Creative Thinking – Dare to be Different

Sally Ormond

Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+


Have you ever had an original thought?

Something no one else has ever thought of?

Probably not, after all, with the many millions of people in the world (past and present) it’s a tall order to come up with something completely original.

So where does that leave your marketing strategy?

Is it a bit predictable?

Well, now’s the time to do something about it.

Recently, I was lucky enough to hear Dave Trott speak at the Professional Copywriter Network conference in London.

He talked out how important it is to out-think your competitors.

For example, if your business has 8 direct competitors (your products are the same) and your campaigns are very similar, there’s nothing for your consumers to distinguish between you.

The chances are your market share has stagnated or is reducing – neither of which are good.

So what do you do?

You have to out-think your competitors.

During Dave’s hugely entertaining presentation (if you get the chance to hear him speak, grab it with both hands) he illustrated the point with an example of one of his own advertising projects.

A few years ago Dave was tasked with coming up with an advertising campaign to prevent chip pan fires.

Previously, the issue had been tackled by showing how quickly a fire could take hold, each incarnation more gruesome than the one before. But these tactics weren’t working.

It was time for someone to look at things differently.

Rather than taking the traditional view of ‘to prevent fires we must show the audience what will happen if they have a chip pan fire’, Dave opted to look at it from a different angle.

If there were lots of chip pan fires that meant the fire brigade would be called out to lots of fires. So instead of showing housewives the devastating effect of fire, Dave chose to find a way to reduce those call outs.

So Dave produced an advert that showed housewives how to deal with a chip pan fire safely, therefore reducing the number of call outs.

That’s (award winning) creative thinking.

It’s not looking at the obvious need, but instead turning the problem on its head and looking for another, possibly easier, problem to solve.

So next time you create a marketing campaign, apply a different way of thinking. Look at every aspect of what you’re trying to achieve to see if you can come up with something that’s going to make you stand out.

For more about out-thinking your competition, Dave has a ‘must read’ book out called “Predatory Thinking – A Masterclass in Out-Thinking The Competition” (link to Amazon page).


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#1 Damien on 10.24.13 at 9:08 am

Great post – thanks Sally. This reminds me of a documentary series that’s airing here in Australia at the moment. It’s called ‘Redesign My Brain’. The presenter is Todd Sampson, CEO of ad agency Leo Burnett.

He undergoes a whole bunch of tests and experiments to see how the brain adapts and redesigns itself. Lots of stuff about measuring and enhancing creativity. If you get the chance you should take a look!

#2 admin on 10.24.13 at 9:12 am

Thanks Damien – sounds interesting, I’ll have to see if I can find it and have a watch.

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