Creative thinking for a competitive advantage

Great brands outwin the competition. That doesn’t just happen by chance. It’s a combination of strategy and smarts.

When creative thinking for your next project or campaign, don’t just come up with ideas. Develop solutions that will give your client, or your business, that competitive advantage.

Taken from the book “Creative blindness and how to cure it” by Dave Trott, we’ve developed a snapshot summary of these ideas and approaches, and put our own spin on things, to give you prompts and reminders that will help expand your creative thinking.

LESS IS MORE

“Put your resources where it will make a difference.”
We all know it’s a waste to randomly talk to everyone, everywhere. The market is too big and our resources are too small.
So use triage thinking to prioritise your audience.
There are usually 3 groups:

  1. People that won’t buy, whatever we say
  2. People that will buy, whatever we say
  3. People where our advertising will make a difference

Concentrate your resources against the third group. Put your resources where it will make a difference.

CHANGE THE COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE TO WIN

You can’t keep competing inside a competitive set where you can’t win. Change the competitive set by changing the perspective. In a different context, something unimportant can become very important.

GAIN CONTROL

“If you’ve got a problem you can’t solve, get upstream and change it into a problem you can solve.”
Usually this means changing the direction, or the point at which you enter the problem or the process. Use your creative problem solving to put yourself in the control seat, rather than have others control you.

FROM PREY TO PREDATOR

“From passive to active, from prey to predator.”
Research your competitive set. Get enough information to outperform that competitive set. In order to be chosen, you need to be better. In order to be better, you need to know what you have to be better than.

PINPOINT YOUR DIFFERENCE

What makes you great is finding out what makes you different.

USE YOUR DIFFERENCE TO STANDOUT

“What fascinates people is what’s different, what’s interesting, what’s controversial.”
People aren’t interested in the same old thing they could get elsewhere. Instead of obeying all the rules like everyone else. 

POSITION AGAINST MARKET LEADER

Use the power of perception to elevate your brand into equality with the market leader.

FOCUS ON THE 80/20 RULE

“Real creativity isn’t adding more stuff. Real creativity is taking it away.”
Conventional, traditional thinking is the more choice you give your customers, the more customers you get. Yet 80% of your income comes from just 20% of what you sell. If you concentrate on this 20%, you can make this 20% better than anyone else. This is referred to as the use of reductionism.

PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS

“Change the game to one you know you can win.”
Here’s a story about David, from the book “Creative Blindness and how to cure it”. Other supermarkets put most of their media money on TV. But David wasn’t a TV writer, he was a press writer. He did a massive press campaign for Sainsbury’s, and sold them like a gold jewel. The ads won every award and sales went through the roof.

David didn’t compete on TV where he was weak. He changed the game to the medium he was best at. He didn’t play someone else’s game. He changed it to a game he knew he could win. This lesson can apply to any context – your business, campaign or project.

TAKE STUFF AWAY

Strategy is not about adding more and more stuff. Strategy is taking stuff away. Take away everything. Until there’s only one thing left, which is….

One single powerful thought.

One thought that’s leaner and more efficient than the competition.

That’s what strategy should be.


Thanks for reading and taking the time to expand your creative mind. Hopefully this gives you something to think about…

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