Advertising and the Crowd Invasion – a summary of the panel

We hosted a panel of smart people this morning. It was an hour of smart discussion that started out with Edward Boches commenting that “The crowd wants to play, why not embrace them?”  Then got right in to why crowdsourcing continues to be such a big topic.

James DeJulio, from Tongal said that it is still in the spotlight because tt’s feasible for everyone to creative and make content now, for cheap.  At the same time, the economy has a lot to do with it, business are looking for a better way to spend their money. Social media has given people the opportunity to collect a wide group of fans – why not give them something to do? It seems like a positive for both the business and client side.

John Winsor, from Victors & Spoils added that there’s a feeling that when a traditional agency brings new ideas to the table, there aren’t many ideas. Companies these days want more creative ideas and a closer relationship with the people coming up with those ideas. With crowdsourcing, not only are they getting creative, they are also getting research at the same time. Also, traditional agency relationship clients are becoming uncomfortable with that. They want more radical transparency than they currently have.

Edward’s summary of the three things were  more ideas, closer to the community and definitely cost savings. Peter LaMotte, from Genius Rocket added that it is also diversity of concepts and affordability.

Edward’s next questions were about the benefits of analytics and the knowledge insight and intelligence that comes along with crowdsourcing.

Peter said that tapping into a community really brings a diverse set of input to clients that can actually provide insight into their brands that you wouldn’t get from an agency. With crowdsourcing, from the front and on the back end, you are able to capture much more info than ever before.

Edward noted that what fascinated him when he did a project with Tongal was it was like getting back qualitative research along with creative, which is valuable.

James DeJulio,  Yes, the more places you can get people to participate and the more types of people you can get to participate, the more you get back real interpretations of your brand. He added a great analogy about how people view your brand and how you expect them to view your brand – sometimes what people want and what people say they want is different, “If you hate Duke, but think they are going to make it into the final four, you are going to put it in your top picks.”

When Edward asked if there were any conflicts to people embracing crowdsourcing as a way of working John Winsor chimed in and said he thinks it will be interesting to see what agencies do. Will they try and lockdown talent with more non-compete type things? There’s no answer to this. However,  Mark Walsh said what they’re seeing in the Genius Rocket community is that a lot of people in the creative agencies have realized that they are their own brand. They need to cultivate and promote that brand (themselves) more than they have in the past.

Edward Boches said as an employer, when he hires young people now, they all have outside interests. They pretty much insist that if you try and deny their interests in these other areas, they won’t work with you. The whole crowdsourcing model could affect the relationships people have with their employers.

The panel wrapped up with some words of wisdom from each panelist

James Sherrett AdHack – What you are looking for has to be key to the objective. Try it out on a low risk, small project, figure it out fast and iterate.

James DeJulio Tongal – First, commitment as an organization, Get behind it. Second,  a leap of faith that it is going to work, because it will work.

John Winsor Victors & Spoils – Break down silos. Connection and integration between product and marketing within your company is key.

Mark Walsh Genius Rocket – Start small with an orphan brand, so you are willing to try new stuff on. Those who ignore where crowdsourcing is taking the relationship between a brand and its customers are looking for trouble. Customers today are so drenched in interactivity and transparency, you have to respond to that, it is no longer an option.

It doesn’t mean that crowdsourcing is the enemy of ad agencies. We all want to play nice together. We’re just a new tactic in a toolbox that is coming along like a freight train.

Edward Boches Mullen – I look at one thing only: How consumers behave, interact and use content, community and the tools that are out there. The consumer has already decided. They are creating content. Any brand or marketer that doesn’t take advantage of that in a way that will work for them is crazy.

note: you can listen to the full hour panel here: Advertising and the Crowd Invasion – recorded audio

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