Step Toward the Edge

In the ‘ole days we used to market to the middle of the bell curve. Average products for average people. But, as thought leader Seth Godin puts it, the bell curve is "leaking". It’s flattening out in the middle and fattening up on the edges. "It’s people who market to the edges and embrace the edges who are embraced by the audience," says Godin.

You can look at that through the ‘I’m under so much pressure to come up with something new and different all the time’ filter. Or you can look at it as the good news it actually is. The human brain thrives on novelty. And there’s a good chance that, given your career choice, you’re in the fifteen per cent of the population who are total novelty junkies. Even the most novelty phobic of us still love a little something different. For example, just say you take a brand new route to work one morning. Research has shown that the visual novelty of this small change will stimulate your brain to create new neural pathways and dish out ‘happiness hits’ that last well beyond the journey.

Your drive to be creative–to use the power of the edge–is motivated from a desire to create that small but significant mental shift in your audience (that is unless you’re motivated by awards). Good work; work that surprises them, delights them, causes them to think, makes them see through a different lens, or puts their head in someone else’s headspace briefly has a positive impact that lasts well beyond the moment. You serve your client too, because the part of the brain that is stimulated by novelty takes new information and converts it to memories. Novel = memorable.

Seven Suggestions for Avoiding Being Dull Utilising Novelty

  1. Small things can have a big impact. Use subtlety and nuance.
  2. Avoid doing what you already know works. Your work will start to show a pattern.
  3. Use photographers/directors who are not of your place or worldview.
  4. Don’t use photo libraries where photographers are forced to shoot for the middle of the bell curve.
  5. If you can’t shoot, brief at, where you can communicate subtlety and nuance. You’ll also get a range of worldviews. (Not such a subtle plug, I know!)
  6. Write it for the outliers. They’re the ones the middle of your bell curve look to.
  7. Think hard about what you want your audience to do, but harder about how you want them to feel.

Happy Holidays.

­­By Simon Moss, Director, ImageBrief

Good novelty utilisation? What do you think?