Michael Conrad: There’s no such thing as crisis in communication, just difficult situations

Creativity, People

Michael Conrad, founder Berlin School for Creative Leadership, said, during a workshop held within the Alternative School for Creative Thinking, that there’s no such thing as crisis in communication, just difficult situations, and that the valuable works are the ones that matter.

During the workshop, that took place at Rogalski-Grigoriu’s headquarters, Conrad spoke about creativity standards and “The Big Idea”.

When it comes of inspirational works or ideas, Conrad said that “if we can inspire people with what we think, this is extraordinary, especially considering that there aren’t too many things that can inspire”

Selecting the audience that will receive a certain message is, in Conrad’s opinion, an art in itself and, most of the time, the selection is made via demographic targeting, following researches that take in consideration certain elements (such is the income).

Although demographic targeting is the most used, Michael Conrad is not the adept of transmitting a message to the consumer, but to people with dreams and feelings, which makes necessary the usage of creativity standards and valuable ideas.

When it comes of standards, Michael Conrad said that those are necessary because “one needs a standard for himself so he would know in which direction he needs to evolve”.

During the workshop, Conrad presented a 10 standards scale, including element to avoid, recommended elements or elements to achieve.

This way, among the standards that mustn’t be present in a communication are cliches, actions that can be destructive for brands or the ones that are susceptible to offend.

Conrad said that only exceptional works matter, mentioning also that in marcom there are no crisis, but just difficult situations.

On the other  hand, he said that any communication action or ad message must aim to establish new standards in product’s category, new standards in communication or to prove to be inspirational for the entire world.

Michael Conrad also said that, in order to establish new standards in a product’s category, one must either make something to boost the category or to segment it. He said that the mission to establish new standards means involvement and, starting from a norm, the one that communicates must test how far he can go when it comes of differentiation compared to the rest of the actors in a category.

About establishing new standards in communication, Conrad said that this is the territory where brands evolve and where the efforts to create their “charisma” are made.

On the standards scale presented by Michael Conrad, the most desired position is that an idea / communication strategy/ commercial to reach to be considered an inspiration at international level. On the other side, standards that anyone must look for are innovative strategies, that represent from another perspective the product / brands, fresh ideasn and craft excellency

Moreover, Michael Conrad said also that any communication for a product or brand should also include “Want to see again” factor.

Talking about ideas, Michael Conrad said they need to ne inspirational and considers that the sum of more very good ideas represent “The Big Idea”. Moreover, he mentioned that anyone is able to know if he has an idea he can summarize it in a single sentence or word.

Talking about the elements that contribute to the apparition of the Idea, Michael Conrad enumerated the ideas that are related to product, brand, design, packaging, price, distribution, media promotion, PR, events, sponsorships, collaboration, business and communication idea, ad idea and target related ideas.

Michael Conrad started his career over 40 years ago, was initially one of the copywriters from Young&Rubicam and later took over as Creative Director at Ogilvy Frankfurt. Together with Walter Lurzer, his colleague back than, Michael went further and founded TBWA Frankfurt, than a creative boutique, Lurzer. The company had a great success and became the agency of the year and owner of an impressive number of prizes in 1980. In 1902, Conrad and Lurzer’s ways parted: Walter launched the famous Lurzer Archive and Michael Conrad founded his own company, that later merged with Leo Burnett.

Starting 1996, Michael Conrad – writer, creative and strategist – managed, from the position of Global president Leo Burnett, to win for his network an impressive number of international awards. Leo won Global Agency Network of the Year in 2000 and Most Awarded Agency Network in 2001.