There’s a sea of stuff out there: trend reports; big data; industry newsletters; thought pieces and new widgets. Don’t get us wrong we love a widget but without meaning they all remain just stuff.
We're in the business of giving stuff meaning and purpose. We believe meaning can only be achieved by anchoring insight in The Human. Everything we do seeks to understand the 4 Dimensions of being human - actions, emotions, thoughts and our most important dimension of all, values - to ensure that brands connect in the most powerful, authentically human ways.
To create purpose we take you on the journey too, because together we can create winning human insights that reverberate throughout your business.
Our slightly odd name reminds us of these core principles, because if you map the story of the world on to a 24 hour clock humans arrived at One Minute to Midnight.
Thank you for taking time out to explore how we can help you deliver Human Wins. We’d love to meet you soon.
Conscious cognition plays a role in decision making
But its key role is in managing behavioural and emotional feedback loops
Often trying to make sense through post rationalisation, but also cross referencing with value systems
It is important to understand conscious thoughts’ role in relationship management
Welcome to The Dimensions Project, the home of our biannual exploration into the 4 human dimensions and how they relate to key business areas.
Our latest edition of The Dimensions Project is the Values & Global Brands Edition which explores the global values landscape across four continents and how this maps onto brands. The study involves quant, qual and the input of a leading anthropologist.
A deep understanding of human values around the world.
Insights into the impact of values on attitudes and lifestyle choices.
An appreciation of the differences and nuances of values by nation and lifestage.
A demonstration of the importance of values on orientations to brand.
A feel for the relevance of different values in some key sectors from soft drinks to social media.
Ultimately providing guidance on how brands can align their values with their audiences' to create more powerful connections.
Five - Four - Three - Two - One - London we have launch!
Today we open the doors on what we hope is an exciting new journey into insight and research - the Global Human Insight Consultancy, One Minute to Midnight.
Some time ago the idea was conceived to create a 'thing' that better answered the insight needs of business. We didn't want to just set up an agency put our 'fabulous' names or some exotic fruit, bird or clever word-combo above the door and watch the work flood in. We've done that. We wanted to create something meaningful, something and - forgive me for using the language of the day - with a bigger purpose.
We listened to the industry chat, explored other agencies’ offerings, talked to a range of marketeers, senior ad land bods, software boffins, corporate anthropologists, innovation gurus and we think that with their help we might have come up with something.
Time and again we heard that insight and research was not doing enough. It was not being innovative, it was not producing things that were useful, it was not flexible and that people didn't know what to do with it.
Yet when we looked at the industry offering we saw a whole cacophony of innovation. Big data, new models, millions of new data analytics methods, 1,000s of new products. Visit any of the big companies’ websites and you are literally bombarded by different approaches, language, tools and widgets. The amount of innovation going on is mind blowing! Yet the people who actually use insight don't think so.
So we thought what on earth is up - why the gap? We went away and spent months trying to come up with one of our own products and toolkits (Da Vinci’s Submarine & Picassos Greenhouse... anyone?) to answer this challenge. Then suddenly over a 'flat white' whilst we were trying to find the killer insight for a global piece of work we were doing for an entertainment company there was a flash of inspiration... everyone was missing the point.
We, as an industry, had totally and I mean totally lost sight of what we are here to do.
We are not here to sell product or insight or data (well maybe some of us are). We are here to create something that business can actually use. Something that has this elusive meaning. Something that is built for purpose.
So what is this thing of meaning, this thing of purpose? Well it’s pretty basic. Ultimately we are here to provide a deep understanding of humans so that brands can best shape their relationships with humans moving forward. It is as simple as that. We and by we I mean the research and insight industry, our products, our tools, our widgets, our models are not the story. Human-brand relationships are the story!
So this was our start point. Human. Understanding humans and human relationships with the world around them, and particularly with brands. So how do we get to this point? This point of creating deep human understanding.
Well let’s look at what it means to be human. Let’s go beyond need states and occasions and type 1 and type 2 thinking and all this pseudo science guff. What does it actually mean to be human? What is being all about?
Well, being is simple. Being is 4 things.
First off, as humans we interact with the world around us. We behave. Now with behavioural economics I reckon as an industry we have got this covered. But are we just that? Are we just our behaviours? Are behaviours all we need to know about? Of course ultimately the way we act is an integral part of what we are, but it is not all that we are.
So what else are we? Well, secondly of course as humans we feel. Our emotions are very powerful things. We don't have total control of them, but they can be managed to a certain extent. As an industry some companies are recognising the power of emotion and the way it affects behaviour (a little too late some might argue) and these companies also seem to be doing so at the cost of ignoring everything else human but that's another story for another time.
