Ask the Right Questions

Welcome to 2010. While we all make our usual resolutions (not drinking for a month, working out more, reading more, etc), here’s one idea for you to think about over the next 12 months: don’t ask the obvious questions, ask the right one.

Malcolm Gladwell gave a TED talk in 2007 about what we can learn from spaghetti sauce. The talk focuses on the food industry and the way that thinking differently about a product (creating the perfect product vs. the perfect products) altered the way that we eat in a dramatic fashion.

This talk has profound implications within the ad industry even though it has very little to do with it. We assume that there is a set path to acheiving an idea that resonates with our target consumers. A brief, informed by resarch and coupled with an insight, is given to a creative team which typically consists of an Art Director, Copywriter and (if you’re lucky enough) a digital expert. The team then gets some time (a week or two) to come up with a few ideas which they present to the broader agency (and revise), then the client (and revise) and then (maybe) launch to the general public.

This process has existed for decades. Brief, creative teams, client presentations, launch, repeat.

Over and over and over. It’s produced great work. It’s produced awful work. And it’s been copied and repeated by almost every agency in the world.

Is it right? Should we be doing things differently?

Or rather, what happens when one group dramatically alters the ‘process’ and shifts everything?

It’s not about digital or TV or print. It’s about the way we approach the process to conceive impactful ideas that change our client’s businesses.

As Gladwell proudly states, there is no perfect idea. There are only perfect ideas. Much more to come on this topic.

(Happy New Year, by the way!)

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