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Artists and Internet Marketing: a Conversation with Mark McGuinness and John T. Unger

Drawing containing the words: The market for something to believe in is infinite

Drawing by Hugh MacLeod

My recent article Why Artists and Creatives Have an Unfair Advantage at Internet Marketing turned out to be one of the most popular things I’ve ever written at Wishful Thinking. So if it touched a chord with you then you might like to download the hour-long podcast interview I recorded with John T. Unger, in which I expanded on the opportunities and pitfalls of internet marketing for creative people.

I’ve never met John in person, but due to the wonders of modern communications I’m pleased to count him among my friends. Read my interview with John T. Unger over at Lateral Action to learn about the amazing business he’s built himself as an artist, sculptor and ‘impossibility mediation specialist’ leveraging the power of the Internet. His podcast blog Art Heroes Radio is essential listening for 21st century artists, and I was delighted to join the panel of experts he’s interviewed about the business of art and the out of business.

In the course of the interview, we cover topics such as:

  • why artists are resistant to marketing in general and marketing themselves in particular
  • why we are scared of selling out or just plain scared
  • the pain of trying to balance time spent on marketing with time in the studio
  • why it’s no good just posting your artwork, writings, videos etc. and hoping this will magically lead to fame and fortune
  • practical tips on things like like using a professional blog platform, getting people to subscribe and writing headlines that get your work noticed

The audio file is free to download and share, so do forward the link to any of your friends who you think would benefit from it.

Social Media and Community Sport – Channel 4 Thursday 1st May

Celtic football club

Photo by LittleMissSilly

I’m on a panel next Thursday 1st May, at All Together Now – Social Media and the Future of Community Sport, a joint Sport England and Channel 4 event at the Channel 4 building.

This is what it’s about:

Over the course of the past three years the emergence of blogging, social networking services and platforms which showcase and share user generated content have transformed the possibilities of how we connect, converse and collaborate with one another.

’In the 20th Century, we were defined by what we owned, in the 21st Century we will be defined by what share and give away’ Charles Leadbeater, author of We Think

The potential for organisations and brands to harness these technologies and tools to engage with users, customers and their communities in radically new ways is becoming clear.

How can all those organisations working to promote active participation in sports and the brands that wish to sponsor their activates and campaigns work together to make the most of the unrivalled viral power and network effects of the web in the run up to 2012?

Other speakers will include Thomas Godfrey, Commercial Director of Sport England, Jon Gisby, Director of Technology and New Media at Channel 4, Rebecca Caroe, Gi Fernando of Technlightenment, Antony Mayfield and Ed Mitchell.

I’ll be there as an ambassador for social media, to share my experience of blogging, social networking, Twitter, etc. and give the representatives of sports organisations some idea of the possibilities and pitfalls of engaging with people via the web.

After receiving the invitation I was struck by two thoughts: 1. How much time I spend on football messageboards when I should probably be doing something else, and following on from that, 2. that sport may be the ultimate social object [WARNING: cartoon with rude word] i.e. conversation starter and social catalyst. If I meet a stranger and they let slip they’re interested in football, I know we’ll have plenty to talk about and there will be no awkward silences (well not unless they turn out to be a Rangers fan).

So it looks to me as though sports organisations have an open goal in front of them – they have something that most people love to talk about and nearly anyone has an opinion on. But will they slot the ball calmly home or sky it over the bar? Or will they be fatally distracted by the animated advertising board behind the goal?

There are still a few free tickets left, so if you’re interested in any combination of social media, sport and marketing, then register for the event, ask me some easy questions during the debate, and come and say hello afterwards.

If you can’t make it on the day but you’ve got any thoughts on how sports or other organisations should engage with people via social marketing, please leave a comment below. I don’t think I’ll be able to link to you from the stage but I’ll certainly Twitter my thanks if I use any ideas from the comments.

Thanks to Steve Moore of Policy Unplugged for inviting me to join the panel and giving me an excuse to post a photo of Celtic.

EDIT: I’ve posted my presentation slides to Slideshare. You can probably tell I was trying to keep things as simple as possible.

Channel 4 Podcast – Why Blogging Is More Fun than Interrupting a Stranger with a Phone

New Media 4Cast

Social media enthusiast and all round good egg Antonio Gould recently interviewed me for one of Channel 4′s New Media 4Casts. I talk about the difference blogging has made to my own business, particularly in terms of making new friends and attracting new clients without having to interrupt them with a cold call. I also offer some suggestions on planning and writing a blog to promote your creative business.

