While today it might seem commonplace to think that the 3 C’s, collaboration, co-creation and crowdsourcing play a major role in the future of advertising it was a bit of an outlier idea only a few years ago. Nonetheless, it’s something that’s been fueling my quest my whole career. I’ve always looked for opportunities to create more cultural momentum around the ideas. Changing an industry’s culture around an idea is more of a marathon than a sprint.
When I started my first company Sports and Fitness Publishing back in 1986, I was intrigued with how early adopter consumers, or in the case of our magazines, core athletes, could help influence the marketing and product development of the leading brands in a category. There’s a long history in outdoor sports, like climbing, where the lead users and the top brands worked together to push a sport forward. While it wasn’t called co-creation back then, that’s what it was.
After selling Sports and Fitness Publishing to Conde Nast, I was obsessed with applying co-creation to a wider audience, which became the basis of Radar Communications in 2000, as well as the central theme of my second book, Beyond the Brand: Why Engaging the Right Customers is Essential to Winning in Business.
“In this new era, beyond the brand, it is the creative citizens – the people and the brands – that will survive and thrive by co-creating from the bottom-up.” and “Brands that can make the transition to provide honest, original, cultural materials will win.”
It was certainly early days for collaboration and co-creation, more of a theory than anything else. While Radar was a great success, the opportunity to work with Alex Bogusky came in 2007 (to put collaboration and co-creation at the center of Crispin, Porter + Bogusky’s brand strategy). The Radar team became the planning department, a bigger stage to influence culture with the ideas of collaboration and co-creation. As Alex and I wrote Baked-In, we started talking about a sub-category of co-creation: crowdsourcing. We put that theory into practice as we crowdsourced for a client. The results were astounding.
After leaving CP+B I wanted to take the exploration into co-creation and crowdsourcing even deeper with the founding of Victors & Spoils. My good friends from Tango, Scott Beck and Chris Marks, believed in and helped fund Claudia, Evan and I as we explored the new world of abundance in digital and social technologies, accelerating the cultural momentum of the 3 C’s.
In the last couple of years, I’ve had the chance to talk with some of the best thinkers about the future of advertising. Along the way I had the good fortune to meet David Jones. While many in the advertising industry talk the talk about innovation, very few walk the walk. David takes it one step further and runs the run. I was impressed not only by his vision for Havas and One Young World, but also by his bold philosophy outlined in Who Cares Wins. Every conversation we had flowed from a similar world-view that collaboration, co-creation and crowdsourcing are the future of not only advertising, but business itself; and that a deep dedication to becoming a social business can make the world a better place. We both believe that the new competitive advantage is a collaborative advantage.
From those conversations grew a vision to work together to create even more global cultural momentum for collaboration, co-creation and crowdsourcing. I believe that Victors & Spoils and Havas together can change the way advertising is done for both clients and creatives for the better.
Our connection with Havas will give us the ability to accelerate our vision and global reach, enabling us to continue building our community and our digital collaborative tools.
As the Chief Innovation Officer of Havas, I’m honored to be a part of David’s team to help spread this vision even more broadly.