Blog: Russ Lidstone – Why What We Do Doesn’t Matter.

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This live blog was written by Adam Tinworth at Like Minds, Exeter 2012. Russ Lidstone kicked off the “Ideas Festival” with a talk that played straight to the core issues of the conference, and which explores the niches in society that make targeting so important.

Russ Lidstone – CEO, EuroRSCG

Why does what we do matter? Probably most of us think what we do doesn’t really matter. One small company, amongst thousands. Just one employee. How can we make a different.

For every one of us in the UK, there are 22 Chinese people. 70% of toys are made in China. Russ couldn’t find something British not made in China.

There’s a culture of pessimism at the moment – a normal response to times of major change like this. A Hull council was elected on a 25% turnout.

It’s this sort of context that leads to a feeling of disenfranchisment – an indirect cause of the riots. The flip-side was #riotcleanup – people using Twitter to organise after the riots. For every glass half-empty, there is a glass half-full.

The amount of media available to consume has shot up markedly – but our mental capacity to handle this content hasn’t. Something has to give. His business used to be an advertising agency. They used to talk at people. Now they connect and collaborate. Some of the things we’re doing now are just science fiction compared to what we were doing when I came into the industries: one to one connections, gaming narratives, connecting through events, the ability of celebrities to communicate for brands. The power of consumers co-creating with brands.

Cohorts – why your birthday matters. Your birthday matters. They frame the cultural references people have. Over-55s care about role models. Under 24? You don’t care – or want to be your own role model.

Dangerous minds matter. These are the sorts of minds that allow us to think about paint as a lot more than a tin of chemicals – as almost a tool of spiritual renewal, as colours have a huge impact on environment. Let’s Colour for Dulux.  They ran four events worldwide, transforming grey spaces with colour, the vents captured in documentary, and posted on the blog. They were flooded with requests to bring the event to all parts of the world.

Why…what you don’t do matters. Sometimes it’s tempting to do things for the sake of doing things. The Gartner Hype Cycle sows that first mover advantage isn’t everything – sometimes the 5th movers make all the difference.

Why…failing forwards matters. Facebook encourages people to fail. We have to accept that our brands lay naked on front of the public. We will make mistakes. If you don’t have a seat at the table you will be on the menu. BP Global PR – a spoof Twitter account, taking advantage of BP’s lack of public reaction to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Topmap’s “sexist” t-shirts was handled much, much better.

Why what the bosses think matter. In reality, that’s the consumer – they’re the bosses. We have the ability to monitor how people react and interact to your content. a suggestive “butter-churning scene” kept people watching the video – and talking about it.

Why walking the walk matters – people think companies bear as musch responsibility for creating social change as the the government. One Young World – a Davos for young people. Networked through social media – a modern version of Davos.

Why your burnt cheese matters – The breakfast cheese sandwich represent millions of pounds to the company. Schultz got rid of it. Why? The over-powering smell of burnt cheese destroyed the brand value – coffee and the smells of coffee.

Why not being an expert matters – Expertise is a bad thing. Not being an expert really, really matters. The world is in constant flux, so no-one can be an expert. Frank Lloyd Wright once said that an expert is a man who has stopped thinking – never stop thinking.