The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Stop Thinking Different Means Disaster …

For an industry that loves to talk about doing new things – chasing new things – it doesn’t half hate trying new things.

The moment someone dares suggest something different, more often than not, they are shouted down by people saying it’s wrong … it won’t work … it’s foolish.

Even before anything different has been tried.

Now I appreciate we live in a world where clients want effectiveness and so the margin for error is getting ever smaller, but no one who is suggesting something new has the objective of being less effective, literally the opposite.

But if we can’t explore then we can’t move forward and instead of blowing things up, it may be interesting if we started building things up.

I say all this because I recently read a quote from the Chairman of Crystal Palace football club.

This year they have adopted a totally new philosophy.

Not because the old one had failed – quite the opposite, in many ways it had exceeded expectation – but because context had changed [their long-term manager retired] and they thought this was the time to try something new.

And while some have immediately come out to say what they’re doing is utterly reckless to the stability of the club, their chairman – Steve Parish – countered it with this lovely perspective on the situation they have chosen to enter …

I love that. I love how he dismisses the validity of any criticism and simply focuses on the fact.

No one knows if Crystal Palace’s new approach is better or worse than what has gone before – at least not yet, and maybe not for a significant period of time – the only thing people do know is the approach is different.


Not better. Not worse.

A simple change to the usual approach.

A change that will reveal, in time, how effective it was. And even then, it is still only an indicator as there are so many external influences that may affect it.

But for a moment, imagine if it works.

Imagine if Crystal Palace do better than they ever have.

That they consistently elevate their standing and success?

It could happen. It stands as much chance as the opposite right now … and yet people are so quick to jump on the ‘disaster’ bandwagon.

Adland is exactly the same.

We like the idea of different but not the reality.

We choose to hide behind certainty and history, even if we didn’t have anything to do with the work we use to assert our argument. We grasp at learnings from other industries despite their context being vastly different. Or we state the fucking obvious but pretend it is an act of genius.

Maybe if stopped having the need to loudly proclaim something is right or wrong and just embrace the fact someone is doing somthing different, we may be more positive about change as an industry.

And maybe … just maybe … if more people focused on building things up rather than tearing them down, we may end up creating possibilities that encourages clients to embrace different rather than see it as an act of commercial defiance.

14 Comments so far
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It’s a really good point but I can’t get past you’re writing about Crystal Palace FC.

Comment by George

thats why it makes more fucking sense.

Comment by andy@cynic

Very astute.

Comment by George

I can’t get past you wrote FC at the end of their name.

Comment by Rob

I thought it was his way of saying “Fucking Campbell”.

Comment by DH

you had a company called cynic. you dont have the fucking right to write positive shit like this campbell. and dont give me the old “it wasnt about shitting on people but companies who were shitting on people” because that was always too fucking positive for me as well.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by George

I know it’s only about 3:30pm for you, but it seems you may need to go to bed and have a very, very, very early night.

Comment by Rob

I don’t give a shit about soccer but haven’t forest tried different managers for decades and are still shit? Just proved different is bad. You’re welcome.

Comment by Billy Whizz

This may be your finest comment ever Billy.

Comment by George

It’s certainly his most pertinent.

Comment by Rob

The fear of different is terrifying. Especially inside companies and agencies. So many talk about wanting to push boundaries and create culture but they don’t want any of their circumstances or situations to change. Really like this post Rob.

Comment by Pete

Well put Peter. I should add that Crystal Palace are one of the better run football teams in the league.

Comment by Lee Hill


Comment by DH

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