I was at The Battle of Big Thinking in Sydney today put on by The Account Planning Group. They pulled in some interesting speakers to compete against each other to see who had the biggest idea. There was some interesting folks presenting, Jon Bradshaw from Lion Nathan, Tim Noonan from Vocal Branding, Geoff Ross (founder of 42 Below vodka), Jon Wilkins (Naked Co Founder , planning guru Richard Sauerman. I didn’t see the last few speakers. Unfortunately I didn’t feel there was any truly big thinking at this session, but rather some interesting perspectives on the state of brands, media,culture and government policy.
Here are some of the key points I took away from Geoff, John W and Richard in relation to brands in 2010:
– Mediocrity is the enemy of marketing, and right now 90% of marketing has become ‘impotent’, and we’re rarely seeing remarkable ideas as advertising professionals aren’t taking risks anymore.
– Marketing has created a culture of creating ideas that ‘avoid risk’, hence so many average ideas out there that don’t change behaviour
– Why try and distill a brand to a word or sentence, as brands are like people with different sides to their personality, so don’t be scared to take on different personas (42 Below did this and one)
– Don’t let qual research testing determine which ideas to create, you have to know when to IGNORE CONSUMERS and go with your gut instinct
– Understand the ‘power of opposites’ when it comes to your brand, create tensions about things that don’t necessarily belong together – 42 Below are the masters of this.
– People never remember what you tell them, they only remember how you make them feel..think about how your insight makes people ‘feel alive’
– We have become obsessed with emotional insights and asking ‘WHY’, which has resulted in the industry backing itself into a corner advertising at itself. It’s far more important to look for the ‘HOW’. Key for planners is to understand the ACTION they desire from people, so start with that.
– In today’s marketing environment, the best ideas are all ACTION oriented ideas, ideas that get consumers to DO something, be part of something, collaborate with people to achieve something.
I’m not sure who won the Battle, but my vote goes to Richard Sauermann, more for his enthusiasm and inspiration in reminding me that I’m in a position as a Planner to do something extraordinary with the brands I work on, so don’t ever ever settle for mediocrity. Cheers to that.