Creative Marketing – Thinkibility Boost

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Classical marketing campaigns are mostly massive in nature, like the Napoleonic Wars. By using brute force and heavenly leaning on resources (people, money, gun power, logistics, management skills) they ty to win. Basically, both parties are in the same game, each trying to use better but more-of-the-same tactics.

An alternative for the not so powerful is to turn to guerrilla warfare. Poor but highly dedicated small teams use asymmetric tactics to surprise and confuse the enemy, thereby using maximal creativity.

But what is creative thinking?

Creative thinking is not doing more-of-the-same


(in the example: applying straight lines), but breaking away from that, for instance by using curved or broken lines.

Thinking patterns
However, it is not easy to break away from standard patterns.
Also, any time we break a standard way of thinking, a behaviour or new idea, bystanders will react with a rejection: this is impossible, it can’t work, it is too costly, complex, difficult or risky. Every time a negative is used, the thinking stops.
Creative marketing is escaping from the standard approaches that are used by big companies. But how to get new ideas?

Normally we think with the speed of light to the first satisfying idea
lateral-thinking-logo

By that, we miss interesting alternatives along the way
With a Provocative Operation we break away from mainstream thinking. The Provocative Operation (moving outside the mainstream to the green spot) is a attempt to escape standard thinking in order to arrive at an original idea.

For instance: Apple sells our (paper)notebook together with their notebooks.

We will discuss four creative thinking techniques to escape standard thinking:

  • Taken for Granted
  • The Provocation
  • Use Resources
  • Focus

Taken for Granted

Make a list of taken for granted things of a product, at least 15. That is what is normal, assumed to be, standard, generally accepted or obvious. Then we escape by abandon it or modify it.

It is taken for granted that a restaurant has a venue and that the guests are dressed.

A restaurant does not have a venue. That could lead to the idea to set up a picnic service for romantic people.

Guests are naked. That could lead to the idea of a nudist restaurant.

To get creative marketing ideas about for instance an Eco bottle. What is obvious of a bottle (form, materials, filling, getting it, getting rid of it, etc.). Then modify (remove, amplify, change, combine, etc).

The Provocation

Try to escape negatives by redefining criticism by “this is interesting” and “under what circumstances might this have value”, or “could we create value out of this?”. The aim of the Provocation is to move forward the thinking towards an idea that works.

Sandwiches will make themselves

Senor citizens, refugees and children donate by age for using supporting services.

Use Resources

We tend to solve problems by using known and standard solutions. For instance: for attaching something to the ceiling we automatically think of a ladder. But only after we give ourselves the explicit thinking order to use what is at hand, we come up with alternatives: using tables, making a tower of bodies, using the walls, making a long pole.

This creativity technique is also called: think inside the box, meaning no adding additional resources

Make a list of props (things) and persons in your immediate surroundings. Think up in what ways they could contribute or add value.

Integrated Values

A petrol company wanted to create more brand loyalty. That is not simple, for most drivers petrol is just petrol. One of the company’s resources is the car driver. By getting under the skin of the driver, they discovered that getting a parking place in town is an important value for the customer. So they set up a cooperation with parking garages. For the drivers, the petrol company and the parking garage a win-win situation. Together they delivered an integrated value.

Could we design integrated values for the customers of a fruit selling shop?

Focus

Defining the thinking task before beginning an idea generation session is one of the most neglected stages.

Most starting questions are far too broad defined. For instance. In What Ways Might We (IWWMW) get more clients.

However, it is more helpful to break it down into smaller topics, as “IWWMW add more value to our product”,“IWWMW get more clients with help of our existing clients”, “IWWMW use other product to sell ours. Redefine at least 15 IWWMW’s in order to escape from the obvious ones and get a really creative challenge.

Avoid formulating IWWMW’s becoming too small. In that case, the IWWMW will just be a concrete solution and will not give you any direction for further searching new ideas.

Then make the challenge less boring and sexier. That is: make them more imaginative, outreaching, challenging, interesting. For instance: sex up “IWWMW get more clients by using our existing clients”.“Our clients collect so much organic waste that we have to export it”.

Then add a constraint: people, money, time, channels.

Finally construct a propelling question, a question that drives forward the effort for creative thinking by using a bold ambition and a significant restriction. For instance: “let’s get 50 more clients by firing all account managers”.

Again, the technique of the creative focus is to force oneself outside common thinking. The technique on the focus can be applied to all of the four of the marketing mix:

  • functionality, packing and service of the Product
  • policies about paying and Price
  • sales, advertisements, Publicity
  • and Promotion logistics, storage, inventory and selling channels

Creative Marketing is all about standing out of your competitors, being perceived as a Blue Fish, at no costs.

fish

See also:

 

Brands – Thinkibility Nibble

It’s amazing how many people let themselves voluntarily be used as advertising boards by clothing manufacturers, yet at the same time, this is a  brilliantly designed ad campaign by  manufacturers.

The customers are not paid for showing the companies logo, they pay even more to be able to wear what is called “designer clothing”.

