by Frank Strong
Where do creative PR ideas come from? How do we develop ideas and what does the life cycle of an idea look like?
There are those in our field that advocate a strict discipline of science – that is to say no idea is funded or given a seal of approval — without math. Data has the limitations of structure, yet we are not rationale beings.
On the other side, there are others that are purely creative — the Don Draper myth — they operate on instincts and gut feelings. However the very phrase “trust me” invites risk and suspicion.
The two approaches are at odds and I’ve found no better explanation than the words of Malcom Gladwell. In a post titled, Art or Science: Creative Marketing and PR, I took a look at his analysis of the difference between puzzles and mysteries:
In the book, What the Dog Saw, Malcom Gladwell breaks down the distinction between a puzzle and a mystery. A puzzle is when we have all of the pieces we need to make a complete picture, we just need to arrange them in the proper order so that they make sense. With a mystery, information is scarce and we instead rely on intuition, interference or a gut feeling. Perhaps this is what Rumsfeld meant when he famously said, “unknown unknowns.”
If PR were a puzzle then we’d have all the pieces needed to simply assemble a creative idea. If PR were entirely a mystery, then we’d all be starting from the beginning with every effort. Maybe that’s how to make the uninteresting, interesting. Neither side is quite right, there is very little in our world that fits neatly into some bucket we’ve designed; the fact is that PR is a mix of art and science.
We can’t excel with just English (or a language) or just Math, we need them both. Read More…