Happy New Year and welcome to 365 Days of AI: Day 2
At DiMassimo Goldstein we’re building the first integrated agency for the age of AI. So, what is “the age of AI,” what does it mean and why should you care?
The authors of Prediction Machines suggest a simple, elegant way to understand artificial intelligence – as “prediction machines.”
Today’s machine learning (a term synonymous with AI) can do tasks that typically take a human being one second or less.
Don’t think of giving an AI a job, think of giving it a task – a task of prediction. Predict whether that thing up ahead is a stop sign. Predict whether this image is a car. Predict whether this sound is the “wake up word.”
Prediction Machines is the best first book on AI you’ll ever read, even if you’ve read a bunch of books on AI. If you’re a results-oriented marketer, this is a great place to start your AI journey. Ajay Agarwal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb have written a terrific primer that all of us ought to read here at the dawn of the age of AI.
Thanks to John Mayo-Smith for initially turning me onto this great book.
Happy New Year and welcome to 365 Days of AI: Day 1
As you may know, at DiMassimo Goldstein we’re building the first agency for the age of AI.
So, what is “the age of AI,” what does it mean and why should you care?
To start to get a sense of just how powerful Artificial Intelligence machine learning powered by machine empathy can be in inspiring action and caring for people, please watch this amazing episode of YouTube‘s “The Age of AI” with Robert Downey Jr.
Is McMullen the Thomas Edison of AI, or is he the Dr. Frankenstein of AI, or both?
How much do you care about client success?
A hint: If you’re not sacrificing, you don’t care enough.
90% of what we do to help our clients succeed, you will never hear about. We do it because we care. We do it because we are obsessed with client success. We do it because it’s more fun and more inspiring to have successful friends.
There are things we do for which the client should get all the credit. They do. We have a few terrific clients for whom we do exceptional work, but whom we can’t talk about. We don’t.
Everything we do is a collaboration, and the success of the collaboration is the client’s success. A significant part of what we do, we do when the client is between jobs. There is no bill. There is no expectation of future gain. You’ll never hear a word about these services, unless you happen to be one of those clients.
I hear Nordstrom stories and Zappos stories and I think… if only people could hear our stories, they would be even more amazed… but discretion is one of the most important commitments we make to our clients.
Client success isn’t the same as “customer success.” It’s not just about being happy with our product. Client success is client success and fulfillment in career and life.
We are obsessed with client success.
Is advertising a place to tell the ugly truth?
Here, I’m going to try to get you to do something that, for most of us, doesn’t come naturally, something that just feels wrong.
It will fly in the face of your professional training. You will find it very hard to get there by using your normal processes. When you even suggest doing something along these lines, you will face immediate resistance. People may think you’re crazy. People may call you crazy. People may use the “crazy” word to shut down all conversation around the idea and make the discomfort go away.
Most of us believe that marketing is trying to put a good face on our product or service. Most of us look for the benefits. Most of us believe that a certain amount of “positive spin” is absolutely essential to “work that sells.” And most of us have some successes to show for these beliefs.
If your product or service is good, if there aren’t great alternatives, and for a while, this level of marketing communications will probably work. And yet the greats have done something very different. They’ve told the truth that most marketers would view as ugly, and in doing so they have stolen the show, and significant market share.
Nike. Dove. Starbucks. Dominos. Telling the ugly truth is a strategy challengers use to become market leaders and market leaders us to remain market leaders.
Our core client is an organization or brand led by people who are committed to their doing good and being better.
That said, many potentially good organizations have much to feel embarrassed about.
There is a tendency to hide the struggle and the failings and thereby inadvertently hide the hero’s journey. As a business leader I have been guilty of this much of the time, missing the opportunity to engage others with the facts of our very human struggle.
I have sought out authentic entrepreneurs as clients so that I can be continuously exposed to the challenging and edifying example of people who tell the radical truth.
Change agents tell the truth. They believe in radical candor. The look for the truth that remains unsaid. They use it to unblock progress, and it works.
For the company with its heart in the right place, a sort of insane honesty can show confidence and clarity of thought and charm while earning trust. Here are some corporate PR examples, followed by some advertising examples.
Dominos – Our Pizzas Have Gotten Really Bad. https://www.inc.com/cynthia-than/dominos-admitted-their-pizza-tastes-like-cardboard-and-won-back-our-trust.html
Starbucks – We lost the art of pouring espresso. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB120408358439295953
Perhaps you’ve heard about the elephants.
Elephants, like humans, have wonderful memories. This is both a strength and a weakness. A superpower and kryptonite.
Look at this picture of an adult elephant tied to a small bar, with a lightweight rope. A grown elephant can easily bend that bar or break that rope.
But, sadly, they don’t.
The trainers start tying them when they are little. They learn that they can’t break the rope and as they grow they never again test that theory. To them, it’s not a theory at all – it’s just the truth.
“We tried that before and it didn’t work.”
But it’s worse than that. Bring the human equivalent of adult elephants together to envision possibilities and not one of them will even suggest tugging at that rope. It just won’t come up. They will focus on solving the problem of how to achieve their goals within the range that the rope allows them. The rope length will define their limits. I’ve watched it happen hundreds of times. I’ve been part of it hundreds of times.
