It may seem odd for an ad person to talk about the importance of thinking small. After all, one of the most transformative ads for any brand (and an ad many argue changed the industry) carried this thought as a headline.
Yet I think as an industry we are defined by another ad. This one:
We believe, the bigger the better. We want a big idea . We want to launch it in a big way to create a spectacular firework display. We want to shout and show our stuff in front of big audiences (hence the love of the SuperBowl).
The problem is 'big' isn't working. Andrew Ehrenberg has shown that it most categories a brand's market share is stationary. Copernicus Consulting have reported that people find brands and ads far more similar than different. McKinsey reports that CPG marketers are spending three times more on price promotion than they are on brand building.
The issues, I believe, is that we have confused the end with the means. Of course we want big business results and brands and communication that feel big, pervasive and central to culture. But, perhaps counter-intutively, we need to think and act small not big. We need to break the tyranny of the big idea and embrace small.
Tomorrow, I'll talk about why.