Creative Process: How Do We Find Ideas

Creativity is described as generation, development and transformation of ideas that are both novel and useful for solving problems. It is vital for the progress of humankind, our lives, our work, our existence.

We in agency use our creativity each and every day. All creative industry people are doing it. We create ideas. We create solutions. We find new ways, new relations and new connections from what we have in hand.

But it is interesting that we don’t think too much about how we do it. How do we use our creativity and find ideas? What is the process behind it? Or do we even have a concrede process during this phenomenon. Is there a linear process / assembly line to craft great ideas?

I sincerely believe that each and every creative has different kind of approach to creativity with a unique way of doing, technique, routines or stages. Our minds are following a very complex and non-linear path during creative process. It is nearly impossible to standardize this frustrating period. However I also believe there are some fundamental possible stages of this journey which roughly explains the state of mind in creative process.

If you spend more time with these concepts and understand the patterns of thinking and your creative abilitiy, you will be more productive and happy. So lets think about “how we think” now.

The most significant theory of creative process is written by Graham Wallas, in his book “Art of Thought” in 1926. Yes, again, in 1926. He was a sociologist and political scientist. it is natural that creativity was a topic among scientists and artists, since the world met with advertising as a complete study and formation only in 1970s.

Wallas describe the famous 4 stage creative process in Art of Though:

1.Preparation: The problem to be solved is carefully analyzed, all information gathered, current situation considered.

2.Incubation: The consideration of the problem is internalized. You get away. You let your subconscious to handle it and let ideas develop.

3.Illumination: A moment of insight and optimism. Or a A-Ha! moment. The mind flows from subconscious to conscious. You see the light.

4.Verification: Solutions are tested. You refine it. Polish it. And try to validate with 100% conscious practice.

The most significant aspect of this model is that, Wallas states the idea finding moment is a result of a subconscious efforts during the whole incubation stage. According to his theory, we let go of the problem, go away from it, and do a lot of other stuff while our subconscious is starving and chasing the right idea. If you think of your own creative process I can’t say he is wrong.

Think you get a brief. You gathered all information, read, questioned, analyzed, argued and chat. Then you let it go and turned back to your daily routines. Now it is time for subconscious do the job. You go to lunch, you walk the street, you surf the net, you chat with friends, you go to a movie, you read a book, you cook, you sleep, etc etc. Then after a certain point you come up with an idea! This is what happens to most creatives right?

What I don’t agree with this 4 stage model is that Wallas describe it as a linear path. To me it is not working that way. For myself, I can suddenly go back to preparation stage while I am in incubation, or I can just jump forward to illumination stage while I was talking with colleagues about something in incubation.

Creativity is about finding connections in a way others can’t see. It is about observing and finding new relations over something. The process is very complex and sometimes seems very individual. On the other hand advertising is totally collaborative business which makes you create ideas together with your colleagues most of the time. So each agency have their own path to the right idea. Sometimes it goes linear, sometimes non-linear.

There is also another phenomenal model of creative process from and advertising man; James Webb Young. In his famous book, “A Technique for Producing Ideas” (1939) he also described a 5 step model for creativity in advertising. Very similar to Wallas’s model.

1.Immersion: Gathering raw material and information through background research and immersing yourself in the problem.

2.Digestion: Taking the information, working it over and wrestling with it in the mind.

3.Incubation: Putting the problem out of your conscious mind and turning the information over to the subconscious to do the work.

4.Illumination: The birth of an idea – the phenomenon, “Eureka! I have it!”

5.Reality or Verification: Studying the idea to see if it still looks good or solves the problem, then shaping the idea to practical usefulness.

These models just give a perspective of how our minds are working during creative process. Of course it is not a magic trick or assembly line solution. It can never be. Rather than that, they can stimulate our way of thinking about “thinking”. And it is a good thing.




The Talent Gap: 90% of Companies Lack Digital Skills!

While digital is the main driver of business transformation, it is unfortunate that most companies go slow to lead the change. Most of the current human resources models obviously do not apply when it comes to digital. But the questions are so simple: Who will lead companies in their journey of digital transformation? Who will generate a digital-savvy culture within the company? Who will play a change agent role in this transformation? Who will build core digital competencies and strategies for this digital transformation?

