Spotting Sunrisers and Sunsetters

The in-flight magazine. Seldom can a genre of publications be more instructive in how not to construct a good read than these.

So it was with delight that I happened across the blue-skied, still winter’s day of a decent article. Advertising colossus TBWA’s worldwide create director, JoBurger John Hunt writes about The Art Of The Idea. This represents something that just about every firm I know battles with. Everyone wants “ideas”, but few make any headway in providing an environment that results in producing good ones. He believes he has answers, based on his experience of countless meetings and systems all geared towards idea generation (in his case inside the context of creating ad campaigns).

His starting point is a belter. Every salesperson will recognise this feeling from their own plentiful pitches and presentations;

“One of my first and most important observations was that there are sunrise people and sunset people. It happens in every room, every meeting. The room divides into these two categories: people with positive inclinations versus the negative.”

He expands,

“A sunriser gives out energy, a sunsetter sucks it away… If you want ideas to happen [you must] hunt positive people.”

Substitute the word ‘ideas’ for ‘sales’ and it all sounds so clear. My only gripe here is that I feel his metaphor is slightly misplaced – everyone I know that bestows the energy described would see themselves more akin to having sunset virtues rather than sunrise, in the sense of their traditionally understood evocations.

Ways of achieving this ‘hunt’ recommended I guess are expected to flow from reading the full tome. The gist of a tiny extract shared was that the doors open to coming up with ideas are shockingly scarce. This strangulation must be shattered. By way of example;

“Corporate behaviour continually reinforces the incredibly stupid notion that the more senior the person, the more prone they are to having big ideas.”

When selling, you can often instinctively label sunrise or sunset tags for each person involved. We could all focus more on supporting the sunrisers and on manoeuvring them to counter the sunsetters.

One other point comes from his sign-off “4 essential things to help creativity flourish”. People that share excitement of these could well be your greatest asset within your prospect:

  1. don’t be scared
  2. be wary of habit
  3. stay open to the universe
  4. be adventurous

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