Amazing too is that so many people choose for their personal branding a logo that millions of other people also use for their personal branding:  the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. Or better said: people identify themselves with qualities of something outside themselves, projecting to others “Who Am I?”

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That is amazing because many scientists pose that in Western cultures the self-concept place particular importance on independence and the expression of one’s own attributes (i.e. the self is more important than the group). It is even more surprising considering the deeds and misdeeds of Nike, The Gap, McDonald’s, Shell, and Microsoft – and of their lawyers, contractors, and advertising agencies.

Perhaps we should design social interventions: an orchestrated attempt to get someone to seek professional help with an addiction or some kind of traumatic event or crisis, or other serious problem.

Perhaps when we mingle in a social event, we could wear clothes inside out, as a statement:

Another possibility is to have no logo at all, or a “no logo”:

Perhaps you could design your own logo that expresses

  • The view you have of yourself (Self image: your answer to the question “What do you believe people think about you?”)
  • How much value you place on yourself (Self esteem or self-worth:  your beliefs about oneself like “I am competent”, “I am worthy”)
  • What you wish you were really like (Ideal self: a sense of self, based on spontaneous authentic experience, and a feeling of being alive, having a “real self”.)

Or to design anti-logos:

Another possibility: a logo that communicates your mood:

Or a logo that conveys a political view:

quatar-world-cup-2022-human-rights-abuse-brand-support-logo-6__880

 

Value Engineering

Value Engineering

A common method is to explore values is to use value engineering where we determine the value of goods or services by looking at the ratio between cost and function. The goods or services are examined and the first stages in value engineering are information gathering and analysis. This is a creative method where alternative ways of meeting the requirements are explored.

The evaluation consists of an assessment of how well the alternatives meet the required functions and how great the savings it will be. This method is a successful approach towards determining the best value for money goods or services. In this method, value is defined as the function that satisfies the customers need at the lowest overall cost. Yet value can be defined in several different ways, and this method does not suggest a way to explore other values. For example, elegance and simplicity is rarely valued. Simplicity should be a value we value so highly that we build it into everything.

The Art of Simplicity

Many think the music of Bach is very complicated. Most of the time the music is in fact surprisingly simple when one takes a closer look at his compositions as the video in the attached link will show you. The video is self-explanatory even if you cannot read notes. This music may serve as an inspiration and/or eye-opener.

Impact a single adaption has on the overall.

  • Gradual evolution of a process.
  • The number of inventive principles used.
  • The interaction of multiple seemingly independent elements.
  • The impact of keeping things as simple as possible.

We recommend the book “In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the best Ideas have Something  Missing”  by Matthew E. May and Guy Kawasaki.

A question that often whizz around is what is our value proposition? What value have we added? Finding a method that creates a specific framework that is pliable and can be expanded may be a challenge. You can try to direct your attention to different aspect that may be important to consider when you are searching for values, for example, personal, organisational, or environmental factors. If you generate more ideas, the need to find and explore the values and to make priorities becomes more highlighted. This help you to ensure that the best and most urgent values are maximized every step on the way.

Photo: “Values Definition Button” by Stuart Miles

The Thinking Habits of Steve Jobs

In Walter Isaacson´s biography Steve Jobs  emerges as a nasty, selfish, and ruthless man. Fortunately, he applied his talents to making computers and did not engage in criminal activities.

Although, Steve Jobs  thoroughly studied Buddhism and meditated, there is little evidence of an inner peace of mind or compassion with other humans. He is the epitome of a genius who, because he thinks much faster and better than his employees, fell into the trap of arrogance and power play.

Fanatic, extremist, narcissistic and obsessive, not a man to have in your enterprise, let alone in your football team.

It has been the merit of Apple’s shareholders that they have managed to make a distinction between the man’s behaviour and his ideas about how computers might look like. They assigned a kind of reversed body-guard to prevent employees from being attacked too harshly.

Jobs did not settle for less than more than best. He simply ignored practical objections. That drove his designers to extraordinary, hitherto considered impossible performance. Moreover, the ability to ignore generally accepted impossibilities was a main criterion to select employees. Jobs was convinced that working with B-team players would end up with having lots of C-level players. A-Team players loved to be challenged by other A-team players.

Another  habit of Jobs was to visualise his ideas on a whiteboard. He encouraged critical thinking, but required at the same time joint efforts to overcome negative points in a design.

A key concept in the thinking about the design of computers has been Simplicity.  Jobs believed that the design of hardware, software and form should be designed integrally.  Not simply  produced to certain specifications, but as a piece of art that deliver several values. In order to do that Jobs focused to one issue at the time, determining what would be the key quality of the function delivered, removing without hesitation any unnecessary feature or complexity.

Jobs trusted his intuition on what a good design would be, and never let marketing surveys decide what to do. In all his decision he was led by the desire to deliver an excellent product that would change the world. Profits,costs or time were never of guidance when making decisions.

Ignoring general accepted impossibilities, A-team playing, Visualising ideas, overcoming negative points, designing for Simplicity, delivering Values, Focus and using Intuition are all subjects we will cover in our forthcoming book.

For a different view on Steve Jobs see the video below.