Identifying and Cultivating the Intangible – a Marketer’s 6th Sense

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From the start, the vibe and response to this marketing campaign was different. In spring 2013, Dove introduced a video called “Real Beauty Sketches.” […] The video hit a nerve. […] Within a month, it had garnered more than 114 million total views. Business Insider said it was the most viral ad video of all time. The marketers took a unique approach, with an intuitive sense of what the audience wanted to hear. You could call it a “sixth sense.” And it’s not just a complement to creating a marketing campaign – it’s crucial. “The sixth sense is important because it’s what allows us to push our ideas from good to great,” says Theresa McDonnell, executive VP, chief consumer strategist for Kaplow, a marketing and communications firm.

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“It makes room for risk, and therefore, great reward. It pushes the envelope and opens consumers up to new possibilities.” But is this ability innate? Can it be developed?

 McDonnell says marketers are innately curious and very observant, and should use those traits to their advantage. “We often notice details other people don’t – nuances in consumer behavior, patterns in our everyday lives. Insights for marketing campaigns are often born this way. I don’t think that can be taught.” Still, McDonnell believes the sense can be developed. “We are always evolving and maturing as we learn from our professional experiences. With that, we learn to trust the sixth sense and gain confidence to apply it more liberally.” McDonnell is skeptical that a brand can be successful without using the sixth sense, especially today when consumers are inundated with messages.

“The sixth sense is disruptive, surprising and captivating. The brands that do it best are getting the most buzz.”

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