We work in an industry that sells intangibles. Sometimes we call them ideas, other times we call it strategy and more recently,
we call it an innovation. We then try and put it into a box for mass consumption. A trick we probably learned from our clients.
Perhaps it's more of a residual effect of the industrial age.
We make a contrived box, for a contrived idea. Only to be told, the idea must have quantifiable results before it can be released from its box. Ultimately, because someone fears an unexpected result.
A precarious x-factor--gasp!
A new idea--technically--has nothing to gauge itself against.
This problem is what makes it new. A tired reiteration has plenty of deprecating statistics and metrics to bet against. However, if metrics and statistics exist, it's rationale to think that someone else is using them too.
Yes, it is rationale.
In these cases, you or the client will end up with a tired iteration.
A well-labored xeroxed copy.
A typical response to a very common situation is; Well, it doesn't look like a luxury brand. (I'll let that sit with you for a second).
Well, it doesn't look like a luxury brand.
Well then, not only have we done our job in creating something new, but you will also stand-out against a back drop of products and brands that have seemingly all begun to look the same. So much so, that we have category for it. An easily identifiable category of luxury where no one brand or product is truly memorable. They've all copied each other so much that they've meshed, blurred and taken on a homogenous, dull look. If greatness begets greatness, nothing remains great. If new is copied by others, it must continue to remain new by progressing further.
This is one reason consumer generated--whatever you prefer to call it--works better and has often traveled farther then a well labored xerox copy. The x-factor occurred outside of the strategy, the brief, the controlled environment of an idea or concept that has been neutered by heads not working with the hands. More specifically,
the heads disguising the definition of collaboration with the definition of accountability. By proposing something, despite it's ability to actually improve or enhance the initial idea, they have at the least, become accountable for a portion of the idea. You know--for when the idea succeeds. When it fails--it's even more interesting to watch that vague and inappropriate comment suddenly become small and meaningless when compared to the greater sum of the original idea. In essence, it's not that a shade of blue made the idea fail,
it's the fact that we used blue in general.
This vortex of semantics and accountability contribute greatly to the crowd-sourcing issue that tends to creep into a meeting when it should totally be avoided. If the idea works, someone takes the credit for suggesting that they use a crowd-sourcing site. If it fails, they blame the crowd. Everyone who may have been initially involved is now off of the hook.
Back in the day (let's guess--20-30-50 years ago), we'd ask our colleagues for their professional opinion, possibly even a few from industries closely related to our own. Then (around 5-10-15-20 years ago), we'd question the research and look for answers to the solution as well as a failure. Now (like, yesterday, today and tomorrow), we continue to ask people for their opinion; question the research and failures; but this time--we'll also ask someone to create it for us, too!
There is a completely legitimate reason for the Arts. There is also a reason that you may or may not be a paid professional tasked with expressing ideas, products or concepts to a large mass of narrowly-minded prospects through the broader visual language.
Shush. Have one of those bagels and take notes.