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October 15, 2003
Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World

These days, getting people to notice you isn't easy. The Information Age has morphed into Information Overload. Messages are everywhere: At the bottom of golf cups on the putting green, flashing on ATM screens, even posted over urinals (an excellent product placement for Budweiser).

So how do you get heard? How does your company connect with the consumer?

You need a Big Bang.

A Big Bang is designed to help make a brand explode onto the marketplace virtually overnight. A Big Bang creates an ever-expanding universe for a product, and turns occasional users into fierce loyalists. A Big Bang cuts through the clutter and gets people to sit up and take notice. A Big Bang helps you to make the sale, close the deal, get the gig now. Here's why:

A Big Bang disrupts. At its core, a Big Bang idea is about taking the spotlight. It is about ideas that are simply too outrageous, too different, too polarizing to go unnoticed. There is a sea of sameness out there. You can't go anywhere without seeing the same mind-numbing brands over and over again. Drive down the highway and you'll pass by a strip mall with Gap, Barnes & Noble, Old Navy, The Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, and a gas station. Go through a couple of stoplights, and the whole thing starts all over again.

A Big Bang is illogical. Twenty-seven years ago, if you wrote a business plan on how to make money by selling water, you?d die of thirst waiting for the loan approval. For years people just turned on the tap and had a drink. For free. Then came Perrier and suddenly we were all convinced that expensive water made us better, healthier, smarter, more sophisticated.

A Big Bang has a dramatic, immediate and irreversible impact. Big Bang marketing ideas disrupt because they are "discontinuously innovative." They reject the notion of incremental or evolutionary thinking and instead look for step-change solutions. They alter the landscape forever by introducing a new way of thinking about a product or service.

A Big Bang can't be ignored. Big Bang ideas are intense ideas. They are intentionally polarizing. You must have a point of view about them. They are the six-hundred-pound gorilla in the room. They must be dealt with. They force opinions. Yes, some folks think the AFLAC duck and his incessant quack is annoying. Yes, a few conservative organizations have criticized the sensual content of the Herbal Essences commercials. Our response? Bring it on.

The first requirement of a Big Bang is to forget every rule you?ve ever learned. You must ignore industry standards and turn the following pieces of unconventional wisdom into a way of life:

Forget about the vision thing. Too many companies have their five-year plan, their one-year plan, their six-month plan. That stuff rarely works. What?s the point of having a vision for what you want to attain in five years, if you can't pay your rent now?

Shrink to success. Big Bang ideas come from small spaces. It is only through shrinking your organization that you can create an atmosphere where great ideas continually bubble up to the surface. Compressing your staff, time, and space establishes the perfect staging ground for Big Bangs.

Assume the worst. Fear is a good thing. Fear, in fact, may well be the most powerful force in business. Fear spurs creativity. Assuming the worst generates enough anxiety to motivate the troops to gamble on a controversial "out there" idea.

Create chaos. Why? Because creativity isn't logical. In order to unlock the creative potential, you need to allow a certain amount of disorganization. If you want your staff to be courageous enough to come up with a disruptive Big Bang, you need to create an environment where risk-taking is safe—even encouraged.

In our book Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World (thebangbook.com), you'll learn that Big Bangs are anything but business as usual. You'll learn that you need to go for the gut, spinning emotional impulse into gold. You'll learn that chaos is the flip side of creativity. You?ll learn how to create a condensed environment that moves at warp speed. You'll become expert in recognizing which ideas will work, and which will fizzle. How to execute and sell your Big Bang. How to bust out of black holes, and keep "Big Bangs" perpetually expanding. In the end, you?ll develop the tools to create an immediate and dramatic impact on your company's bottom line. You'll be heard.

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Love it or hate it, the work of Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval is noticeable. As CEO and Chief Marketing Officer, respectively, of NYC's Kaplan Thaler Group, Linda and Robin have created a brand icon with the AFLAC Duck and an advertising debate with the Clairol Herbal Essences "Totally Organic Experience." 
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