[At high school]
Mrs. Detail gave us two sample scanned letters written in British and American style. We had to only copy the patterns onto two different pieces of paper and submit them for evaluation. The exercise resulted in 26 poor marks in the register. Nobody was even close to getting it right. Our teacher gave us a second chance. Same result, different day.
It turned out none of us managed to spot the colon (:) after ‘To whom it may concern’ in American English letter format.
Because we weren’t looking at life with enough attention to detail. We were only careful when we were told to be. We were only interested in something when it could affect our marks or social image.
Mrs. Detail tried to bring us up in the spirits of observation and present us with its powers.
How it helped me into practice?
Keeping your eyes peeled for the tiniest details is the soul of advertising strategy. You simply have to live in an (to coin a phrase) ‘advertising to detail’ world. How else would you target 18-24 boys/girls with any product if you were always staring carelessly through the window without taking the slightest interest in the surrounding situation? How would you know your clients if you don’t observe them?
I’ve transformed my daily life in an observation-exercise.
Looking at peoples’ face expressions and reactions often inspires me to write.
Memorising my friends’ interests, favourite destination/colour/fruit/pet/drink is my guiding light to surprise them in unexpected times and ways.
Taking special interest in every person even if they are not pleasant is my best account management exercise.
If you can’t take an interest in your daily communication, how can you expect to be a good account person? Let alone to gain and provide insights…
Out of all my observation exercises I most loved my MA course (Creative and Media Enterprises, Warwick Uni) members’ birthday policy.
It became a CME tradition to come up with an individual birthday surprise to everyone on the course.
Firstly we all observed. Then we brainstormed for a week and agreed on the best insight. Finally, we magically converted all of that into a present. We never got bored from the tradition because we became better and better at it.
Much like with brands and advertising. Understand which bit of the brands’ soul makes the customers tick and transform it in an ad that would make them buy and even love it more.
But to understand we have to observe.