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The race to stay objective

Should you leave the sharp edges on your creative?

A good sound engineer is a marvel to watch. The pace they work at is incredible. They hear a problem, fix a problem, test the fix, and fix it again before you even notice the song had stopped in the first place. But it’s not just slick skills – it’s a necessity that we could all learn from.

In the world of sound production, it’s a race against time for objectivity. The longer you spend listening to a song in the studio, the further you drift from what the audience will actually hear. Every time you hear that drumbeat on your 500 quid headphones, it becomes less and less like the first time you heard it. It takes on different meanings, you notice tiny subtle details, you start to obsess over details that don’t matter, you stop noticing big things that do matter – and in the end you upset the overall balance of the song. Without even notice you’re doing it.

And the same goes for creative development. In the months a campaign or identity takes to develop, it can be almost impossible to keep a grasp on objectivity. We’re human. We can’t stop ourselves smoothing out all the rough edges and unusual details in the idea – changing a headline here, an image there. At last, every single part of our mix is unobjectionable.

This is when you know your idea is dead. 

Because there’s no such thing as a diluted idea – there’s just a dead idea. Even the best lager in the world tastes rubbish when you dilute it. 

Unfortunately, the audience never get to see all the strategy and conversations and initial thinking behind an idea. They haven’t heard the drumbeat a hundred times before. They’re not interested in what went into it. They don’t even care about the end result – they just happen to see it in passing. And boring and perfectly sanitised just won’t cut it. The only way to cut through is with a sharp idea. An idea without the edges smoothed off. 

hit the green button for objectivity

If you find yourself sanitising your ideas into boredom, don’t worry it’s natural. Just take the subjectivity out of it. You don’t personally have to like every little detail. Come back to your strategy – is this right for our brand? Does this reinforce the one sharp thing we want to be famous for? If the answer is yes, hit the big green button before you change your mind…

Top tips from an award-winning campaign

[3 min read]

As featured on The Marketing Society in Scotland’s ‘What’s Going On’ members update.


StudioLR: top tips from an award-winning campaign

Just over a month ago at the Star Awards, StudioLR took home Gold in the Design category for their work at Inverewe with the National Trust for Scotland. Inverewe’s personality is unique. And as it’s been brought to life over the last two years, it has reaped rewards – family visits are up 28% and overall footfall is up 110%.

Here, StudioLR share their three top tips from the project:

1. If you want to attract a new audience, you need to get out of your comfort zone
Taking obscure plant names and turning them into Roald Dahl-inspired phrases and rhymes will make some botanists anxious. Printing a family’s favourite recipe on their historic kitchen ceiling will make some conservationists anxious. But this kind of approach gets families excited by plants and history. It’s not easy but it works.

2. If you’re going to do something brave, build from the inside out
When you’re breaking rules, or doing something new, it’s important that people internally see why. Otherwise they’ll feel anxious and see no value. Bringing the conservationists, historians, gardeners, and volunteers in on the creative process meant our ideas were much richer, more unique, and easier to make happen.

3. Creativity isn’t just for ‘creatives’
Kevin Frediani, the property manager at Inverewe has taken the seed of an idea and made it flourish. From ongoing marketing to events programming… even setting up an artists-in-residence programme – the idea has flowed through everything. Getting a wide NTS team involved in the creative stage helped build pride and ownership – we were one team. Ideas are poor value if they just belong to agencies… good ideas are for everyone to use.


StudioLR won the Gold award for Design at the 2018 Marketing Society Star Awards. Read more about the Star Awards here.