In conversation with... Scott Gould and Andrew Pickering

In conversation with... Scott Gould and Andrew Pickering

It was a Talking Heads album cover that contained the rhetorical question “Where do good ideas come from?”

Technology, and the increasing socialisation of communications technology, supposedly allows us to create, develop, refine and deliver ideas in ways and speeds that have never been the case before. From niche startups to scientific breakthroughs, the power of the idea is becoming increasingly met by the power of silicon.

For this “In conversation with...”, Imperica visited the beautiful surroundings of Reed Hall, part of the University of Exeter. Talking about ideas and the socio-technological flow of them, are Scott Gould, and Professor Andrew Pickering.

How can the systems and processes that we now have, from a social and technology perspective, help to foster and generate ideas? Is it easier than ever, to take an idea and make it happen?

SG: It's easier to get access to ideas today, that's certainly true. A great example is TED; you watch a talk, and get inspired. It doesn't really matter which one you watch - they're so inspiring that you want to actualise their idea in your life.

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In conversation with... Molly Flatt and Richard Gray

In conversation with... Molly Flatt and Richard Gray

As communications technology becomes increasingly social, it is important for brands to understand the potential of how they can also become more social, and the potential of reframing their perception within society. This “In conversation with...” is about brand anthropomorphism: the current and future potential of human characteristics of brands. In conversation, in a sunny Soho garden, are Molly Flatt and Richard Gray.

How can brands start to adopt more human characteristics? RG: I think that brands have been doing this since the year dot, and do a whole host of things to feel – to become – more human, to their audiences. These range from having icons for their brands, like Marlboro Man and the Churchill Dog, to communicating in a much more human way, such as the Gold Blend couple.

Brands are all about association, so you create an environment which feels more human, and by that, there is an association with the brand. The main point is to create these actual icons that have very human characteristics, or trying to give personality and human attributes to your products.

The classic one recently is Apple, with its advertising of Mac and PC, as human “products”. So, I think that it's very much the territory of brands to create that human association, because we have stronger connections with people and their psychological characteristics, than we do with functional characteristics. While those are important, you have to go beyond that, and create a longer lasting sense of loyalty.

This is very much the heart of what brands do – they create that association. I think that the interesting thing is where brands are creating a more conversational dialogue, as part of demonstrating their human side. MF: We never really confirm what we mean by human, and by “human” we use it as a euphemism to mean lovely, personable, warm... which is all great, but if you're talking about human characteristics, then those aren't necessarily human characteristics.

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