Really excited to receive a wonderful invitation from Ben Page at Ipsos-Mori in London to come and talk at Ipsos Academy on May 25th. Packing in some ideas and cases on how we can leverage culture and technology in effective unison.
The ultimate objective of Semiofest is to raise the profile of the semiotic enterprise and to “grow” semiotics as an insight tool to full potential – in terms of methodology, merits and usefulness to clients.
I will be giving a keynote talk at Semiofest 2012 titled "Unlocking The Meaning Economy: semiotics in the era of networks" on Saturday May 26th at 11am at Westbourne Studios in London.
Define entrepreneurship. Its meaning seems to have clouded through the years. Is it a skill? A state of being? A cult? We’re seeing “entrepreneurship” taught in universities, used in contests for student entrepreneurs, even MTV was recently recruiting for a pilot based on Young Entrepreneurs.
Yet, entrepreneurship is not a culture unto itself. French economist Jean-Baptiste Say, coined the word as “one who undertakes an enterprise, especially a contractor, acting as intermediary between capital and labour.” In 1983, Howard Stevenson evolved the definition to “Entrepreneurship is the process by which individuals pursue opportunities without regard to the resources they currently control.”
Either way, entrepreneurship is inherently linked to risk, but then who is the enterpreneur in a start-up, the person with the idea or the person who funds the idea? It depends on who is taking the real risk. We’ve lost touch with the aspect of risk. It’s not enough to simply have an idea or be creative.
The CultureIntelligence apps provide a multidimensional view as a three-part Java series that read and visualize cultural data across social media, as well as independent corpuses.
Migrations is a 2D matrix that tracks the migration of cultures over time.
Dimensions is a 3D graph that explores the varied meaning of words based on cultural context.
Signals organizes shared imagery according to modes of expression.
Each app reflects a facet of what real thought processes actually look like in the development of meaningful ideas and connections.
scenarioDNA collaborated with Amherst, MA-based Texifter using DiscoverText on the data analytics and Waltham, MA-based Advanced Visual Systems (AVS) using OpenViz software for the data visualization.
Applying cultural intelligence allows innovators to understand how meaning is changing, especially in regard to unique aspects of trust, authenticity and progress. It allows for better understanding of how certain features are being recast or modified or for engineering how an unexpected ingredient might come into play. And it lets us prospect the stories waiting to be told and know how technology can best be used to help people. Read the full press release
In the midst of holiday chaos, brand messaging is loud and clear and, more often than not, deemed manipulative. No surprise, really. Advertising motives have always been questioned — especially since the 1950s’ Vicary hoax involving subliminal suggestion. That said, what is the plausibility of subliminal persuasion today? And what does it matter?
Most people believe they are immune to brand messaging sort of like chicken pox. Until one day they are overcome by its strange itchiness. In his recent book Brandwashed, Martin Lindstrom cites examples like Abercrombie & Fitch’s marketing of padded bikini tops to eight-year-old girls and hair removal brand Nair aiming “Nair Pretty” to 10-to-15-year-olds. In an interview with NPR, Lindstrom says “companies get their hooks into us earlier than we may have thought; he says the average American 3-year-old can recognize 100 brands.” For certain, this is cause for concern.
However, in truth, it’s not the marketing gimmicks that work over the long run. It’s the slow, steady, consistent, on-target messaging that works — the kind of inspired messaging that adults relate to and remember the brand it came from. In the case of Abercrombie, the symbolism of padded bikini tops is bolstered only by the conversations that continue outside and beyond the purchase. It’s not an Abercrombie conversation.
Segue to the real point of Lindstrom’s book Brandwashed: It is not a book of anti-branding. Martin Lindstrom points out in our own phone chat, “Even anti-brands eventually become in their own right a brand…The point is to wake up and know when you are being manipulated.” A resounding point in today’s world.
As even Martin knows so well, the change called for goes beyond the people affected. The real change is in the concept of branding itself.
The Wall Street Journal also reviewed Lindstrom’s Brandwashed book. The review by Eric Felten cites Lindstrom’s reference to “various imaging technologies, looking for what parts of the brain light up when consumers hear product pitches, make buying decisions or interact with goods” as high tech phrenology that makes serious cognitive scientists cringe.
But, in many ways, that’s where we are at. We’re looking for pieces of code and related behavioral responses that allow marketers to score us. Of course, people are responding. People are accepting our language.They’re checking like buttons. They’re rating. They’re checking in. It’s easy because technology itself is growing in its power to modify behavior. Is this the point though? Are we celebrating modified behavior or is there something greater that we can be using technology for?