Last week, my kids were intrigued by a question from a neighbor: “Are you interested in making a little money?”
The intrigue turned to excitement when they found out the task related to the compensation: the family was going on vacation for 10 days and, in their absence, they were hoping the Baron children could feed their two cats, scoop out their litter and play with the pets too.
Early Sunday morning, the neighbors left and by the time nightfall came, the kids had spent a total of two hours over there.
Then came Monday afternoon: on their second trip of the day, they accidentally locked the front door with the key inside. Rather than admit defeat, the kids embarked on a variety of creative efforts to regain access.
Those attempts included:
*Searching for a spare key,
*Climbing onto a Juliet balcony to see if they could get in that door,
*Fastening two long sticks together, placing masking tape on the end, then sliding the contraption through the mail slot on the front door. The goal was to corral the keys, which were tantalizingly in view and within reach on a stairway ledge, and then guide them through the mailbox slot.
(It felt a bit like the Brady Bunch episode when Mr. Brady sprung the family out of a ghost-town jail by wrangling the key through a variety of wardrobe tosses in that wacky misadventure.)
Alas, we were not as successful as Mr. Brady and in the end, we did the very thing that I suspected we would do all along: secured the services of a locksmith.
Although the solution was decidedly non-dramatic—and we wound up spending time and money I would rather have allocated in other directions—the experience was an instructive picture of the determined, almost desperate, creativity that professional publicists and marketers must call upon when all else fails.
For example, if an advertising campaign in the local newspaper results in tepid response from your target audience, pouring even more money into the same ad platform likely isn’t the best answer.
That stubborn approach brings to mind something said by Terry Felber, author of The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant. He is also an occasional speaker as an Amway Double Diamond at World Wide Group (WWDB) conferences in Chicago and other cities across the globe.
At a Free Enterprise Days event years ago, Felber was among the first people I heard offer this definition of insanity: "Doing the same thing you have done before, but expecting a different result."
In the case of the advertising scenario noted above, possible alternatives to explore include investing in some Facebook advertising, creating a word-of-mouth or guerrilla-marketing campaign, and arranging for your client’s CEO to be a keynote speaker at a local conference.
None of those scenarios are a guarantee of success, but by mixing things up and trying new approaches—in short, by taking measures that might even be a little desperate—you expand your range of experience and ability to tackle the next challenge that comes your way.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then desperation can be the mother of determined creativity.