Being interested & interesting is usually the vanguard of account planning. But to the remastered accountman we can also see that the currency of ‘interestingness’ is equally important if we’re to contribute to a healthy process where ‘idea is king’. Great ideas aren’t born – they are made & it’s our responsibility as ‘team leaders’ to create the right conditions for an iterative, conscious & unconscious process.
Here are a few things that I find extremely helpful in ‘grazing’ or gathering stimulus to continually feed into the team with an ‘always on‘ mindset. The thought being that you never know what will unconsciously bubble up unless you get off your arse & make a conscious effort to share:
– google reader. From my blog roll I’ve probably got over 100 active blogs that I monitor on RSS. Quickly reviewing & then discarding info & hitting share so that anyone on the team can pick up helpful details.
– google circles. From sharing info via google reader I encourage the team to review this stuff in deadtime – i.e travelling to/from work, bored etc. Smartphones make this sort of work enjoyable & it’s a very smart way of filling your head with relevant or sometimes completely unconnected stimulus.
– twitter. I follow the maximum amount of people I can on twitter. Over 2000. I don’t care how many follow me. Why? Well I see it as important to dip in/dip out/filter & share so that any of the stimulus that might be grazed upon can be shared with the workgroup. In a separate post I’ll call out some of the best to follow but generally anything at the intersection of branding, communication & technology is good.
– be interested in technology. No. Be very interested. Obviously the speed of growth around our digital footprint is increasing exponentially year on year. What i do is pick the newspaper app that I like (the guardian in this case) – read the technology section (as I subscribe to it as a filter RSS) & share it with my followers (and my team).
– revisit your bookshelf. With everything that’s changed & changing it’s often an interesting exercise to revisit old stuff you’ve read & view it through the lens of the remastered account person. How does accountman 3.0 process the learnings of Roland Barthes today? I recently picked up his book on various random mythological musings & it helped uncover some useful insights around ‘ideas that travel’ or ‘content rich pathogens’. : )
– be interested in lots of other stuff. I can’t stress this one enough. I love running (and listen to books in the deadtime). Never stop learning. I love music. And I trawl the music press blogs looking for the next big thing. It’s not quite the same as being in the Elephant & Castle in Camden but you get inspired none the less. For example – the idea around pathogenic myths that propel ideas can be seen in both WU LYF & Sigur Ros. Their music is more like a club than a band & you have to uncover/discover their world to buy into it. They drive this mythology to their fans – in a much more niched way compared to Gaga’s mass appeal to her ‘Little Monsters’. But the principles of engagement are similar. Just check out their websites & examine the language they use for storytelling.
U2 it ain’t – thank goodness: