The world has always toiled between the conservative and the radical. While one wants to control and maintain, the other strives to revaluate and reformulate. The first approach brings out continuity, the second renewal. And if truth be told we need both.
Little by little, people of the twenty-first century have started to see that the world is balanced over a steep ravine between two idea cultures. We are on the way out of one of them, the one that belongs to Mr. Spock and his hardboiled cronies. The other one is marching forward. It is Gump’s world, the heart’s and art’s great comeback.
The problem, that many overlook, is that one side is often emphasised at the expense of the other.
In Spock’s conservative business world the rational rules. It’s a cold perspective that creates a preserving power that reminds us of a black hole.
The black hole supports itself through simple mediocrity, mainly with brands that don’t have the creative power to keep their distance from the hole’s paralysing gravitation.
It is of no use, and it achieves nothing more than to strengthen the category leader; while the other brands are sucked further into the middle to suffer an inevitable death due to a lack of attention.
It is the market’s own version of hell. It is a deadly sequence for marketing communication where everything is transformed into a cacophony of information and tired clichés.
But the consumers’ gaze has never rested upon yesterday’s news. She is constantly searching for refinement. For those responsible for the brand there is just one piece of advice.
Flee from the black hole. Look in a fixed direction towards the market’s outer limit of demarcation, the creative zone – to the speculative, potential reality, where contrasts coexist.
Follow the direction like a curious fool. Make your way in a zigzag way, like a child walking to school. Search like an artist: devoted and wide-eyed, disrespectful, foolhardy, intuitive and reinvestigative.
Search outwards. A step inwards will make you feel secure, but the consumer bored. A step outwards will make your heart turn somersaults while the consumer sharpens her senses and becomes exalted.
Search continuously outwards. As the black hole feeds on standard and grows through experience, the creative zone moves constantly outwards.
This marketing merry-go-round offers you laughter, dreams and experimentation, but it eats into your self-confidence, as you will surely make a few, small mistakes along the way. Mistakes that the suits regard as needless expenses, but here in the innovative field they work much in the same way as market research.
Big mistakes are costly, but small mistakes are feedback that helps you to achieve better decisions. The costs for the wrong steps should always be considered in relation to the two greatest mistakes of all, namely, to convince yourself that you know more than you actually do, and, to never achieve any great ideas at all.
A curious fool makes mistakes but also makes things happen. Even Isaac Newton, Spock’s forefather, realized that the creative was a search when he said, “a basic aspect of creativity is not to be afraid of making mistakes.”
“We minimise the risk by maximising the risk,” said Hans Rausing, one of Europe’s richest men. Nobody has ever accused him of being foolish and careless, and if proof be needed his company, Tetra Pak, followed this uncompromising motto.
It is not so much the mistakes that impede development; it is the excessive wisdom that kills the speculation and the intuitive search for new ideas. It is the inflated belief in the rational that poisons the creative thought and suffocates many brands in their infancy.
The story of Camitz Sparkling has bordered on serious mistakes and wild speculation. Mattias and Peter have higher powers to thank for the mistakes they have been through, and regard them today as badly-needed rebukes and hard-earned lessons. Without them the world would never have got to taste anything remotely close to Camitz Sparkling.
And without all the carbonation problems the vodka would never had been put to the test forcing it into a constant stage of improvement and refinement that has made it what it is today, the world’s most exclusive vodka.
The moral is that knowledge is conceited and inflexible, but wisdom is humble and always experimental.
Your task is to constantly search, not to know.
This is what we have learnt so far.
Let’s celebrate this and head for the party.
Read the next chapter on Mine goes to eleven, September 15: “Crashing the party.”
The lesson from Let’s get gorgeous:
- Chapter 1: The idiot’s guide to marketing (incl. introduction) | Mine Goes To Eleven
- Chapter 2: Not nice. Gorgeous. | The Brand-Man
- Chapter 3: The old, bearded Greek. | Mine Goes To Eleven
- Chapter 4: Spock vs. Gump. | The Brand-Man
- Chapter 5: Fuck the USP. Think ASP. | Mine Goes To Eleven
- Chapter 6: I’m Dirty Harry. Who are you? | The Brand-Man
- Chapter 7: When branding doesn’t work. | Mine Goes To Eleven
- Chapter 8: Hate me, but don’t ignore me. | The Brand-Man
- Chapter 9: Kill the adjectives. | Mine Goes To Eleven
- Chapter 10: The curious fool. | The Brand-Man