Are you too clever for your own good?

Written by: Emma Humphrey | Published:

The trouble with being the smartest person in the room is the difficulty in getting people to see things from your point of view. Emma Humphrey, MD of creative agency Genius, explains why strong marketing could benefit design engineers in their pitches.

One of the biggest challenges many design engineers face is that they’re just too smart. They come up with brilliant offerings that feature the latest innovations, technologies, contributing quantum shifts in terms of development in their space; and then they run aground trying to properly explain what it is they’ve come up with.

They struggle to articulate why a customer, investor or stakeholder (who is so well versed in the status quo) would want to make the change from what they’re comfortable with, to the brave new world that has been created by the design engineer.

This is where great marketing comes into its own and performs a vital function, bridging the gap between a sensational idea and a saleable one. Here’s how it works: Human beings love things they can relate to and identify with. They love authentic differences and character. They love narrative and novelty. Even the most analytical souls are emotionally driven at their core.

It’s for these reasons that no matter what you’re selling, regardless of how serious, professional, or ground-breaking it is, we must like the people and the story behind it before we’re able to engage with the logical rationale behind buying it.

This is why we have to use our marketing materials and messaging to simplify complexity. Here are a few ways to do this:

Tell a story

Whether it’s your origin story, the eureka moment that inspired your current offering, or a real human impact story from your work, a story is a great way to make something technical and complex relatable.

Give it a personality

A strong identity that goes beyond logos and brand guidelines to a strong set of values and a distinctive tone of voice that could belong to an actual human is a great way to make your offering relatable and real.

Give it a face

Related to the previous point, giving your team centre stage in your brand marketing is a great idea as they are, by definition, very real and human.

Use a big idea

Finally, and possibly most effectively, you can use a big idea to explain a complicated or mundane thing. Whether it’s using an easily understood analogy or metaphor to explain or taking something complex and illustrating it with a simple image, the big idea works for any product, service or brand.

Hopefully these ideas have sparked a few thoughts about how you can start to get your key stakeholders to engage more fully with the brilliant work you’re doing.

Which group do you find struggles most to understand your latest innovation? Is it the procurement people at your customer’s business? Consumers? Your own Board? We’d love to know, so do get in touch and share your thoughts.


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