The blogs I mention in the podcast are Copyblogger (excellent advice on writing blog posts), Gapingvoid (weird and wonderful uses of a blog – i.e. using rude cartoons to sell South African wine, Saville Row suits, Scottish feature films and Microsoft), and David Airey (great example of using a blog to growing your business as a creative freelancer).

If you’re considering starting a blog you should also have a good look at Problogger (start with his series on Blogging for Beginners) and read every single post on Skelliewag (there aren’t that many, but she’s achieved phenomenal success in a few short months – and tells you how she did it.).

The programme also features Emily Martin talking about how she makes a living as an artist from her beautiful Black Apple blog and Etsy shop – well worth checking these out if you want to use the internet to sell your artwork or other products.

Another contributor, Nick Booth, offers some excellent practical tips on podcasting and videocasting, and how letting go of copyright control can benefit you as a creative professional.

My bit starts at 7.50 but I recommend you listen to the whole thing, particularly if you’re relatively new to the whole social media/blogging scene. Antonio has done a terrific job of assembling the interviews to give an engaging overview of the possibilities for artists and other creative types.

As they say in all the best cheesy commercials – it worked for me, it could work for you too.

Bonus links: my pages on Blogging for Creative Professionals and why A Blog Is for Life, Not Just for Christmas.

Winning Pitches with Personality Types – Agency Event with Rebecca Caroe, 22nd November

If you’re involved with pitches and new business for your agency, you may like to come along to a free breakfast event I’m running with Rebecca Caroe in central London at 8am on Thursday 22nd November.

The Enneagram of Personality Types

I’ll be talking to Rebecca and taking questions from the audience about the Enneagram system of personality types, and how it can help agencies in a pitch situation, where the personal chemistry between agency and client team can be crucial to success.

If you followed my series on the Enneagram series of personality types for Successful Blog, then you’ll know I’ve been using the Enneagram for around 10 years, helping understand themselves and others better, and achieve their goals in sales, management, training, teamwork, negotiation and their personal and professional development.

Rebecca is a consultant specialising in business development, marketing and sales for PR, advertising, airect mail, and digital agencies. She’s very creative, focused and practical. We’ve had a lot of fun knocking ideas around between us and finding points of common interest. So I’m looking forward to a stimulating and enjoyable conversation on the 22nd – if you’re interested in joining us, please send me an e-mail.

PSFK Conference – Morning

PSFK Logo
Very enjoyable time at the PSFK London conference the other day. It’s being extensively blogged elsewhere (links below) so I won’t try to cover the whole thing, just edited highlights. If you’re not familiar with the PSFK blog, it describes itself as “a lens of changes in cultural behaviour that influence all of us” – or to mix the metaphor, it’s a constant stream of new trends in media, business, fashion, the environment, entertainment etc etc. For someone like me it’s an interesting read, for professional marketers I gather it’s essential.

So where are all these trends leading us? The first conference session presented us with contrasting visions of the future. First up was Timo Veikkola, whose job is predicting the future for Nokia. I was intrigued to learn that we’re currently in a “Noah’s Ark period” of floods, cataracts and hurricanoes, not to mention Famine, War, Pestilence etc – but that by 2010 or so we’ll see renewed optimism in society, which apparently happens at the dawn of every decade. I was fascinated by Timo’s predictions and explanations of how he extrapolates from “What’s happening now?” to “What’s going to happen next?”. By the end of his presentation I was even starting to feel (dare I say it) quite optimistic. Thenl the bubble was burst (for me) when we were presented with the following quotation, apparently without irony:

“The one fact about the future of which we can be certain is that it will be utterly fantastic.” Arthur C. Clarke.

I was horrified. Surely the one fact about the future of which we can be certain is that we can’t be certain of it? And surely we’ve seen enough of the Brave New World to suggest that it’s not likely to be relentlessly “fantastic”?

Regine Debatty

As if on cue, Regine Debatty of We Make Money Not Art stepped up to offer a distinctly less Utopian take on the shape of things to come. [Read more...]

PSFK Friday

I’m off to the PSFK conference on Friday – if you’re going and fancy meeting up, send me an e-mail.

PSFK

A Blog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas – British Library Talk

Thanks to Create KX for inviting me to speak at the British Library‘s Business & IP Centre last night, about blogging for creative businesses. And thanks to everyone who came along to make it a really enjoyable evening. It was also a pleasure to meet fellow speaker Paul Caplan and hear his enthusiastic take on the live web.

