Tag Archives: Categorization

Be gone with categorization

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/jorgebarba/status/72767066175848448″]

This was in response to @marihuertas, who also thinks there’s no such thing as social media experts.

Recently I fell into the categorization trap…

We are doing some branding work for a publicist. Specifically coming up with an identity that’s uniquer to her. When doing this type of work, an anything for that matter, you start off asking the client about them. You want to find out what makes them unique, sometimes this is easy but most of the time this is hard. Ultimately you want this process to result in creating an identity that the client will get excited about but also people will remember and love.

But sometimes you let old habits take control. You let the client direct what they ‘supposedly’ want. It’s a balancing act letting the client ‘direct’ and then proposing alternatives. We fell into the trap of letting the client direct and not get any traction because our client is ‘not sure’ of what she wants. Our client can tell us she wants X, Y and Z; we have to transform this into a look and feel.

We were frustrated because we haven’t hit the nail.

It then occurred to me that we might be trying to do this taking a practical approach, and as result we’re not getting excited about this process. We are not directing the scene but getting directed. And as a result our enthusiasm is sapped.

I had to remind ourselves that there are two types of work: the visionary and audacious and the practical and predictable. The first leads you to inspire others to adopt a vision. It’s all about excitement. The other leads to ‘me-too-ism’, predictability.

It’s that simple.

Defy categorization

Practical steps come into play when we want to fit into a category, in our case our client is a publicist. We take steps that worked for us before or that worked for someone else. And when letting our client direct the scene, she’s going to follow what’s in her head about what a publicist looks and sounds like because that’s the way she sees the world.

Our job is to short circuit this and propose alternatives. To stretch their minds. Our job is to excite and inspire as much as it is about executing.

After exchanging emails with my team for about half an hour, I continued pondering our mistake. I quickly glanced at Tweetdeck and saw this tweet by @lindegaard (which brought a smile to my face):