This may seem a bit new age, but it’s not really, and the sense of it is spot on.

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(Photo Credit: My own)

It’s a quote by a guy called Zen Shin. (They’re all Chinese warriors and philosophers that come up with the best ones are they not?).

Anyway, I spotted it within a talk by Lucky Cloud Skincare at Creative Edinburgh‘s Talking Heads event last night.

What resonated with me is the vanity that pervades my industry and the comparisons we all make with one another for no real gain.

The simple fact is that great work will always stand out by being, great work.

This is my philosophy on how to achieve that;

  • Strong strategy/briefing (follow the ‘Garbage in, garbage out ‘principle as a starting point to keep you straight on that one)
  • Focussed messaging (Meies Van der Rohe nailed that one – less is more)
  • Thoughtfully targeted and placed in the right context
  • Work with (and hire) real creative talent and don’t be in awe (they are as nervous, inside, about any new brief as you are)
  • Enthuse them
  • Immerse yourself in the product/service
  • If it IS great and your client doesn’t bite; sell, and sell hard.  Do not give up.  Do not compromise.  If all fails put it in a drawer for selling later to someone else who has vision

“Apostrophes are wee arseholes.”

That is the single bestest sentence I’ve read in a long while.

It stemmed from a twitter conversation I had with Helen Sell of The Gate Interactive.

She’d posted this, decent, long copy ad for Currys, but my Lynne Truss-like eye spotted that slap dang gosh in the middle of it was an offence to mankind.

THE MISSING APOSTROPHE.

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Come on Currys.  Come on.

And come on your agency too.

A bloody great retail ad spoiled by a wee arsehole.

 

How not to kill your clients.

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So impressed and inspired was I by Atul Gawande’s astonishing book, The Checklist Manifesto, about how a seemingly mundane tool such as a checklist can reduce deaths on the operating table by half, that I’ve been pondering on how the same could apply to the world of advertising.

His inspiration was the world of airline piloting and he took the principals of this industry and applied them to his own.

I’ve done the same for the advertising industry and will be sharing them with an audience of account handlers at The Leith Agency on May 6th.

My presentation covers all aspects of advertising strategy and how to minimise your chances of getting it all horribly wrong, and contributing to the 89% of advertising that, according to Dave Trott, simply does not get noticed and consequently has no chance of working.

If you’re interested I could potentially be persuaded to share it with you.

(But only after The Leith Agency have had first dibs.)

Lessons in life and in business.

I was asked to contribute (as Chairman) to the new Creative Edinburgh blog so I thought I’d draw on some of my personal life-lessons after 30 years at the marketing coal face.  It is, of necessity, rather brief but I’m happy to elaborate with whoever thinks it might be interesting…

Things I am glad I was told

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Mark Gorman shares an informed (and humorous) insight on business management in the creative industries.

Given that Creative Edinburgh is essentially about sharing (knowledge, experiences, contacts, opportunities and pizza) I thought it incumbent upon me as the Chair to share a few of my own personal insights gathered over nearly three decades as a creative practitioner.

What follows are the slides from a PPT deck that I created a couple of years ago for a talk I did in Newcastle. Although most of my career has been in advertising I believe the lessons can be applied to any creative business (in fact any business whatsoever).

Some are more serious that others.

Read it all here…

Creative Edinburgh. What’s it all about then?

I’ve been privileged to be Chair of this astonishingly successful organisation for about three years now and in that time I’ve seen it grow from a mere idea to a near 1,700 strong network.

I was recently asked to contribute to the new blog and here is what I had to say.

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Brownian Motion. It’s a good metaphor for Creative Edinburgh’s unwritten raison d’etre. For those of you unfamiliar with the term it’s the term for random motion of particles suspended in a fluid resulting from their collision with the quick atoms or molecules in the fluid.

OK, that’s all a bit scientific Pseuds Corner (I was a science undergraduate once upon a time), but it’s very apposite to our work here at Creative Edinburgh. Because, at the core of our belief is the idea that if you put lots of people with very different skills, careers, experiences and needs in a room and let Brownian Motion take over people will move about, bump into one another and make random collisions that will spark real opportunity.

It’s happened for our members time and time again at our many and varied events. But one common theme binds these events together; the chance to network in a non-confrontational environment……

You can read the full post here.