"To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success."
–Henry J. Heinz
After you read the quote above from Heinz, you must be thinking, how in the world can that be applied to advertising?
Well, let's first examine what Heinz was talking about. In his perspective, he believed that ketchup, or maybe creating and producing the condiment, was common. So he and his crew dedicated themselves to making the best ketchup around, unlike the other companies that did ketchup along with other products. Of course, Heinz & Co. branched out into other things, but for the longest time, they focused on a single product.
We are not saying that in order to be successful in advertising you have to specialize. On the contrary, if you are a regular reader of ours, you know that we believe the complete opposite.
But we are indicating that if we as communicators can focus on the common thing we all do, and that all our consumers do, we can be successful.
That's having a conversation.
Being in secondary education, we are amazed that the amount of teens and young adults who are struggling to communicate — at least, to communicate in the ways that we are used to. Sending snapchats with circles around people, or with single strings of text, and indicating that those exchanges are "full" thoughts is absolutely fascinating.
So as communicators, we cannot simply jump in to these newer formats and expect that these consumers will willingly listen, especially if we are far from masters of this highbrow language. In order to be successful, we must master that form of communication. Or, as Heinz would say it, to snapchat "uncommonly well."
Is it possible? Of course it is. And we do not have to leave it at the new media dimension. People are starting to interact with people in ways that we as a society are not used to. Less eye contact, further distances; yet, when inhibitions are down, the interactions become extremely intimate, with incredible speed.
Again, how interesting.
When we become "uncommonly good" at conversation, regardless of the activity, then, it seems, we will be successful.
But it won't happen overnight. Clearly, as these past years into the social realm have shown, the C-Suite and brand managers will just have to wait until we gain a good grasp on it. A community knows when an outsider comes into the crowd, and right now, there are way too many.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.