11 Unforgettable Lessons on Advertising From an Architect


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(This is the last part of what is a 4-part series.)
Note: I'm not an Architect.

Content within this deck was discovered on a trip to Athens, Greece where I stayed at the home of an architect. Amongst the hundreds of books he had, I chanced upon this gem - "Letter to a Young Architect" - which I've collated and will share with you here.

Contained within that book was the author's life learnings, to be handed down to future architects. But what surprised me was that, on every page, each of those learnings could be directly applied to advertising as well. And such good lessons they were that I felt compelled to keep a record of those lessons, for my own learning and to share with others.

Hope it's as eye-opening for you as it was for me. Enjoy!

Part 1 (On Advertising 101): http://slidesha.re/1g0ao0c
Part 2 (On finding inspiration): http://slidesha.re/OqHGxV
Part 3 (On overcoming challenges): http://slidesha.re/1hLOT4g

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  • On spending time well
    On lifelong learning
    On enabling “heroes”
    On convincing people
    On the need for feedback
    On harnessing limitations
    On assessing worth
    On earning by giving
    On moderation
    On life as an animal
    On purposeful action

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4
  • 11 Unforgettable Lessons on Advertising From an Architect

    1. Part 4: Being the Best Version of You By Alex Goh, Associate Strategic Planning Director, M&C Saatchi, Kuala Lumpur. 11 Unforgettable Lessons On Advertising From An Architect Image credit: Getty Images
    2. All image contents is credited to Alexandros N. Tombazis, a Greek architect, from his book “Letter to a Young Architect.”
    3. A quick guide to this deck 1. (Almost) All instances of the word “Architecture” has been deleted (leaving only the “A”). What is most striking is that by merely replacing all mentions of “Architecture” with “Advertising”, the advise given is still relevant in its entirety. Try it yourself and see. 2. I have also included personal notes/tips to make the advise applicable to the practice of advertising. This will be denoted by ✪ . This deck features a compilation of advise to young architects that came about as a result of a series of lectures given mostly to students of Architecture in Greece and abroad.
    4. ONSPENDINGTIMEWELL ✪ The crucial distinction for me is the fact that “occupation” is focused on how well we spend (occupy) our time vs. a “profession” which is how well we convert our time into money we can spend. #1
    5. ONLIFELONGLEARNING ✪ Be it Creatives or Planners, one needs to strive to continually learn more and more, yet at the same time keeping the humility that comes from realising there’s still so much more we don’t know. #2
    6. ON“ENABLING”HEROES ✪ Better relationships lead to better results: Always focus on defining the problem excellently. Too many people in the business want to be problem solvers and thus wants to be the “hero.” Instead, be a “diagnostician” – listen and understand your client’s business challenge, distill the problem and only after that, by working together, develop the solution. Enable the client to be the “hero.” #3
    7. ONCONVINCINGPEOPLE ✪ Convincing people isn’t about imposing your “answers” on others. But to aid people in coming to their own conclusions. That means, at times, we need to come up with better “questions” rather than better “answers.” Just be mindful to ask questions that expands (rather than extracts) people’s views. Search “powerful questions”/”appreciative enquiry” to learn more. #4
    8. ONTHENEEDFORFEEDBACK ✪ Being better at anything – from advertising to baking and even gaming – requires feedback. You need to constantly take stock of “Where am I?” vs. “Where do I want to be?” Competition opens your eyes to your personal gaps, providing the crucial answers to “How do I get from here to where I want to be?” #5
    9. ONHARNESSINGLIMITATIONS ✪ “If Youth knew; if Age could.”: As you learn, use your vast experience and knowledge to harness “limitations” to expand rather than to limit possibilities. #6
    10. ONASSESSINGWORTH ✪ Always be mindful of how you interpret the value of things, in your general or work life. Be conscious if you are basing its worth on its “price.” Because “price” is nothing more than a “stereotype” – a widely held but quite likely an over-simplified view of a thing. #7
    11. ONEARNINGBYGIVING ✪ We can’t deny our need to affirm our ego, our sense of self-worth. However, your self-worth is derived less from how well you assert your position (or of how well you stood your ground) but from the respect people “gift” to you. And to earn people’s “gift” of respect, we need to accord them the same by listening, and by listening well. #8
    12. ONMODERATION ✪ Advertising, as with any act of creativity, is prone to over-indulgence – when the focus shifts from doing something worth the attention of others, to doing something that’s worth your time. Always keep your eye on the eye of the audience. #9
    13. ONLIFEASANANIMAL ✪ When asked “If you were an animal, what animal would you be?”, we’re likely to think about fearsome animals (real or mythical) – lions, tigers, leopards, eagles and dragons. Here’s a thought – be a giraffe. #10
    14. ONPURPOSEFULACTION ✪ Too much of what surrounds us is focused on “What” we do and “How” we do it. Too little ask us the hard question of… but “WHY?” Time will age the legacy of “What” and “How” we do things. But our “Whys”, that’s what will live on. Watch the next video… #11
    15. Now, go be the best version of you. By Alex Goh, Associate Strategic Planning Director, M&C Saatchi, Kuala Lumpur. alex.goh@mcsaatchi.com.my Part 4: Being the Best Version of You 11 Unforgettable Lessons On Advertising From An Architect