Global Director of W+K Tomorrow and Global Interactive Creative Director for Nike at W+K discuss their strategy as a creative business and how to break through traditional methods of strategizing.
Nick Barham, formerly of BBH and Karmarama in London and Wieden+Kennedy in Shanghai, now heads W+K Tomorrow as Global Director working across the agency’s core advertising business. Dan Hon is Global Interactive Creative Director for Nike at Wieden+Kennedy, a former lawyer who built Perplex City, and co-founded Six to Start, an award winning entertainment production company in 2007.
The current state of creativity and business is steeped in the ability to continuously re-craft, much the same as any artistry. The agency continues to learn about how to improve the way they interact with the client, harnessing a common thread in the creative process. Rather than take the brief and share it across the agency’s divisions, both believe that each element of the brand thinking must be aligned across all aspects of the complex process. Dan supports this with the example of Nike’s transition from product maker to experience maker. By creating Nike +, the brand was able to chronicle a customers everyday living and allow the brand to tell more focused and better distributed stories.
The idea of the brand as data collector in exchange for improved customer experiences demonstrates one way that conventional media is shifting it’s paradigm; individuals such as Will.i.am and Lady GaGa have turned themselves into brands and consulting agencies; cities such as New York are turning into their own brand entities, designing brand extensions for innovation such as NYC’s Big Apps Competition. The duo identify “acquisition” as an archaic way of business supporting the movement towards Collaboration.
Wieden+Kennedy are currently experimenting with three forms of thinking:
- The agency are inviting young innovators such as designers, hackers and filmmakers to share their thinking in a short term program across their global offices.
- “To make art with technology, one does not use it as a tool, one must understand it as a material” – this quote by Tom Armitage is now rooted in much of their strategy.
- The formation of Pie (an Incubator Experiment about start up culture housed within the agency) provides an intersection to initiate change by experimenting with the ways businesses communicate. W+K have allowed 9 startups to live within their agency for a 3-month period, including mentors from Google, Coca Cola and Target for an opportunity to exchange intel.