What’s The Big Idea? 4 Examples Of Big Ideas In Small Places


One of the most trite expressions in the modern marketer’s considerable arsenal of bullshit is the notion of the “big idea”. And like most overused marketing vernacular, it represents something really bloody important. Audacious ambition is the bare minimum a marketing campaign needs for success.

Now, when we think about “big ideas”, we’re typically referring to something at a brand or content level that can then filter down into every channel and tactic. At least that’s how I’ve always seen it. But increasingly I feel like that’s a mistake.

The benefit of course of nailing things at a brand and content level is that everything underneath is elevated, but some of the most successful initiatives I’ve been involved in over recent years have been entirely tactical:

  • For example, spotting that a particular niche is relatively neglected in the search engines, and creating content like a maniac.
  • Writing handwritten letters on beautiful stationery for people who only expect to receive messages via email and LinkedIn.
  • Finding a way to transform the customer experience by either migrating a conventionally offline journey online, or indeed migrating a conventionally online journey offline.
  • Or perhaps just spending absurd amounts of time and effort targeting one single human being in a way that makes no obvious short term sense commercially, yet for that very reason carries huge long term meaning and impact.

Of course, regardless of the level we are innovating, it all needs to come from the same place – some killer customer insight that suggests a misalignment between customer desires and the current behaviour of the market. And more often than not, that insight won’t come from lumping people into broad personas, but through really getting to know them as individuals. You see by designing the experience around them as one single person, accounting for all their unique idiosyncrasies, it gives us no choice but to think laterally in both our messaging and our mediums, the result of which is the experimentation of ideas that at scale may make little sense, but on a micro level may allow you an almost complete monopoly over that individual’s attention.

And that small but uninterrupted interaction is when big things can start to happen.

See you next time,