We’ve grown extremely used to clients – and indeed, Creative Directors – asking for the Big Idea.
The Big Idea is the sacred cow of advertising. The rock around which campaigns – and agencies – are built. Businesses are won and lost, brands are built and torn down, careers are made or unmade, by that elusive Big Idea.
These are the kind of words we bandy about to describe the Big Idea:
Jaago Re, What An Idea Sirji, Daag Achhe Hain, Open Happiness, Real Beauty…these are the kind of ideas that we identify with as Big Ideas. The kind of ideas we’re benchmarked against, the kind of ideas we’d kill to come up with.
They’re gargantuan. They go viral. They’re loved, they’re hated, but they’re universally spoken about. The media picks them up. Celebs tweet about them. Inevitably, they become part of popular culture and lingo. (And the agency’s showreel.)
But when it comes to digital, the world of software-driven marketing, there may be a different approach.
When it comes to agencies trying to develop a great app for their brands, they might want to start by identifying a small niche. A small problem, left unresolved. A small opportunity to do something better than someone else has. A small gap in a market that nobody may have noticed.
Little ideas which may not sound earth-shattering, but which turn into brilliant, useful, engaging, entertaining apps.
We’re seeing app developers take this approach, and churn out apps that fill small gaps and suddenly become the de facto solution. And brands need to follow.
Some already have.
Pampers’ Hello Baby Pregnancy Calendar took away the need to visit a baby website to track your unborn child’s progress.
Walgreens, the local pharmacy, removed the need to manually set prescription reminders by automating them and allowing users to order through the app.
ColorSmart, by paint company BEHR, allowed you to choose paint colours to compliment an existing colour in your room, and held interior design angst at bay.
A really brilliant one was Chase Bank’s Quick Deposit feature on their mobile app. Which eliminated the need for a user to go to a bank to deposit a cheque. All the user had to do was scan the cheque number and details, verify the amount, and VOILA! (A great example of digital transformation as well.)
All of these are based on real human truths, and sound like little ideas, almost not worth doing.
Yet, they stand head and shoulders above the ruins of failed branded apps.
So the next time you’re trying to crack a branded app, put away the pressure of the Big Idea, and focus on the little one. Try and solve for the real problems, the ones we moan about in the privacy of our minds.
You might find truth in the old adage, “Less is more.”