These questions trigger the absence and necessity of digital mindsets in business world. Yes, there is a serious human capital shortage in digital out there. The world urgently needs talents, competencies and leaders to play key role in digital transformation of business and companies.  How will you acquire talents and constantly nurture them in ever changing digitalised business models? What does your company do to overcome this clear shortage?

The crystal clear fact is that companies are not ready for it. Some of them try to overcome digital transformation through consulting, outsourcing or transferring people from digital companies. But this is not a solution. For being a truly digital savvy organisation you have make it in an authentic way, part of your own DNA and culture. So what you need is examining into current organisational models, company culture and all human resources models. Make a commitment. Go for it whatever it takes.

Moreover companies can also invest in: Incubation programs, new recruitment models, employee-exchange programs, partnerships with internet companies and acquisition of new business model companies. For example P&G started an employee-exchange program with Google to leverage its digital skills and capabilities. And other giant companies are watching talents from Silicon Valley or familiar digital talents.

Looking into HR models, it is obvious that companies need new ways and programs to build a digital vision. It is not about those typical/boring in class trainings. It is about to inject the core competencies into the organisation. Roles, positions, teams, leaders, all of them should be in a harmony to build that culture. And of course this is not just an HR initiative. All disciplines, departments and most importantly company leaders must drive this digital transformation and be volunteer to get out of their comfort zone.

Your giant companies are getting old. Those old good days are gone. You should keep it quick to stay in the game.



Biraz Da Bunu Konuşalım: Ajanslar Ne İster?

Markaların ajanslarından istekleri ve beklentileri bilinir. Zaten hep konuşuruz, tartışırız, yaşarız bunları; hayatımızın bir parçasıdır. Öyle de olmalıdır! Fakat bu sefer başka bir şey yapalım, tersini de konuşalım istiyorum:

Bizim sektörün en yapısal problemlerinden biri “hep” markanın istekleri ve beklentileri üzerinde konuşmaktır. Marka şunu istedi, marka bunu istedi, marka şöyle diyor, markanın beklentileri bunlar, vs.  Hizmet sektöründe bu denli müşteri odaklı bir yaklaşım normal kabul edilebilir. Neticede markanın hedefleri için çalışıyor ajanslar. Fakat reklamcılığın sıradan bir “hizmet” olmadığı konusunda da hepimiz hemfikiriz sanıyorum. Bu hizmette başarıyı ortaklık bilinci getirir. Ortaklığın olduğu bir birliktelikte ise “peki ya ajansların istek ve beklentileri?” sorusu da çok önemlidir.

Yaratıcı ajanslar markaların pazarlama ve iş hedeflerine ulaşmasında onlara çok değerli iki şey sunar. Strateji ve yaratıcılık. Ajans marka ilişkisi bu nedenle daha çok bir ortaklıktır. Ortak bir hedefe giden, birbirini tamamlayan, uyum ile başarıyı getiren ekiplerizdir biz. Ortak akıl ve beraber çalışma kültürü edinemeyen marka-ajans birlikteliklerinden başarılı işler çıkması zaten hayaldir.

İşin enteresan tarafı, herkes bu birlikteliğin bir ortaklık olduğunu az çok bilir, dile getirir ve bu yaklaşım sektörde kabul görür. Fakat buna rağmen genelde sadece markanın istek ve beklentileri hep gündemdedir. Bir ortaklıkta sadece tek tarafın istek ve beklentilerini konuşmak o ilişkiyi zaten en baştan sağlıksız yapar.

Peki doğru bir marka-ajans birlikteliğinde ajanslar ne ister?


1.Güven: Her şeyin temeli. Ajanslar markalarına güvenmek ister. Ajans markası ile olan tüm iletişiminde açıklık, netlik ve bir bağlılık arar. Başarılı işlerde olduğu kadar başarılı olmayan işlerde de karşılıklı oturup konuşabilmek her şeyi tartışabilmek ister. Gerçekten ortak olduklarını hissetmek ister. Güvenin de yüzdesi yoktur, ben ajansıma %80 güveniyorum diye bir şey olamaz. Ajans da marka da birbirine ya %100 güvenmelidir, ya da birlikte çalışmamalıdır.

