Playwright. Work Righter.

If you’re like me, you spend late nights browsing through quotes from German Playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Show of hands?

Perhaps this will persuade you to at least give it a try. Von Goethe once famously said: “There is nothing so terrible as activity without insight.”

Some things true in the early 19th Century are still just as valid today. Sure, we’ve perfected the hunting and gathering of data, but facts aren’t insightful, until you’ve added your imagination to them.

In other words, ours is not to analyze . . . but rather, to understand.

And of course it helps if you’re trying to understand the right data in the first place. But as David Duchovny reminds us: “The Truth Is Out There” and it is probably busy revealing something about consumer perceptions and behaviors – the foundation of every marketing enterprise from demos to concepts, and digital content, to ads.

With the truth we can create the right message for the right audience and place it where it will best breakthrough the noise.

I’m a big believer in meaningful creativity, versus just incense-and-aroma-therapy-candles creativity, because if you’re not tying creative solutions to broader business goals, you’re merely indulging in a hobby at your client’s expense.

That’s why we need to insist on getting reliable truths that reflect real people. At Upstream, we like to keep in mind that truths aren’t actually about platforms, they’re about humans. And if our ideas can tap into those insights, we know they will work anywhere.

It naturally follows that the simplest ideas have the most impact. Taking the complex and making it easy to understand is the blueprint. And if you understand who your audience is, what motivates them, and what their priorities in life are – you’ll be able to create something that resonates.

I’ll give von Goethe the last word on this again: “If you want to understand the poem, you must go to the land of poetry. If you wish to understand the poet, you must go to the poet’s land.”

Of course, Faust would agree, the devil is in the details.