The Big Pause: An Opportunity in Disguise

April 17, 2020

As I sit in my living room recliner (now my official office chair for the duration of the global pandemic), I gaze into one of the most well-preserved and pristine hardwood forests in the country and feel its silence. I’m immersed in it, and equally enamored by it. Being stationed in the northern Michigan office of Bottom Line (BLM North) has its benefits, with a major one being I’m surrounded by a naturally wild and serene landscape where creatives, like myself, can better hone their focus. Being quarantined even further into isolation, away from an office environment, adds to the silence. So, I sit in this eminent silence and focus my creative energy. I let it build and let it flow. When this energy builds and flows, you can feel it. Everything just “clicks.” It’s a spontaneous feeling that’s not easily described. At times, it can make your heart drop. “A-Ha! There it is! An idea! An angle! An avenue to go down and see what it creates, and what will manifest out of exploring it?!”

As I’ve been exploring these spontaneous creative avenues in my mind, I’ve been able to deeply process the current condition of our world and how that relates to marketing, advertising, and creative messaging as a whole. During this time away from our typical “norm,” I have come to the realization that this quarantine, call it “The Big Pause,” is an opportunity in disguise. Never before have we, as a human race, had such a large pause in our societal norms. We have an opportunity to use this time productively and think about how we can positively shape our futures moving forward. As a race, we’re so engrained and in love with thrusting through life quickly and rigorously. We love the rush and the connectivity. It’s part of who we are as social creatures. But, in this “Big Pause,” I think about the things we’re giving up. Do we really need all the things we’re going without right now? Do we really need all the bustle? All the rush? All the noise? What if this pause is telling us something? What if it’s presenting us with something really significant?

There will be a lot messaging launched into orbit when this global pandemic lifts. Yes… it will lift. And when it lifts, there’s going to be a surge of pent up excitement to get back out there into our “normal” lives. But before we get back out there, let’s see if what we bring out of this pause can help us be a better human race. There’s a lot of excess “stuff” in our world. Things that, at the end of the day, we don’t really need. The same goes for your business’ advertising. These excesses can be found in many aspects that go into an overall marketing campaign or strategy for a client. Extra spends in areas that aren’t necessary. Extra color on an already beautiful design. Extra words on a page. As our fearless founder, Chris Brooks, told me early into my career here at BLM, “Trim the fat. When in doubt, cut it out!” Oh, how Chris was right! Great creative messaging adheres to this rule, and is effective because of it. Yes, it’s true that in order for your business to be successful, you must have adequate Share of Voice in your market and a better than average Personal Experience Factor when someone walks through your door (resort to “The Wizard of Ads” by Roy Williams if you need further clarification here). But, where does that leave your creative?! The quality of the message you’re delivering is called your Impact Quotient (IQ), and for those that have low IQ’s… well, you see where I’m going with this. If your message isn’t creative, lean, to the point, and memorable, no one is going to hear it. It will get lost, like so many of the messages we’ll be bombarded with when the pandemic lifts.

So, I ask you this. Pay close attention to not only the messages you’re being delivered now and when we get back to “normal”, but also to what you’re bringing out of this “Big Pause” with you. Sometimes, things are best left behind so we can trim the fat and focus on what not only works, but what is actually necessary. Let’s get back to the pure root of our existence. Let’s rid the excess. Let’s focus on what works, and leave out what we don’t need.
Stay safe and stay aware!