2.Saygı: Her ilişkinin temeli. Ama yine de belirtmek lazım. Ajanslar kendi vizyonlarına, bakış açılarına, fikirlerine saygı beklerler. Ama göstermelik, politik , sığ bir saygıdan bahsetmiyorum. Ajanslar karşılarında gerçekten ajansın katma değerini ve emeklerini gören, bunları dile getiren, beğenmediği işleri neden beğenmediğini açıklayabilen, ama her defasında teşekkür eden, doğru bir iş yapış kültürünü benimseyen markalar görmek ister.

3.Dürüstlük: Yine her ilişkinin temeli. Nihayetinde kimse kimseyle zorla çalışmaz. Madem ortada bir ajans ve marka işbirliği var; o zaman markalar ajanslarına karşı her konuda dürüst olmalılar. Net yorumlar ve geribildirimler bekler ajanslar. Konuşan, fikrini açıkça belirten, aklından geçenlerle eylemleri bire bir uyumlu olan insanlar görmek isterler karşılarında.

4.Yetkinlik: Ajanslar markasından her konuda uzman olmasını beklemez. Ajansın asıl beklediği, markanın, en önce markasına ve tüm pazarlama iletişimine çok hakim olmasıdır. Ürününü, markasını, içgörülerini, hedef kitlesini yalamış yutmuş, hedeflerini belirlemiş, ne yapmak istediğini iyi bilen marka insanları ister ajans karşısında. Bununla birlikte kendisini sürekli geliştirmesini ister. Dünyanın hızına yetişmesini, trendleri takip etmesini ve güncel kalarak tazelenmesini ister. Ancak bu şekilde ajansını etkili şekilde yönlendirebilir bir marka.

5.Güç: Ajanslar markasında güçlü olma ve karar alabilme yeteneği arar. Beğenilen işin onaylanmasını ister ajans. Karşısındaki markanın bu insiyati alabilmesini, gerektiği yerde cesur davranabilmesini bekler. Devlet memurundan farksız, risk almayan, sonuç odaklı olmayan markalar ajanslarda büyük hayal kırıklığı yaratır. Ajans peşinden gideceği markasının istekli, hevesli ve fark yaratma çabasını görmek ister. Sorumluluk, risk, karar ve aksiyon alan marka görmek ister ajans karşısında. Bu kadar net.

6.Hızlı ve Hazır Olmak: Çok hızlı bir çağdayız. Reklam dünyasının bu hıza ayak uydurması için ajanslar kadar markalar da hızlı ve çevik olmalı. Bir fikir doğru zamanda, doğru yerde geldiyse anı kaçırmayacak ve hemen harekete geçecek markalar ister ajanslar. Marka ajansı ile birlikte koşmaya hazır olmalıdır. Bu yüzden ajanslar markalarından her zaman hızlı ve hazır olmalarını bekler. Gereğinden karmaşık onay mekanizmaları, uzun süreçler, yoğun bürokrasi, üst yönetim ikna turları gibi şeyler ajansın hiç yaşamak istemediği olaylardır.

7.Beslenmek: Ajanslar markasından beslenmek ister. Her konuda. Bilginin, içgörünün, stratejinin ve yaratıcılığın sadece ajanstan markaya akması gibi bir ortam düşünülemez. Bu akış iki yönlü olduğunda ortada gerçek bir ekip var demektir. Bu yüzden ajans, kendisinden bir şey öğrenebildiği, gelişimine katkısı olan marka ister karşısında. Kısaca ajanslar markalarından beslenmek, onlardan bir şeyler öğrenmek ister. Bunu verebilen yetkinlikteki markalar, ajansını mutlu eder.

8.Motivasyon: Ajanslar, markaları için her şeylerini ortaya koyarlar. Yeteneklerini, becerilerini, güçlerini, beyinlerini ve tüm birikimlerini markaları için seferber eden insan grubudur onlar. Bu insanlar kendilerine gereken değerin verildiğini görmek ister. Gerçek, samimi ve sıcak bir değer. Bu motivasyonu bekler ajans markasından. Gerçekten ekip olduğunu hissettiği markası için de sonuna kadar mücade eder. Hatalar, eskikler, yanlışlar kadar; doğrular, başarılar ve emekler de her zaman gündeme getirilmelidir.