So what else makes us human? Well, thirdly as humans we think. I think therefore I am and all that. Our thoughts are kind of our management system. They don't control us but they can instigate action and they observe and analyse what's going on. Thoughts are fairly easily accessed through question and answer approaches and with new technology we are getting even better at getting a handle on them when they actually happen. But as any cognitive behavioural therapist will tell you (and I've met a few) we are not only our thoughts!
So Ok Big P, we think, we feel, we act that's us right... all the bases covered. We take an approach that looks at all 3 and we are there. We understand humans, right?
Not so fast my fellow humans. Think about yourself and your own life? Are you just your actions, your thoughts and your feelings? What really guides you? What makes you decide something is good or bad? What shapes how you feel? What influences your thoughts and ultimately your behaviour? What do brands and companies bang on about all the time?
Values, principles, beliefs!!!! They are the things that make us get up in the morning and do what we do!
The things that make us smile and feel happy when we do something or see someone else do something that is in line with them!
The things that make us angry when we see or do something that contravene them!
The thing that makes us ultimately human!
The things that make brands, err brands!
The things that guide, shape and manage human brand relationships.
The thing that is explored extensively from a brand perspective
...but almost, totally, totally ignored from a human perspective by our industry!
So that's why we got excited. That's why we are setting up this company with a funny name! To put deep human understanding at the heart of everything we do, because this is how we can provide our clients with the most meaningful and purposeful insights possible. By putting humans, their values and how they affect the way humans think, feel and act, we can enable businesses to best shape their brand-human relationships in more powerful and authentic ways.
This is not a model. This is reality and we've put our money where our mouth is. We have gone global to explore human and brand relationships and the human values approach with our biannual Dimensions Project. It’s going to be the focus of future blogs, but you can check out more on our site.
In the meantime and in the words of the great Jerry Springer, I leave you with a final thought. Maybe think about your own values, are you living them? How do they affect the way you think, feel, what you do and the relationship you have with others, the world around you and with brands. It might be enlightening.
All the best, your fellow human.
Big P, Human Wins
Find out more: www.oneminutetomidnight.life
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We’re all about understanding the human and Leonardo Da Vinci’s iconic Vitruvian man represents a cornerstone of his journey into relating man to nature and his belief that the human body is an analogy for the workings of the universe. It also demonstrates the Renaissance’s dynamic mash up of Art and Science, which strongly applies to what we do. We love the Vitruvian Man so much we might have put him into our logo and we’re proud to do so as Da Vinci accomplished so much. If you need a refresh on his achievements then click the link below.
We love Theaster Gates. From a struggling Potter he has become one of the stars of the contemporary art scene following his groundbreaking conceptual work in 2007 where he hoodwinked the art world with his alter ego, Shoji Yamaguchi - a fictional, now deceased, Japanese Ceramicist. We love the fact that through his fame he now spreads the love back into his underprivileged community in Chicago, physically regenerating old, dilapidated buildings into centres for art in the community. You can check out his Ted Talk below.
Learning from everything and from everywhere is just good for the soul. And Stumble Upon is a nice little way to get some inspirational learning into things you might never otherwise encounter. They’ve done pretty well with it too. If you haven’t had a look check it out below.
It’s easy to slip into clichés about journeys, but we see life and every project as a journey. To us it’s about making that journey a quality one. We think Big Ernest summed it up pretty nicely.
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
Sir Dave Brailsford is a bit of a legend in Cycling. His philosophy involves identifying a range of marginal gains which collectively add up to decisive winning margins. Just 1% makes a big difference.
Imagine the thought of being the largest accommodation provider without owning any accommodation yourself? A pretty radical one that allowed Air BnB to change a marketplace. Here is an early email with the origin of the idea. We’ll let you decide if you think it’s authentic or a nice story – either way they did radical and we take our hats off to them for that!
The best ideas are often created by taking existing things and using them in new contexts. Take Nike’s Air system. It was in part inspired by co-founder Bill Bowerman’s waffle machine. A lovely bit of lateral thinking. For more on the story click the link below.
This is a picture of Picasso's Bull. It shows the inner workings of the man. Before getting to the final version (bottom right), he fully constructed a highly detailed bull. It is a beautiful example of the detail and analysis that is required before you can strip something back to its simplest form and still be comprehensible. Check out more of his work below.
