I had a great time as one of the judges at Brainyhacks London last night. Brainyhacks is a bit like the NABS pitch university course, but faster, and with more booze. A real client sets a real brief to a pub full of aspiring digital marketing sorts, and they get an hour and a half to crack it. Then the work is judged and a winner is announced. Great idea by Pixelgroup, and a lot of fun was had by all.
The client was from Spark & Mettle, who are doing some seriously great work getting young people started in their careers. I want to hear more from those people!
There were some great ideas flying about in the room, but I couldn't help noticing that there were two schools of thought which really didn't seem to fit together well. This is an endemic problem in the industry. It's where digital and marketing still don't fit together well.
The problem is, some creative ideas were about the Process. And some were about the Point.
The Point is easy to understand. That's the whole... point. All good marketing campaigns have a really clear point. The point is the hook, the Big Idea. Creative Directors love ideas with a really clear Point. You can usually wrap up a point in a very few choice words. It's sunshine in a breakfast bowl. It's Open Happiness. It's The Lynx Effect.
The Process is a little more subtle, and a lot more involved. Quora is great because valuable answers get pushed to the top. And the engine that searches questions for you is terribly terribly clever. The Process is often about fitting into people's lives in a way that is so surprising and innovative that it feels like second nature seconds after you've started.
The Process is what makes Twitter so amazing. But what's the Point of it? Sure, you've got some easy-to-latch-on-to words to describe it. You Tweet people. There's a blue bird. It's news. It's social. It's immediate. But it's not really a hook that your Grandma might understand. It's a Process. It's complicated. You have to be there.
Digital innovation is about creating new and exciting Processes. Marketing innovation is about creating new and exciting Points. These disciplines are worlds apart really, except that they're both about innovation and emotional attachment and stuff that makes people tick. Oh, hang on, so they're not worlds apart, then. They live in each other's pockets.
It's just an observation but it seems that a lot of people can only see the value of one or the other. Some sneer at ideas that are all Process and revel in ideas that are all about the Point. Other people do exactly the opposite.
Really, we should value them both.