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Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World

Chapter 1 of Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval of the Kaplan Thaler Group's new book Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World.

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Kaplan Thaler and Koval explain the essential make up of their Big Bang Theory, helping brands be heard above the 'noise' of world advertising and marketing today.

Areas of investigation:

Shrinking the Clock

When a deadline is in the distant future, we all can find a million other things to do. When you have to make decisions in a short period of time, you screen out everything else except that one thing. In the intense pressure of the moment, you really focus, and suddenly you have a million ideas. The bottom line is this: Time doesn’t help.

The Importance of Chaos

In marketing, nonlinear thinking is the only way to catch the attention of today’s continually evolving consumer. And nonlinear thinking can only happen in the right environment. People are much more creative when they know that they are in a place where everything is up for grabs, no avenue is off limits, everything is a possibility.

The Role of Intuition

Feminine intuition is our secret weapon. We’re a firm run by women. There’s enough estrogen around our offices to make Arnold Schwarzenegger ovulate. Perhaps because of that, we aren’t afraid to make big decisions by following our gut. Of course, facts, research and left-brain thinking are crucial to the development of a Big Bang. The difference is that we put intuition first.

Being Hip?

Being hip in marketing is often the kiss of death. Trends come and go. That means they can become outdated in a nanosecond. And being cool is frankly alienating: Everyone who feels they aren’t in the know will turn their back on your message. As a result, a trendy ad limits the number of people it will connect with.

Connecting with the Consumer

We do it through old-fashioned emotions. Emotions don’t change with the seasons. Chances are good that if an idea makes you laugh, it’ll make others laugh. If it makes me cry, it’ll make you cry too. You may think you are of a higher order, but here’s the unvarnished truth: We all share 99.99 percent of the same genes.

Sweat the Small Stuff

Most senior executives like to parade as big-picture folks, flaunting the notion that strategy requires genius-their genius-and that execution is just about getting things done. We categorically disagree. It’s only when everyone in the company is sweating the small stuff that your Big Bang idea doesn’t get lost in the details.

Assuming the Worst

Fear spurs creativity. Ironically, it is the only force strong enough to encourage people to take risks. Assuming the worst generates enough anxiety to motivate the troops to gamble on a controversial out there idea. Fear is the primary weapon against roadblocks of all kinds.


Sticking to a good formula may work in some industries, but in marketing, it’s the HOV lane to failure. The world is constantly moving, our lives are ever changing with every new CNN report, and there’s no going back. We wake up to a slightly different planet every day of our lives. If a campaign doesn’t change, it becomes like an oil painting on the living room wall: No one even sees it anymore.

"Linda Kaplan Thaler is the best and the brightest mind to come into advertising in the last dozen years. A consulting firm would charge millions for the secrets revealed in Bang! If you want to move your business-and fast-buy Kaplan Thaler and Koval's amazing book. Take notes."

-James Patterson, bestselling author, former CEO of J. Walter Thompson North America

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