Anyone who has worked on a project for too long can tell you it is easy to put on blinders. You get so close to what you’re working on that you can’t see anything beyond it. You get so focused on the tiny details that you miss the bigger picture.
The basics of marketing communications tell us to always look at Purpose, Audience and Message. Why are you communicating, who are you communicating to, and what are you communicating? But when you get involved in executing a project, it is easy to lose sight of one, two or all three of those points.
So what do you do when you feel like you have the blinders on? How do you finish out the project strong and effectively?
- Take a step back.
Sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward. If you’re stuck on a particular phase of a project, go back and reevaluate your approach. Or if that’s not enough, go back to the drawing board completely. Start with a blank slate and let go of any preconceived notions of how the project should move forward.
- Remove yourself from the planning process.
This is easier said than done, but if you are working with a team, it could be the best way to regain perspective. Let your team continue on with planning the next stage without you. Get away from the project and then rejoin the team later with a fresh approach.
- Go shopping.
Put yourself in your audiences’ shoes. If you were purchasing the service or product, what would sway your decision? Don’t think about how you would sell your product or service, think about how you would buy it. It seems so simple, but can uncover insights that could greatly impact your marketing approach.
- Talk to someone unaffiliated.
So often we get so close to our work, and so stuck in our opinions that we can’t see any other way. Whoever it might be – a family member, a friend or a stranger at a coffee shop, run the situation by someone who has no connection to the project. A new set of eyes with an untainted perspective will think of different ideas for you.
- Think about how the current project fits into the bigger picture.
Like viewing a large oil painting, when you’re standing too close you can’t tell how a few strokes of green can turn into a lily pad in a pond full of lily pads. You may be only working on one leaf, but it fits into something so much larger than itself. So when you’re getting hung up on minute detail, remember your overall mission. Make sure the detail you’re fixated on won’t hold up the rest of the painting.