Back Pocket Ideas

Have you ever had a project where ideas poured freely and easily out of that big ol’ brain of yours? The flood gates of your imagination opened and you have more great solutions than you’ll possibly need.

What should you do? Pitch them all?

Absolutely not.

No matter the volume of your great concepts, refrain from showing all your cards.

A CD I worked for years ago implicitly instructed us to always hold back. He said to keep some “back pocket ideas”. Here’s why:

Use this opportunity to cull down the concepts to only the very best, to take a second look and be highly critical of yourself.

Choose to present only the strongest ideas you want to see come to life – the things you want for your book, or more importantly, that you feel certain the client will buy. Choose the ones that you think will not just be clever in the moment, but also stand the test of time.

Back pocket ideas are also useful if all the concepts you initially pitch die. It’s happened to all of us, and when it does it usually means a quick scramble back to the drawing board. Having some good stuff in reserve might just help alleviate the impending all-nighter.

Another some subtle reason for holding onto back pocket ideas is that you never want your job to look easy. If you start tossing around ideas like they are a cheap commodity that anyone can make, then that is exactly how they will be treated.

The Much Revered Uniform Resource Locator

I had this conversation yet again last week. The question came up once again:

Why do we have URLs on adverts?

It really cracks me up when a URL is on a banner ad. Isn’t the point of a banner ad — you can just click on it and to the site?

Print applications, though, are my major gripe. Ever been driving down the interstate at 70 miles an hour, when you come upon the most amazing billboard (ha!) and been so moved that you release the steering wheel to type in the URL posted in the lower lefthand corner only to die in a fiery crash as you careen off a cliff? No, me either.

Or been walking through an airport, see the catchy short URL on a duratran and miss your connecting flight because you were so terribly engaged with the ad’s web content? I didn’t think so.

My favorite URL is on a podcast or tucked inside an audiobook. Isn’t there are smarter way to help people get additional information rather than rattling off a long string of characters that even the world’s best typist won’t be able to catch?

Or better yet, why even bother? In this day and age it should be evident that if someone wants more information about something a company is offering, it can be found online. If the message is good enough, people will actively search for it themselves.

Focus your energy on creating those messages, and quit hanging your hat on the URL.

Week Links #15

Hire only “the best”
Hire super stars to work with you because that’s the only way to drive real change and sustainable innovation.

Ad agencies don’t represent the country we live in – and this needs to change
As a creative leader, one of my ambitions is, obviously, to find new ways of doing things; reshaping products and services that might be perceived as tired, haggard, boring. In order to achieve creative greatness today, we must strive for greater inclusivity in our teams – not simply focus on diversity.

8 WRITING TIPS FOR DESIGNERS, DEVELOPERS, AND OTHER NON-WRITERS
Even if you’re not a writer by trade, you’ve probably written something at some point today—an email, a text message, a lunchbox note. Everybody writes.

Four psychology principles every UX designer should know
There’s a darn good reason why there are so many PSYCHOLOGY+UX articles floating around. User experience design has its conceptual roots in cognitive and behavioural psychology.

Type in Couture
In an interview with rock critic Lester Bangs in the 1980s, writer and punk musician Richard Hell said, “If you invent yourself, you love yourself. The idea of inventing yourself is creating the most ideal image that you could imagine.”

Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation
Ask a bunch of people who subscribe to design thinking exactly what it is, and you will get a bunch of answers, each of which varies just enough from the last one to give you the answer you’re looking for: There is no single, unifying, common definition of design thinking.

Why Design Thinking Works
Whether you are experienced with design thinking or have only just heard of it—strap in because we are kicking off a series covering many aspects of design thinking.

Extreme Constraints and Curiosity Lead to True Innovation
Boundaries force you to find truly new solutions. For your next project, remove a given like a big budget or access to electricity to push your ideas further.

Now That I’m 50, Here’s What I’ve Learned About Achieving Success That Escaped Me at 25
Hitting the big fifty requires reflection almost as a duty. So I focused mine on what I’ve learned about success since being half my current age.

8 strategies to embrace the future of content marketing
Just a few years ago, you could post 1, 2, 3, 300 blog posts on your website; furiously direct traffic to them through all your social platforms; amass zillions of inbound links; target a bunch of keywords; aaand easily rank on Google. Controlling your message and gaining customers was (well, almost) a piece of cake. No longer.

Ad Legend George Lois: Magazine Covers Are “Trash Today”
The iconic designer didn’t mince words in a recent interview, arguing that technology is “helping to destroy creativity in advertising.”

Your Own Personal Time Machine
5 Simple Ways to Recover the Lost Art of Note Taking

THE FRIDAY FIVE: GREATEST COPYWRITERS
As S3’s copywriter, I’ve had some pretty challenging briefs during my two years at the agency. Being asked to pick the five greatest copywriters of all-time, however, stands out as my most challenging one yet. After all, how do we define not just great copywriters, but the greatest copywriters?

3 Quick Lessons in Creative Leadership

Lesson number 1 came in through my Twitter feed this week from Mr Brian Collins:

I am one of those likes and retweets.

Nothing more needs to be said.

Lesson number 2 comes from Nick Law’s interview this week on Design Matters. I won’t even begin to attempt to distill all the great nuggets of juicy goodness packed into this 50 minute interview —  there’s too much to take away. My advise is to listen once, then listen again and this time take notes. Then listen 3rd time to fully burn into your brain permanently.

Lesson 3 is my advice. After you’ve absorbed all of the above, put on John Coltrane’s Blue Train, close your eyes and grok on what an amazing leader you will be.