The Jolt! from 02.26.2014

What a fanciful Closing Ceremony! If you’re wondering how you can spend $40 billion on “some games” take a look at that video floor. I wonder if it will be going into rental stock at


How long are your “strategy” statements?

The Art of Crafting a 15-Word Strategy Statement will no doubt cause teeth-gnashing and hair-tearing in the more verbose corners of the event universe, but think of the benefits. For one thing, almost everyone will take time to read 15 words. There is always value to being concise, especially when presenting to senior managers.

This article,  from the HBR Blog, proposes that there are two keys to being concise:

  1. Focus: What you want to offer to the target customer and what you don’t.
  2. Difference: Why your value proposition is divergent from competitive alternatives.

The 15-word constraint is a test that often reveals a profound lack of alignment among managers. In a 100-page strategy document you can state everything you want, which makes everyone in the organization feel comfortable.

While this article is aimed at those in departments with impressive names like Corporate Strategy, creating consensus among all the disciplines represented on an agency pitch team is equally important. It will help everyone get to “yes!” about objectives, creative and budget allocation much faster.

This focus positively influences the pitch.

All great business strategies can be summarized in a short headline. Easy to understand and communicate, they convey clarity internally and externally to the customer.


Is your content strategy ahead of the trends?

After a lightning fast infancy, Content Marketing is becoming more and more like the traditional publishing models that spawned it. The author sums it up in a snappy headline, Content Marketing: A Historical Strategy in the Digital Age.

If the following list doesn’t sound like a publisher and editor talking I don’t know what does.

1. Quality and effective targeting will matter more than quantity.
2. Authors, not posts, will drive growth and take engagement to a new level.
3. Your distribution channels will determine the success of your content.
4. Strategic repurposing will become increasingly important.

An e-book is available for download.

The Big AHA!

How effective are you at changing your audience’s behavior?

Can you do it deliberately and consistently? Really? To me this has always been the never glimpsed Holy Grail of our industry. The very biggest agencies promise to move the audience from A to B… but there’s never been much science behind it. Yes, I know, so much for the emperor’s wardrobe.

10 Scientific Insights That Could Make You A Better Designer will introduce you to Behavior Change Strategy Cards from a design firm called Artefact Group.

The deck of 23 cards is divided into 5 sections, each featuring strategies and examples that will help you understand why the strategies are effective, and prompt you to think through how they might be used.

  • 1.Make it personal: The persuasive power of “me” and “my”
  • 2.Tip the scales: How perceptions of losses and gains influence our choices
  • 3.Craft the journey: Why the entire experience matters
  • 4.Set up the options: Setting the stage for the desired decision
  • 5.Keep it simple: Avoiding undesirable outcomes

Best of all you can download them for free so that you can try them yourself here.

Metrics & ROI

How good is Nate Silver?

So if you are fascinated by Nate Silver and Moneyball, you will enjoy this article by two brothers in the research business who built a model to predict the Sochi medal tally. The article offers up some interesting insights as to how one might tackle a project like this.

I decided to compare their forecast with the final results. A bit of color coding made it easy to see that the countries they predicted would do the best, underperformed by a little to a  lot. I added the gold count just to see what we might see. What was interesting is that Germany which failed to meet the forecast tied Norway which exceeded the forecast for the highest percentage of golds (42%.) One thing you could conclude (in a Moneyball sort of way) is that winning golds is critical to achieving a high overall total, but that should not be confused with a correlation.

Forecast vs Actual

It’s interesting when you bring together data that doesn’t naturally co-exist. You don’t usually see medal counts lined up against all this economic data.

I guess you have to conclude that their algorithms are in need of a bit more fine-tuning. Which makes Mr. Silver’s success with his electoral forecasts all the more impressive.

Marketing 501

Is the topic of how to use gamification starting to come up in your meetings?

Or is it time for you to bring it up? Either way, there is more and more interesting material showing up on the topic. As The Jolt! is intended to keep you the reader ahead of the pack, I am going to be including more coverage. Besides, with a Masters in Education in my background it’s an interesting topic to me.

Given the ever-increasing focus on measurement and testing, it’s not surprising that Gamification which epitomizes something designed to be scored is finding favor. CAI – Computer Assisted Instruction – has been around forever because of the built-in scoring, as well as self-pacing, the ability to combine media types and other attributes. At the end of the day whether you sit in the library in a custom AV carrel or at Starbucks with your iPad the ability to play games with a purpose and learn from them is – dare I say it? – a no brainer.

Gamification 501 – 100 Great Game Based Learning and Gamification Resources is an impressive effort and the breadth of authors and topics is a clear indicator of how fast things are evolving. Think of this one as a self-guided survey course. Here’s a sample from #35 Games: More Than Just Reward Systems.

Games allow players to imagine scenarios, explore worlds, fail, make choices, take risks, fail, learn iteratively, try on different identities, fail, solve puzzles, form groups, think strategically, fail, and find success. Oh and they have points and levels too.

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