'The Concept' Or Why Most Marketing Flops

The year was 1964. He was a CPA. His partner, a track and field coach at the University of Oregon. Together, they launch Blue Ribbon Sports. In their first year, they gross $8,000 or about $62,000 in today's money.

That following year, Bill and Phil nearly triple the business, bringing in $20,000 or around $150,000 today. Clearly, they are on to something. As the business continues to do well and change, so does the plan for what they want to offer.

They decide to launch their own line of athletic shoes, and on May 30, 1971, officially rebrand. You probably know where this is going...

In just the fourth quarter of 2016, Nike generated over $8 billion. The brand isn't just synonymous with fitness...it is fitness. While we all instantly recognize that iconic swoosh (which was purchased for $35), what most of us connect with are three simple words:

Just Do It

However, what most of us don't know is that it wouldn't be until nearly 20 years after the Nike name entered the lexicon that these words would be uttered.

This Is The Concept

A concept is nothing more than the big idea. I like Steven Pressfield's explanation in his book, Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*t: Why That Is And What You Can Do About It.

A concept takes a conventional claim and puts a spin on it. A concept establishes a frame of reference that is greater than the product itself. A concept sets the product in a context that makes the viewer behold the product with fresh eyes--and perceive it in a positive, refreshing light. A concept frames (or, more frequently, re-frames) the issue entirely.

Most concepts fall short or, as witnessed in any not thought out campaign which seems more and more abundant in today's realtime world, there's no concept at all!

I get that you want to sell more. I get that you want more customers. But it's not making more money that you need to be so hellbent on.

It's Connecting With A Better Concept And Message

When you do that, the money follows.

Here's some questions you can ask yourself or pass on to your team:

What is the big thing people get out of our product/service?

What is our customer most afraid of?

What does our customer most care about?

Stripping away what we sell, who are we and what are we about?

How can we add more meaning and emotion into our offering?

What is the bigger picture of what we are trying to accomplish?

If you ran into a customer in an elevator, they asked what you were up to, and you told them about your latest campaign, could you communicate it in that short time and would they be intrigued?