Essay Considerations

Based on my first assignment feedback here are the points I considered while writing this essay:

  • Bringing the main topic to the fore of the essay instead of approaching it secondarily – Considering my first essay’s critique I decided to approach this essay’s main topic as a fundamental of the material instead of writing about it secondarily.
  • Explicit use of the devices explored in sessions – I researched books and materials, as well the lectures’ presentations to try to thoroughly base my essay on the topics we explore in lectures. In the essay I’m discussing: transgression, biopower, mash-ups and user generated content in the context of new media, issues of censorship, cultural jamming and others while trying to approach it in engaging and informative way instead of basing it on just quotations and theory.
  • Reduce the amount of quotes – although I’m phrasing a lot of information from books or other materials in one form or another the actual quotes are much smaller than the ones in my first essay

Essay Drafts

I decided I’ll write my essay on the “Nutella Phenomenon” topic discussing the increasing social power that brand has achieved in the last few years through the web and social media in partucarly sites like 9GAG and Facebook.

This is an outline draft of my essay:

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Deciding upon a topic

Few different topics for my essay which I considered initially during my research:

  • Breaking the brand: I can explore how transgressive activities and movements affects brands. A typical example would be the negative mashups of the BP brand identity and advertisements.
  • Fueling the brand in the digital age: within this theme I can discuss the tribal value creation that exist in the world wide web. An example would be the unconscious marketing value 9Gag social users create for the Nutella brand elevating it to an almost divine status through the community value they create with mash-up materials.
  • The Wiki phenomenon – here I could discuss the social power new media offers, emphasizing on topics like biopower, community value creation and social media in the focus of Wiki-like projects
  • Spam – transgression in this new media phenomenon.

What is Transgression?

Few descriptions of transgression and its different but related contexts:

Dictionary Definition

Main Entry:trans·gres·sion
Pronunciation:\-ˈgre-shən\
Function:noun
Date:14th century
: an act, process, or instance of transgressing: as a: infringement or violation of a law, command, or duty b: the spread of the sea over land areas and the consequent unconformable deposit of sediments on older rocks
source: Merriam-Webster

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We Put Brands in People’s Hands

This is the slogan of a London creative agency called Brothers and Sisters. After reading the Cova’s and Dalli’s article this line was naturally the first relation that came to my mind between the tribal market value creation the authors speak about and an example of work in the creative commercial sphere. What Brothers and Sisters believe is that “We are more powerful than those who own the brand” and the only thing we fear is boredom.

A closer examination of some digital creative agencies reveals that they are no strangers to the concepts the authors describe:  “Today, consumers
create services, goods, and experiences, and they participate in the design of many of them, update them, and reconfigure them. Consumers are not mere receivers of companies’ offerings but are said to be active participants in the co-creation, if not hijacking, of company’s strategies”. It seems that with the emergence of new digital technologies that allows new types of interactivity between communities (or should we say tribes) this is no wonder. It’s an interesting time to look at and follow how new age media agencies are exploiting the integration of the consumers in the market process and their contribution to it to create brands that are shaped by the people. And as Brothers and Sisters say with the only consumers’ fear being the boredom, there are no boundaries for the consumer tribes’ social activities, resistance and influence on the brands.

The video below from Brothers and Sisters presents this ideology in a smart and funny 2 minutes illustration style clip:

From Communal Resistance to Tribal Value Creation

In the following post I’ll outline some of the more important information for me from the material we were given “From Communal Resistance to Tribal Value Creation”, excerpts from Bernard Cova’s and Daniele Dalli’s works.

Marketing expertise is no longer a tool exclusively in the hands of companies. Today, consumers
create services, goods, and experiences, and they participate in the design of many of them, update
them, and reconfigure them. Consumers are not mere receivers of companies’ offerings but are said
to be active participants in the co-creation, if not hijacking, of company’s strategies. Companies
often exploit consumer made resources (e.g. new product ideas, improvements, new styles and
trends, etc.), but it also happens that consumers are able to protect the value they have created from
exploitation.

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Creativity and Transgression: Brief

In your previous essay you explored the rhetorical position of a media, detailing the ways in which it attempted to persuade its consumers and users to behave in certain ways and subscribe to specific values. In many senses these rhetorical positions outlined the idealised consumers for the media – the target market / audience etc.

This assignment tasks you not to explore the target market, or those that meet the expectations of the creators, but rather those who, for whatever reason engage with the media in unpredictable, non-normative or transgressive ways. If media are political, full of processes of identifying and distributing power and status, what does it mean to work against the message within the text? What does it mean to transgress the rhetoric of a medium?

In taught session you’ll explore notions of Biopower, Detournement and other frameworks that will contextualise the transgressive act.

In this assignment you are tasked with exploring the ways in which individuals can be seen to work against the rhetorical position of a text – e.g. by producing mash-ups, by pirating material, by finding alternate ways of doing things, by hacking games, or cheating systems. You should explore the transgressive aspect of a medium of your choice:

How are people transgressing the rhetorical position of a text?
What ways do they justify these actions?
What relationship does this have with the development or long-term security of a text?

The fundamental question this essay is answering is;

What are the methods, justifications and impacts of transgression on the rhetorics of a media of your choice?

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Secrets to Amazon’s success

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As I decided that my Cretive Contexts assignment’s topic is “How Amazon.com persuades”, the next few steps were to research few materials and online articles on Amazon. I found that 37Signals, the company creator of Basecamp – the most popular online project management system and also authors of the free book Getting Real have a blog material on Amazon and in particular “Secrets to Amazon’s success”. As I’m very big fan and practitioner of the entrepreneurship model they share in their book “Getting Real”, was happy to check this article.

You can read the material on their blog.

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How Great Leaders Inspire

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers…

I find the video interchangeably related with the topic of persuasion in business and design. As well very motivational. Always start with the question “WHY?” and point out your believes.

Design drives innovation; innovation powers brand; brand builds loyalty; and loyalty sustains profits. If you want long-term profits, start with design.

Marty Neumeier

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