As promised, here are the slides from the talk, some technical explanations of blogging tools and RSS, plus links to all the blogs I mentioned in the talk. Enjoy!

Mark

If you…

If you were at the talk the links below will take you to all the tools and sites I mentioned last night. You can also get all my future posts about creativity, coaching and the people factor in creative business, via RSS or e-mail.

If you weren’t at the talk, I hope the slides and links give you some food for thought.

If you run a creative business in the King’s Cross area of London, you should get in touch with Sian James and the team at Create KX, they’re working very hard to help people like you.

If you run a creative business within striking distance of the British Library, you should check out the Business & IP Centre, it’s a fantastic resource for entrepreneurs – lots of business books, journals, reports, research etc. And you can get a British Library reader’s ticket for free, and access the entire library.

OK I think that covers everyone, on with the links…

Slides from the presentation

Here are the slides from my presentation – you can also download them as a pdf from Slideshare.

[Read more...]

Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian

Research ProjectI’m very pleased that Mark Earls is the next interviewee in this series on Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries, as his book Welcome to the Creative Age was one of the inspirations behind the project – particularly his concept of the “accelerator manager”, whose job is to “help my people get a better job next time”.

Mark EarlsMark Earls is one of the leading thinkers about brands, marketing and consumer behaviour. He has been described variously as “one of the Advertising scene’s foremost contrarians” and “the Christopher Hitchens of advertising and marketing”. But mostly he just refuses to accept received wisdom and is determined to make us all think a bit harder to get better results.

Mark has been an account planner for most of his working life. He has held senior positions in some of the largest and most influential communications companies in the world – his last job was as chair of Ogilvy’s Global Planning Council, prior to which he was Planning Director at the revolutionary St. Luke’s Communications. He was Vice Chair of the The Account Planning Group and has judged a number of awards competitions in the UK and abroad for communications and marketing effectiveness and innovation and even collaboration between arts and business.

HerdHis written work has regularly won awards from his peers and is considered by many to be amongst the most influential being written today. His first book, Welcome to the Creative Age, was widely read and discussed and has been translated into several languages. Dominic Mills of Campaign Magazine called it, “the book that Naomi Klein should have written”.

His latest book, Herd: how to change mass behaviour by harnessing our true nature challenges our Western received wisdom about mass behaviour and develops an alternative model rooted in our ‘Herd’ nature and has already received strong endorsement from other leading practitioners and theorists both in the US and the UK. The story continues on Mark’s blog, a welcome recent addition to the conversation.

Mark is in much demand as conference speaker around the world – in recent years he has spoken in the UK, USA, Argentina, France, Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Spain. He lives in North London and is currently preparing his next book and doing the odd bit of consulting for interesting companies and people.

Mark’s interview is a great way to draw the research project to a close for 2006. Early in 2007 I’ll publish the research report here as a free download. Many thanks to Mark and all my other interviewees for being so generous with their time and expertise.

Click the ‘AUDIO MP3′ icon below to hear the interview.

Table of contents for Research: Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries

  1. Take Part in My Research – ‘Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries’
  2. Research Project: Definition of ‘Coaching’ for this Project
  3. Research Project: Definition of ‘Creative Industries’
  4. Questionnaire for Managers in the UK Creative Industries
  5. Questionnaire for Employees in the UK Creative Industries
  6. Online questions for UK Creative Industry Staff
  7. Interview with Mick Rigby, Managing Director, Monkey Communications
  8. Research Project Featured on ‘Better Business Blogging’
  9. Interview with Ruth Kenley-Letts, Film Producer
  10. Interview with Chris Arnold, Executive Creative Director, BLAC
  11. Interview with Russell Davies, Advertising Planning Maestro
  12. Interview with Chris Hirst, Managing Director, Grey London
  13. Interview with David Roberts, Senior Project Manager, Creative Launchpad
  14. Interview with Neil Youngson, Technical Director, Cabinet UK Ltd
  15. Interview with Greg Orme, Chief Executive, Centre for Creative Business
  16. Interview with Chris Grant, Consultant, 14A Conversations
  17. Interview with Antonio Gould, Consultant, and Sara Harris, Screen Media Lab
  18. Interview with Richard Scott, Surface Architects
  19. Interview with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager, SIX Showroom
  20. Interview with Sian Prime, NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme
  21. Interview with Jill Fear, CPD Manager, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
  22. Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair
  23. Interview with Matt Taylor, Director, Fat Beehive
  24. Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian
  25. Interview with David Amor, Creative Director, Relentless Software

Creative Links

There are some excellent creative blogs out there – here are a few recent posts that have chimed in with my creative interests.

