Neal Schuler, VP, Creative Director

Oh no, not a post about embracing change! Okay, don’t freak out, we’re just talking here. I’d like to share five useful tips to help you stay nimble and relevant… like marketing yoga!

I don’t know about you, but things feel like they’re moving faster than ever. Technology, especially. Maybe it’s always felt that way, not really sure. I mean, my grandfather grew up during the turn of the 20th century. His folks had a two-horse garage and a newfangled indoor toilet… thanks to Thomas Crapper. (No kidding, you can look it up!) I sat with my grandfather and watched the First Moonwalk. So, there you go, change must have felt pretty darn fast for him, too! In any case, every day feels like a struggle to stay current.

A lot of us have our trusty tool box of solutions that we’ve been carting around for years – maybe some of us even built our careers with it. It’s familiar and rarely fails. Here’s the thing, though: The tools in that toolbox may still work, but they’re likely dull. Technology, consumer behavior, economics and culture all keep evolving. Continuing to reach for the same solutions may work, but may not be optimal for the shifting landscape. Think of it this way: You go to the dentist with a toothache and the dentist breaks out the old pliers. They’ve always worked in the past, so what’s the problem, right? Pulling the tooth with the pliers would definitely solve the problem, but it’s probably not the best solution.

As we develop strategies for driving sales, awareness, brand health, engagement, prospecting, whatever our mission is, we should consider current solutions first… and resist the old tool kit!

To do that, here are those five useful tips I promised you:

  1. Understand that touch points have changed. The audience doesn’t choose one channel to engage with a brand, they’re everywhere! Leverage each touchpoint (web, social, print, broadcast) for its evolving roles and unique opportunities.
  2. Stay relevant. What’s happening right now in popular culture that would be useful to reference in your marketing strategy?
  3. Ditch the marketing speak. Signal to your audience that there are real people behind the marketing effort. Skip the industry jargon and just talk to people like they’re people.
  4. Make it personal. Find ways to leverage proven creative and marketing techniques in a more genuine way.
  5. Commit to engaging with industry peers. Conference roundtables and the hotel bar are great places to share ideas and stay informed.

You say some things just don’t change? True! Human physiology isn’t changing very fast (we still have our appendix and little toes, right?). The way our brains process information, how our egos develop and how our eyes work all remain essentially unchanged from primitive times. These traits influence our behavior, and should consciously and directly affect how we write, design and strategize. Appeal to the caveman first, then layer on the most current thinking.

Speaking of how our eyes work, there’s a great article in The Atlantic this month that describes the science around the creation of the Mona Lisa, particularly her smile. Apparently, Leonardo da Vinci understood how our eyes take in light. He knew that when we view an object straight on, it appears sharp. But when we view it from a slight angle, the object subtly softens. Da Vinci manipulated the shadow and light around Mona Lisa’s mouth so she appears to be slightly smiling when we’re not focused directly on her mouth. But when we look at her mouth straight on, it appears to have a more serious expression. This partly accounts for the compelling nature of the work. Amazing!

Mona Lisa aside, the message here is to embrace change! I hate clichés, but sometimes there’s something deeper in a cliché than meets the eye… like Mona Lisa’s smile.

Interested in more ways your company can stay nimble and relevant? Give me a call at 913-236-8988 or shoot me a note at

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