Here’s the problem: for many products and services the market place has grown to be world-wide, thanks to that nifty little thing called the internet. In the past, you might compete locally with a handful of competitors, but now there might be hundreds — if not thousands — of other options for your end users. Yikes! So, how do you compete with that?
There is only one ‘you’, there is only one of your product. Even if there are knock-offs out there. The art is to define what it is about you, your product or service that makes it what it is, that makes it special. The thing that makes stars ‘stars’ is that they understand their personal uniqueness; that’s what builds their careers.
We tailor your message to tell the unique story (or stories) about what you do. At the end of the day, you need a marketing tool that tells not only what you/your product/service looks like, but something about your being, or the inherent feeling with which your product/service will gift them.
People are naturally fascinating. I can go to the mall or a coffee shop and watch people for hours. When we are in our own skin, thinking our thoughts, we humans are fascinating. The art of shooting people is getting them to that place where they can be relaxed and in their skin, thinking their own thoughts. The art of doing that involves psychology, creativity, intuition, discipline, acute attention, understanding and a deep love for people (for which I thank my Mother whose heart was, indeed, the size of Texas). The topography of the human landscape is always changing, so even if I shot you on Monday, I’d be dealing with a potentially very different person by Wednesday — there’s the challenge; there’s the fun. Some tribes in Africa used to think a photograph would take a person’s soul — that’s what you want to aim for in shooting people. If you can catch a person’s soul, then you’re good– very good. It’s what I aspire to. And in telling the story of you and what you do, the more we can access that humanity, the more potent your story, the more it will “connect” with the humanity in those you are wanting to reach.
The key to commercial work with larger entities is balancing the objectives of different people who have a good deal invested in the message. Sometimes different departments within a client’s company– the agency, art director, producer, etc., can be moving in slightly different directions. Usually more than enough thought has gone into “what’s the story” which can sometimes lead to over-thinking and second guessing. Aligning the message with all departments while forming enough space for inspiration to strike in the moment, is important to insure not only a congruent message, but allow for “lighting in a bottle” to strike. So, being crystal clear about what the story is that we are working towards and having a sense of ease and play are so useful to getting compelling results in a high stakes arena.
At the heart of any business is the person or people who run it and what they are about. And I can’t help but feel that some part of a marketing plan wants to include something about the people who make it happen. Sure, for a lot of products/services, price may be the only relevant factor. And yet, we all have experience of reaching past the cheapest one because we felt another one was better. And sometimes, we don’t even know why, but we do it. So, I like to encourage my clients to take pause, step back and reflect on what it was that drew them to wanting to “birth” their business into the world and continue “birthing it”. What is it, that beyond making money, you’d like your clients/vendors/end-users to take away? It’s usually a feeling or experience and it almost always reflects the values of the people making it. When you and your team are working to champion your core value(s) and bring those more into the world, it gives tremendous fuel to what you do. And, when you are truly aligned with what you do and what’s important to you, making heaps of money is usually incidental. In tapping into the positive intention of your business, therein may lie success.
Alchemy dates back to antiquity where practitioners would seek to transmute base metals into noble metals, such as gold or silver.
Whereas alchemists of yore never succeeded in turning lead into gold, I believe that creativity is a type of alchemy; and, when aptly applied, it can lead to great riches.
Alchemy, then, is accessing the place from which creative ideas flow. And from that place of pure potential, an idea can spring that can change everything. As Victor Hugo said, “There’s nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
Every invention, every product, every story, every design that mankind has created has flowed from this place.
Creativity is unbounded. When we combine that with clarity around the story that you would like to have told, then pure alchemy becomes possible.
I believe that at the heart of all creativity is play. It is the elixir of alchemy. Some would contend that “play” is optional, a luxury to be folded in if the bottom line allows. Whereas, it is easy to see how that might make sense, there is a subtle, yet profound difference when we allow for “play.” It is a catalyst that allows us to more readily access the wellspring from which great ideas flow. The ideas and actions that issue forth from that well spring have a little magic to them, a touch of the divine. They are not only more enjoyable to create, but more effective in every way (including the bottom line). And so, I endeavor to bring a sense of fun to what I do. I look forward to seeing how we might collaborate and have fun in telling the story you want told, and, hopefully, we can create some gold.