9.Heyecan: Ajanslar karşılarında içi geçmiş, ahı gitmiş vahı kalmış, gözünün feri sönmüş insanlar görmek asla istemezler. Toplantılarda veya her ortamda, pasif, tepkisiz, düşüncesini dile getirmeyen, heyecanını yitirmiş markaların ajanslarını mutlu etme ihtimali sıfırdır. Enerjisi yüksek, heyecanlı, dünyaya bir iz bırakmaya geldiğini gösteren insanlar görmek ister ajanslar. Hedefleri olan ve bu hedeflere koşmak için sabırsızlanan markalardır ajansın beklediği. O heyecanı yansıtan markaların peşinden gider iyi bir ajans. Heyecan bizim işin olmazsa olmazıdır.

Evet daha bir çok şey eklenebilir belki bu listeye. Ama bunlar en öncelikleri benim gözümde. Şimdi bunları okuyup, “e ajanslar önce kendilerine bir baksın” diyecekler olabilir. Baksınlar tabi, bakmalılar da zaten!  Ama bu yazının konusu “ajansların ne istediği” zira “markaların ne istediği” konusunda her gün bir şeyler yazıp çiziyoruz zaten :)

Ne mutlu ki ben yukarıda sıraladığım beklentileri karşılayan çok özel ve güzel bir çok marka ile çalıştım ve çalışıyorum. Onlar ile ayrılmaz bir ekip olmanın gururunu yaşıyorum.

Yeni yazıda görüşmek üzere,


The Epic Bullshit: Traditional vs Digital

The easiest and superficial way to solve complex problems is to label them. Because labelling is easy, and it is like sweeping issues under the carpet. It does not require deep insight or intellectual effort.

When internet and digital media evolves, marketing industry quickly labeled the new advertising world: The distinction was clear (al least for them): Traditional advertising vs digital advertising. To me this was a hopeless and futureless distinction to overcome the complexity of tremendously changing landscape.

Coming to present, It is crystal clear that this kind of distinction is useless and it is just for lazy marketers and advertisers who are willing to survive by doing mediocre business. Now it is time to take the challenge and build a real holistic approach to marketing ecosystem. And this new era is about digital, screens, experiences and of course creativity.

Since we live in digital, and consume media through screens, it is pointless to name it as digital. It is just advertising. It is digital by default. Don’t even bother to name the obvious.

Media consumption has fundamentally changed. Today 90% of media interactions occur through screens. In a new multi-screen and connected world there are different devices, platforms, channels. So both media and advertising is about living in digital and screens.

By the way, TV also became digital via evolving device complexities, hardware technologies and user behavior. TV can also be interactive through user interface and user experience. For instance we watch Apple TV with a user experience with it. We can choose which content to view, when to view, in which device to view, etc. Other example is Netflix. We watch content on TV as an on demand media with internet streaming. We can interact with content, interface, or even play games within TV. The difference between PC mouse and TV remote is narrowing! I call TV the largest screen.

On the contrary, only 10% of media interactions are non-screen, which are mainly radio, outdoor and print. That means people should stop the debate of traditional vs digital. Rather than that, we have to focus on building stories and experiences which can Iive among multiple screens and change human behavior. We have to solve not only “business problems” of our clients but also “experience problems.”

This is what advertising stands for in this era. It is not traditional nor digital. It is what it is. 







Why I Don’t Use The Word “Original”?

I don’t use the word “original” in creative business. There is no such thing as “absolute originality”  neither in advertising nor in culture. At least not in a commonly used sense of it: “think, do or create something never exist before”. How could a person create a completely original piece of work from nothing? World does not work that way, right?

Originality does not exist in our lives either; people, culture, language, literature or history. All are a result of connections, combinations and interactions of old ideas, previous evidences and proven facts. We as humankind rise on our shoulders and it is valid for marketing and advertising business.

If our ideas are not original then what it is? Creative industry people combine and connect existing things, ideas or thoughts in a novel and unusual ways. We find new angles and approaches to problems in an inspiring, independent and individual manner.  So the ideas we create at the end is different, novel, unusual and useful. And I refer it as “fresh” ideas. But not original. It is a mix, combination or connection of existing things in a different way. It is about linking known stuff in an unknown way. So we find surprising, interesting, out of box solutions to marketing problems in a fresh way which I believe is still the foundation of advertising.

Be fresh, create fresh.


Reklam Ajansında Çalısmayı Neden Çok Seviyorum?

