The dance of the meeting room hunt and bluff-double-bluff has many variations but is common to offices large and small across the UK. Open plan offices are still the dominant template for workspace design despite a growing armyofdetractors. So when you need a quiet space for an impromptu chat, the hunt for an empty meeting room begins, and then the dance of trying to negotiate your way into rooms.
A delightful bit of making by Brilliant Noise’s creative director Gareth James has made meeting room headaches just a little less frequent for us all.
A pedestrian-crossing style illuminated sign turns red when a room is booked in its dedicated Google calendar, and green when it is not. This alone is helpful – our main office is a long wide space, so opening up calendars or walking down to see if anyone is in there are both clunky ways of working out if you can use the room.
Even better, though – is the instant room booking button. Pressing it gives you the room for five minutes – automatically booking it into the calendar and a couple of seconds later the light turns red.
Simple things. They make me happy.
Gareth’s going to be posting the details of the project soon, so I’ll be sure to update this post with a link to it when he does…
Things are moving pretty quickly at work at the moment, so I’ve not had much of a chance to reflect or mention things that are going on there – but I can’t let the year slip by without mentioning one really cool thing…
Like Matt Locke says about The Story conference – a big inspiration to us in all sorts of ways – the joy of holding your own conference is that you get to choose the people you want to hear from. With the curatorial genius of Neil Perkin, it was my dream conference – a relentless series of very different but always inspiring points of view.
Adam Tinworth, the best live-blogger in the business, created posts about all of the talks, which you can read by clicking on the speaker biographies on the Dots website.
We had a limited edition set of Artefact Cards – which I love, and have blogged about before – for everyone who attended. On the way out everyone handed in one of their cards with the one most memorable or important thing they would take away from the day. We’ve made that into a poster, so you can view the crowd-sourced notes of dots that were connected on the day – there’s a higher resolution version of this here.
It was great to be featured, especially alongside friends like Storystream, Brandwatch, Project Fuse, 3DIFY, Crunch and Brilliant Noise non-exec, Arjo Ghosh (fittingly pictured seated above the throng, like a kind of start-up deity).
An AdAge article from a few months ago has a couple of bits of advice from Dan Wieden – founder of the formidable creative ad agency Wieden+Kennedy – that make me feel a little brighter, a little bolder a little hungrier everytime I read them (like now at the beginning of a long busy day, at the end of a long, hectic week).
In fact I have them written on big yellow Post-its that migrate from desk to wall to my “brown box” (we have a hot-desk system at Brilliant Noise).
In a talk to the Ad Age Small Agency conference he reflected on the massive, rolling disruption of the media, marketing and business worlds there is massive opportunity for us upstarts…
Giant agencies are wobbling like drunkards… the rest of you should be sharpening your knives.
Oh, how I wish this agency was… small once again. Oh how I wish we were you.
Build a prototype instead of a long presentation or proposal.
Read the rest over there, if that tickles your fancy…
While I’m on the subject of Brilliant Noise, we recently welcomed a couple of fine new team members, Patrick Sansom and Ruth Oliver, while also bidding a sad farewell to Ross Breadmore who has moved to London. He made a big impression in a short time, that chap. He’s being replaced by a similarly brilliant, tall, cycling obsessive – more on him soon…
Over the last couple of weeks the blog at Brilliant Noise has really taken off – mainly because we’ve been joined by some talented bloggers with interesting things to say. Inspired by them I’ve also written a post I’m really pleased with!
There’s no elegant way to cross-post stuff here, so I’ll furnish you with some links to the posts – let me know what you think…
Talking at Google Firestarters – an event for the agency planning community in London – last week, I was one a of a bunch of people briefed with provoking debate about agencies and innovation. Playing on the structure and sentiment of Netflix’s brilliant strategy (“…become HBO faster than HBO can become us”) I suggested that agencies needed to innovate their business models to…
”[…] become McKinsey faster than McKinsey can become us.”
This is pithy way of saying embrace disruptive innovation. Embrace it because the times are a-changing, because if you don’t do it, someone is going to come and do it for you. Disrupt your own business models, find new ones, think about how marketing services are going to change – and then become the change. Invent your future.
Speaking at the brightonSEO conference a week or two back, Lauren made a strong case for content marketing to prioritise content that is actually useful to customers…
By bread and butter, I mean static or evergreen content; the stuff that answers questions like who, what, where, when, why, how much, and helps users to accomplish the task they came to your website with in mind. Affordable, practical and sustaining – it should be the staple in your content diet.
If the content I’m talking about is bread and butter, then I think viral content is jelly beans: it’s tasty and gives you a sugar rush, but not healthy in the long-term. But despite this, I think bread and butter content is sometimes pushed to the edge of the plate at the moment, in favour of the more colourful and exciting project of trying to ‘go viral’.
Ross picked up Lauren’s theme and expanded it to marketing strategy, pointing out a number of factors that keep marketers addicted to the spectacular, when customers are just looking for brands to do their job and keep their promises. For example “presentation-ism”:
Bread simply isn’t sexy. It’s not as appealing to stand at a conference and explain how you understood the needs of your average user and then redesigned the IA on your product pages accordingly, when you could be showing impressive download stats of a mobile app created with a spurious campaign in mind. Likewise when sending round the measurement report at the end of the quarter, would you rather tell stories of incremental shifts in customer satisfaction through a social customer service portal, or report a massive spike in ‘engagement’ caused by some zeitgeist-y activity and a chunk of paid advertising?
On a very practical note, our data specialist, Beth gives a useful run-down on how to make an infographic that’s (a) actually an infographic and not an illustration and (b) engaging and useful. Especially useful if you’re not a data expert yourself, as it gives you some god hints on how to brief designers.
Meet the team…
Lastly, the Brilliant Noise team has been growing in recent months. I’ve put up some posts – but here’s some links…
This is a blog post about the newest cinema in Brighton, Dukes at Komedia, which opens this Friday (after a launch party tomorrow).
It’s a personal post, even though my company is working with the company that owns the cinema, Picturehouse Cinemas.
This is written because I really love the place. I’ve been a fan of the original Duke ofYork’s cinema in Brighton since I was a student at Sussex in the early 90s (my minor was Film Studies, so I could sometimes claim my visits were part of my work).
Image: A photo mural of the old Duke’s going up in the café of Dukes at Komedia
There are no shortage of opportunities to buy media space – the real estate, as it were is increasing – it is just that the attention you will find there is dwindling -as in, there’s less people looking at it – and shallow people avoid the ads (skipping, blocking) or shift their focus three quarters have another screen right in front of them while they are watching TV, for instance.
The conclusion? Brands need to invest in their ability to create, curate and distribute content, or “content capabilities” as Forrester puts it.
Right now there’s a couple of workflow projects I’m tinkering with, in the hope of not just getting more done, but more of what I want done.
Leaving the the laptop at home
I haven’t managed to do it yet, but this is about trying to use my iPad as a laptop replacement. My backpack is ridiculously heavy, and while it is a small triumph of The North Face baggage engineering the temptation is always to fill all of the useful little pockets so that I am never without everything I might possibly need to establish a mobile office. Travelling light is definitely not my style.