For the past few weeks, I have heard the word salience more times
than my mother has used my name. Yes, that is actually very sad. It is
entirely up for discussion as to whether this is because salience has
actually been brought up a lot, or due to the fact that my mother
doesn’t talk to me. However, that’s irrelevant (and not nice to talk
about). Today, in about 500 words (I hope), I am going to talk to you
about salience (shock), and why standing out amongst a sea of
similar shit, could actually be the key to success. In fact, it has
already helped me.
When I’m out in the real world, the majority of advertising looks the
same. To be honest, it is all pretty boring. Especially in places like the
tube, the collection of adverts really reminds me of copying
homework off of your mate but changing the words a bit so you
don’t get caught. Advertising, or shit advertising, is really formulaic.
Everyone does the same thing, plays it safe, and nothing gets
remembered. Job not well done.
When the job is well done, the advert gets remembered. The key to
being remembered is salience. For me, salience can be achieved in
various ways. Being different, whether it is cleverly, weirdly or
outrageously, seems to be the best method. When we have talked
about salience, one idea that comes up a lot is the ‘Cadbury’s
Gorilla’. A really salient advert. Sure, one could argue that it is
strange. Another may argue that the gorilla is out of place. However,
that’s the point. The weirdness of it as a whole makes it a topic of
discussion and ultimately unforgettable. It sticks in people’s minds,
just as all great advertising should do.
Between all the salience talk, there is also a lot of discussion at SCA
about portfolios. Given that we are being judged by the portfolios
that we create, this makes sense. However, what didn’t make sense
to me, what do we even put in these portfolios? The work we do
here? The work we do elsewhere? Both? I wouldn’t say that I was
baffled, but I was not really sure. Although it is still early days, I was
getting a bit concerned with this uncertainty, so I went out into the
big wide world for advice.
Lucky for me, this uncertainty was quickly cleared up after reaching
out to someone in the industry who was kind enough to meet up for
a chat. For me, it felt like this single meeting alone alleviated a huge
weight off my shoulders. Initial senses of being really overwhelmed
were largely sorted out and my whole perspective and approach to
the course has changed. This meeting was a valuable experience and
honestly, would not have been achieved without being salient. I’ll
I’ve noticed that a great space for finding creatives is Twitter.
Everyone seems to be on there, sharing their work, thoughts or
shocking football takes. Regardless, it really is a great place to
connect with new people and expand your network. When I first got
Twitter, I sent a couple messages out to people within the industry
asking whether they would be willing to share their wisdom and
offer any advice. These messages went along the lines of, “Hi, my
name is Travis, I am an aspiring bla bla bla, I love your work bla bla
bla”. The type of stuff that everyone and their mums say.
Unsurprisingly, no meaningful replies.
As my hope began to fall, so did my decorum. I went from formal,
well-written and wholesome messages to borderline illiteracy. And it
worked an absolute charm. After about two weeks of zero success, I
finally got a reply. More than that, I finally got an opportunity to
meet with someone in the industry who was happy to get a coffee
and share their tips. During this meeting, they were kind enough to
show me examples of stuff I should and shouldn’t put in my
portfolio. They also showed me work that they had done, explained
their thoughts behind it, and went through loads of clever creative
techniques that had helped them throughout their career. Honestly,
It was an invaluable encounter that I was and am really grateful for.
This was the start of our interaction.
Yes, that is the opening message of this super valuable interaction.
After sending that message, I really thought to myself, what is the
worst that could actually happen? That’s a lie, I didn’t think about
anything. I just sent it because it was funny to me. But Sure, they
might think I’m strange and not reply. But they didn’t. They actually
replied. And honestly, I think it was down to being salient and
standing out. This person probably had a lot of DMs already. In fact,
they actually mentioned that they did receive messages almost every
day. If you had access to these messages, you’d probably find a load
of aspiring creatives who all similarly admire their work and
understand that they have a very busy schedule. A lot of unanswered
messages, most likely. But despite this, I managed to get a reply, a
meeting and a great opportunity. Salience starts conversations, and
this instance is just another example of it.