RAAK is proud to announce our latest project. We helped conceive and then built a creative platform (Guided Collective) that we think might just be a major sign post on the road of change creative agencies are hurtling along.
Ever since Unilever’s crowdsourced Peperami campaign, debates have raged (Brand Republic) about the future of crowdsourcing and its potential to encroach on the domain of agencies. On the other side of the pond, people like Bud Cadell have even wondered if the future needs an agency at all (Whatconsumesme).
Guided Collective is a hybrid between a traditional agency and a crowdsourcing platform. It is driven by a collective of top freelance creatives from all kinds of disciplines that use an online collaboration platform to pitch and collaborate on creative briefs.
One of the main arguments for opening up the creative team is the range of skills now required when seeking to speak to consumers. Edward Boches, Chief Creative Officer and Chief Social Media Officer of US agency Mullen recently blogged (EdwardBoches.com):
“You can make ads with a writer and art director. But if you want to
conceive and execute platforms, utility and experiences, you need IA, UX, technology, connection planning and social media working together. This is a significant change for many agencies but one that is absolutely essential. It may come with pain and resistance but what choice to you really have? The post digital days are upon us.”
But crowdsourcing as the panacea is not without its detractors. It is argued that it does not take into account important agency functions, like account management, coordination (in particular with large transmedia campaigns) and long term strategic planning.
A second criticism is that it exploits creatives in a competitive free-for-all environment, where their chances of winning work are slim and the remuneration is paltry.
The Guided platform tries to address exactly these two issues. The platform itself is invite-only and restricted in size. It aims to have the UK’s best creative talent, across a number of disciplines. From copywriters and bloggers, to iPhone developers, social media strategists and directors.
Guided comes with an in-house account management team. Clients are familiar with that kind of dedicated attention and service.
And importantly creatives can earn money three different ways:
- One is by coming up with a winning concept.
- Secondly – and this is unique – part of the budget is ring-fenced for collaborating on a winning concept; to make it even better or by giving input that makes the idea go transmedia.
- Lastly, creatives can win all or part of the actual production of a concept.
Sam Reid, founder of Guided studied research on crowdsourcing when planning the collective:
“When it comes to solving specialist problems, research shows that numbers are not necessarily the solution. They are great for simple yes/no stimuli but become quickly overwhelming for complex tasks. For this it’s better to have a range of different skills within a smaller network.
We have a heterogeneous but small crowd. This is a doubly good, because besides having cross-discipline inputs, creatives who are part of this crowd won’t feel like a number. And happy creatives means good work.”
So what did RAAK do? We helped Sam conceptualise the Guided way of working as well as the Guided platform. RAAK then went and built it.
The platform consists of two types of functionality. One set of functionality is community orientated, including what must be the sexiest ‘activity feed’ and member profile pages in any social network. But what really makes this platform significant and unique are the collaboration features.
Guided has bespoke functionality geared to make creatives happy, which is too often neglected. When we conducted focus groups, it was clear there was a concern amongst creatives that their peers could steal their ideas. So we included functionality to allow them to make their ideas visible only to members in other specialities than their own. So a director’s idea won’t be seen by other directors, if they so wish, but everybody else will.
Is the Guided platform perfect?
No. But it’s a very good first take on how we might source creative work to engage with customers on behalf of brands in the future. And we’ll be improving it constantly as we go along and discover more about collective and social creativity.
More about how Guided works in this lovely animation.
Posted by Gerrie Smits