If you glance through a play by Shakespeare, written over four hundred years ago, one of the first things you may notice is that human nature has not changed. Though societies progress, people and the way they think and react have remained much the same. This not only means that a story written centuries ago can still be entertaining, but in the context of business, it holds true that marketing strategies developed years ago can still be successfully applied to modern day technology.
The Man With the Idea
In the early 1960s, a man named David Ogilvy wrote a book called Confessions of an Advertising Man. The book was a thorough examination of marketing and advertising, and the effectiveness of Ogilvy’s ideas has led to him now being referred to as ‘The Father of Advertising.’
His remarkable life adds credibility to his ideas on marketing. For after working for the British Intelligence Service during World War II, Ogilvy settled into the advertising industry and made a name for himself by heading up many different advertising campaigns that were so successful they became iconic. Throughout his life, David Ogilvy proved that the ideas outlined in Confessions of an Advertising Man were ones that revolutionized the world of marketing.
What Is the ‘Big Idea’?
The concept that David Ogilvy is most known for is his theory of ‘the Big Idea.’ As he wrote, “It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.”
In marketing, Ogilvy did not focus on creativity, but rather on the content of his advertisement. Was it intriguing? Was it memorable? Did it catch your attention not because of its stylish design but because of its interesting idea or product? These are the questions he asked.
The concept of the Big Idea is that every successful marketing campaign must be more than flashy, well-designed, and eye-catching. It must contain within it an idea that people find genuinely intriguing, something that will make them stop and take notice, something that will make them wish they had thought of it first. The secret lies in conveying the right information with your advertising. Ogilvy advised that advertisements should spend time explaining the worth of a product, instead of wasting time claiming it is better than the competition.
The Big Idea in the Twenty-First Century
The avenues through which businesses conduct their marketing have changed since the decades in which David Ogilvy created his advertising strategies. But the concept of the Big Idea is perfectly applicable to the areas of social media, email, and blogging. With the surge of social media marketing, there are a million different advertising campaigns striving to catch the attention of the world. That is why it is so vital to center your marketing on a Big Idea that will attract the interest of potential customers, causing you to stand out from the vast amount of competition.
As we can see with one glance at history, human nature remains one of the few constants in a sea of variables. What attracts and interests people in the decades past, will continue to do so for centuries into the future. Even though Ogilvy’s advertising was to a different society and through different means than we use today, his concept of the Big Idea is still immensely useful.