dinsdag 16 september 2008

the view from a far is sometimes sharper

Derren Brown is a mentalist. His book about the trade is quite a spell binding (boom tish!) read.

Among the many gems, he discusses the fact that it is easier for him to play his tricks on those who watch him the closest. He flipped the old saying "for every action there is an equal reaction" by stating that for every bit of concentration in one part of the brain and on one part of his act, there is a loss of concentration in another part of the brain and on another part of his act.

This simple insight allows him to play with people. With great ease.

However, the people he as a magician fears most are the once who don't give him their full attention, those who glimpse out of the corner of their eyes to see what it is he is doing. No pressure is there on them to follow. They are not paying attention to a single part, but just glance to see the entire act. And then spot the cheat quite easy.

Sometimes we as admen to can get so deep into research/work or as a brand in our products, that we just see parts and are being played without even knowing it.

So remember to cultivate blank slates. Be it in your agency, or those that don't fit into the target group you do focusgroups with.

Those with no pressure to come up with anything, that have no stake in your brand. Have them glance your work, brand or thinking. Forget territorial pissing and be suprised to learn a lot.
P.S. over on his blog Northern makes an very good case for blank slates in your own life. Go and read.

maandag 15 september 2008

the power of words

Watching a regional football derby yesterday it struck me: these players were more ferocious, more physical, more inclined to play rough, to do whatever it took to win that derby not because of what the derby meant to both teams. It was because of what the word derby means. period.

It is this implicitness, the context of the word that these players understood. The reff understood, the crowd understood. Derby = hard play, full of fouls, at breakneck pace. More was allowed, because of the frame it was presented in.

Briefing is one of those words that lately has frustrated me. If say the agency we work with gives feedback about the briefing they received it somehow always revolves around questions of format, channel choice, pay off. It seems that the auto pilot kicks in whenever they hear the word briefing, and it takes them back to when they learned about it in school. Briefing = ......

Words. Context. We often glance over it, but once you get down to the nitty gritty of it, it is powerfull. Especially when the implicit meaning is understood but not articulated. When the illusion of civility is upheld or explicitly removed.

They can grant us room to grow or close our way of thinking down.

Exploring vs Drilling for oil

Immigrant vs illigal Alien

Words dictacte so much of the space we can, allow ourselves to take, and can help us articulate the reasons behind actions not explicitly mentioned, that a dictionary is this marketeers new friend. Perhaps obvious to some, but important enough to me to repeat.