Building A Better Mousetrap

Lady Gaga & Madonna

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I’m about to contradict myself.

I wrote in a post last week that appealing to a mass audience – as in trying to sell a product, market a service or build a business – should not necessarily mean sacrificing our creativity. I postulated that the truly great stuff in life – the stuff that makes us sit up and go “wow!” and take action – is unusual, unique and even a little strange. In short, the stuff that works has to get people’s attention and keep it. And then make them take action.

It’s just that sometimes… well… there’s nothing new under the sun.

And so in those cases the secret to success is doing something that is old in a way that feels new.

In the PR world, we get paid to get our clients hits: in the newspaper, on TV and now, online. There’s nothing new about pitching a story to a reporter or editor. There are the basic building blocks of a story and there are the details that give it life. But those building blocks almost never change. And yet it’s our job to recast them in a way that is new – or at least feels new.

That’s not disingenuous – so long as we are factually truthful and accurate.

There are a million ways to recast stories to make them feel new (none of which I’ll be sharing here, you’re welcome very much).

The point of this post is to say it out loud: sometimes we need to stretch our brains in ways we haven’t before, get out of our creative ruts or comfort zones, and mix things up a bit, to make something that would normally be humdrum look like it just fell out of the lab.

So what are you doing today to build your better mousetrap?

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