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Connecting The Dots: Marketing

Have you ever found yourself looking back on a recent success, and only with the aid of retrospect does it become clear how it was that a seemingly random set of events came together perfectly & you ended with the win that you did?

The oft-quoted Steve Jobs sums this occurrence up perfectly “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

Modern ‘dot’ thinking underpins a lot of the creative work we do in marketing – bringing together all of personal and profession ideas, knowledge and experience to formulate a new approach.

Being really cynical about it, it would be easy to say ‘there is no such thing as an original idea’, particularly in advertising and that a lot of what we ‘create’ is merely an imitation.

This misses the point, however.

As advertising grows and there are more and more opportunities to market to the same audience, through a plethora of different media channels, surely there must be a limit to the number of unique combinations of words, pictures and logos we can pull together to help sell a product?

Cambridge professor W I B Beveridge hits the nail on the head in ‘The Art of Scientific Investigation’ when he states “Originality often consists of linking up ideas whose connection was not previously suspected”

Look at the Uber phenomenon – yes, its brilliant tech and low pricing has revolutionised personal transport but realistically it merely brought together two groups of people that already existed – frustrated taxi customers looking for an immediate local pick-up and under-used taxi drivers who would often spend more time waiting for a job than doing one. Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp’s Eureka moment came when they realised they should bring those two groups together. It was connection that was the key to the success of their idea.

Connection is fundamental to the techniques we use when generating ideas and concepts at BURN. We create by connecting, by joining the dots, although sometimes the true impact of what we’ve achieved is only appreciated when we look back and observe a job well done.

The pains and the gains 18 months on


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