Whistle Through Your Comb

A new discovery this week, via Russell’s post of the month. Having blogged about creative environments, I thoroughly enjoyed The Perfect Office – which is emphatically not the kind of creative showroom where ‘the architecture is meant to communicate to the onlooker, “we’re highly creative.”‘:

I think an agency should not look at its office as a place: it should look at it as a tool. In other words, agencies should not create architecture that communicates creativity. They should create architecture that generates creativity.

Among the suggestions for a truly creative office are “No headphones… ever” – the author evidently agrees with the Creative Review blog that iPods Can Seriously Damage Your Creativity.

Noisy Decent Graphics

Great post on what it’s like to be a graphic designer – The Design Disease. Subjectivity rules on Wishful Thinking – I’m always fascinated to glimpse the world of someone who works in a different creative field, and this gives an good idea of what it’s like to be thrilled by arrows and tormented by shocking kerning. I draw the line at choosing a book by its cover though.

Cookin’ Relaxin’

Another new find, with an ingenious analysis of ways to consume Time based media such as music and radio programmes. With creative synaesthesia fresh in my mind, I’m intrigued by the visual representations of radio shows – and it’s worth reading to the end for the fractal bit.

Logic + Emotion

David Armano has put together a nice end-of-year e-book in the words of his readers:

2006: The year of…
PC (Power Consumer)
Connection
2.0
Business + Design
Video
Creativity
People

Download page: 2006 in your words

Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair

Research ProjectThis interview for my research into Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries was with Terry Childs, who has the dual roles of Managing Director and Creative Director at Silver Chair.

Terry ChildsFounded in 1998 Silver Chair has developed into an agency with international experience in creativity and media, working on brands such as BMW, Barclays, Kellogg’s, Sears, BT, Norwich Union, HSBC and Land Rover. 2006 saw the agency expand with the launch of Silver Chair Digital.

Terry is the Managing Director and Creative Director at Silver Chair and has spent over 15 years in the marketing communications industry. During this time he has worked for both agencies and clients including Ogilvy & Mather, WWAV, Leo Burnett, BT, Norwich Union, Safeway, BMW and has recently developed campaigns for tic tac, Yamaha and the Department For Education and Skills.

scgray2.JPG

Terry gave an entertaining account of the challenges involved in managing creative professionals. He also described Silver Chair’s internal mentoring programme, and highlighted the importance of using appropriate terminology when ‘selling’ a development initiative to a creative team.

Click the ‘AUDIO MP3′ icon below to hear the interview.

Table of contents for Research: Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries

  1. Take Part in My Research – ‘Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries’
  2. Research Project: Definition of ‘Coaching’ for this Project
  3. Research Project: Definition of ‘Creative Industries’
  4. Questionnaire for Managers in the UK Creative Industries
  5. Questionnaire for Employees in the UK Creative Industries
  6. Online questions for UK Creative Industry Staff
  7. Interview with Mick Rigby, Managing Director, Monkey Communications
  8. Research Project Featured on ‘Better Business Blogging’
  9. Interview with Ruth Kenley-Letts, Film Producer
  10. Interview with Chris Arnold, Executive Creative Director, BLAC
  11. Interview with Russell Davies, Advertising Planning Maestro
  12. Interview with Chris Hirst, Managing Director, Grey London
  13. Interview with David Roberts, Senior Project Manager, Creative Launchpad
  14. Interview with Neil Youngson, Technical Director, Cabinet UK Ltd
  15. Interview with Greg Orme, Chief Executive, Centre for Creative Business
  16. Interview with Chris Grant, Consultant, 14A Conversations
  17. Interview with Antonio Gould, Consultant, and Sara Harris, Screen Media Lab
  18. Interview with Richard Scott, Surface Architects
  19. Interview with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager, SIX Showroom
  20. Interview with Sian Prime, NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme
  21. Interview with Jill Fear, CPD Manager, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
  22. Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair
  23. Interview with Matt Taylor, Director, Fat Beehive
  24. Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian
  25. Interview with David Amor, Creative Director, Relentless Software