There is a difference between an epiphany and a habit. Talking about possibility and feasibility together is a habit. In most places, it’s just the way things are done. There is a strong taboo against separating the two. Someone may suggest something foolish! Unprofessional! Incorrect! Impossible! Embarrassing!
But, breakthroughs don’t come from doing the right things. Breakthroughs come from doing brave, incorrect, inspiring things.
Twenty-five years ago, I developed a process that has driven my career and life ever since. It’s a process I built off of all I had learned in my career to that point, comparing successful projects to less successful projects, and a system for realizing possibilities that I learned from the pioneering executive coach, Trisha Scudder.
I had seen her breakthrough process shift the culture and results of a team from ordinary to extraordinary in just a few days. And, while Trisha taught many powerful concepts and processes, one stood out to me as the most powerful of all.
The brilliant sales and marketing consultant and author, Mark S. A. Smith says that, “We are in the epiphany business.”
Trisha’s most powerful idea struck me as an epiphany, and that epiphany has fueled my career ever since.
Here it is:
Discuss Possibility and Feasibility separately. Start with possibility.
Perhaps this doesn’t seem like very much to you. It didn’t strike me as Earth-shattering either when I first heard it. Trisha made it fun, so I was engaged. The results of the process she led us through, starting with Possibility, then moving on to Feasibility, led to some surprising breakthroughs. This stimulated my curiosity, always curled up like a cat ready to pounce. I committed to playing with this process and to keeping my eyes wide open.
Here’s what I noticed. People come into conversations about the future weighed down by the past and the present.
We’ve all heard the classic, “We tried that before and it doesn’t work.”
We’ve all seen that little chestnut over-applied.
“Are you sure it was THIS that you tried?”
“Are you sure we are proposing testing exactly the same thing in the same way?”
We’ve all witnessed this idea-killing malpractice. But, what I noticed is that most possibility killing is much more subtle. It’s the ideas that people don’t even bring up in the first place. It’s the invisible limits that people bring to these conversations.
By insisting that the first phase of the conversation be entirely focused on Possibility, while reassuring everyone that the next phase will focus on Feasibility, you will find you develop breakthrough results.
While possibility is all about what might be, feasibility is about, “What can we really get done.” Feasibility is important. Hell, it’s essential. But don’t let it get all mixed up in your discussion of the possible. Don’t let it cloud your vision.
Looking back, I see that this principle is so powerful when practiced that it has played a part in every breakthrough I’ve seen in my career. And, though I built my agency’s process around this epiphany, it is like a brain of which I’ve only used about 10%.
There is a difference between an epiphany and a habit, between having a process and using it. I see the possibility of using this process ALL of the time. I see that I can do so much more good if you use it too.
Let me know how it goes! I’m happy to help. You know where to reach me.
Brand is CEO's and CMO's top priority again.
According to Gartner, top management agrees that brand strategy is the single “Most Vital Marketing Capability.”
Let’s do an Inspiring Brand Idea Workshop and accelerate your brand-driven growth.
We’re a brand planning agency built for a performance-hungry world.
We’ve helped hundreds of clients discover the inspiring idea that organizes and drives growth.
The brand idea is the #1 performance driver.
While the trend of performance marketing is toward AI automation, brand becomes the sole strategic advantage.
I’d be honored to talk with you about your brand.
It’s amazing what one workshop can do.
You know where to find me.
On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Dhruv Nanda, Creative Director and Writer at Oberland, a New York based agency with a mission to create purpose-driven campaigns for each of its clients.
Prior to working at Oberland, Dhruv has had a multitude of experience throughout the past 7 years in this industry. He has worked at a range of agencies including Wunderman, Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Momentum Worldwide while also getting a taste of what in-house creative was like at Chipotle.
In this episode, Dhruv shares his life growing up and what led him to his interest in advertising, the importance of brands having a mission behind them, removing ego’s to make for better work, advice on story telling for non profits, and much more. Hear it all below!
- [0:00 – 1:28] Intro
- [1:29 – 5:45] From Growing up in Dubai to attending a private school in Zambia, Africa for 3 years
- [5:50 – 12:32] Leaving Africa to study Law at Carleton University in Canada, and working in a hardcore financial sales role right out of college
- [12:40 – 18:03] Learning the art of persuasion through sales, how reading the “Ogilvy in Advertising” book ultimately drove his attention to the industry, and his decision to attend Miami Ad School
- [18:54 – 24:00] His consistent interest in drawing comics, drama, and sketch comedy playing a role in his choice to become a Copywriter
- [24:29 – 30:40] His experience at Miami Ad School, and what meditation and being in the right mindset can do for creatives in this industry
- [31:10 – 38:10] How Interning at Draft Agency, PI&C, and MRY boosted his career in New York City. The surprises and challenges he faced going from ad school to “the real world”
- [39:40 – 44:48] The importance of building necessary client relationship standards, accepting the offer from Bill Oberlander to work for Oberland, and what working for a mission based company means to him
- [45:17 – 49:17] The difference between working at an in-house agency rather than out-house, his experience working alongside Steve Ells at Chipotle
- [49:22 – 55:00] Sharing advice on story telling for Not for Profit clients
- [55:09 – 57:10] The value he feels working as a professor at Adhouse, and where to find Druhv online
- [58:08 – 1:00:06] Outro
“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter.