Blog Insight

The Whole Idea

Reshaping the Creative Process for the Experience Era

There are moments in life when you look around and realize everything has changed. For me, it was the moment 20 people—from all walks of life and totally unrelated to each other—congregated outside a café to play Pokémon Go. I was no stranger to mobile games or geocaching, but I had never seen either draw a crowd like this.  

An augmented reality game was getting people out on walks, visiting local businesses, and making friends with strangers. Pokémon Go gamified the serendipity of leaving the house.

For 20 years, we’ve experienced an explosion of digital touchpoints that have fundamentally shifted how we interact with brands. It’s a far cry from the simplicity of the Madison Avenue model, dominated by print, TV, and radio.

It isn’t just the technology that’s evolving. The rise of social media, customer-generated content, and extended reality are changing the very nature of the brand-consumer relationship. And so, the creative process must evolve, too.

In decades past, the “big idea” held the key to the campaign and every execution of it. One visual. One message. One-way communication blasted from brands to consumers across channels that are fragmented from each other.

Now, we are stepping away from one-off touchpoints and toward integrated journeys that span the physical, digital, and extended reality in between. Everything can be connected.

  • Podcast ads lead to targeted landing pages.
  • Billboards drive app downloads.
  • Social ads drive user-generated content and lead to media coverage.
  • Brochures link to on-demand demos.
  • In-person event spaces lead to augmented reality activations.

In turn, we’re more connected to the consumer too. Marketing concepts take on a life of their own as they comment, share, react, and iterate. They expect brands to understand them and interact with them. They influence the success of campaigns, not as passive viewers, but as active participants in a conversation.

Today’s consumer demands more than features and benefits. They want experiences and relationships with their favorite brands.

And while there’s still a place for traditional marketing, companies need to think bigger than the big idea.

Go whole or go home

The big idea is platform agnostic, shoehorning the same message into every channel. But the concept behind a Super Bowl commercial doesn’t always work as an organic social post. Instead, we need the “whole idea”: an adaptable framework that considers the entire audience journey.

At DCG ONE, we intertwine storytelling and the system it lives in, right from conception. Marketing is a two-way conversation that’s happening simultaneously across dozens of platforms. So when ideas need to span vastly different channels—each with their own culture, technology, and best practices—the whole idea enables a platform-responsive approach. It lets us create the most engaging version of each step in the customer journey.

To get there, we start with a multi-disciplinary team of writers, designers, strategists, and technologists. We break down siloes and collaborate early, which allows us to build best-in-class experiences for every channel instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach. By including our technical teams in the ideation phases, we get a better view of what’s possible and uncover new ways to make a memorable impression.

To get a taste of the whole idea in action, we don’t need to look any further than our own backyard.

The whole idea takes flight

The Boeing Future of Flight Aviation Center has inspired more than 6 million visits from around the world while showcasing the company’s dedication to innovation. When the facility closed during the pandemic, their team embraced the opportunity to improve the experience for future visitors.

Their initial ask was simple: wayfinding signage that made the path through exhibits clear. They wanted to help visitors enjoy a self-guided experience through the space. But we saw an opportunity to embrace the whole idea.

Instead of creating signage that simply instructed museum-goers, we could create an opportunity to create a more engaging, interactive experience with each step through the aviation center. We told the bigger story of the future of space in posters, floor graphics, and wall installations that turned wayfinding into meaning-making. Each piece helped people move through the facility while unfurling a new chapter in Boeing’s story.

To elevate their message into an interactive experience, we incorporated social media crossovers and QR codes that triggered digital experiences. Ultimately, we helped Boeing thread their story into every corner of the museum experience and into their community of fans. The whole idea helped them turn the simplest connection point into a more immersive interaction.

If you’re wondering how to take the whole idea approach for your next project, contact us. We’d love to help you brainstorm. Or check out our new podcast, The Whole Idea. Yes—we believe in it so much we named our podcast after it!