If we’re talking about Art & Inspiration (the track that I am covering), I couldn’t possibly miss ‘A Conversation with Nick Cave’.
If we’re talking about Art & Inspiration (the track that I am covering), I couldn’t possibly miss ‘A Conversation with Nick Cave’.
— Nick Cave
— Nick Cave, ‘A Conversation with Nick Cave’
Unbeknown to many, Charles Dickens used to write a chapter of novel, publish it in the local newspaper and garner reader’s feedback to take into account for the next chapter. So maybe Great Expectations should actually cite more than one author?
Dicken’s shows us that this process of audience feedback and collaboration isn’t a new concept, but yet it’s something that is rarely adopted. The guys from DeviantARTdont even think its a talking point, it should be what writers, film makers and even brands do with every project.
Their philosophy is that there is no longer a hard line between consumption and production - audiences should have input in to storylines and should be ‘consulted’ along the journey of development, enabled with the power to sway plot, production and characters.
They believe in this concept so much so that two of their recent projects have involved some serious audience collaboration. The Odyssey II project with published author Clive Barker started by Barker writing the first chapter, and opening it up to the DeviantART community to write the next chapter, and accompanying artwork. A chapter was released, and so the process continued until there was a full book ready to publish and sell. They received thousands of submissions and what came from it was a crowd sourced book plus artwork, with all proceeds of sales going to UNICEF (their attempt to get around rights and profit distribution).
The latest installment of GI Joe II (with The Rock) is another example of this audience creator collaboration. Listening to online commentary, it was clear fans were concerned that the franchise would be exploited and ruined, so producers have been in close contact with a subset of hardcore fans to ensure they’re part of the process and somewhat ‘approve’ of the producers choices.
Mass Effect 3 is the cautionary tale of not listening to fans commentary online (or listening to it, but completely dismissing it). The producers of Mass Effect 3 asked for audience feedback in an attempt to throw them off course so they could surprise them with a completely disconnected ending. Unsurprisingly, when it was launched in 2012, the reaction from the audience was beyond negative. So much so that EA is in the works of re-producing a new version that actually takes into account the feedback from the audience.
I do worry about compromising the end creative product. How many people can you really have involved before the creative idea becomes a watered down version that, in theory represents everyone, but in reality represents no one? I also fear the single mindedness of an idea would be confused and the artists vision would be lost.
That said, I don’t think enough brands reach out to their audience to gather feedback and ideas. This concept is perfectly applied to product development. If you’re asking the people who you’re trying to sell to what exactly they want, it will sell, because they’ve asked for it!
So for any brands, artists that adopt this approach they should consider these thoughts:
1. Think about it as subtle adjustments along the way, not complete overhauls (unless that’s what yo want)
Include your audience in the process but don’t ask the type of questions that have the ability to ruin an idea. It should be about small iterations and optimizations along the way to create a better end product.
2. Don’t spread the net too wide
By asking every single person online for their opinion, you’re going to end up with a lot of random thoughts and ideas. Limit it to your core audience, the most passionate or savvy fans you can identify.
3. Don’t lose your end vision
Audience creator collaboration works best with a storyteller who can best utilize the constant stream of audience feedback, without losing or dulling his or her unique voice and vision.
*For those not familiar with DeviantART, it has 25 million members, 60 million unique visitors to the site and an average of 28 minutes on site per month, so they have some credibility in this area.
The Rock bought this image from DeviantART recently to translate into film.
I’m going to give you two choices.
1. You can have half a box of chocolates RIGHT NOW.
2. In one week, you can have A WHOLE box of chocolates.
Which do you choose? If you chose the first one, you’re just like everyone else.
Because the thought of waiting one week is absurd. The additional half a box of chocolates you would have received is outweighed by the time you would have to wait. This is what we call diminished value. Products like savings plans and life insurance face this idea of diminished value everyday, because as humans, we’re can’t fathom waiting 30 years to access our money and we want to spend it now.
Disciplines such as behavioral economics are seeking to understand these decision making patterns and barriers, and find ways that we can shape or manipulate decisions.
(I personally find this an incredibly interesting subject - for anyone who wants to know more I highly recommend starting by watching Rory Sutherland’s TEDTalk ‘Sweat the Small Stuff’).
Today’s panelist, Chris Risdon, was going to give us a lesson on blending behavioral economics with design, with the intention to change behavior. Let me give you an example.
You’re watching the news and an advert for an animal rescue shelter comes on TV. They’re urging you to donate and they’re tugging at your heart strings through pictures of cute puppies being tortured. You think of your own pooch and decide to donate. The ad is telling you to go to a website. You go there, and you have to register. You input your name, billing address, and then you have to decide how much to donate. $20? $10? What’s too much? Then you put your credit card details in, and they try to lock you in for monthly payments. All in all, it’s taken you 15 minutes to get through the eCommerce funnel and you’ve sworn off donating again. See the problem here?
The amount of effort exerted does not match the level of commitment.
Think of the exact same situation of watching TV, but instead of asking you to donate via a site, they tell you to text 199DOG and it automatically deducts $10 from your phone bill. Done.
The amount of effort exerted is matched to their level of commitment.
Too often, marketers put so many barriers into place that the amount of hurdles to actually buy a product or service doesn’t match the consumer’s level of motivation.
One of the best examples of persuasive design is organ donation. Many countries have now implemented an ‘opt-out’ rule rather than an ‘opt-in’ due to the fact that many people simply couldn’t be bothered checking the opt-in, not because they didn’t want to donate. Donations as a result have more than doubled in these places.
