By Ken Gasque
The fewer the rules the better. Or a marketing maximum from the school of design is “Less is more.” This rule is applicable in a number of things from the number of products offered (The paradox of choice by Barry Schwartz) to architecture. But like all rules, it doesn’t always work. And that is what makes a good marketer, knowing when to break the rule.
Take action is rule number four.* I think in military training it goes something like this. ‘Take action, right or wrong take action; otherwise, you’re dead.’ Marketing is much the same with less severe consequences. You can always change your marketing and advertising if it is not working. What you can’t change is losing time while you fret over a decision. The message is make a decision, go with it and adapt quickly if it doesn’t work. A favorite quote from Tom Peters, “Quick trials breed quick failures. Which—of course—breed quick adjustments. Which—of course—breed quick successes. Which is the whole—damn—idea.”
Reframe your problem is rule number five. Are you working on the right problem? Do you really know what the problem is? Tina Seelig, author of Insight Out: Get Ideas Out of Your Head And Into the World, teaches creativity at Stanford University School of Engineering. She gives an excellent example of reframing.
Before you start brainstorming, Seelig suggests you try reframing around the question you will pose to find solutions. “For example, if you’re asking, ‘How should we plan a birthday party for David?’ you’re assuming it’s a party. If you change your question to, ‘How can we make David’s day memorable?’ or ‘How can we make David’s day special?’ you will find different sets of solutions.”
SECRET—write the problem/question you are trying to solve at the top of the page. Write reframing questions and answers in complete sentences. Writing in longhand gives you time to think.
Seelig says “Refocusing the question changes our lens. Memorable is different than special–memorable might involve a prank, for example. Once you reframe the questions, you might decide to select the best or address them all. Each new question opens up your ability to generate new ideas.”
There is an old saying that we need to keep in mind as we do our marketing planning, “It isn’t what we don’t know that gets us into trouble, it’s what we know that isn’t so.” Every week I am amazed at what business owners tell me about their markets, customers and competition. They tell me with complete confidence how this “fact” and that “fact” influences their business. They “know” these things to be true.
Check your assumptions
Seelig says, “Another way to reframe a problem is to challenge its perceived limitations or rules. Ask, “What are all of the assumptions of the industry?” Make a list and turn them upside down by thinking about what would happen if you did the opposite.”
Seelig says “This is a hard exercise, because a lot of our assumptions are deeply ingrained. “Cirque du Soleil challenged assumptions about what a circus is. Instead of cheap entertainment for kids, they turned it into a high-end event for adults that competes with the theatre or opera.”
“We become what we think about.” Earl Nightingale
We think about helping our customers. Every week Blanco Labels meets its commitments of millions of labels to manufacturers depending on them. At Blanco Labels we believe service is as important as quality. Your label is your most important advertising. Success comes from advertising your product with the best, most creative, most inviting label possible. It helps to hire a company with experience, willingness to do what it takes and a desire to help you succeed. Blanco Labels provides innovative design, quality printing on self-adhesive labels and the equipment to apply.
We select our customers so that we can be a perfect fit. We are small enough for their business to matter and large enough to make sure their job gets done.
Ask better questions, get better results.
About Ken Gasque.
Ken Gasque is a brand developer, marketing planner and designer who believes if you help people get what they want you will get what you want. Ken works with small companies and Fortune 500 companies who recognize the need to differentiate their products and services to stand out in a cluttered market. Ken is a highly visual, outside-the-box-thinker on advertising, branding and marketing—his work reflects his belief that “We buy with our eyes.” Ken writes and lectures on his experiences developing brands (good and bad). www.gasque.com