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Michelle PW : Three ways to put fresh spins on old marketing concepts

Three ways to put fresh spins on old marketing concepts

By Michele Pariza Wacek

Are you struggling to find a new twist on advertising or marketing campaigns?

If you're a small business owner or a copywriter/coach/other creative professional, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Having to come up with new ideas for a long-term client (or even your own business) can be overwhelming.

As much as you love those long-term clients or established products, because of their longevity, it gets harder and harder to come up with the next brilliant product.

But never fear. Here are three ways to get those creative juices (and new ideas) flowing.

1. Study other ads.

Flip through a magazine or turn on the television, except this time focus on the ads and not the content (I know, I know, this is counter to what you usually do). Which ads do you like? Why do you like them? Is there something that those ads are doing you can modify for your campaigns?

The key word is modify, not copy. I don't want anyone committing copyright infringement. What I'm talking about is using an existing ad to jump-start your own ideas. Maybe you really like the use of an evocative photo with a single caption. Or the use of repetition in Mastercard's "Priceless" campaign. Or the idea of turning the "money can't buy everything" on its head (which is essence of that campaign). Can you use that concept in your campaign?

Another resource for great ads is Communication Arts Magazine. Each issue showcases some of the most creative and beautiful ads found anywhere.

2. Check out what a completely different industry is doing.

For instance, let's say you sell software products to computer professionals. Techy market, right? So, pick up a yoga magazine. See how that industry communicates with its audience. Now try selling your product using the same language and concepts. Take it a step further and brainstorm ways your software product is similar to doing yoga.

This is a very powerful way to jolt your own thinking and start your muse down a completely different path you might never have discovered before.

3. Force a connection.

With this idea, force a connection with a random object rather than an entire industry. You ask yourself, how is your software program similar to a stuffed dog? Write down everything you can think of, no matter how silly or foolish. Sometimes the foolish ideas are the ones that lead to the great ones.

A final note: If at all possible, don't rush this process. Give your muse some time to ponder and play with these techniques. I know it often seems like ideas pop into your head out of thin air, but usually that's because of the hard work you've put into it. You've given your muse the necessary tools and "incubation time" to make ideas happen. •

Copyright 2004 Michele Pariza Wacek. All rights reserved.

Michele Pariza Wacek Michele Pariza Wacek owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting, a writing, marketing and creativity agency. More »

Updated 1/5/14