Dave Trott - CST

Beating Your Competitors

I was lucky enough to be able to attend Brighton SEO on Friday. If you are not familiar, Brighton SEO is a free SEO conference that is based in, you guessed it, Brighton. The conference is a one day affair and is jam packed with speakers from around the SEO world and related fields.

The first presentation of the day came from the impressive Dave Trott. I had not heard of Trott before but was so impressed with what he had to say that for me, he outshone all of the other presentations on the day, and there were some very good presentations let me tell you!

Trott’s message was simple, you don’t have to make the most successful advertising (or creative) project ever, every time you start working, you simply have to beat the competition. He explains how this is a simple truth and that if you beat your competition you win the customers. He started with an old story, one you may have heard before:

“Two men are walking through the jungle when they hear the approaching footsteps of a tiger. Realising they are in danger, one of the men whips out some running shoes and proceeds to lace them up. ‘You wont outrun a tiger’ proclaims the other man, with that, his sneaker sporting companion explains, ‘I don’t need to outrun the tiger, I just need to outrun you'”

If it was me, I wouldn’t even bother with the running shoes, I’d just run, but that’s not the point. The point here is that this clever jungle explorer realises that he doesn’t need to set the 200m record, he just has to beat his friend in a sprint for life. If his friend loses, the tiger eats and he wins.

With this in mind, Trott explains that in order to be successful in your creative ventures you simply need to beat your competition and in order to do this you need to turn a problem you can’t solve into one you can.

He went on to give an example of changing a problem you can’t solve into one you can. The example surrounded and advertising job he had to work on. The client was the fire service who were keen to stop people having problems with chip pan fires. Trott explained that year in, year out, advertising campaigns went out to explain the dangers of chip pan fires and how throwing water onto them can cause more problems. Trott explained how this type of advertising joined the majority 90% of advertising that is either missed or ignored and that people already knew the dangers.

The problem was this; Trott needed to reduce the number of chip pan fires. Trott explained how this was a problem he couldn’t solve and so in order to make a success of the campaign his team needed to solve a different problem. It was here that he identified the cause of the fire service’s issues; calls from chip pan fire sufferers. This gave them a new problem that they could solve; reduce the number of calls to the fire service because of chip pan fires. With this new problem in mind, Trott and his team were able to come up with an advertising campaign that told people how to safely put out the fire, thus reducing the number of calls people needed to make to the fire service. A new problem that could be solved.

All in all an inspirational talk and an introduction to a man who clearly can teach me a lot. I will be ordering his book, Creative Mischief and would certainly recommend you take any opportunity to hear him speak.

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