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5. FURNISH THE UPSTAIRS ROOM. The legendary ad man, James Webb Young, believed that in advertising, "an idea results from a new combination of specific knowledge about products, and people with general knowledge about life and events." That requires more than reading business memos, trade journals and The New York Times. It means doing things like getting out to movies and theater often. Visiting museums. Reading books on odd subjects just for fun of it. Re-reading classic novels. Listening to music, from classical to country to hip-hop. Do all of it or as much as you can. David Ogilvy encouraged his employees to be "relentlessly curious" about all knowledge that crossed their paths, so that they might "possess a well-furnished mind."
6. COLLECT WORDS. Words are ideas, too. The semanticist, S.I. Hayakawa, in his Language in Thought and Action referred to words as being symbols of ideas and, thus, "we can collect ideas by collecting words." James Webb Young, writing on this subject said, "The fellow who said he tried reading dictionary, but couldn't get hang of story, simply missed point: namely, that it is a collection of short stories."
7. SAY NO TO "YES, BUT..." Coming up with a new idea is almost always only half battle. Because just as sure as you are that your idea is different and unexpected, you can count on somebody being there to offer comfort and safety of "yes, but-land." Don't go there. Resist. Build a strategy and fight. And keep fighting. Remember words of wise, old Anonymous: "Every great oak was once a nut that stood its ground."
8. HAVE FUN. Even though, at one time or another, you have probably blamed it for everything from your bad habits and insomnia to your kid's need for braces, you still have to admit that marketing communications is toy department of business world. Enjoy.
Walter is an award-winning advertising copywriter who writes, edits and publishes "Words @ Work", a FREE bimonthly newsletter of advice and information about writing that works. Subscribe by visiting www.walterburek.com or via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org