Monday, January 19, 2009

Good Old lecture at Hyper Island

In December 2008, Björn Jeffery, CEO at Good Old, held lectures about strategic thinking, together with Garberg's Nina Åkestam who spoke about planning for students in both Karlskrona and Stockholm.

We caught up with Björn to find out more.

What is Good Old about?
We're a web agency that focuses on strategy for digital media. We don't do any advertising, which surprisingly enough is very uncommon for a web agency. Instead we help our clients with the things that precede the advertising. Their business online, in short.

Why is observing trends important?
Difficult question as the word "trend" is slightly misused to contain anything from major societal change to minor fashion statements. I would say that it is important to follow movement - specifically online - as the time period for change to occur has shortened so much. For a B2C company it is crucial to understand current consumer behaviour online. Therefore you need to have an eye on the things that change and/or affect this behaviour. Online, this means having a macro perspective on social movement to make sure that your offer is still relevant and in the right places.

What do you think will happen in the digital media industry in the upcoming years?
Maturity, and probably change to a more honest model regarding payment and measurement. Media agencies (and ad agencies in the US, if I've understood it correctly) charge in part by cutting a piece of the media spend for advertising. This means it is their interest to recommend expensive media. This isn't a viable model. So the industry will continue its slow stride towards measurability and long term planning. That's where the internet strategy comes in. When companies realise that they are in the internet business - whether they like it or not - they will have to start taking it more seriously. And that's when you need a strategy that supports your business objectives.

In connection the shift [from campaigns/short-time commitment to visitors to more of an interaction that will eventually add value to visitors' lives], do you foresee a change of attitude on a larger scale in people in general?
Definitely. The interest for non-value-adding advertising is very low. Compare it to search marketing for instance - a sponsored link is an ad that offers you something that you probably were looking for anyway. If you go to an online paper and get a bunch of flashing banner ads, chances are that the message in the banners weren't what you were looking for. It will be increasingly difficult to catch consumers attention, and I think that the easiest way of doing it will be to add value to them in the arenas where they are.

In your lecture you brought up Blue Ocean, what other sources of information/inspiration have helped you in your work?
I don't seem to have much patience for reading books so I get most of my information from blogs and magazines. A never ending source of inspiration is JP Rangaswami, Managing Director ofr BT Design. His blog Confused Of Calcutta blows my mind everytime I read it.

If you were looking for an intern, what type of work/attitude/marketing standpoint that a person could present would spark your interest?
Firstly, we are quite restrictive about interns as it is important that both parties will gain from the internship. So if the expectations aren't inline, then there is no point. Secondly, we look for people that are genuinly interested in the internet and that understands what makes it move and breathe. Understanding (or preferably, participating in) the open source community is worth a thousand times what a cool flash site in the portfolio would be. We always ask what people have done when they haven't been working or been in school. That says a lot about people.

What would you rate as two of the most important skills/mindsets a person who works in the digital media industry should possess to keep up to date with trends/online behavior?
Curiousity and the willingness to try things that you have never done before. No question about it.

Any final words of advice for Hyper Island students?
The material I've seen come out of Hyper Island is always impressing from an execution point of view. Still, it sometimes lacks an idea or a concept that fits into a bigger picture. The web is not a collage of well designed flash objects. So my advice would be to make sure that what ever you make finds its place in the bigger picture. That shows that you have something that employers are looking for.

Thank you, Björn.

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