Tag Archives: story-telling - Page 2

Unexpectations

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If you want to change (or even reset) the way people think about your brand and what you offer, you won’t do it by telling stories that are expected.  Communicating the same idea as always doesn’t change behaviour, invite new actions, craft positive experiences or create deeper engagement.

At all.

You need unexpectations to do that.

I got a late call up to goal-umpire my son’s under 13 AFL match at the weekend.  I’ve never done it before (it’s a high pressure job and I like to keep Saturdays a bit calmer) but, ever the willing helper, I jumped in there with my white flags and did the job.  It didn’t take long for the controversy to follow.

The goal umpire’s job (expectedly) is to call if the ball goes through for a goal or a behind.  When a goal is scored in AFL, the goal umpire is supposed to get quickly to a spot exactly in between the posts, stand very straight, leave a little pause for suspense and then shoot both cuffs with elbows bent, followed by a choreographed waving of both white flags.  This tells the opposing goal umpire that a goal’s been scored and both cards are compared at the end of the game to make sure the scores match.

It’s expected that this will all be done with an impressive level of sequence, poise and steely seriousness.

During this particular under 13′s game, where there’s no salary cap and all the players have day-jobs (i.e. school), I concentrated on getting the main thing right and was less worried about the formalities, which is to say calling the goal, casually shooting the cuffs and waving the flags without necessarily thinking about whether it was the right way (which I didn’t know anyway), just that it was seen.

As a result my actions invited the attention of the officials and evoked a response.  It wasn’t positive but it was a response all the same (elbows bent).  I’d raised their unexpectations.

The goals (and behinds) were still scored and recorded.  The opposing goal umpire’s tally matched mine.  I wasn’t less professional than the other umpire though I certainly had more fun.  It was the expectation that I’d act like all the other goal umpires that attracted the attention and response of the officials (and one or two of the crowd).  I’d cut through by being unexpected.

The next time you’re crafting or telling a story about your brand, wanting to cut through and attract attention, you could probably do a lot worse than bringing an unexpectation or three into the mix.

Will the real creativity please stand up?

Daring and creativity is no more important to brands than right now.

Standing out from the crowd, a shiny makeover and carving a patch is one of the most powerfully important things any brand can do in any climate but especially now when the marketing landscape is rife with tumbleweed.

Why is it then that there is so little creativity in marketing?

When creativity is the single most vital element of business and marketing strategy, I’m constantly struck at the lack of imagination, creativity and allegiance to “doing as always” shown by an industry supposedly built on the function of attention-getting.

A Linkedin discussion caught my eye this week with the subject of which question – if you had only one – is the most important to ask in a creative brief.  The responses were hot; there were 50 when I joined in.  It was posted across several boards but I caught it on the Australian Marketing Institute’s board.

The respondents’ titles were impressive; director of this brand, head of marketing for that one, creative director for some agency but what struck me was the distinct lack of imagination shown in some of the responses, from an industry that’s supposedly built on creativity.

While there were a few provocative responses, most of them smacked of same and some were truly laughable (in fact sackable, in my opinion).  Several respondents suggested that asking “who is your target market” was the single most important question.  “What does your product do” made too many appearances to be ignored and it was even suggested that the most important question was – wait for it – “do you have a healthy budget”.  Enough said.

Marketing is as creative an art form as any and marketers should seek to tell stories about their brand or product that engage audiences.  Questions about how much budget do you have, and who’s your target market don’t draw stories out.

When I wrote about the importance of looking beyond the latest killer tactic and getting back to marketing boring, that doesn’t mean pulling the valve on the creative juice tank and letting it all flow down the drain.  You can be wildly off the mark if you market without any consideration of the fundamentals but equally you can’t tell a story and engage an audience without creativity

I don’t know where all the creativity bled out of marketing but I think it’s time for a transfusion.