It’s easy to read disappointment or frustration into this post. But it’s probably more a naive curiosity that keeps me wondering why people in our business – the creative business – spend so much time preparing keynotes to back up our latest idea with successful examples of other agencies, companies, or organizations creations. (I said “spend time”, not “waste time”.) The reasoning seems to be: “Dear client, if company A was successful with idea A, you too will be successful with idea A*.” Yes, this might work. But.
Shouldn’t it be the goal to truly innovate, to think beyond things that have already happened? Especially since everybody seems to be striving for “the Next Big Thing” (more on that in a later post). How will you ever get there by basing your ideas on other ideas?
Yes, each and every penny invested in advertising needs to return into the spender’s pocket. But if you – the ad agency, the freelancer, the who-ever – need to back up your idea with others’ ideas, your idea might just not be good enough. If you need to grow your concept by quoting other concepts, it might just not be it. If your idea doesn’t spark enthusiasm with your audience, it’s not the idea. In the end, ideas speak for themselves. They don’t need anybody to hold their hands.
So, be bold and invest your time in your ideas. Not others’. Focus on your client’s problems, not how other agencies clients’ problems have been solved. Brilliant solutions can be adapted, but they shouldn’t. Every client, every market, every customer is unique. So is every good idea. Show some balls and stop this false reassurance-seeking. Trust your guts and if you think you found the idea, step up to your client and lend your idea your voice. Advertising is a ball game.
Do what you think is right, not what your client thinks is right. Convince him of your idea with your idea, not by quoting other ideas. It takes balls to stand up for your idea, and nobody says it is easy. The unvarnished truth might not be easy to digest for your client, but it will ultimately help him to become more successful. That’s why advertising is a ball game. You have to show your clients where they come in short, where they have to improve, and how they can do it in a unique way. Your way.