Adaptabilty is the New Experience

In Cannes on June 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Day 5: A Lion’s Pride, Passion & Adaptability

Tweet of the day:

Passionate Production

It was kind of a star-struck morning at the Cannes International festival of creativity. Kicking off the morning was a dialogue between Mofilm and Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. The discussion centered on crowd sourcing and just how far it can take you. Wales painted a clear separation in strategy for Wikipedia—with an analogy to YouTube. Where YouTube has thousands of user generated and submitted videos on any given topic, Wikipedia’s focus is on ONE contributed, double checked, verified ideal page on each topic.

After thinking about the success of Wikipedia and its various topical wikis such as LOSTipedia which posts over 7,000 entries, I considered what it was that motivates people to contribute to the ultimate sources of knowledge to which we all flock.

The answer didn’t entirely hit me until after the next seminar where Anderson Cooper and Conan O’Brien not only nailed some South of France jokes, but also where I noticed there honest, uncompromising passion. What is it that makes Anderson willing to go into any situation and risk it all for the story? How is it that Conan can engage adoring fans, entertain the masses and also be a pioneer of social media crowd sourcing? It’s because they absolutely love every aspect of what they do. From the moment the pair stepped onto the Cannes stage, it was clear they were going to have fun. Their interview also gave awesome insights into the entirely crowd sourced episode of Conan and how the comedian’s digital team of 30 went from being an afterthought to the forefront. But it was their identity that made it truly memorable.

Its this same “umpf” that allows crowd-sourcing to be successful. Without the dedication of LOST fans, they certainly wouldn’t work on pages with every appearance of the Polar bear in the jungle or the Dharma Initiative.  A company that can channel this passion in content creation or through putting big data to use will not only find traffic and success for themselves, but happiness for their users/customers. And isn’t that a win win?

I’d like fries with that. And I’d like to know how they are made.

Later in the day, I saw an interesting presentation from Joel Yashinsky, CMO SVP of Marketing & consumer business insights for McDonald’s Canada. They showed how after segmenting the existing market into lovers, haters and fence sitters, the fast food chain launched a campaign to change food quality perceptions in the Canadian Market. Operating with total transparency, McDonald’s launched “Our food, Your questions”: where a team of staff would honestly answer ANY question about the food and in the process hopefully regain the trust of consumers.

In doing this, McDonald’s took a huge risk. Putting out the man power and hoping that there would be success. And there was. McDonald’s passed Starbucks in social media recognition after this and although they were already second in marketshare, felt that they had more of a foothold in the Candian Market. This type of adaptability for a company which everywhere struggles with negative connotations and hate (I mean from me too, I’m super not a fan) shows adaptability. I think it’s a groundbreaking idea and while transparency and honesty have been pounded (quarter-pounded? Maybe? Idk) into our heads this week, I think it’s a perfect execution and a benchmark for food companies.

Adaptability is the New Experience

A linkedIn conference later, and some photos with the LinkedIN background for fun had me thinking about this concept of adaptability in the workplace and in careers. I came to the conclusion that Adaptability is the New Experience. Currently I’m going through the job search process and struggling with lack of prolonged experience. Just coming out of school, I’m running on internships and academic consulting projects. But a lot of what I’ve seen this week has shown me that adaptability may be more important than experience. Ad execs who have been rockstars their entire careers must constantly be learning new platforms and ways of life. Every lion winner this week has taken the new, the changing culture, the shifting media landscape and done amazing things with it. Sure, their experience helped them be prepared for what will work and what has worked in the past. But empirical experience is nothing without the ability to shift and take shape into whatever is new and coming. Like the Liquid Creativity and mobile yesterday.

Sarah and I are LinkedIn.

Sarah and I are LinkedIn.


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