Make yourself uncomfortable

Written by Nick Watmough

Ideas are King. Or so my boss told me when I was first starting out.

I’ve never forgotten it. I’ve never doubted it. Remember the bloke with the dodgy comb-over smoking a cigar in a photo booth, or that Gorilla delivering the drum solo to end all drum solos? It’s powerful stuff. We even named our Golden Retriever ‘Tosh’ because of the Toshiba ads in the 80s! (It means rubbish, unlike the ad!).

Big ideas are royalty because they have the power to do more than sell products – they change the way people think, feel, and see the world. Not only do we remember the brands they advertise, but they also foster a lifetime connection with their products. And here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter if those ideas are for B2B or B2C brands. Or above, below, or through the line. Every campaign needs a big idea to cut through in the sea of sameness. The Father of Advertising (David Ogilvy) summed it up perfectly, “Unless your advertising is built on a BIG IDEA, it will pass like a ship in the night.” But what does it take to come up with big ideas? For me, you need to make yourself uncomfortable, or as another trailblazing David put it:

“You need to go a little bit out of your depth and when you don't feel your feet are quite touching the bottom, you're just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

I’m with Ziggy – comfort is the enemy of creativity. If you always take the easy option, you’ll find it impossible to make anything unique or worth talking about.

We never get comfortable at The Croc and constantly challenge everything we do. Our culture of ‘Fierce Thinking’ demands it. From the ideas we create, to how the agency is run – compromise is always given its marching orders.

Quentin Tarantino described this mindset beautifully:

“If you’re climbing Mount Everest, you’re not doing anything else”.

This relentless pursuit of doing your best work at all costs produces the best films, music, and advertising. It also neatly sums up Fierce Thinking.

Everybody’s talking about big ideas – but few B2B agencies deliver. We recently changed our agency proposition to ‘Harnessing the power of big ideas to grow B2B brands’, which is easy to say, but damn hard to achieve. You need to 'Think Fierce' to sell big ideas, and with budgets tighter than a rock star's slacks, you must challenge everything, yourself, and the brief. It requires a shift in mentality and a few sleepless nights, which is never happening if you’re relaxing on a chaise lounge.

That’s something Norwegian equipment tracking firm ABAX can’t be accused of. We asked them to take a giant leap out of their comfort zone and they duly obliged. It was essential to reach an audience of cynical builders and raise awareness about a product that could save the construction industry hundreds of thousands. The answer was a punchy, 60-sec TikTok stunt complete with over 30 expletives. Not what anyone was expecting, but we didn't do it just for shits and giggles – we did it for the 23 million views and all the other KPIs we took a wrecking ball to.

Another brand to embrace our way of thinking is Sohonet. The brief for ‘We Connect Storytellers’ was to create a simple product explainer. But Fierce Thinking had other ideas. So, we started with a question, ‘How do you get someone interested in a product film that goes into granular detail about cloud-based networking solutions?’ Idea: you set the whole thing in a post-apocalyptic dystopia, of course!

View the Sohonet case study here.

From ground-breaking TikTok campaigns to high-end TV commercials, we’re putting ‘Big Ideas’ and strategic rigour at the forefront of B2B advertising to stay true to our new agency prop.

So, remember, if you want people to notice your brand, ditch the buoyancy aid and go that little bit out of your depth. You may well have to fend off some sharks, but you never know, you might just enjoy it.



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