Visual Thinking for Creative Marketing

I had the pleasure to visit the Jim Henson Exhibit at the Museum of Moving Image in Queens, NY last weekend. What I thought was going to be a reminiscent trip of my youth turned into an extremely intellectual education in visual thinking.

As I started walking through the exhibit with many other muppet enthusiasts as well as many children I began reading Jim Henson notes on how he came up with his ideas. I was hooked and have been trying to read as much as I can about Jim Henson and his thinking process. One quote that stuck out to me was “Simple is good”. That’s it. Simple is good.

We often try to make things so complicated when trying to be expressive and there is something about just keeping our ideas and programs simple. People understand simple. Simple is what allows the masses to understand what is being discussed. Simple is easy to explain. Marketing should be simple. I think we often get lost in trying to come up with the most unique, original and creative advertising in order to stand our from the herd of others vying for attention. And in that process we lose sight of what it is we are trying to achieve. The great thing is that Jim kept notes since 1956 on his visual thinking ideas and the Jim Henson Company has posted them called Jim Henson Red Book.

With the recent passing of Steve Jobs who many credit as one of the greatest innovators of our generation, I quickly realized that Jim Henson’s name should be mentioned in that conversation. He may have not changed the way we consume information like Apple did but he did revolutionize childhood developmental education. I bet you can’t find one “Generation X’er” who didn’t watch Sesame Street, Muppets or Electric Company when they were growing up. These programs taught us how to spell, speak spanish and most of all be compassionate. And how did they do it? How could these programs consistently keep the attention of children every day? They kept it simple. And simple is easy to understand.

I think there is much we can learn from the “Visual Thinking” of Jim Henson as Marketers and more importantly visual web marketers because that is what we are. Like Jim Henson did in the 50’s but utilizing a new media to innovate messaging we today are trying to do the same. Using the age of new media we try to innovate messaging and best thing to remember may be to keep it simple.

Take a look at some of the links and would love to hear your comments below. I think Jim Henson has taught us a lot over the years and probably can teach us more about using simple concepts for marketing. And maybe the quote below should be our new marketing mantra, trying to leave the world a bit better than when we got here.

“My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here.”
Jim Henson


About bracerennels
Retired from corporate. Previous experience assisting companies implement disruptive engagement marketing strategies to evolve community, collaboration and corporate communications. Provide strategic and executive leadership to transform traditional marketing programs into modern social engagement and improved customer experience. Currently scheduled to speak at the Argyle Executive Forum NYC Nov 5th and will entertain other speaking, advisory or consulting opportunities as time allows.

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