So how can marketers start to change behavior through design? Chris gave us three ways in which we can do this.
1. Sensors and Data
An incredibly simple concept of connecting devices and data to activities and products, and interpreting this data to make meaning of it. Data can be in the form of GPS, RFID, images, profiles, status updates, accelerometers… the list goes on. The meaning part is what will change behavior.
Nike+ is an example that is always cited (and so it should be), but think of mint.com that tracks your spending and shows you where you could save, the new Nike shoes that track your steps and feed it into Nike+ or the new electric toothbrush that is connected to your Smartphone and teaches you brushing habits. These are all examples of brands using individual data to alter or manipulate our behavior.
2. Feedback AND feedforward
Chris gave a great example of how Weight Watchers used to be. You will diet like there’s no tomorrow all week, go to Weight Watchers on a Sunday night, get weighed, realize you’ve put on weight, and then spend the next week trying to figure out why. There was no feedback or feedforward.
Now, we have Wifi scales and Apps like Jawbone to track our weight against our own personal goals. It will tell us how we’re progressing but most importantly, GUIDE us to our goals. It takes our individual data and then understands it to be able to give people guidance.
Feedforward is just as important as feedback. I recently saw a new Coke campaign that was a perfect example of this - it showed types of exercises that people can do to burn off the calories of a Coke. Ie: Laugh for 10 minutes or take your dog for a twenty minute walk. Another great example comes from Nike+ again - it’s the ability cue music as you know you’re going up that last hill, or the fact that every ‘like’ on Facebook sends you a cheer in your headphones. That’s just brilliance right there!
3. Framing and Profiling
Finally, framing and profiling is changing the way something is presented to us to change our behavior. Like putting the dessert bar just that little bit further away so it’s out of reach, or in school cafeteria’s displaying the healthy food first.
Ask WHY five times to understand what is the real behavior you’re trying to change
Chris argued the most important part of changing behavior is constantly asking why to understand the underlying motivation. It should be what we’re doing anyway and the role of the agency to continually challenge the client, but understanding the WHY can lead us to different strategies and tactics to change behavior.
For more reading on this topic I would highly recommend Richard Thaler’s book ‘Nudge’ - he also has a blog but doesn’t update it frequently.
SXSW on the street
— Tough questions at ‘Is media too girly?’
“IM GLAD THAT WHILE YOU COULD BE DOING AL GORE, YOU DECIDED TO DO ME”. - Cindy Gallop
FRONT ROW AT ‘THE FUTURE OF PORN’
I thought I would be fine getting to Al Gore an hour early. Wrong. The line spanned the entire length of the convention centre so I quickly re-evaluated my options. The Future of Porn? It’s certainly an intriguing topic and I thought it would surely be interesting. And it certainly falls under the bucket of Art & Inspiration, right? I had zero expectations.
What actually unfolded in front of me (in the front row nonetheless, because you know, as fate has it I couldn’t get a seat to Al Gore but I got front row to the porn one) was the most refreshing argument and point of view that I have heard in a very long time.
It wasn’t as the name might suggest, a bunch of porn videos. It was a bold entrepreneur named Cindy Gallop, the founder of makelovenotporn.com - a website that publishes real world porn videos submitted by users. The site has just come out of beta but the initial success of it has led to makelovenotporn.tv - a porn channel.
The conception of the site was an interesting story. Cindy opened by saying she loves having sex with younger men. But what she was baffled by was their complete false perception of what women want and what sex should be like. In getting to the root of this, she learnt of the amount of porn young men watch. She learnt of how much it deludes their sense of reality because, lets face it, porn is not real life. It’s a false environment where women’s bodies are one shape, men’s Crown Jewels are a certain size and women orgasm in three minutes.
When I started thinking about it and the more Cindy talked, the more it became apparent that the falsity of porn has a lot to answer for. Condoms are non-existent, women are degraded and violent behavior is promoted. The average age of someone who first views hardcore porn is 8 years old. This is their first experience of sex. And this is where our generation are learning sexual etiquette from?!
PROBLEM: PORN IS OUR GENERATION’S SEXUAL EDUCATION.
Cindy’s vision for makelovenotporn.com was to solve this problem. It is to be part entertainment, part education. Its model is social by design - content is crowd sourced, moderated for any inappropriate content, and posted. Viewers rent a video for $5, of which the ‘real life stars’ get 50% of the cut. Viewers can rate videos, curate their own playlist…you get the picture. But the power of the site is redefining the misconception sex. It is being used as sexual education in schools and by parents who don’t know how to approach the topic with children. It’s showing people that hey, condoms don’t need to be awkward and this is how women should be treated. And of course, a few people are finding some pleasure from it too.
I loved this talk for its brutal honesty, for its fresh perspective and for someone opening up the conversation about something that is so taboo but yet, is one of the most important parts of our lives! Its something businesses and people have shun away from for so long and avoided talking about. As Cindy brilliantly remarked, ‘It’s not that porn degrades women, it’s business that degrades porn’.
What I took away from this talk isn’t really about porn at all. It’s that changing behavior that is deeply embedded requires a new perspective. It means understanding the absolute core of a problem (to Cindy it wasn’t that young men had bad sexual habits, it was that their only form of education was porn), and addressing that. And as much as technology has created these misconceptions, it’s also the most potent tool is changing them.
For anyone who wants to view Cindy’s highly regarded TEDTalk, you can view it here (WARNING! EXPLICIT LANGUAGE!):
The brilliant Cindy Gallop in her leather and glory. A post may be coming, if I get the ok…. A very insightful talk about porn’s influence on culture and where it’s heading.
Well, this should be interesting….