The Fixer-Upper Concept

Writing a winning concept can be tough. When you read a good concept, it is easy to say “I could have written that,” but trust me, I’ve worked with many teams over the years and creating a simple, single-minded communication is not an easy task.

Interestingly, I just read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers. In his book, he highlights that 10,000 hours of practice are required for someone to become an expert. He methodically goes through a variety of folks who we either consider savants or extremely innovative and shows how they were provided with the right circumstances to get 10,000 hours of practice well before anyone else. This includes individuals such as Bill Gates, Mozart, The Beatles, and Bobby Fisher (the chess genius).

It is no wonder that concept writing is hard, most of you have not invested 10,000 hours into doing it well. So here are a few tips to know when the concept you’ve created can be fixed upped, rather than starting over from scratch.

  • When customers identify a winning benefit, but nothing else – Sometimes your target audience really likes what you’ve promised them – what’s in it for them. But you have not convinced them that your offering can deliver. This is generally the case when the Reason to Believe (RTB) needs to be rewritten and more closely aligned with the primary benefit offered.
  • Confusion exists – When your target audience does not understand what you’re trying to communicate. They may understand bits and pieces of your concept, but it doesn’t tie together well or creates some unanswered questions. In this situation, it is important to tease apart the concept to determine what is driving the confusion. You want to know whether the logic is flawed, the language is unclear, or the entire idea doesn’t tie together. Once you know this, you can likely rework the language to get the concept in the right place.
  • Right idea, poorly worded – Occasionally, you may have all the elements you need in your concept, but it is just not communicated with the right words to convey the message. In this case, you have lots to work and need to carefully listen to the customer’s words to reframe your communication. Generally, if you simplify the idea and distill it to the key points, you are well on your way to success.
  • Over 100 words – And finally, a concept needs to be simple. My general rule of thumb is that if the concept is over 100 words (not including headline or wrap up line), you’ve probably got too much information packed in. In this case, you need to simply “thin out” the concept and only communicate the really essential elements to convey the idea.

So regardless of the number of hours you’ve invested into learning how to create effective concepts, you can still make your concept better with these expert tips to create Marketing Concepts That Win! (that should be a book title!).

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