Friday, October 03, 2008

Clay Shirky on humanising brands

Today I'm pleased to share part III of my interview with Here Comes Everybody author Clay Shirky (recorded in London on September 30 at the offices of Incisive Media).
It is part of a 35min interview.
Parts one: 'How algorithms caused the credit crunch'
and two: 'Why email trumps facebook et al'
can already be found on this blog (dated Oct 1 and 2, 2008).
In part three Clay discusses the different qualities of interaction required to humanise brands - and how creatives can welcome collaboration rather than seal it out.
As Clay puts it: "Brands aren't people. They don't interact. People do."
And he warns creatives who seek perfection in their campaigns: "Something cleaned up right to the edges has no room for me. Perfection says, you don't belong here."
Clay's contention is messiness is human and acts as a welcome matt for interaction.

Watch the video below:
See him in person here. Buy his book, here.


  1. David

    I think Clay has a good point about brands and perfectionism that can also apply to blog posts.

    When I started, I didn't get many comments. Partly because I didn't have many readers, but also because my 'tone' was about saying how it is, period, no argument.
    Now, I work harder to include elements of indecision and uncertainty so that readers feel they can contribute their views to improve the overall picture. Much like the 'untidy kitchen' Clay describes.


    PS you wrote 'matt' in the post when I think you mean 'mat'.!!! Just to prove my point..... maybe that was a deliberate mis-spelling.

    Only the Gods are perfect!

  2. yep. That's why journalists struggle with blogs. They try to answer all the questions they raise. See my unfinished symphonies post?

  3. Great stuff!

    Blogged here:

  4. Oh and by the way - I am truly delighted you got to ask my question....Davey, I owe ya one.

    I think Clay's answer says it all.

  5. Great series of posts David. Thanks for sharing

  6. Rory Sutherland has just picked up on this one and put it up on Brand Republic...

  7. That's good to know. Clay has some great advice worth sharing with any creatives in the advertising and marketing arenas


The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?