The Internet Is A Bullshit Detector

Tonight was the 4th and final installment of the Conversations About The Future Of Advertising (CATFOA) speaking series for 2011. Similar to the last CATFOA event in 2010, an audible was called to bring in speakers to take the place of a speaker who ran into unforeseen scheduling difficulties. And, like he did last year with Robert Stephens and Dan Beranek, Tim Brunelle did a fantastic job of iterating on the fly by bringing it with more futuristic marketing goodness. This time in the form of Dennis Ryan (Chief Creative Officer, Olson) and Jim Cuene (Director, Interactive Marketing, General Mills).

As always, the conversation was equally informative and inspirational. It enlightened the audience to think about advertising in a different way by challenging the status quo and reasonably considering the ever-changing world of communications and technology. Throughout the conversation, three main themes surfaced worth noting. Here they are, with a minor spin inclusive of my interpretation and perspective.

Integrity Leads, Technology Follows

Companies that win have brands people care about and demonstrate belief in the integrity of their products and services. Brands who possess this strength have the unique opportunity to leverage interactive marketing and technology to express their stories in a remarkable way that differentiates them in the marketplace.

The Anomaly Of Innovation

Innovation is hard to plan for or predict. Its outcome is uncertain. The risk-averse nature of our culture works against marketers and agencies as we push to find the time for exploration. Opportunistically, marketers strive to allocate a finite amount of resources to spur the innovation needed to keep our organizations moving forward. Realistically, marketers are constantly chasing the time to innovate, but struggle to find the time to do so. Furthermore, the essence of innovation breeds failure, which oftentimes strangleholds marketers and we obsess over the why versus the why not.

The Internet Is A Bullshit Detector

Both Dennis and Jim were asked about how their respective organizations are engaging “the crowd” to help them tell the stories about the brands they serve. Dennis talked about Olson’s focus on making meaningful connections with people and how this can result in the development of influential communities who willingly share their brand affiliation. Jim echoed these comments and added that, if brands aren’t empathetic and take the time to connect with people through storytelling, the Internet will detect their bullshit. The Internet not only detects bullshit, but it does so in real-time.

Having said all that, I leave you with this ...

Lead with a purpose. Find reasons and the time to innovate. Leave the bullshit behind.