Yaratıcılık dünyamızı şekillendiren ve anlamlandıran yegane olgulardan. Dünyadaki her buluşun, gelişimin, kültürün, ilerlemenin, sanatın, büyümenin ardında yaratıcılık yatıyor. Bununla birlikte işi sadece yaratıcılık olan endüstriler de var. Mesela bizim sektör: Reklam dünyası. Reklamcılar, iletişimciler, yaratıcı ajans insanları. Ben kısaca reklamcılar diyeceğim bizim bu ekibe. Hayatını yaratıcılıklarını kullanarak kazanmaya karar verecek kadar cesur bir seçim yapmış, kafası çalışan, üreten, yetenekli, iletişimi bilen bir avuç insan topluluğu.

Genel olarak yaratıcı endüstriler çoğu insanın mutlu olabileceği bir alan değil. Neden mi? Düşünsenize, her yeni güne uyandığınızda yeni bir şeyler yaratmak zorundasınız. Her gün. Yarattığınız şeyleri insanlara beğendirmek zorundasınız. Her gün. Yarattığınız şeylerle insanların, markaların, şirketlerin problemlerini çözmek zorundasınız. Her gün. Tüm bunları iyi yapmak zorundasınız. Her gün. Üstelik farklı endüstriler ve farklı markalar için bunu yapmak zorundasınız. Ve başarılı bir işin henüz keyfini süremeden önünüze gelen bir sonraki zorlu göreve konsantre olmak zorundasınız. Sürekli bir belirsizlik hali. Bir gün göklerdesiniz ertesi gün zeminde. Sürekli bir jet lag durumu. Zor.

Madem bu kadar zor, neden bu mesleği çok seviyorum? Anlatayım.

Öncelikle bu topluluğun ortak özelliği zorlu bir meslek seçmiş olduklarının bilincinde olmalarıdır. Bu benim hoşuma gidiyor. Cesaret ister çünkü. Çünkü altında bir kendine güven ve fark yaratma çabası vardır. Sürüden ayrılan kişidir reklamcı. Mutsuz kalabalıklara katılmak yerine mutlu olacağı iş için mücadeleyi göze alan kişidir. Ve yine bu seçimde büyük bir özgüven yatar. Aklına, fikrine, yeteneğine, üretme gücüne inanç yatar. Her gün yeni bir şey yaratma ve hayata geçirme baskısına meydan okuma vardır. Hayata karşı bir duruştur. Kendine duyduğun güvenin manifestosudur bu meslek seçimin. Benim bu mesleği çok sevmemdeki en büyük neden bu kişisel duruştur. Bu duruş sevilmez mi?

Bilmeyenler, ajanslardaki rahatlığın, eğlencenin vs genç insanları çektiğini düşünür. Çok sığ bulurum bu yorumları. Yukarıda anlattığım hayata karşı temel bir bakış vardır esasen altında. İçi doludur bu tercihin. Bazen gençler bile farkında olmaz bunun, sonradan kavrar, anlar, anlamlandırır. Dünyayı değiştiren şeylerin fikir olduğuna inanç vardır. Üretmeye dönük bilinç vardır bu seçimde.

Gelelim diğer nedenlere. Reklamcı insan bilir ki başarıyı fikirleri, ürettikleri ve yarattığı katma değer ile yakalıyordur. Yani ne kurumsal politika, ne başarılı mail atma teknikleri, ne kurumsal konumlandırma, ne de patronla ilişkiler. Bunlar sökmez bizde. Başarıyı hakkıyla kazanıyordur. Yaptığı iş ortadadır. Bence bu büyük bir motivasyon. “İnsan” dediğimiz varlığın doğası gereği. Bu gerçek için mesleğimi seviyorum.

Sonra yine bu reklamcı bilir ki fikirleri değerlidir. Saygı görür. Her şeyden önce fikir değerlidir! İster yeni mezun olsun ister kreatif direktör, bilir ki fikrin nereden nasıl geleceği belli olmaz. Fikrin, üretmenin, katma değerin rütbesi, kıdemi olmaz. Bu özgürlüğü seviyorum.

İşin bir de gelişim boyutu var ki söylemeden geçilmez. Reklamcılar zorlu ve yorucu zihinsel faaliyettedirler. Bu zihinsel çaba hiç bir sektör ile kıyaslanmaz bile. O yüzden güçlendirir reklamcıları. Kısa zamanda çok mesafeler kat ettirir; hem kişisel gelişim olarak hem de mesleki birikim olarak. Bu fırsatlar bolluğu bizim mesleğin en çarpıcı özelliklerinden.