If you want to do anything different you need to be brave. Malala Yousafzai is a true inspiration in this regard. Malala wrote an undercover blog in her native Pakistan promoting education for girls, something the Taliban had banned. This put her life at risk and in 2012 gunmen boarded her school bus, asking for her by name. They fired multiple times, hitting her in the face. The assassination attempt sparked international outrage with the UN launching a petition in her name for all children to attend school by 2015. In July of 2012 she spoke at the headquarters of the UN to call for worldwide access to education for children and in 2014 she became the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. You can learn more about her incredible achievements below.
We like to be optimistic. The other option doesn’t really appeal. We like stories too. So here’s two for the price of one as they say.
There was once a traveller who was walking from a village in the mountains to one in the valley. As he walked he saw a monk working in a field. He stopped and said to the monk, “I’m on my way to the village in the valley, can you tell me what it’s like?” The monk looked up and asked the man where he had come from. The man responded, “I have come from the village in the mountains.” “What was that like?” asked the monk. “Terrible!” the man exclaimed, “no-one spoke my language, I had to sleep on a dirt floor in one of their houses, they fed me some stew that had yak or dog or both in it and the weather was atrocious.” “Then I think that you will find that the village in the valley is much the same,” the monk noted. A few hours later another traveller passed by and he said to the monk, “I am on my way to the village in the valley, can you tell me what it’s like?” “Where have you come from?” enquired the monk. “I have come from the village in the mountains.” “And what was that like?” “It was awesome!” the man replied, “No-one spoke my language so we had to communicate using our hands and facial expressions. I had to sleep on the dirt floor, that was really cool, as I’ve never done that before. They fed me some sort of weird stew and I have no idea what was in it, but just to experience how the locals lived was great. The weather was freezing cold, which meant that I really got a taste of the local conditions. It was one of the best experiences of my life.” “Then I think that you’ll find that the village in the valley is much the same,” responded the monk.
Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond. Don’t allow the challenges of life to take away your joy. There are lots of reasons to complain and be miserable if that’s how you look at life. There are lots of reasons to be enthusiastic and joyful if that’s how you look at life. How do you look at life?
What can be more fun than holidays and we think one place trumps them all! With its sense of adventure, beautiful nature, warm people and its progressive but not overly worthy eco philosophy Costa Rica stands out. Whether it be zip-lining across the canopy, taking a dip in hot springs or sinking a cerveza after a long day of white water rafting we think it is one of the most fun places on earth. Costa Rica… here’s to living the Pura Vida.
Gong Hainan was born into a humble family in Hunan that raised chickens and grew peanuts and cotton. At an early age she showed an entrepreneurial spirit, selling popsicles to help pay for her education. However, disaster struck when prior to starting school she was injured in a tractor accident that crushed her leg. Undaunted and, with the help of her mother carrying her on her back, she went to school. Then she saw opportunity in the East working on the production lines in a Guangdong electrical factory where she soldered together 2000 wires a day. Here, she spied another opportunity, writing spectacular articles for the in-house magazine, soon becoming editor. Then realising her matrimony potential was limited she went back to school, against everyone’s advice, and signed up to an internet dating site. More disaster. None of her matches replied. The site blamed her looks so she hunted down one of the potential matches and found that he was not even signed up to the site. So what did Gong do? You guessed it! She started her own site where she met her husband. She now runs one of China’s largest dating sites with more members than there are people in Britain. We love the dedication of Gong Hainan and hope to have just a little of her gumption. Check out more on her story below.
The artist John Holcroft is a well-known illustrator who creates brilliant satirical illustrations in a retro style, reminiscent of adverts from the 1950’s. His illustrations are focussed on subjects that highlight social issues and modern-day problems. It’s the subject matter that separates his images from other artists, as they provoke thoughts that can ultimately lead to change. He takes on social media, big tobacco companies, utility services and even pop culture icons to show us that we’ve grown accustomed to companies shoving things down our throats like the need to be liked, the need to look a certain way and the pressure to conform. His amazing style grabs the recipient and makes them think twice about what they're aspiring to.
Courtesy of Yayoi Kusama and Louis Vuitton
Collaborations done well can take you to unexpected places. In 2012 Louis Vutton teamed up with Yayoi Kusama the renowned Japanese artist, famed for her polka dots, who has been living in a hospital voluntarily for many years. Not only did this collaboration take Kusama’s amazing and powerful art to a wider audience, synching with a retrospective of her work that toured the world, it gave an added layer of interesting complexity to a slightly staid albeit hugely successful global brand - a truly beautiful symbiotic relationship. We love to collaborate as it can take us to really interesting spaces full of polka dots.