Category Archives: It’s not how GOOD you are, it’s how GOOD you want to be.

Do Not Put Your Cleverness In Front Of The Communication

Creative people are paid to be creative.

So, in order to justify their salaries, they need to be seen to have clever ideas.

I have no argument with intuitive clever ideas. There are often the best. The problem is that good ideas do not always come along, great ideas even less often.

In their need to prove their worth, creative people often produce work which on the surface appears clever but has little substance.

Instead of trying to find a quick fix, if they were to spend time finding out what the problem was, they would discover the solution.

In other words, if you ask the right question, you get the right answer.

There is a book which was written in the 1950s but is still relevant today. It’s called A Technique for Producing Ideas by James WebbYoung.

It doesn’t give you ideas, but it helps sort out what you want to say and helps you arrive at an original and relevant solution.

Eliminate the negative

Avoid knocking the competition.

It usually serves to publicize them rather than you.

It may win attention, it may win awards but the likelihood is that it won’t win sales.

(It’s also much easier to do.)

Accentuate the positive

Find out what’s tight about your product or service and then dramatize it, like a cartoonist exaggerates an action.

For example, you know a horse can jump a ditch, therefore you accept that it can jump the Grand Canyon.

This realization accelerated my career faster than anything I have learnt since.

Providing there is a basic truth in your idea, you can dramatize it to infinity.

Here’s an example:

A radio commercial for suntan lotion. An Englishman’s voice tells of the product’s benefits. As he talks his voice gradually changes to that of a West Indian man. – Written by Ron Collins.


You know a suntan lotion won’t make you black, but you accept that it might make you brown.

Don’t Look For The Nest Opportunity. The One You Have In Hand Is The Opportunity.


We are always waiting for the perfect brief from the perfect client.

It almost never happens.

You’re probably working on a job or project right now and saying, ‘This is boring, let’s just deal with it and get it over with. We’ll make the next one good.’

Whatever is on your desk right now, that’s the one. Make it the best for you possibly can.

It may not be great, but at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you did the best you possibly could, and you may learn something from it.

And you’re always free to do an alternative that does satisfy your creative standards.

Good briefs don’t just come along.

That’s true, even if you’ve earned a reputation for doing good work (although that helps).

Successful solutions are often made by people rebelling against bed briefs.


Do Not Cover Your Ideas.

Give away everything you know, and more will come back to you.

You will remember from school other students preventing you from seeing their answers by placing their arm around their exercise book or exam paper.

It is the same at work, people are secretive with ideas. ‘Don’t tell them that, they’ll take the credit for it.’

The problem with hoarding is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually you’ll become stale.

If you give away everything you have, you are left with nothing. This forces you to look, to be aware, to replenish.

Somehow the more you give away the more comes back to you.

Ideas are open knowledge, don’t claim ownership.

They’re not your ideas anyway, they’re someone else’s. They are out there floating by on the ether.

You just have to put yourself in a frame of mind to pick them up.


It’s All My Fault

If you are involved in something that goes wrong, never blame others. Blame no one but yourself.

If you have touched something, accept total responsibility for that piece of work.

If you accept responsibility, you are in a position to do something about it.

Here are some common excuses for failure:

  1. It was a terrible brief.
  2. I need a better partner.
  3. There wasn’t enough money to do it properly.
  4. The director didn’t listen to me.
  5. I was too busy on other projects.
  6. I wasn’t given enough time.
  7. The client took out the best ideas.

Most of these grievances are every day on every job. That won’t change.

The point is that, whatever other people’s failings might be, you are the one to shoulder the responsibility.

There are no excuses.

The Fundamentals


It’s 75% of the job.

If you haven’t got it, be nice.



It is quite easy to get approval if we ask enough people, or if we ask those who are likely to tell us what we want to hear.

The likelihood is that they will say nice things rather than be too critical. Also, we tend to edit out the bad so that we hear only what we want to hear.

So if you have produced a pleasantly acceptable piece of work, you will have proved to yourself that it’s good simply because others have said so.

It is probably ok. But then it’s probably not great either.

If, instead of seeking approval, you ask, ‘What’s wrong with it? How can I make it better?’, you are more likely to get a truthful, critical answer.

You may even get an improvement on your idea.

And you are still in a position to reject the criticism if you think it is wrong.

Can you find fault with this?