Ilex has steadily been adding to the office bookshelf over the years with well-known marketing must-reads from the likes of Professor Cialdini and Jack Trout. So it was nice to find a new book that was such an easy read and contained some real gems as well as notes about the creative world that really resonated. ‘Now Try Something Weirder’ by Michael Johnson, offers 233 pieces of advice to help you keep having ideas in the creative business.
Ilex is first and foremost a creative business. We help clients position their brands, produce creative content and communicate with their target audiences and stakeholders through multiple channels. Perhaps because our clients are exclusively from the B2B tech and telecoms worlds, we are often grappling with how to tell stories creatively without getting bogged down in the technical detail.
‘Tip 123: You can’t create a strategy if you don’t understand that process’ is something that we’d recently been faced with. The book’s graphic neatly illustrates the questions we got the client to answer when they were seeking to enter a new market:
- What are we here for?
- What do we do, and how do we do it?
- What makes us different?
- What do we value the most?
- What’s our personality?
- Why are we here?
It’s true that only by asking those questions are brands able to really understand what they are (and what they are not) and while they might look simple all too often these questions aren’t answered.
Tip 171: The Blue Duck is something of a legend in Ad land but is a process that does help. Everyone has had a client that can’t resist the urge to make even minor tweaks to have their stamp or influence on a piece of creative. The idea of the blue duck is that something that will deliberately look out of place is added (a blue duck) so that this is what the client requests to remove, thereby ensuring your carefully designed visuals make it through unscathed. This metaphorical trick doesn’t need to be limited to visuals. Sometimes throwing in a rooky card when thinking up new product names for example, might actually help a client get just what they want. It’s not unheard of for this ‘blue duck’ to be the winning choice.
Creativity is certainly a muscle that we all need to remember to exercise and this book is a lovely easy read to remind you to do some of the things you are probably already doing without even thinking about it, and to gently suggest a few others to keep those creative juices flowing.