Ve aslında toplumun geneline subjektif gibi görünse de, aslında reklamcılık çok objektif bir iştir. Verilen emek, harcanan zaman, bulunan fikir, üretilen iş kabak gibi ortadadır. Üretmek de reklamcıya büyük keyif verir, iş hazzı verir; onu hayata ve mesleğe bağlar. Bu bağ bu mesleğin en tatlı aromasıdır. Yaşayan bilir, sever.

Art direktör, metin yazarı, sosyal medya uzmanı, stratejist, yazılımcı, müşteri temsilcisi, yöneticiler, herkes.. Reklam ajansındaki herkes bu yaratma ve üretme sürecinin merkezindedirler. Ve bir şeyleri hayata geçirmenin verdiği haz bu insanları ayakta tutar. Ben tüm ajans insanlarına, kendilerine bu kadar güvendikleri ve yaratmayı seçtikleri için büyük saygı duyuyorum. Hele ki genç insanlara. Saygı duyduğun insanlarla çalışmanın huzurunu seviyorum.

Gelelim diğer bir nedene. Tamamen kendin olarak davranıp, kendin olabildiğin; yeteneklerin ve birikimin ile kendini ispat edebildiğin meslektir çünkü. Rol yapmana lüzum yoktur. Ayrıca hayata bakışın, gözlemlerin, dünyayı algılayışın, hobilerin, okuduğun kitaplar, izlediğin filmler, bunların hepsi işinde büyük bir girdidir. Yani başkasının hobi diye yaptığı şey senin için aynı zamanda mesleki bir gelişimdir. Kullanırsın çünkü onları. İçgörüleri, fikirleri, çözümleri, stratejileri bunlarla beslersin. İlgi alanların ile mesleğin birbirine yakındır. Kurumsal hayattaki çoğu insan gibi iki farklı dünyayı kalın bir çizgiyle ayırmak zorunda kalmazsın. Tek bir hayatın vardır. Gerçek bir hayat. Onu yaşarsın. Ben bu gerçek hayatı yaşamayı seviyorum.

Ve hayatta çok zor olan her şeyin çok güzel olduğunu biliyorum. Tıpkı bizim meslek gibi.

Tüm “yaratıcı ajans insanlarına” sevgilerimle.

10 Tips for Millennials To Rock in Workplace

In my latest blog post I pointed the big picture about millennials in workplace. Now I want to share some friendly advices for the new generation of talents. Here are some tips from me to you guys:

1. Please make sure that you have a deep and objective understanding of your skills.  Do your personal SWOT analysis. 

2. Look for career aspirations. But you can not get promoted within every 2 years. So, also plan your life carefully.

3. Performance and added value is important. So, carry on to keep up the good work. Focus on your concrede contribution.

4. The workplace is about accountability. So, be there to take full responsibility.

5. You may want everything to be super fast. But please consider that the great things take time in life.

6. You can not know everything. Period. But you can have a development plan. So, keep going on improving your skills.

7. Success requires a level of commitment. So don’t underestimate the power of staying and learning. Try to prove yourself sometimes.

8. Voice what you want from your company. But also consider what you are expected to give the company.

9. Continue to believe yourself! But also believe some others and make use of wisdom and experience.

10. They may call you “millennial” or “Gen Y”. Don’t care too much about labels and generalizations. Know yourself, develop your skills and perform at your best.

The future depends on you. The world is what you will make of it.

Good luck!


Yes, I Am Also A “Millennial”!

I don’t like labels. I sincerely believe that each generation differs from another, both with weaknesses and strengths. There is no better or worse. There is a constant change and evolving world, so there is adapting people into this tremendous changes.

However I realize there is too much claims or even accusations for the new generation. Sadly, I even sense the word “Millennial” or “Generation Y” implies a sense of negative portrayal. The world create a stereotype for young generation with a marketing sawy jargon. They missed a huge point. This is not about a generation. This about constantly changing world, values, technologies and media landscape. People do not change, but the world does. So I find this kind of segmentation a bit narrow minded.

