In a world of noise, maybe it’s time to listen

Mark Sammartino
June 12, 2014

marketing 

In an ever-changing, fast-paced marketplace, there is always noise. We all try to make it; we all want to be heard. But how often do we listen?

Listening is something that we take for granted. But, as we all know, we’re occasionally guilty of closing our ears while we eye the speaker. Sometimes our deafness is convenient – we venture, selectively and deliberately, to be unlistening, since in our heart of hearts we really don’t want to assimilate the words hastening in our direction. At other times, seemingly, our ears close themselves for no reason other than to spite our will to keep them open – at this mysterious point, the ears keep their own counsel, attending, perhaps, to some arcanum above and beyond speech.

Listening forms the bedrock of any relationship. It is the foundation of all good briefs and, in turn, of great creative execution. There are many insights to be gained from listening: not only will it give us greater clarification of what people want, but, more importantly, it will enable us to appreciate what they need.

It stands to reason that brand custodians need to listen to their consumers – it will be to their benefit if they keep an ear out to what is being said in the marketplace. The same holds true for creatives. It is imperative that creatives take care to listen to their clients.

This does not mean that a client cannot be challenged to rethink the specs of a brief, but the challenge ought to be launched from a point of due regard for what the brief enunciates. By listening, we give ourselves an opportunity to enter into potentially fruitful dialogue with our client.

When we do this, we may find ourselves in the desirable position of approaching our work – of developing our ideas – with a high degree of confidence. We will not be hamstrung by intractable uncertainty over what the client wants, or by festering doubts about whether or not the client knows what they want. The effort of listening and of entering into dialogue will have gone a fair way towards the shaping of our goals. We might then be well placed to make a noise with our executions.

Too good to be true? Probably. But next time you want to make a noise with your brand or your design, first take a moment to listen. In fact, why don’t you take a moment to reconnect with you audio senses – now. Sit back, close your eyes and take a few minutes to relax. Reconnect and refine your ‘listening’ skills. Here’s one of my current favourites, a track from Rudimental: ‘Waiting all night’.

 

Mark Sammartino is Creative Director at Wellmark.

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