better.

Posted via web from johnmills's posterous

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Outsider Effect - #in

Mon 16 Nov 2009

Trying to juice up your next ad campaign? Develop a clever new product strategy? Research shows that adding an outsider to the mix can improve the thinking of your team and produce better results. According to a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,

Better decisions come from teams that include a “socially distinct newcomer.” That’s psychology-speak for someone who is different enough to bump other team members out of their comfort zones…

Researchers noticed this effect after conducting a traditional group problem-solving experiment. The twist was that a newcomer was added to each group about five minutes into their deliberations. And when the newcomer was a social outsider, teams were more likely to solve the problem successfully. [From Kellog School of Management News - Embracing the ‘socially distinct’ outsider.]

The good news is that the “outsider” doesn’t have to be an expensive consultant or an external facilitator. The important thing is that the newcomer is distinct in some way from other group members. Beyond such obvious social distinctions as race and gender, the study’s author, Katherine Phillips of Northwestern University, suggests other examples that might work:

– One employee from accounting working on a team in which everyone else is from sales
– An employee of a company that has just been bought out finding herself on a team of people from the acquiring firm
– An out-of-stater finding himself on a team full of natives of the company’s home state

The outsiders in the study weren’t necessarily vocal or opinionated; their mere presence seemed to be sufficient to make the group think harder. According to Phillips, this research is one justification for maintaining an emphasis on workplace diversity: a diverse team (whatever the elements of diversity might be) will produce better results.

So, when you are pulling together the next team or task force, add all of the “obvious” team members, and then throw an outsider into the mix. You’ll be glad you did.

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2 Responses to “The Outsider Effect”

  1. katchja Says:
    November 16th, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    It would be interesting to know if there is any correlation between the amplitude of this outsider effect and the in-group solidarity. The most cohesive, string team is also the most biased one due to the group-think tendency created and encouraged over time. Therefore, a certain degree of reluctance is exepcted towards the outsider. It would be interesting to see also if there is any correlation between the amplitude of the outsider effect and the group leader’s openness to novelty. He should be the only one who could break the group think-phenomena and let the outsider provide new insights for any given situation.

  2. Paul L'Acosta Says:
    November 16th, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    It should be interesting Roger to see the group’s reaction to this addition. But I can definitely see not only the positive effects but also the added variety to the mix. Great idea so thanks for sharing it, along with the quotes as support. — Paul

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When it comes to creative concepting or strategic planning, I'm a firm believer in mixing it up. At Release The Hounds, we always form cross-collaborative teams when we start a project. It adds a nice level of passive competition, produces unexpected insights and is simply a lot more fun. Our best ideas are created when we include the "Outsider" in our process.

Posted via web from johnmills's posterous

Friday, November 13, 2009

Coke Naked Can

A nice and (!) eco-friendly concept by NY based designer Harc Lee.
As designer describes his project by himself:

“A convex logo substitutes colorfully sprayed can. Naked can help to reduce air and water pollution occurred in its coloring process. It also reduces energy and effort to separate toxic color paint from aluminum in recycling process. Huge amount of energy and paint required to manufacture colored cans will be saved.

Instead of toxic paint, manufacturers process aluminum with a pressing machine that indicates brand identity on surface. ”




(seen on

Slick design.

I'm not sure, however, that Coke would abandon the red and white that made this brand an international icon. Could be a really cool limited addition can.

It'll be interesting to watch companies over the next few years adapt as public eco-pressure tempts them to gamble with their brand equities.


Posted via web from johnmills's posterous

Is Your Company Trusted or Do You Have a Digital Comb Over?

Is Your Company Trusted?

Many companies are entering the social/green/community space, with hopes of impressing customers, yet despite their best intentions, they could come across as unauthentic, and be damaging their own brand.  Companies should first take a self-assessment of their brand to see if they’re ready before they decide to enter the social space.

Companies should first assess their culture and ask:

  • Is the company ready to talk about the good –and bad– with the market?
  • Is the internal culture ready to embrace customers on their own terms?
  • Is the culture ready to make changes based on the request of customers?

Launching a corporate blog is easy, a Twitter account even easier, yet if companies culture doesn’t match the values they’re telling the market, they risk brand damage through reduced credibility. You’re not fooling anyone.

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 13th, 2009 at 8:15 am and is filed under Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

This is such a great way to think about it. After reading hundreds if not thousands of articles on SM, it's so refreshing to get a little humor in my education.

So...what's the Digital Mullet? The common definition of a mullet is "business in the front, party in the back."


Posted via web from johnmills's posterous

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Interview with Nooka designer Matthew Waldman in Time Out New York

Congrats to Release The Hounds client, partner and friend, Matthew Waldman on his article in Time Out New York. His fashion brand Nooka, just officially launched the NookaNooka toy, the latest addition to its "Nooka mindstyle accessories" collection.

In case you missed it, check out the NookaNooka video did for the launch.

Posted via web from johnmills's posterous

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Typekit Launches its Cloud-Based Web Font Service

Designers take notice. This cloud-based service could make your lives (and SEO indexing) so much easier. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Posted via web from johnmills's posterous