Somewhere along the line you've probably encountered someone that told you that you need a big idea or to think bigger about your marketing and your business.
What is remarkable is how much marketing there is out there that doesn't really say much of anything, let alone convey a big idea. And by marketing, I don't just mean advertising, I mean anything a business does to convey what it is about and stands for - even the invoice. And copying your competitor's big idea doesn't count.
A big idea is the bridge that makes an emotional connection between what you are selling and your intended audience. It pushes a button or two that helps your possible customer to say - hey, that means something to me. It's the bit about your business that actually sells the difference that you and your offering will make to the customer.
Never before have big ideas been so important.
This is a new marketing era - where you are compelled to make a connection or you will get lost amongst the ever growing crowd still shouting randomly for attention. Your big idea cuts through and says, hey, you - yes you, I'm worth taking a look at. I really get you, and I will do THIS for you. And if there are two or more of you still in the game, your big idea also gets to go BANG! This is why we are the one for you. These days, it's how you connect to the right audience in the first place.
And I don't mean some sort of fancy marketing trick. The days of clever copy and stock pics are gone. Your audience barely has time to pay attention to even the stuff they really need, so don't think you will win any ground by being anything less than authentic in what you are saying and conveying.
You can have functional marketing that doesn't have a big idea at its heart. But it will always get by on functional, if that. It won't have a chance against a big idea of a competitor.
When it comes to marketing, before you even unravel the detail of what you need, who'll make the design and produce the marketing, who it is for, and where it needs to be - let's be honest - you need to have something to say. And that, when you get to the essence of marketing, is the most important thing. And that is where your big idea needs to spring from.
It's not a factual sentence describing your product. It's quite a tricky thing to behold to those that find it difficult to understand why people buy things. A big idea is often conceptual, but always a simple truth. It's a way of bringing what you have to offer to life.
There are different ways that you need a big idea in marketing your business. Big ideas work on different levels - a really big idea for your whole business, and then quite possibly a serious of smaller big ideas that define brands and campaigns, but all ultimately link back to expressing the very big idea.
Here are some examples to inspire you to develop a big idea and reap the benefits. I've used TV commercials where possible just for entertainment purposes, but most of these would have been realised on other forms of media too, and how you demonstrate your big ideas is only as limited as your ideas.
1. A brand promise as a big idea.
What started as a campaign idea has come to represent all that Red Bull is and does in what it supports and continues to market itself in lifestyle events and sport. This kind of big idea is a thought, feeling or idea that is a way of creating a story about what a buyer can get from your product or service.
Red bull gives you wiings.
2. Bring a core benefit of dealing with you to life.
T-mobile's parking ticket.
Whilst not an original idea (fake traffic warden), the big idea is 'no unpleasant surprises on your bill', and using the hated parking ticket experience to make a TV advert to convey that is one way of executing that idea.
3. Hitch hike another ideato explain yourself
This is about evolving a persona, or using an unrelated idea to give life to a seemingly boring concept and explain it simply.
Compare the meerkat.
Talk about standing out in a crowded, competitive and very samey market place! The Meerkat has evolved an entire new revenue stream, let alone coin a new cliche - Simples.
4. A big idea in service delivery.
A big, but simple expression of how you do business that the customer can hold you to.
Starbucks promise "Your drink should be perfect every time. If not, let us know and we'll make it right."
5. Use existing associations.
Using well understood and even public associations in a new way to convey what you are about to be even more relevant for your market.
Waitrose - Delia & Heston brought together to convey quality and passion - traditional with a new twist (best loved and most innovative in a collaboration).
6. Intrinsic to the product offering.
Every product upholds the big idea, and that is a big pull for the right customer.
Example: Body Shop (inspired by nature and ethical).
7. Tap into a current problem for consumers and solve it with a particular style.
The big idea: make it easy to do some good for yourself (eat 5 a day with no hidden extras).
8. Own a touchpoint for your market.
Connecting with your market in a different arena/ touchpoint than where you are expected can convey aspects of what you are about in an often more relaxed and open setting. Humour, well done, can highlight relevant issues to that touchpoint, and demonstrate that you are in tune with your audience.
Orange phone break in the movie. Orange own the 'movie space' by making fun of their efforts to integrate with the movie space as a mobile provider.
9. Capture a human 'truth' and associate to it.
Example: Berocca - you on a good day. Everyone likes how they feel on a good day.
10. Embody why your customers buy your product
Don't underestimate how much a decision to purchase is linked to the customer expressing something of themselves or their business, by having that product or service.
Skoda - mean green (and previous cake advert)
The big idea - is what is the car made of - ultimately something that you want to add to your personality or express or feel about yourself. It's about what you feel like when you drive the car.
Big ideas are hard to happen on. But their effect in practice is worth the effort. The more you understand about your market, the more what you are selling aligns with what your market really needs and wants, then the easier it will be to build a big marketing idea.
Bronwyn Durand founded JupiterJasper, the Marketing Mentor for small businesses. Bronwyn consults on commercial identity as The Brand Whisperer.
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