It’s Not All About Positive Thinking

How considering the negative space when trying to solve a problem can achieve the perfect solution


Michelle Allmark-West
Concept Director

Here’s a thing; we encourage negative thinking here at Ignite! This isn’t the head in hands, shoegaze sort of thinking. What we mean is, considering the negative space when trying to solve a problem.

Here’s how we do it:

When you’re given a brief, it’s essential to study what is really being asked of you. Sometimes you are presented with a list of requests or a paragraph which contain a problem that needs solving. If you dissect these requests or problems, you will find that, essentially, what is being asked of you is just one overarching problem.

Once you have identified what this problem is, you can start to solve it. Now, never underestimate how difficult and time consuming this first part of the process is. However, once you have nailed this question, you are well on your way to solving the brief.

So now you have your question, what to do with it? I am sure that there is an obvious response staring right at you, but where is the fun in obvious? Where is the spark, the twist?

Have a look at the obvious response, and ask yourself, “where is the unobvious negative space around it”? Take your immediate response and turn it on its head, what happens? Look at the words as individuals, what do they conjure independently?

Ignite has recently won awards because we’ve celebrated this exact process. We were asked to come up with a Christmas campaign for our client Pho. The obvious response is to promote celebrating your office party at a restaurant. However, here you are competing with every other restaurant, all saying the same things.

Now think about the office party, what happens? Most parties are full of fun, laughter, a few tears, food, booze, lots of embarrassments, some regrets, and, inevitability, the dreaded after effects. The office party ends up being the office hangover. The non-productive next day is a big cost to a business. But, what restaurant wants to shout about the after-effects of the Christmas bash?

Well! We already knew that Pho’s eponymous dish is great for hangovers, providing the much needed vitamins that help bring us back to life. So we provided a solution: “Here is how we can help; order Pho for your colleagues to put some zing into that flagging office.”

This campaign was a massive success and has won 2 awards since.

Next time you are looking at what your competitors are up to, don’t do it. Think about what they aren’t doing.

So there we go, negative thoughts might bring about positive answers.

Do you have a problem that need solving?  Drop us an email or call  to see what we can do for your hospitality business.

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