On my consultancy and training travels around the UK I get to learn so much from other people. Plus, there are comms lessons all around us if we look closely enough. And so, I thought I would begin sharing these lessons more regularly via the somewhat obvious blog post title of ’Things I learned this week’ 😊
I hope you enjoy volume 04
by Darren Caveney
1. The Power of Puerility
My good pals at top Birmingham agency, One Black Bear, organised an evening with advertising great, Mark Denton.
Mark has one hell of a back catalogue and it’s fair to say he’s a creative genius. He’s also a brilliant storyteller so if you get a chance to see his ‘Power of Puerility’ talk get yourself there.
There’s a book to follow soon too ( a whopping 450 pages, I’m told) so I’ll be grabbing one of those.
He are just a couple of gems which really struck a chord during Mark’s hour-plus talk…
Pedal harder than everyone else
If the headline is rubbish make the full stop beautiful
Don’t settle for ‘No‘ – just keep on going back with better and better
Defend the fun, hold on to the silliness
Great creativity isn’t about data and insight – it’s about having a bloody good idea
and making it happen. The power of puerility.
And my favourite… (which could be a mantra for life itself)
If the client says no and nails up the front door find a way of nipping around the back
and kicking the door in.
Every so often the ‘Communications: Art or science?’ debate gets discussed within our industry. I have always said that it’s both, and that comms without the art very often lack the creative edge, the heart, the passion, that something just a little bit different which can stand out in a cluttered market.
Mark is very much an artist. But he’s turned it into a science.
Big thanks to him and One Black Bear for a great experience.
2. The Comms Unplugged Taster
The excellent Saranne Postans, of Fresh Air Fridays, and I ran the first ever Comms Unplugged Midlands Taster event at Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park.
The taster event aimed to give a mini slice of the Comms Unplugged experience – time to think and talk away from screens, meetings and other online distractions. We had a full house and even the Brum rain did the decent thing and disappeared as soon as park walk began.
I know first hand how difficult it can be colleagues to get time away from the office. But with mental ill health on a sharp increase find it we must.
I knew some of the attendees but many were new faces and it’s amazing how much ground you can cover when we’re not ploughing through Power Point slides, live tweeting or checking emails instead of chatting.
A big thank you to everyone who came. It felt like we could have extended it to a full day session and there was a real appetite for more time to connect (watch this space)
We had some lovely feedback from attendees but I’ll share this one with you:
“From here on I’m going to take more time to do the things I enjoy with those I love. Thanks to Comms Unplugged for creating the environment for much-needed reflection.”
3. My weekly rant: Boy, there’s some daft, strange and bad behaviour out there
It’s been a busy old week and I’ve chatted to literally dozens of people in Manchester, Birmingham and Norwich.
Now I like a little moan as much as the next man or woman but some of the things I’ve heard this week – some serious, some just plain daft, are enough to make anyone moan.
Here’s just a small sample…
§ Two brilliant comms pros I know well have been made redundant this week without a hint of notice. They will both be snapped up quickly but it’s a reminder that we are all expendable.
§ The organisation who won’t trust a comms pro to work from home every now and again to get away from office distractions.
§ The organisations adding to the mental health epidemic spreading across our industry by heaping on the pressure instead of protecting and supporting their staff
§ The people who behave badly on social media and comms pros suck it up
§ The people who just behave badly
§ And the daft – The organisation who allow dark denim in the workplace but not lighter shades (I know, I was stumped too)
There’s a lot to moan about some weeks. But do you know what was most amazing? Not one of the people who shared this stuff with me moaned. They were taking everything in their stride and moving forward positively.
Bravo, People of Comms.
Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd
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image via U.S. National Archives