A concept is the translation of strategy into an idea the audience will respond to.
Say the objective is getting into the hottest club in town. And the best way in is through the bouncer. We have lots of options here. We could seduce him, make ourselves important so he wants us in the club, or just buy our way in with a nice big bribe. There’s many ways to skin this cat, all of them laddering up to the strategy of “get into the club through (audience) the bouncer.”
A concept is your directional compass. Say we choose to seduce Mr. Bouncer. Our tactics then become how we dress: trendy sex appeal, how we talk: sweet and saucy, how we act: bat those lashes! Everything we do and say reinforces the seduction approach so we come on strong and aren’t sending mixed signals. Mr. Bouncer gets the message loud and clear, and since research told us he likes to be flattered, of course our approach works and he lets us in the club.
A concept is vital to successfully reaching your audience. The right idea creates a connection to them that is much stronger and will better activate them than unfinessed, direct messaging. Have you ever heard the phrase “your strategy is showing?” There’s a reason that’s not a good thing. It doesn’t work! Humans can smell a sale a mile away. You have to inspire your audience so that they want to engage. That is more effectively done with a clever approach that awakens a realization in the audience. You can’t boss them into doing what you want.
Laddering all executions and channel efforts up to a uniform concept strengthens the whole, makes your message more memorable and will create better awareness and/or activation. So schmooze that bouncer, don’t bull rush him – and you’ll end up in the club instead of on your back.
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