Archive for June, 2013

Creativity and Content

DATE: June 18th, 2013

I keep a sketch book at my desk at all times. I have one at home and one at work. I am not an artist. But I am a strategist. I believe the best thinking starts with a blank page. When we start with a blank page, a pencil and a thought, we can allow our mind to free think, building creative thoughts and associations before we develop a strategy.

The mind map — a simple tool for taking notes, planning campaigns, writing stories — is the most important step in anything I write or develop strategically.

I start with the central idea. I doodle. I draw. I create many different bubbles of thought that grow out of that one concept. I reject the rigidity of a linear page or the software that pushes me into linear formats. The pencil and paper is still my go-to tool.

When I submitted a novel idea to the Canada Council for the Arts, they requested a complete outline. I still wonder what they thought when they received a tube in which I had rolled a huge sheet of post paper. My entire novel was outlined in pencil crayons. Different colours indicating different themes and ideas. Curved lines and idea boxes defining the story. I received the highest grant in Ontario that year…

For me the mind map allows me to think without restriction. It gives me freedom to brainstorm without editing. I don’t follow the rigid rules of Buzan — because I think rigid rules and mind mapping are incongruent. I use chunks of information. I add disjointed boxes that I want to go back to. I use straight lines, curved lines, coloured lines.

For me, the mind map allows my brain to express itself and the ideas hidden in the crevices without restraint. The arrows, curves, lines and other connectors builds relationships between ideas. Sometimes the relationships surprise me. Mind maps reflect  your own mental flexibility, removing the rigidity of straight lines and rigid outlines. The radiant curves of the mind map resist order, yet possess ultimate order.

But most of all, the mind map is a tool that helps me work with many ideas at one time. It takes all the bouncing thoughts and layers them on an empty page. It helps me to organize the many different ideas that are there.

Then, when I approach my keyboard, I come with a sense of direction, confidence and creativity.

Changing Demographics

DATE: June 3rd, 2013

Is it true that the iPhone is the smart phone for the baby boomers?

Here’s how Samsung sees it:

Focusing on appealing features from the perspective of recent college grads quickly positions the phone as new, engaging and youthful. Further positioning the iPhone as unable to do the same functions and putting it into the hands of the post-55 year old augments that central brand position.

The marketing team made good use of Apple’s demographic slide as seen in this chart:

The sharp decline of Gen X and the uptake from the baby boomers shows the generation shift in the smart phone market.

Blackberry was unable to do what Samsung seems to be achieving. First in the market, Blackberry gave early adopters the taste  for the convenience and play of a smart phone. As Apple picked up its game, moving from the iPod to the iPod Touch and then to the iPhone, the Blackberry became the smart phone for the white-collared stodgy set. And, within just a few years dropped to obscurity in the North American market. while they are still fighting, they show up as “other” in most smart phone stats.

Marketing wars are huge in the smart phone sector. It seems only two can wage war at the same time while others dawdle backstage. Watching the campaigns and seeing the impact on purchase celebrates the power of the message. There are many lessons to learn from the genius of marketing. But there are also lessons to learn from the changing times.

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