All posts by inoted

I work for a london brand experience agency, Imagination, in their Digital Comms department. I am responsible for delivering strategy and constructing narratives for/with brands. And making them happen in a digital environment - online or offline.

Changing Minds on Important Issues

I’m still thinking about Brexit. I’ve been thinking about the role of social media and how social networks contributed or didn’t contribute to the outcome of the vote.

For anyone else facing a big vote in, say, the next 4 months, who is worried about the potential result, I would say this: there are 2 things to learn from the Brexit vote.

1. There is little point posting your views into your own social network (ie the group of people you habitually socialize with on Facebook or Twitter) because your social network is  likely to think the same way you do. You are just reinforcing what your network already thinks, you aren’t changing minds.

2. You can’t rely on the fact that someone else out there is going to communicate the message you are interested in to the people outside your network – there isn’t a proactive “them” out there who are going to campaign and canvas, you can’t rely on politicians or activists to do that.

So if you have a message to get across how would you do that?

The podcast below from YANSS (  is quite long but the first half hour is set up and you can get most of what you need for context from the description of the content in the podcast. It describes an approach to changing minds that delivers a 10% opinion change. Doesn’t sound like much does it? But in political science that kind of percentage change is incredibly exciting. That kind of percentage change can move election results.

The approach is called Deep Canvassing and it is about respectfully engaging with the other by exploring with them situations in their own lives that help them to empathise with your viewpoint. Respect is important, after all, even though political scientists get excited about the 10% that still means 90% won’t change their minds.

Here’s a quote from one of the canvassers,

“There is nothing you can tell this person that is going to change their mind…when we see facts and figures that don’t align with our opinions our gut instincts lead us to reject those opinions”

We like to believe that if we can just explain the facts, why then people will come round to our way of thinking. The truth is that emotions, feelings and experience carry way more weight.

Whether you are a strategist looking for new ways to engage audiences or a concerned citizen with friends/interest groups you want to influence I recommend you listen to this podcast.


Generation X – Help us with research

The Imagination Insight team have a regular cadence of releasing reports, but to deliver those reports we need to do some research!

We are well into a set of research into Generation X, those people between the ages of 37 and 51 who are often considered by marketers as Parents or Singles, Working Women,  but not often considered as a generation. What does that mean? It means that fundamental drivers of Generation X’s thoughts and opinions are lost in the scramble to get their money. It also means that products and services that might be genuinely useful to Gen X are never even dreamed up – because the focus is on their functions more than their identities.

This doesn’t happen for Millennials, Gen Z or Boomers by the way. Marketers are all over them and their motivations. If you are a Gen X (like me) you are probably shrugging your shoulders or laughing cynically. It’s always been like this for us, right?

So I would like to invite you to share some of your opinions and experiences. It might be fun for you and would be incredibly useful to us in creating new experiences that really work for Generation X.

Visit Survey on Survey Monkey – click here


Winner Telly Awards 2016

The Detroit Imagination team has won two Telly Awards for films we created for Ford’s giant LED (130ft x 15ft). The Escape Urban Adventures film for which the team won the Silver is below (the Silver is the highest award in the Tellys – go figure)  They also won a Bronze award for a film about the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid

It’s always nice to win awards and particularly when you are proud of the work. I think the team did a great job making work that really conveys the identity of the products and speaks to the audience. I didn’t work on them myself so I’m allowed to big them up!


Non-planning books for planners 4 – Invisible Romans

19241863Another in the series of books I think are useful for planners to read that appear to have nothing to do with planning/strategy. This book is, as the title suggests, about the Romans who never appear in the works of the great writers – prostitutes, slaves, merchants, people like you and me.

Culture is consumed by the average person but we get fixated on the super stars, the rich, the famous, the extraordinary. This is particularly true when we think about history. It’s not surprising and may not even be wrong, but it’s not helpful if you are trying to create interesting experiences today. To do that you need to focus on the average Jo because they are the ones who are likely to engage with and be influenced by what you’ve created.

So don’t go looking for the extreme, look for the common, shared experience of the nobodys and you will find that you create communications that actually mean something.

This book is also a great reality check on local states of privilege in history as compared with our own state of privilege. Are we the senatorial class of the modern Roman empire? That’s a different blog post.

the Indian netflix of books

juggernaut-2What a great idea – create a netflix for books. Indian app Juggernaut is exploring delivering books to people including social recommendation, allowing writers to talk to their readers and specifically designed for smartphones.


interestingly, the approach is focused on short form and serialised works and there is an editorial focus on popular and commercially successful in India, such as romance, sex, crime, self-help and fantasy, non-fiction, and books for young adults and teens.

According to Mashable India has the second-largest and one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world with 220 million smartphone users. This, combined with a clear focus on the user’s needs both from a content and a usability perspective makes me think Juggernaut is going to live up to its name.


Best experiential programme

Very proud that Ford’s redesigned experience at the New York International Autoshow won the award for the Best New York International Auto Show Experiential Program.

A team from across Imagination in Detroit and London worked really hard to drive this vision through and bring it to life ,with great client support. It’s lovely when your hard work is recognized.

Here’s a quote,

The company’s live “social square” as well as other changes the automaker made to its display stand pushed it over the edge, says Scotty Reiss, co-founder, SheBuysCars.comand president of the International Motor Press Association.

“The entire stand has been completely redesigned for this year’s shows and integrates the lifestyle experience into the models,” Reiss notes. “So, for instance, you don’t just see a crossover, but rather a lifestyle you can identify with. There is merchandise that consumers can buy, a social media station, a button-making stand and in the truck area on the lower level they have a BraunAbility Explorer that lets customers see and experience how they can still have the style, capability and fun they want in an SUV.”

What’s particularly different is our approach to social which focuses on connecting with people who might ordinarily avoid autoshows altogether. Check it out…


Notes from austin

On the third day at SXSW I thought I might note a few things that I have observed in the talks and the environments at the conference.


Makey-makey spaces
There are makers here and there are makey-style spaces. Brands are using natural textures and combining them with classic digital materials to create lounges or stands that will appeal to Millennials

Coffee at the 3M Lounge
Coffee making at the 3M lounge
Cardboard trees at PBS
Cardboard trees at PBS









Human and Machine
There’s a lot about interfaces – not surprising.  A lot about coming together, again not surprising, particularly with Obama’s visit yesterday. There’s a feeling of questioning and trying to understand what the interface means and unsurprisingly there’s lots of stuff on VR. It comes up quite a bit in questions as well as in the sponsored spaces. Unsurprisingly, with the launch of Gear and the latest Samsung which connects with it,  Samsung have a lounge which puts a moving VR pod at its heart.

Digital identity and personal identity is coming through strongly with a least 2 talks about how you exist on the dark net and two unrelated talks on the way identity plays out with Gen Z  – fluidly, without prejudice.

Dove's twitter campaign on beautyDove have a launch of a new campaign #SpeakBeautiful which looks at how women talk about beauty on twitter.





Experience design beyond the practicalities
Many people here are talking about the human side of experiences ie the UX around emotions, scents and sights rather than how to build a good one or ‘what I did for Brand X’. There was a fascinating talk about building experiences for online retail properties – most of which revolve around creating offline communities and providing physical moments eg Kit and Ace  hosting supper clubs without a sales end in view, or Disney designing spaces around safety and happiness.

More information as more themes and ideas emerge.