Last week after I posted this, I continued the conversation about the decreasing importance of the "big idea" in marketing campaigns with Noah, and I figured that the conversation is interesting enough to post here. And, of course, as many many other things invented on the Internet, this format was first seen at NoahBrier.com :) Ok, so this is how the story goes:
Date: June 23
on your big idea post:
Interesting ... Will need to noodle on it for a bit ... I generally agree, though I think the reality of the situation is that you often need a big idea to sell a series of small ideas in, even if you back into it.
Also, check this out: http://www.doohan.com/kdoohan-
And do you think this is dependent on the brand at all? Can you make a blanket statement about telling stories versus building utilities? (I honestly am asking ... I don't know the answer.)
Date: June 23
um, weird re: posting on my blog - thanks for letting me know. hope it's a temporary problem, because i like having your comments there :)
Date: June 25
Okay, a few things.
1. I don't totally get what you mean in what
you're saying about utility, but I ultimately see your question in
where does the big idea come in?
2. Yes to idea as internal communication device.
3. I still think everything is ultimately built off some basic brand idea, right? I mean you can't stray so far from the brand (at least not without context to explain it). So there is some big idea there.
4. On that level I think a big idea does hold some value, it helps keep the brand together across multiple touchpoints so that at least there is some consistency and you're not spending a bunch of money building different brands in consumer's minds (that are actually just one).
5. I don't know that any of this is specific to the web either. I think Geico does it on TV.
Date: June 25
just a quick reply.
While I did not had this in mind when I was writing that post, this crossed my mind just now: Nike+ created different tools around the idea "be a better runner". All those different tools (chip in the shoe, ipod, tracking online; community of runners; inspirational stories by running professionals; Nike running stations; Nike Human Race). While the "big" idea is "be a better runner", how those different "touchpoints" are interacted with and connected with each other depends on individual behavioral patterns (serious runner, casual runner, and everyone in between). Some people use tracking and community; some use just events; some go there to watch videos. There is continuity between points but it is up to individual use. Brand coherence is similarly achieved, through users themselves connecting different points to fit their running style.
While Nike claims that this system is the brand, I do not necessarily agree DailyMile does the same thing for runners as Nike, minus the shoe. Only shoes are branded in the traditional sense, everything else revolves around users' patterns of interacting with different tools on the site.
Date: June 26
That's a good point ... Honestly I think the bottom line is it doesn't matter that much (and never really did). Lots of people talk about the value of total brand coherence, but I can give you good examples in both directions. Ultimately the big idea was always a better story than fact and lots of the very best ideas likely backed into something big, especially on the web.