A Strategy as Lovely as a Tree

Ad strategies are supposed to inspire creative ideas. Some ad strategies are good at giving strategic direction and lack giving creative inspiration. These can still be good strategies, but the creative teams need to add some pizzazz or flavor to the idea.

As a strategy statement for Airbnb uses “belong” with the idea of engaging with the community. It is a good strategy because it separates Airbnb from all other national overnight-accommodation options (except for CouchSurfing).


Helianthus has the same meaning as “sunflower.” One word is abstract while the other word is visual.

But “belong” or engaging with the community are not good foundations for headlines or taglines (or any other creative execution) for two reasons:
1) They have no drama, no conflict, no humor. It’s a boring statement. The phrase “Chain hotels are for loafs” is more interesting because it has a little conflict.
2) Belong is an abstract word (not a visual word). “Engage with the community” is abstract, too. Visual words come alive and are more powerful. We can visualize a bed, a pillow, a room, and a house… but those words are not in the strategy statement “belong” or engaging with the community. Even the word “community” isn’t too visual (compare it to “neighborhood”). Check out this good article. from Al Ries. It talks more about this visual way to make ideas come alive.

Creative people often need to add pizzazz to strategy statements. They should not change the meaning of the strategy; they should change the flavor of it.

Think about adding drama and adding visual words. Your ideas will be more interesting.


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