An Idea Platform for Ad Agency New Business
Ideasicleˣ: The First Advertising SaaS Platform For Virtual Creativity.
If timing is everything, then Ideasicleˣ is the poster child. Just when the world closes down due to Covid-19, a platform arrives that helps accelerate creativity through remote work. I was intrigued enough with the concept, particularly as a new business idea machine, to reach out to its founder, Will Burns, to learn more about it.
“What the world needs now are ideas. Lots and lots of ideas.”
Ideasicleˣ Founder, Will Burns
Michael: First, what is Ideasicleˣ?
Will: Ideasicleˣ is a software platform for advertising agencies (a SaaS), where subscribers can recruit teams of four freelancers, brief them, watch the four work as a team posting ideas and building on each other’s ideas, and pay them after the work is done, and do it all right on the platform. The freelancers work remotely from wherever they live. And if there’s a freelancer they want to use, but he or she isn’t in the Ideasicleˣ database there’s a way to invite them using the freelancer’s email address. That’s how we organically grow the freelancer database.
Prior to the pandemic, there were 57.3 million people freelancing in the U.S. It’s estimated that by 2027 there will be 86.5 million freelancers (source: Upwork)
Michael: Did you develop this idea because of Covid?
Will: It may look that way, but no. I have been developing this concept for about ten years now. I started the original Ideasicle (no X) by using off-the-shelf software and about thirty creative experts I’d worked with at Wieden, Goodby, Arnold or another of my agencies past. I’d get the clients, recruit teams for the projects, brief them, monitor the idea development, present the ideas to the client, and pay the experts. But with Ideasicleˣ agencies can do all of that themselves whenever they need ideas.
Michael: What kinds of idea projects are right for Ideasicleˣ?
Will: Ideasicleˣ is great for big conceptual ideas. For example, problem-solving—e.g. “Our client’s competitor just made a move in the marketplace, what can our client do as a counter move?” It’s also great for more prescriptive creative needs like big ad campaign platforms, brand ideas/tag lines, promotional ideas, names (for companies, products, etc.), PR stunts, go-to-market ideas, social media ideas, etc. While it’s great for ad campaigns, it’s less great for things like TV scripts or writing copy or design work like logos. Anything you wouldn’t want done “by committee” is probably not ideal.
Michael: How does it work?
Will: Subscribers get a Command Center or a dashboard with all their active idea projects. On the Ideasicleˣ platform they open up a new job, fill out the key information including how much they’re willing to pay the freelancers, search and recruit a team of four from our database of freelancers and once you select your team an email goes out to them notifying them and linking them to the Idea Stream page. On that page, the freelancers can view the briefing materials (video and pdf of the brief) and immediately start posting ideas. And there are powerful tools available for them to get what’s in their heads out onto the post – they can embed pictures and videos, there’s a thesaurus and dictionary, and lots of font flexibility. When a freelancer posts an idea from their PC, phone, or tablet, the rest of the team is notified through email and linked right to that post so they can read it and then build upon it. That’s really the magic of Ideasicleˣ—all the building and riffing that goes on between the freelancers on the team. The customer can pay the freelancers right from the platform.
Michael: How did you arrive at four as the number of team members?
Will: Ten years ago when I started the first Ideasicle I didn’t know what number would be best. I tried having 8 or 10 working on assignments at first but what I realized is with that many people there’s less ownership of the project and it’s a little intimidating to post any ideas to such a crowd. So I knocked it down to 6, then 5 and finally 4. Four is the perfect number because it’s not so many that it’s intimidating, everyone feels real ownership over the project, and you still get more perspectives colliding than the typical team of two (writer/art director).
Michael: What is the output of an Ideasicleˣ project?
Will: As the freelancers post more and more ideas, it dynamically fills what we call the “Idea Stream” with posts, newest ideas on top. Each idea and all of its builds and riffs are nested together in tidy threads. When the job is done the agency customer can then output a PDF of the entire Idea Stream to then hand out to internal teams for further development. In other words, you won’t get finished comps coming out of this process, but a flurry of ideas over a few days to then prepare for presentation with your own teams.
Michael: Is there a cost-benefit?
Will: Yes. Agencies are in complete control of what they pay the freelancers. They can invite multiple freelancers (more than 4) for a job and offer whatever amount it’s worth to the agency, per freelancer. Some freelancers may balk at the money and turn it down, but some may not be terribly busy at that moment, may think it’s a fun assignment and say yes. It’s truly market forces at work. On the flip side, because Ideasicleˣ is entirely virtual the freelancers can work on multiple assignments across many different agencies, so they stand to make more money doing what they love. It’s like an idea economy.
Michael: When will Ideasicleˣ be available?
Will: We are beta testing the platform now with a few agencies (going really well). Our target is to launch on February 1, 2021, to just 50 customers to make sure it scales well. Those 50 customers will get their subscriptions at 1/2 off, so your readers may want to sign up for our email list so they get notified the platform is live. Sign up here.
Michael: Why did you create Ideasicleˣ?
Will: I have always loved witnessing new ideas being born into the world. I get the chills when I see, or have a great idea. It’s a real thrill to me. With Ideasicleˣ I get excited knowing that thousands if not millions of ideas will exist that may not otherwise have. That’s why I created it. More ideas in the world.
Exclusive deal for Fuel Line readers: be notified first when virtual creativity platform Ideasicle X goes live. Then the first 50 customers get 1/2 off. For more details click here.
Will Burns: Founder/CEO of Ideasicle, Brand Consultant, and Forbes Contributor, obsessed with understanding the nature of creativity via his blog, The X Factor. Connect with Will via @Linkedin and Twitter @WillOBurns