Shake That Sh*t Up
Unthink What You Think You Should Be Thinking
Assumptions are helpful. Assuming the brakes will function as you approach the pedestrian-filled walkway is reasonable (keep ‘em maintained, people). But for our purposes today, we’re going to assume that assumptions are dangerous (no pedestrians will be harmed).
Assuming that our client knows everything there is to know about their customer or their employees, as we embark on critical branding work, is a hazardous postulation. Assuming that we know everything, or even enough, about a given audience, as we build brand perspective and prominence, is equally fraught with peril.
We Don’t Know Shite
Well, in our case, that our lack of intel and abundance of shite is intentional. Of course, we know things about things, we’re smart folks here at Sussner. And, we are smart enough to know that we could know, understand, and the work will benefit, from so much more.
One way we treat assumptions in our brand work is to go through a brainstorming exercise that Mr. T. Larson refers to as the “Eye-Roll Exercise.” It’s a way of getting unstuck, it’s a dope-slap to the brain, and a Heimlich Maneuver to the muse.
Spend 10 minutes assuming nothing, spouting out the painfully obvious (see eye-roll). Let’s say you’re working on a brand refresh for a commercial printer (oh wait, we did exactly that) and we’re brainstorming taglines:
“People Want Printing”
“Ink Is Wet”
“We Have All The Colors”
“People Want To Save Money On Printing, But They Still Want It To Be Really Good”
Eye-roll, eye-roll, etc.
Next, flip all your assumptions:
“People Will Never Want Printing Again”
“Ink Doesn’t Exist”
“We Have No Colors”
“People Want To Spend Ridiculous Amounts Of Money On Printing, But They Couldn’t Care Less About The Quality”
Eye-roll, eye-roll, etc.
While it seems silly on the face of it; it can actually yield great insights, bits, pieces, snippets and legit ideas.
The golden nuggets we mine from unconventional brainstorming, and other someday-to-be-revealed trade-secrets, feed our creative and strategic endeavors. This information becomes the core of brand stories, marketing elements, logos, voice directions and strategies.
We assume that by now you’re getting the drift about how to approach assumptions—have an awareness of all assumptions, and then blow them up. Inject play, fun, and then even a bit of discomfort into your process. Disruption can be uncomfortable. The resulting success, on the other hand, is very comfy.
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