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What’s the Big Idea?

What’s the value of a good idea?

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Distilled, that was the main theme of Strawberryfrog CEO Scott Goodson’s keynote speech, “Change the Model, Change the World,” at yesterday’s Future Marketing Summit in New York. So what’s new about that? For as long as they’ve been around, ad agencies have been talking about the value of a “big idea.” That notion has gotten even more currency when it’s supposed to be the framework around which an integrated marketing campaign – the Website, the branded entertainment, the product placement, the POP stuff, the TV spots, the mugs, the T-shirts, the cents off coupons, the guerrilla campaigns to terrify Boston, etc. – is supposed to be hung.

But while clients ostensibly pay agencies for coming up with grand ideas that will resonate with customers and drive them to the cash registers, in actual fact, most agencies are paid for being suppliers – for delivering the commercial, the collateral, and the event. And, in a global world, that’s a precarious place to be.

What you want to be compensated for is a function higher up the food chain – “It is idea generators who will be most valued – because ideas people create the greatest value, across every industry sector, not just our own,” Goodson says.

Truer words were never spoken. And as the US loses its manufacturing to China, and its service industries to India, the imperative to find better ways to generate great ideas has never been more urgent. That is a skill that’s harder to outsource – and the one that will ultimately pay the bills.

What is your company doing to foster what Goodson calls a “new ideas culture?”

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