At the end of last year, strategists at BBH London were ‘invited’ to compete for The Write and Black Sheep Prize, an internal writing competition. Answering the question ‘If I were a marketer today what zag (general or category specific) would I make?’ in 400 words didn’t faze their planning brains – there were many brilliant entries.
Over the next week we’ll be publishing some of the entries – starting today with the winning piece, Saskia Jones wonderful provocation on the connection between introversion and creativity.
Precursor Monologue to a Creative Dialogue
Let’s start with a game of “Who am I?”
I am told to speak up;
with more authority.
I am encouraged to
communicate with immediacy
work in groups;
and to network.
Yet I think more than I speak;
I am considered rather than immediate
I seek solitude.
& I hate small talk.
Who am I?
I’m Albert Einstein, I’m Barack Obama, I’m Mark Zuckerberg.
I’m an introvert.
I am part of the 30% of the nation that are.
I haven’t picked introversion to validate talking about myself for the next three hundred words.
I’ve chosen this because of the intrinsic link between introversion and creativity. The kind of creativity that creates difference. At scale.
The kind of creativity that is the holy grail for today’s marketers.
Yet marketing is an industry renowned for attracting extroverts – and our environment has adjusted accordingly.
Collaboration, brainstorms & public speaking.
These words, and variations of them, fill me with fear.
I turn quickly from a vaguely intelligent & considered individual into a vacuous mute.
These now common-place processes and functions are founded on extrovert norms.
Extroverts are galvanised by other people, by external stimuli; they are each other’s catalysts – but these approaches are less effective than applying introvert “norms” to idea generation.
They also increase both social anxiety and peer pressure.
I therefore become more likely to agree with an idea I don’t necessarily believe in.
However, these approaches still prevail.
I find irony in the idea that we are trying to create difference but adopt processes that promote homogeneity.
There is an opportunity to disrupt this – to encourage a dialogue between extraverts and introverts.
Greater difference will come from quiet, than it will from noise.
This opportunity is not just internal, it extends to how we best engage with introverts through our comms;
Introverts over index on having a higher income – being high net-worth individuals.
Audi is marketing to them – consciously or otherwise.
But these people have defining traits that impact how & where we talk to them; they are fiercely private – an important consideration as comms become increasingly personalised.
Do I have all the answers to how this would work?
But I do know that “Neither E = mc2 nor Paradise Lost was dashed off by a party animal.”
So how about I start by turning the tables.
By asking you to:
Speak more quietly
and less often.
To work alone
be more considered
and cut out the small talk.
I dare you.
(note – this piece was first published in Campaign)