The phrase Generation Y first launched in Ad Age magazine in 1993 to describe the children of that day. Then it spreaded all over the world and used to describe people born from early 1980s to early 2000s. This is the new generation coming after Generation X – people born between early 1960s and 1980s. Alternative names also proposed by different people and institutions: The Me Generation, GenY, Generation We, Global Generation, Next Generation, Net Generation. At the end the winner was “Millennials”. The Gen Y is replaced with a new name “Millennials”. Both Ad Age and Time magazines agreed the usage of this name since they believe it is a better description.

Honestly, I believe the global marketing landscape also expanded such usage. These young people are the largest generation with greatest combined purchasing power, stated by Forbes. Since marketing people are in love with segmentations, they always needed shinny buzzwords.

 It is also a hot topic in workplace. I want to focus here in this post. Such labelling is the easiest way to work with, deal with and collaborate with a new generation. An easy way out and laziness of elder generations – Label the young people and justify yourself with those given perspectives – It is all about them right? No! This is not the right way to live with or work with millennials.

I want to share some prejudices and common claims about this generation. I believe these are not constructive at all:

Entitlement. “They think they have the right to anything.”

Narcissism. “They have excess interest in oneself as human being.”

Over confidence. “They think the world is spinning around them.”

Lack of loyalty. “They are detached from institutions.”

Impatience. “They want everything to be done immediately.”

To me, this is not the right way to deal with the generation gap. In the workplace, we have to push ourselves to better understand and act according to the needs and values of millennials. We have to see the unique attributes, valuable characteristics and strengths of this generation. In short I say be objective, be constructive and focus on positives.

In short Millennials have great strengths. They believe in development. They believe making difference. They want to be a part of a meaningful purpose. They are tech savy. They are really enthusiastic about work & life. They are good team players. They count diversity.

I have been leading people and various teams for about 10 years. As a Gen Y leader myself, I put great effort to observe strengths and weaknesses of different generations. In 2009 I leaded a team in Philip Morris, and 80% of the team are people Gen X. It was a great experience for me to coach, train and collaborate with those folks. During those years, I found the opportunity to manage different teams consisting both Gen X and Gen Y people. Those were the years I figured out how leaders should perform in workplace in order to advance different people. Their motivations, aspirations, goals and needs were completely different. And I went a journey both in to myself and in to themselves in order to get the best out of it.

For about 4 years, I am leading in a digital creative agency. Creativity and technology unites in our workplace. This is completely the most natural playground for millennials generation. Agencies value creativity, added value, diversity, flexibility and enthusiasm. These are the same values millennials seek for.

How to work with or lead Millennials?

I want to share some basic points that I believe helpful while working with or leading people of this generation. Here are some concrete tips.

Action: Millennials are not wallflowers. They want to be part of the action. They don’t want to observe, they want to participate, and they want their views to carry weight. So, take them to the stage.

Fun: Millennials expect work to be at least occasionally with humor and fun. So, ensure a funny workplace.

Freedom of choice: They may not avoid at the assignment itself but instead may challenge the methodology. They want to do it in a new way. The way they believe. So, give them a space.

Collaboration: They believe diversity. They believe every part should be connected. They value teamwork and feel more comfortable in a team. So utilize it. But sometimes they struggle to build and develop those relationships. So, encourage them.

Authenticity: They understand the sincerity. Be yourself. Be authentic.

Impatience: They growed up with any easy and quick access to media and information. Yes, they are impatient. But they seek to get new skills immediately. So, challenge them with new challenges, tasks. Give them multitasking opportunities.

High Expectations: They have high expectations from themselves, from life, from workplace. They want to be wealthy by doing things they wanted to do. Yes, a big challenge. So, make realistic but compelling plans for them and assist.

If you are managing a team/organization of millennials then you have to be ready for a lot of other things :) If you consider and deal with these complexity, they will be the greatest assets and most valuable corner stones of your organization.

Here are some further tips from my personal experiences:

They seek coaching and mentorship: They see training and coaching as fundamental for their development, and their career. They truly believe in personal development! I am not talking about traditional in-class training programs. They see training more often building on the job activities, taking further responsibilities, etc.

They seek constant feedback: They expect from direct reports, seniors and management people to spare quality time and give feedbacks constantly. Besides these, millenials, more than any employee type, needs continuous affirmation of how succesful or good they are in their job, or actions. They want/need to hear that.

