Back from a sunny, fun but quick holidays. Once in the plane my mind already drifts in a request made by my chaperons (friends and business partners) Tony and Zeno. “Would you collaborate and write something for our blog?” The first time you hear this and you realize they are dead serious, the responsibility drops as a few tons over your shoulder.
What should I write about… only what I like, what will be useful to others, new things, new places, new experiences, what, what, what?? My perception of the 4 P’s, experiences with marketing agencies and some specific viral project, how to understand the viral phenomenon, things (special experiences) that are game changers, what, what, what?
While I’ll leave these themes in the drawer for later use, still on the plane, I read a very entertaining profile of Ted Danson on Esquire (read it) – please say you remember him from Cheers so I don’t feel that old – one word slapped back… collaboration!!
According to Webster, col·lab·o·ra·tion a noun derived from the intransitive verb collaborate: 1. to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor; 2. to cooperate with or willingly assist an enemy of one’s country and especially an occupying force; 3. to cooperate with an agency or instrumentality with which one is not immediately connected. I’m sure Ted’s character in his latest series CSI had to collaborate a lot with other agency but I’ll go stick with the first definition which in summary is to work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something.
I have always liked the results of collaboration because it is a real mix of different positions creating something new and amazing. Since I really like music, and this is my article, I need to make a music reference. The first amazing music collaboration I remember is the soundtrack from the movie “Judgement Night” (Jukebox). A whole album only with collaborations… okay some more than others. But the mixing of different garners was mind-blowing!! Anyway, even going against better advice from some friends, for me R&B, Hip-Hop and Rap are the sizzle. Jay-Z made it global with Linkin Park!! David Guetta made it mainstream… even if you have sweet tunes someone needs to sing right, DJ? Today the industry is all about “ft.” and this just makes it easier for me chill or hop or hip hop in one song with different artist. The king master cobra today is Pitbull. The mix of flavors and beats with an amazing fit of styles and collaboration.
Since I’m Brazilian, and this is my article, just kidding okay, we can explore a few successful Brazilians. The Campana brothers comment in their Brazilian GQ article that their success comes from their collaboration and thinking about the same project from different perspectives. This is where the real value comes together. In my humble opinion, more than an expert recommendation, I can see the value of collaboration comparing artists. Osgemeos are also Brazilian and have done such an amazing creativity work together. I see soul, a message, a story behind their work. I think Kobra and Romero Brito’s work pretty but lacking of the punch Osgemeos collaboration deliver. But there is a Brazilian popular saying, “Taste is like [collaboration censor edit], each one has their own.”
Don’t take me wrong, there are mind blowing astonishing individuals that simply shatter all previous common sense and deliver us a new amusement and brilliant moment. These individuals shake our world occasionally and the whole beauty is that they are rare. They need to be rare. The whole idea is that, for me, with collaboration the chances of doing something new and great are much more likely.
Of course a lot of collaboration could end up poop but the possibilities are bigger than the risk. The idea of bringing two worlds, colliding and creating something new and exciting. Again, read the profile on Ted Danson. Maybe one can think there are collaborations all the time. There are not. Combine is not collaboration. Paste is not collaboration. Glue is not collaboration. No… Na Na Ni Na Nam. Maybe we find a lot of collaboration in the creative world and design studios. Bringing to our world – little much much less artistically creative than the people mentioned before – marketing departments and agencies should also have a lot of collaboration. Funny enough, I have seen little real collaboration between most agencies and marketing teams and even less between “marketing and agencies” with sales team. We still think in silos. Dreamy silos. I dream this, you dream that and everyone continues sleeping to the collaboration world.
We need to collaborate more. Really work together real time and create greatness. Let different ideas slap the reason out of each other. Once I took work colleagues to a seminar with a creative director of TV Globo and asked to talk about creativity. He presented a video I watch every other moment of truth (the repeating “am I in the right area”). That is when I need good ideas and wait to see where they come from (video). Eureka!! For me, “good ideas normally come from the collision of smaller hunches”, tks Steve Johnson, is the essence of collaboration.
Here comes a practical and useful tip. My boss and university professor taught an exercise I really like to use. It actually is an initial combustion that permits any and every idea be shared without the pressure of hierarchy and even, talking from experience here, shyness. I like that writing is more materialization than thinking, brainwriting is an effective manner to generate ideas and start constructing on them. A method, first published in 1968 by German Bernd Rohrbach, named the 6-3-5 Method is a good way to start. The idea is to have 6 members (use more if needed), have each one write 3 ideas based on a common question on a page of paper and after 5 minutes fold it and pass it on to the next person. This person reads the previous ideas on the paper and can add to a previous idea or write three new ideas for five minutes. Extra tips are to stick to it that after a blank of creativity, great things are put to paper. Try not to add to your own idea but the ones on the paper. Very important, after the exercise is over, cluster them into similar ones and then open discussion on each one. All ideas have been shared and added on and can be worked in an open discussion.
Whatever you are, wherever you are, try to combine hunches with different thinking and believing people. Mix it up, try. At the end, this is the reason of this blog. Get different markets views, different agencies essence and have a new proposal for all of us. Share experiences, books, videos, music, my sincere and humble opinion. And of course have much FUN!!
Maybe soon I have a few hunches of what to write next time! ‘Till then, peace out!
Do you work in the marketing industry? Do you collaborate?