…Just back after an amazing client meeting. We’d studied over some recently presented taglines and discussed how they might live on the web, in the digital-ad world, with or without a music bed, etc.
We thought we were finished.
But an impromptu session started—after the structured part of the meeting had tapered—and a quiet, understated, simple string of conversations proceeded to uncover a truth that had been hiding in plain sight. At this discovery we had to decide to pursue this new direction or—lie to ourselves—and stay the easy course.
Why would I ever lie, or consider a concept is ever really finished when a tasty, new, more singular, more relevant truth can slip out of the client’s mouth with a yawn. (That yawn didn’t really happen, but the truth didn’t come out with a roar or label on it either.) When an opportunity comes around to converse lightly about your client’s brand with your client keep asking questions—ask the same questions—just don’t work the room like your drilling for oil when the meetings over. Let things quietly flow.
My last blog mentioned not taking the company tour (so you don’t start thinking too much like the client—thank you Mark Fenske via Luke Sullivan). And I believe that.
Anywhere in between the company tour and working in a vacuum is this giant playground; right? A space for collective brainstorming (when each professional holds mutual respect for the other) that can produce sleepy gems. Nothing forced or coerced. Just casual conversation. When you’re not necessarily reaching for the fantastical. Just looking for the simple, dusty, back-room, shelved truth. It can be shy, awkward; so sometimes you can look right past it hoping for something more spectacular or camera-ready. But that’s the challenge. And the beauty. Fantastical happens when we give life to the truth later as the creative process evolves.
Amir Kassaei, CCO of DDB Worldwide, put it this way:
…Great ideas that change behavior happen only when they’re based on a relevant truth. …People know more than ever, faster than ever. And that is a great thing because it will force us to be more critical of bullshit. As an industry, we have to stop falling into the trap of phoney ideas, of superficial gloss that looks great in an awards jury room but does not matter in the real world.
Have patience to wait, look, ask, listen for their truth. This can be the easy part. Because the hard part is going to be having that client trust you enough to let you nectar-up their shy (or even ugly) truth in a fantastically-creative way to share with the world.