They need to share a lot of things: You will hear so much about their dad issues, boyfriend/girlfriend fights, personal struggles, and countless stuff. Be patient. You probably did not mention any of these to your peers, or bosses. But millennials do. So listen to them! Listen with all your attention and sincerity.

I hope these will help to have a better understanding of millennials. This post was mainly for each generations. However, in the next blog post, I will address some tips & advices directly to millennials. Stay tuned.


PS: Since I was born in 1982,  you may also call me a “millennial”. It is my pleasure! :)


NO MORE Real-Time Marketing Fail Attempts Please

Over the past years, real-time marketing emerge as a popular and shinny buzzword among marketers and advertisers. It is more than a buzzword, an effective social media marketing tactic actually. Some few brands explored it very well and gained the fruits of higher engagement, fan growth and popularity. Oreo, DiGiorno Pizza, Nintendo gave some of the best examples of it. However, nowadays the trend is backwards due to misunderstanding and senseless overuse of it.

The most successful real-time marketing  actions are the ones unexpected, sincere, smart and on-brand! They have to be an instant response from a brand, but in a relevant & meaningful context. But here is the bad news! Many brands started to jump into it in nearly every event. And unfortunately, most of them are NOT clever, well-executed, on-brand. Because it can not!

Now there are dozens of real-time marketing attempts from various brands, whatever the topic is. Most of them are waste of time, done for being done and executed poorly. We all know that brands want to reflect their spontaneous identity and hint they are “up-to-date”, “in the conversation”, “on the same topic”. However it is not a necessity to jump into each & every topic for each brand. At the end of the day, real-time marketing should be sincere and spontaneous. It is a powerful tool drives great social reach. So use it wisely and true to itself. You don’t have to get something to tell for each social media meme.

Here are my advices:

– People want to hear from their friends about what’s going on that moment, not from every brand. Know to be out.

– Some brands attempt to utilize the topic in favor of a promotional content. Don’t do that.

– Most brands are pushing so hard to create a relevant connection, and it becomes artificial. If you don’t have the authentic connection with the topic, don’t intervene.

– Please don’t make it a competition among marketers/advertisers. It is about your consumers, not about being on marketing blogs with a pointless tweet.

Lastly, let me share with you a very clear-cut thoughts about the subject;

“The Oreo tweet was a great idea for a marketing execution, but it doesn’t mean it’s a great idea for a continuing strategy —  often marketers mistake seizing a moment in one instance and take that as how to execute in further events, but you can’t plan and manufacture that kind of serendipity,” said Matt Britton. So true!  “Brands declaring they are planning real-time marketing initiatives during high-profile events is the modern-day equivalent of saying ‘we’re going to make a viral video’– it’s poor form and 99 percent of the time it falls flat.” said Scott Monty, Ford’s global head of social media. Period.

Next time, enjoy the show, the event or the game going on. You can be out for that moment. No big deal. Really.

By the way, here is a showcase of fail real-time marketing attempts. It is fun, check it out.

People Wouldn’t Care If 73% Of Brands Disappeared Tomorrow

People seek from brands much more than just they produce or sell. They seek a contribution to their lives, their community and our world. A meaning, a purpose. They expect both personal and collective contributions to their well-being.

Meaningful brands: A new metric of brand strength. It measures the impact of brands in different areas of well-being and effect on our quality of life.  Meaningful brands study conducted by Havas Media states these well-being areas and meaningful brand index worlwide.  It is an analytical study conducted with over 130,000 consumers in 23 countries.

According to the survey, brands need to contribute some meaning or benefit in order to increase brand equity and attachment. Personal areas of well-being are; physical, financial, organizational, intellectual, social, emotional and natural. Whereas collective areas are categorized as economy, workplace, community, environment, ethics and marketplace.

I think this is a good point of view for many brands to realize where they stand in people’s lives. Both marketers and advertisers tend to think people are willing to engage with their brand. The biggest mistake. In real world people don’t even care much about brands. So about their content. They only care things they are interested in. If a brand can touch those areas with strong emotive contents then a meaningful engagement occurs. To me, the well-being areas stated above are good examples of what people are interested in.

Another heavy metric from the study states; the majority of people worldwide wouldn’t care if 73% of brands disappeared tomorrow. Ouch! That is why brands need to create unique purpose and advertisers need to create meaningful & authentic content around that purpose.

Adopt a digital state of mind.