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Sometimes things just won’t work. You made a nice communication concept, build a campaign and everything the execution was impeccable. But when you and your client look at the results they don’t meet the expectations. Now what should you do? Normally we would think that we would try harder – but you shouldn’t.

The misunderstanding

It’s a common misunderstanding and our language and how we we all have been brought up leads us into this. You have to get “through”. You have to “win over”. We have to “resist” etc. This concept of being stronger than our counterpart to accomplish our goals is common in all our life. To make an everyday example: Everyone tells you, that if you want to conquer a woman, you have to show your interest, buy her flowers, call her often and in the end eventually she will fall for you. We all know that this happens only in movies and that in reality she will be more likely to be annoyed or drop you of for the next best guy who doesn’t care less if she diggs him or not.

To make a long story short – we think, that if something doesn’t work we just have to try harder. But as you can see, just by doing more of something that doesn’t work doesn’t make it work. Taking down a wall with bare hands doesn’t work just because you punch harder.

The solution

To get out of this situation is fairly easy and difficult at the same time. If something doesn’t work, stop doing it. Try something different – maybe even exactly the opposite. This doesn’t mean that if you do advertising, you should not advertise – but if you try to sell out a product throwing one sale after another you maybe off better if you make the product high class or you limit the availability.

It may seem counter intuitive – and that’s good. If something is counter intuitive it’s different and if something is different it catches the eye. Getting the attention is one of the main goals in advertising and graphic design, so if you get that a good part of the job is accomplished.

Now it’s obvious that you still should have a valid product and have done your “homework”. If you have the wrong product for the right audience and the right communication, then you still will not sell. You may want to change your target group instead of changing the product.

A famous example of such a shift is the post-it from 3M. You know probably the story. The original goal was to make a new strong glue. The result was a weak glue which doesn’t leave traces when removed. A failure for the intended target group, but by changing the use and therefore the target group it became a success.

In short: If something doesn’t work the way you planned it, take a few steps back and look around. There is maybe another way you can go.

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