Media Influencer

helping people break out of pigeonholes since 2003

There’s something wrong in the trends business…

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A brilliant and taking-no-prisoners analysis of the trend peddling agencies by Piers Fawkes.

He talks about arrogance and control, the long time favourite pastime of the media and ‘creative’ business, death of creativity (ouch), lack of critical judgement and of organisational change. All heartening observations for a devout disruptor like me, all the more noteworthy as they come from an insider. Anyone working or dealing with agencies could identify those, but it takes some courage and time to spell them out. I share those views, of course, but they do not keep me awake at night in the slightest. My focus are companies and more importantly the people inside those companies.

One of the frustrations I have with the ‘creative’ industry is the appropriation of what’s freely available and accessible and passing it for their own expertise or judgement. And very badly at that. So bloggers become ‘influentials’ to be showered with press releases, gimmicks and offers of participation for trinkets. Teenagers are superficially described and pigeon-holed faster than you can say ‘demographic’. Or ‘youf culture’ if you are one of the new trendy agencies. Geeks get conveniently ignored, definitely to their benefit. Sayz Piers:

We’re in a digital world where conversations are free – but trends services aren’t willing to be honest about where they got their judgments from. Too many companies and their ad agencies are cut and pasting their unchecked judgments into their powerpoint documents to make significant strategic decisions.

Another of my gripes is the number of agency pitches and presentations to clients promising social media nirvana, without anyone in the room having actually seen a blog/feed reader/bookmarking tool/widget etc etc. Alright, it’s 2008 so by now they have probably seen them. And signed up for Facebook/MySpace/LinkedIn/SocNet-de-jour. Or went to a workshop, a training session or asked the in-house geek to show them – but hardly used them, let alone immersed themselves in the ‘userland’ on a daily basis. Why, of course? These are consumers, demographics, markets and ultimately trends to package and sell. So it’s work, not a way of life or, god forbid, fun! The upshot is that if you don’t know what you are talking about but have to sell it, this is what happens:

In Summary, the trends business is a walled business that uses smoke and mirrors to protect it. It preaches from on high what the trends are without much transparency about what their recommendations were based on. In an era of Google inspired freedom of information, these businesses surely can’t continue to hide data that is already in the public domain.

via Mark Earls

update: How clients like it…

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