Sunday, November 23, 2008

Juicing the Orange - Pat Fallon and Fred Senn

Subtitled: How To Turn Creativity Into A Powerful Business Advantage. This is an interesting and engaging book that opens with a very clear and simple premise in Chapter One: "Imagination is the last legal means of gaining an unfair advantage over the competition." The final chapter closes with the additional observation: "Increasingly, it's the only means."

In the intervening chapters, we are taken on an odyssey of creativity that spans various industries across the globe and outlines the challenges of many companies seeking to make a comeback, launch a new product or re-define themselves for a new era. I found it fascinating and inspiring. Some of the things that the creative teams at Fallon Worldwide came up with just leave me awestruck. Like, "How did they ever think of that?" They were way ahead of everyone else in many ways, including the use of the Internet for engagement marketing. Their short films for BMW's launch of the Z3 were a first-of-its-kind made for the Internet mini-movie that garnered millions of hits and an award at the Cannes Film Festival. It also resulted in orders for the car that were more than double BMW's target. That was back in April 2001.

They helped to reinvigorate the tourist industry in the Bahama Islands by literally engaging all the people on those islands as part of the web based initiative to educate the world about the many experiences awaiting them there (2003.) And in Colorado, the entire concept of the launch of United Airline's low far subsidiary - TED - relied on a type of guerrilla marketing that had never been done before. Fallon created an unseen fictional character that ran around the city doing benevolent deeds for weeks leading right up to the roll out. That garnered a great deal of local and national press coverage, and when TED finally launched, tickets sold at an unprecedented rate that dramatically increased United's market share (2003.)

I could go on and on, but it's best to just read the book. A very nice extra is a "See the Work" section of the Juicing the Orange website where some of the work they did on video can be seen. That includes the award winning SuperBowl commercial for EDS, "Herding Cats." (2000)

The final chapter is probably one of my favorites because it talks about how they founded the company. They decided on a list of core values that is the foundation of Fallon Worldwide and over the last 25 years, they've stayed true to that even when it meant taking short term losses for the sake of staying true to their company's culture. It's a promise the founders made to themselves and their employees. That to me is very impressive and quite rare to find in corporate America today.

They also introduced a concept and term I like very much under a section called "Identify and Encourage the Culture Players."

It didn't take long to learn that if we truly valued our culture, then it wasn't enough to hire brains and talent. We had to cherish the people who best embodied our ideals. We call them culture players. If you took the person described by Ed Keller and Jon Barry in The Influentials - the person who knows in his heart he can make a difference - and crossed him with Malcolm Gladwell's "connectors" in The Tipping Point, you'd have a culture player.

I really like that concept and agree wholeheartedly that culture players are important in an organization to "manage the energy of the place." I also like the section immediately following that one entitled "Fire the Assholes." No explanation needed there.

The last three important points the authors make come with short explanations attached to each:
  1. Creativity will be an increasingly essential business tool.
  2. You can't buy creativity, but you can unlock it.
  3. Creativity is not an easy path to walk but the rewards are worth it.

I highly recommend this book. I absolutely loved it!

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