All posts by inoted

I work for a brand experience agency, Imagination, as the Global Head of Strategy for our Ford work. I am responsible for delivering strategy and constructing narratives for/with brands. And making them happen in an experiential environment - online or offline. I also work with our other clients such as UWSEM and Gypsy Vodka.

Styling better creative briefs


We all dream of writing that brief which makes a creative team sit up and say “My god! This is it, I get it, I love it, I love you, I know exactly what I am going to do!”

Unfortunately that’s more the exception than the rule and the situation is made worse by the fact that planners/strategists/”thought ninjas” (or whatever other name by which you like to be known – polite only) are primarily verbal people.

Why does that make it worse?

Because most of the time we are talking to primarily visual people. If you put a 3 page A4 document in front of a designer it’s not likely to be viewed as a brilliantly incisive piece of valuable thinking. It’s more likely to be seen as a boring tract of unnecessary detail or, in the worst case scenario, a sleep aid.

There is science behind this of course – research into learning styles. There are 4 key learning styles –

  • Aural or Auditory – learners who like to discuss, listen, repeat and debate in order to learn.
  • Visual – learners who grasp ideas more easily if they are illustrated, graphically represented or arranged for instance by using charts and mind maps.
  • Visual (verbal) – learners who take in information through words read/write
  • Kinesthetic – learners who need their learning to be connected to reality through demonstrations, exhibits, case studies etc.

Too often we’re guilty of  putting out briefs and information in ways that are unusable or difficult for others to process, and then we wonder why our carefully crafted masterpieces get ignored.

How to combat this?

  1. Write less – please can we have no more 3 page A4 tomes as briefs. Even I can’t bear them and I love writing (viz and towhit…)
  2. Include imagery – Combine the fundamental  requirements and insights with one picture that expresses the whole concept
  3. Think about immersion – Can we use physical space to brief, experiences to drive understanding?

We now use a brief that has a full page image and 2 pages of ppt size and I’ve found it to be really useful in helping me communicate both fact and emotional concepts. I haven’t yet had an occasion on which to use a Kinesthetic approach but would love to hear from anyone who has on what worked and what didn’t.

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Cool experiential…


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Every Monday I run our Brilliant Experience meeting. We check through the latest and greatest in experiential out there in the world and record it on our Flipboard.

It feeds our brains and our creativity and helps us to set the bar for our work and our aspirations.

https://flipboard.com/@imagination1t3f/brilliant-experience-l3mc9bjey

CES Trends 2018 – Tech and Experiential


It’s a busy time of year at Imagination. We cover SEMA, LA Autoshow, CES and Detroit in 3 short months. The good thing about that is there is a lot to digest and explore and some interesting things to bend your mind around from what the B2B experiential landscape looks like to where technology trends are going in the next 12 months.

Here’s my report from CES  which picks up on some of the trends we were seeing in our Experiential Trends report and identifies a couple of themes from the tech world that we will definitely be using in our future autoshow program.

You can download the paper here…

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Experiential Trends for 2018


The Imagination strategists on the Ford account from both USA and Europe have pulled together the experiential trends they are seeing take hold in 2018. We visit a lot of shows and experiences and we always have our eyes and ears open to other brilliant trend reports.

This is a very experiential focused piece because Imagination is focused on creating connected and connecting experiences so though we do examine some high level mega trends we are looking more closely at design, architecture, technology and behavior in physical space.

Here’s hoping you have a peaceful and happy New Year.

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Best Use of AR – Event Tech Gold Award


I’ve said before I love working with the creatives in Imagination, nothing is impossible to them. Plus we get to work with incredible partners such as Unreal, Kitestring and NCAM. And here’s another example – a world first use of AR at the Detroit autoshow to tell stories about Ford’s cars when people can’t actually see inside them.

We just won a Gold award for this work in the Event Tech awards.

Back to Books – Holiday marketing


Do you remember the Sears Wishbook? (You should they only stopped publishing them in 2011!) Filled with dreams and visions of wonderful gifts, holiday home furnishings, fashions and treats to buy, you could pore over it for hours. And dream.

As digital took over the Sears Wishbook took a rest. But now it’s  back! Why?

It’s a tough time for traditional retailers and Sears is no different. In the past ten years, it has closed nearly 60% of its U.S. stores and its stock has fallen 50% year to date. If you want to cut through the cut price, cut and run efficiency of Amazon you have to offer something more, something Amazon can’t or won’t offer.

Books still communicate something special, representing a moment to yourself which is always attractive in these days of FOMO and LOMO. There’s a particularly aspirational dreaming  around wonderful Christmas you’re going to have which lends itself to a slower more contemplative read than scanning the bright yellow and white pages of Amazon.

Then there’s nostalgia. Refreshing people’s memory about they way they used to buy is a classic and classy play that digs deep into our dreams of Christmas past.

And finally, it’s authentic. The first Wishbook was published in 1934. Sears has history with this so why not tap into that authenticity to remind visitors that the brand is still there, ready to sell them everything?

But what if you don’t have that kind of  history to draw on, yet face many of the same problems? Enter the Toys R Us Christmas catalog.

Like the Sears catalog, it isn’t long, but with less  history to draw on Toys’R’Us has come up with a charming way to tug on the heart strings. Throughout the book are micro-stories written by children as a response to the catalogue montages and they are charming. They create an emotional response, a connection that reminds us of the incredible creativity kids bring to the toys they play with.

And that tangible moment combined with our love of dreaming might make a difference between visiting Toys R Us and sitting glumly in front of your computer this holiday season.