Nov 05

If I were a miller (Part I)

Every organization should have its own miller. To be more precise, every organization should Lauren - RepMan have an individual who ‘owns' the latest and greatest innovation news and creates a 'mill' with which to disseminate best practices.

Meet Lauren Begley. She created our Innovation Mill. (The Innovation Mill Vol 5)  Lauren came up with the idea, presented it to me, assembled a team and became an editor/publisher overnight.

She now routinely trolls the web in search of the best and brightest marketing programs, condenses them in an easy-to-read format and shares the findings with her peers every month. Her Innovation Mill is one of my ‘must reads’. And, it's becoming popular with clients and friends of the agency as well.

I wanted to know more about our miller, so I put together a Q and A. Here's part one. Check out Repmanblog.com for part two on Monday.

1)   REPMAN: I'm not exaggerating when I say the vast majority of the PR industry group I recently addressed were amazed to hear you'd created an 'Innovation Mill' on your own. Tell me what the Innovation Mill is, what prompted you to come to me with the idea and how you went about launching the first issue.

LAUREN: The Innovation Mill is Peppercom’s monthly recap of the most cutting edge campaigns and best practices from the fields of public relations, marketing, advertising and more. It includes a variety of case studies, trend analysis and summaries of how this information directly relates to our clients’ business.

As is every mid-sized agency, we are faced with a constantly changing media landscape, client demand for results, and a need to stay competitive among other agencies vying for new business. I created the Innovation Mill to help Peppercom employees stay abreast of industry trends, stimulate creative thinking among account teams, and identify best practices relevant to our agency and its clients.

2) REPMAN: As is the case with all Peppercommers, you're a very busy person. How do you find the time to uncover Innovation Mill-worthy stories? Also, tell me about the team that works with you to edit the 'Mill.'

LAUREN: Time is yet another reason I felt so strongly about starting the Innovation Mill. With everyone strapped for time, many find it difficult to set aside even 30 minutes each day to read the news, let alone explore interesting case studies or best practices.

To remedy this, I pulled together the innovation team, a group of employees spanning every Peppercom office and specialty practice area. We all now have dedicated hours each week to spend researching and writing, which essentially removes the guess-work for the rest of the agency. We circulate interesting articles and hold discussions – and sometimes debates – over interesting campaigns. The result is an Innovation Mill with an interesting mix of information on everything from the latest new digital platform to a crazy guerilla marketing stunt overseas.

3) REPMAN: You've published five Innovation Mills to date. If I pinned you down, what would you say is the single coolest story you've reported on?

LAUREN: We’ve seen several interesting campaigns over the past few months. One of my favorites was the Volkswagen ‘Fun Theory’ campaign in Sweden. Created by DDB Stockholm, this campaign set out to see if making activities more fun would influence consumer behavior. This included transforming a Swedish subway staircase into a giant, functioning piano, which resulted in 66 percent more people choosing the steps rather than an escalator. Other elements included creating the world’s deepest trash bin to see if more people would stop littering and a speed camera lottery to see if more people would obey the speed limit. This campaign is smart for many reasons. First, it encourages consumer participation, which has resulted in mass media interest and a spreadable online component (see this excellent YouTube video). Second, it reinforces the brand’s messaging that Volkswagen vehicles make driving fun.

CHECK BACK MONDAY FOR PART II OF REPMAN'S Q&A WITH LAUREN.