Developing Uncommon Vision

Creativity is seeing common things in uncommon ways.  It’s that simple.  It’s that hard.

James by Close Chuck

Close-up of James’ eye

 So, how do you learn to see common things in uncommon ways, particularly regarding your marketing efforts? First, deconstruct whatever you’re focusing upon, whether it’s a  product or marketing activity  … break it down to its basic elements –size, shape, color, materials, resources, timing, audience, goals,  personnel,  expense, etc.  Next, exchange some, or all, those elements for random examples of the same element (bigger, rounder, sooner, etc.). At this point, you should start to see some openings in the way that product or activity is perceived that weren’t obvious.

Now take a different tack: Imagine that product or activity moving into an environment where it would never normally be found.  How would it be received?  What would its affect be?

Take it a little farther: What is its opposite from that product or activity?  Decide what elements make it different from its opposite.   What happens if you incorporate some of those differences into your product or activity?

You’ve just done four things:

  1. You’ve opened yourself up to looking at your products and the way you market them from their basic elements outward.
  2. You’ve realized the environment in which they reside often defines them.
  3. You’ve decided some of what makes your products and marketing activities different.
  4. And most important of all, you’ve discovered alternatives.

That’s how you see common things in uncommon ways, and it didn’t require another creative genius to point them out. 

As with any rigorous exercise, always do a little stretching (intellectually) to warm up.  Read a case study on great marketing, go to an art gallery, or check out some classic ad campaigns on YouTube.  Eventually, uncommon vision will become second nature to you.

Anyone else have good creativity development ideas for marketers you’d like to discuss?

About bobcouch

Bob Couch is the president of OROGEN Marketing in Menlo Park, CA. During his almost 30 year career he has worked with some the the biggest brands in the world, and several Silicon Valley startups. OROGEN Marketing provides a comprehensive set of marketing tools to help their clients grow big, and bigger.
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1 Response to Developing Uncommon Vision

  1. jimjatcko says:

    Great post Bob!

    One resource I use fairly often is Caffeine for the Creative Mind: 250 Exercises to Wake Up Your Brain by Stefan Mumaw and Wendy Lee Oldfield. It’s a great little booked packed with 15 minute exercises to stimulate the brain and to look at things from a different perspective.

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