Dave Delaney and his company, Griffin, put on quite a great little project with CESBound. They took an old VW bus, after hours, and restored it, and then drove it from Nashville all the way to Las Vegas for CES. Along the way, they made media, met friends, told stories, shot photos, froze a bit, played music, and had a blast.
When they arrived at CES, the thing they kept hearing (and I heard it when I visited the booth, too) was, “Man, it’s so cool that you restored this bus and took it on a huge road trip. That’s so much more genuine than renting a nice car and putting it in the booth.
The side of the van was covered in little Polaroid photos from the road trip. The back of the van was playing some of the CESBound TV episodes. Everyone around the bus, whether they were from Griffin or not, seemed really happy.
Dave and the whole rest of the team (we know Dave because he’s one of us, but there’s also Melanie Pherson and tons of other names that Dave or someone will add when they see this post) really did a lot to make the >Griffin Technology CES story into more than just a company selling iPhone and iPod accessories.
They made a special site, CESBound.com. They befriended the VW community via some forums, where they were told that, when the bus breaks down, someone will come and help them out, no matter where they are in the country. They did all kinds of gatherings and other on-the-road relationship building on the way to the event.
This is a nice example of how the creativity of people who have a vested interest in an organization can be harnessed in completely novel ways. New technologies now allow the end users with the most passion to create the materials they need, without having to rely on outside vendors.
Using photos, videos, the web and more Griffin produced something quite novel, something that helped demonstrate their brand as well as show what a ‘fun’ company they are.
But, while these technologies allowed them to produce material cheaper and more directly, the success of this project really still depended on how they connected with other human beings. They needed to create, activate and stimulate human social networks in order for this to be a successful project.
As Chris mentions, they connected with a wide variety of people, including many who would not be at all interested in an electronics convention. They extended the reach of their social networks and produced a project that almost markets itself, with continuing connections as people find their website.
What this tells me is that Griffin listens to its innovative talent instead of ignoring their disruptive actions. This is really necessary for an organization that has to remain nimble and resilient in an industry that changes daily. Being able to leverage its own internal creativity increases the chance that Griffin will continue to be successful.
Being able to use technology to enhance social interactions is a given these days. But having the organization that successfully takes its own creativity and extends it with technology is rare. It requires a set of management tools that are not well codified in many MBA programs.
It seems to me, though, that Griffin is one of those rare companies.