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.

How I write trends pieces

rainroomIt’s that time of year again, time to prepare the Imagination Experiential Trends for the coming year. This year I thought I would share how we decide what the trends are that we need to share and how we carve out a distinctive space in a crowded market.

I have four rules for creating valuable trend pieces.


  1. First – and I hate to tell you this – but you need to collect examples of thinking and developments throughout the year. I start in January. (I got the idea from Rohit Bhargava, who is expert at mining immediate futures. He actually has a set of habits for trend curators and recommends this note-taking process.) We keep an internal document, but if you are interested in the kind of things we collect you can follow us all year at Brilliant Experiences on Flipboard.
  2. Second, collect and curate the delightful, new, unique AND make a note of common things that seem to come up time and again. You need to make connections between the two to really work out where trends are coming from.
  3. Third, carve out your own particular space, make it relevant to your agency or yuor agency’s business vision. We focus on trends in the experiential space, because we are an experiential agency. Trends are two-a-penny at this time of year, so if you want to provide value to clients and cut through all the chatter you have to find a point of difference.
  4. Fourth, tie your immediate future trends into longer term mega-trends. Mega-trends are longer term movements in attitudes, identities and it’s helpful for clients and the wider world to understand the context of the trends you identify. That way they get an idea of how long a trend might last or if it fits into their own planning and visioning. It also adds to the understanding that your trend really is a trend and not a fad.

Trend predictions are an inexact science but just thinking about futures means you provide extra value to clients and the rest of your agency, by making sure you move just ahead of where customers are, instead of playing catch up. Plus it generates great creative and it’s incredibly inspiring.




Halloween costume

All the Ruths
(and a member of the Court of Owls…)

A group of us at work dressed up in Halloween costume today. After discussing the B52s and the ladies from AbFab we finally hit upon all of us dressing up as Ruth Bader Ginsburg. So we did.

Why? She is intelligent, empowered, holds her own and serves as a role model of what women can accomplish, wherever they are, whatever age and in whatever situation.

We want to be like her when we grow up.

Event Tech Awards and Conference 2018

abstract art blur bright
Photo by Pixabay on
More good news from Imagination Detroit, we are up for two awards at the Event Tech awards:-
Best use of Social Media – For Bullitt
Best use of AV – For Ranger film
And it’s good news for me too. I will be attending the conference with one of my colleagues, hopefully to collect the award,but more importantly to explore new developments in story-telling and marketing technologies that will enhance our events for visitors.
There are always great speakers at Event Marketer conferences so I’m looking forward to learning.

AI and Brand Comms

We’ve been using AI for measurement for the last year at Imagination and got some extremely useful insights into behavior at our experiences. And it’s comforting to think of AI as a rationale tool for delivering facts you can’t argue with that back up our subjective opinions.

But there is another side to AI that creative agencies should be interested in: the potential for AI to massively disrupt the creative and strategic outputs that we work on every day. 

It’s attractive to tell ourselves that AI isn’t going to replace the creative process, that there is some secret sauce only humans can bring to an artistic output which can’t be replicated by machines. And my hunch is that eventually this will be the case – the imperfections and flaws in our output and the cognitive leaps we make will ensure that human outputs continue to be valued, will actually become a luxury. But the very thing that will make human designed and built objects luxurious is that they will be rare. In other words, the majority of the creative output we consume will be generated by AIs.

Bleak? Maybe, but we aren’t there yet. 

Read my paper to find out more about how we can use AI positively in brand communications and experiences today, and why we need to prepare for AI’s growing impact on our tomorrow. 

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

So proud to be have been part of the team that has won a clean sweep this year in the Telly Awards. We entered 4 and won 4 for our work on the Ford press conference and films we made for Edge, Mustang and Ranger in the non-broadcast.

We also won bronze in the Non-Broadcast Charitable Category for United Way South East Michigan.

I’m particularly pleased with this because they are a great client and a powerful force for good in this area. The strategy was taken directly from a short survey we ran amongst our contacts across the region asking simply “What do you think about when we say United Way?”. Our answers were pretty evenly split between the macro and the micro, but there was no connection between the two. So we focused on the insight that humans love to feel connected – to each other and particularly to the charities they support. The brief was focused a quote from Helen Keller and an image of a mosaic:-

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

This was the resulting creative ‘On our Way’ generating  65,000 views on Facebook and 171 shares.