HOW TO BRING THE MOUNTAIN TO MOHAMMED
Do you want to become an advertising strategist? And you want to develop your strategic thinking? So do I. Follow me on my journey of trial and error and learn from my mistakes. Maybe even make them yourself.
I am in love with ideas. And even more with creating them. Ideas are everywhere. It is the banter that you have over drinks. It is the little adjustments that make your life more efficient, it is the dreams that you might have for the future. It is the art that you make. For every good idea, there is a good reasoning behind it. Ars mentis. The art of thinking.
At Deepend, a digital innovation agency, ideas are our currency, and the thinking that led to them. I have met some great thinkers in my career and they all inspire me daily to solidify my strategic thinking. So here I am now, hoping to take you along on my journey of becoming an advertising strategist. I’ll keep you updated on how I am trying to develop and structure my thinking and in my blogs you’ll read what I think worked well and what didn’t.
The Art Of Thinking
What is thinking? It is activity of mind. It works on affirmations and confirmations of comprehensions, observations, conclusions of the quests and searches of life for learning, earning and problem solving. It is mindful work-out by its own perception and understanding. (Ted conversations)
The great thing about thinking is: it is yours. It is unique and different from someone else’s. For it to be different though, you can’t just copy paste someone else’s thinking (in which case it wouldn’t be considered thinking anyway). And if you take the legwork that others have done in developing principles or ideas, you need to add your own flavour and angle. Question, be opinionated. It is the difference in use of knowledge that will set you apart.
Ideas Having Sex
We tend to surround ourselves with the like minded. People that are like us and that reinforce our thinking, not challenge it. But in fact, it is conflict that requires us to think about our ideas and make them rock solid. It is conflict that makes us change our mind if we need to.
# ideas can come from observations, interests, emotions, pop culture, calculation, imagination, intelligence, memory, conversations etc.
# the more you know and the more different experiences you have, the more inspiration you can draw from them. Try something new every day (a new cuisine, a new song, talk to strangers). Be a yes-man.
Ideas are born from other ideas. From associating things you know. Ideas have sex and have cute fat babies.
Sooner Rather Than Later
I read books, articles and do courses all the time, but the truth is, I constantly feel like I don’t know anything yet. It feel like I’m only scratching the surface despite all the time and effort that goes into it. I’m sure you’re feeling the same. You’re thinking “I am going to kick ass when I am skilled up and perfectly ready for it”.
Truth is, you will never be ready nor perfect. Vulnerability is the breeding ground for change, innovation and creativity. To create is to do something that hasn’t been done before. Be vulnerable. Start now. You might not kick ass. Or you might actually do fine.
Intelligence is not about knowing the right answer, it is about having the courage to question the status quo in a creative way and not being afraid to make mistakes.
Where To Start
I for one, did not study marketing but business economics. I had one course but that is obviously not enough to give you the basic principles of marketing.
· I would therefore recommend you get the basics right first. Read some generic marketing books to embed those marketing principles in your mind.
· Also, subscribe to a newsreader. I use Pulse since Google Reader recently breathed its last. Be abreast of what it happening in our industry; the latest trends; the best advertising; new technology; consumer insights etc.
· Open a twitter account and follow all writers of good articles and books you come across. Or stalk the shit out of comedians and other interesting plebs.
· Read industry magazines and subscribe to their YouTube and social channels. Subscribe to all your local associations. For Sydney those would be AdSchool, Communications Council, Below 30, Youngbloods.
· Enter competitions. There is Young Lions, organised by News Limited. And there is Planning Idol, coming up soon in August. Miami Ad School has some throughout the year as well. Even B&T will throw you a bone.
· Don’t just limit yourself to advertising. Learn about the world. And pop culture. Watch movies. Visit exhibitions. Talk to people.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to do all of this at once. Give yourself a couple of months to set yourself up and get into a comfortable habit of sucking it all in. I’ll go into a bit more detail on these later on.