How to creatively solve business problems with Paul Finn.

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Mark: Today, I’m talking with Paul Finn from Finn Consulting Australia about how to uses creativity and creative ideas to solve problems for his clients.

Before we jump right in, Paul, what would you recommend to people out there listening if they wanted to have a more creative approach to their business?

Paul: Creativity doesn’t just happen. You need some tools that are going to help you do that. The two tools that I use a lot to help me creatively solve problems is:

Number 1: line up your brand with someone else.

It doesn’t have to be exactly the same brand. For example, we’ve got Hinchinbrook shire Council and the International Fishing Series. They’re two very different brands. But in this particular case, they lined up perfectly.

Number 2: Consciously think about solving problems.

If you approach bigger brands and say ‘I’ve got some content for you’, that’s great, they might share that content. But if you say, ‘I have some content for you to share. And, you know the problem you’re having? The problem that is causing you a lot of pain right now? Well, I actually have a solution for it, so perhaps we can put together a deal where I create content for you and I solve that problem for you’.

That’s pretty hard to ignore when you approach something like that, it’s pretty hard to ignore. And if you really focus your ideas onto that particular area, like those two tools there, you’ll be surprised about the creative ideas you come up with.

Mark: That’s a great approach, and there are some actionable tips there for people listening. Paul, you’ve been working closely with the local council out there in Hinchinbrook shire. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

Paul: What we needed to do was to find people within the community that champion certain messages for the council. Number 1, encourage people to arrive in Ingham, and the local towns of Hinchinbrook, and spend money. The other part is to actually engage people to move to the area. The first campaign had 6 videos which was promoting the area as a beautiful place. And then the other part was town stories about people that live extraordinary lives who lived there.

Mark: What was your solution and how did you approach that?

Paul: I was sort of brought in for the last 10 to 7 video creations. I selected music, then I controlled the roll outs. I did very targeted marketing online for the videos. And found the brands within Facebook that would be able to share this content and boosting this to get us to new audiences. And all that is really identifying those brands, contacting them and saying, ‘here’s content for you. It’s going to match up with your audience perfectly, they’re going to love it, can you share it please’?

Our initial goal was to have 100,000 views for the 6 videos. And we ended up with 300,000 for that.

Mark: Beautiful.

Paul: Without spending any extra money, we tripled the results that we were going for. The success of that campaign got us attention from the International Fishing Series who were looking for a beautiful location that’s really good for fishing, that they would be able to come and film the competition and then promote that to 25 Million people across Asia. That required a small buy in from the council, but the payoff for that was just enormous. They said, for those 4 days that we’ll be filming, we know that you’re creating a second campaign, so when our film crew isn’t working on the series, you can take them and you go create your stories. So all of a sudden, we had a professional film crew.

Mark: Wow

Paul: The other thing was, we had the International Fishing Series and us, working side by side, and then we were going to run our campaign on our own. So we’re going to create this videos using their crew and then we were going to run separate campaigns. It didn’t make any sense to me, so I got the deal renegotiated. I said that this content we were creating, of which some of the stories were about fishing and the islands, so they lined up with fishing really really well. This content should be going into International Fishing Series.

What I argued was that we should follow what the Tour de France does where they integrate storytelling into the competition. You’ve got people who watch the Tour de France, not because they are into cycling, but because they love the beautiful scenery, they love all the stories, they love learning about France.

The International Fishing Series accepted that idea which got our content we had been creating, and investing money and time into, now going to into International Fishing Series. So instead of running another campaign that, on our own would have reached maybe half a million people, we now have 6 stories that are going into International Fishing Series and reaching 25 million people. It was good for me, it was good for economic developer, it was good for the money that Hinchinbrook shire Council had invested.

Mark: Absolutely, what a great outcome.

Paul: It was good for International Fishing Series now they have a stronger show. It’s good for the viewers who are watching the show because now they get, not just fishing, but also context and entertainment with regards to the show. They see that this is that place, this is awesome, this is something different, its not just a fishing show but actually something bigger.

Mark: It’s win-win really. What a great creative approach to problem solving and creativity for the campaign, and also creativity for the production. Tell me about something that you are working on at the moment because I heard it’s pretty interesting.

Paul: Borys Zagrocki is a twice Australian champion for trials. He was looking for more ways to perform at festivals and ways to get paid more and get more gigs. The thing is, when I met him, he didn’t have a budget to promote. So I gave him some very very simple tips that he could do such as, create a video, contact festivals, email them, tell them to watch the video. He did that he got some results out of it. Following that I told him, the thing you need to do is to line up with the brand that’s going to pay you to do this stuff. You need to find a brand that wants people to watch their content and that’s how you solve their problem.

Bring attention to their content by being and doing all this crazy things that you do. At the time, I knew that Townsville Enterprise wanted more adventurous content. They wanted to show the adventurous side of Townsville.

They had also landed the two year contract with the Mountain Bike National Competition and now needed to promote it. So I used the same idea of; what’s the content that’s actually going to go into this competition, what’s going on the ad breaks and everything like that. How are they going to promote Townsville when they’ve got this incredible opportunity? I knew that they didn’t have a solution for that and I knew that it was a problem for them.

Mark: So this comes back to your method of finding a solution through the content that you can create for other people?

Paul: That’s right. Line up your brand. Provide a solution. It works for me all the time. As long as I’m patient for it, it will always give results that come from it. So that’s what I did. I went in with the mountain bike agenda, and I was pushing the mountain biking because I knew that they didn’t have anything. I pitched this idea about Boris, and I suggested they do an ad that focuses on the landscape of Townsville and we’ll use Boris as the engagement point.

They ended up saying they loved the idea and we were definitely right about Boris being the engagement point. We’d saved them about four weeks worth of works, and there’s the big solution.

I did that very deliberately; go in and solve that problem, because they said they didn’t really know how to do it themselves, and if you don’t know how to do something you’ll always take longer.


So all of a sudden, we’re lining up with Townsville Enterprise, which is also lining up with Tourism Queensland who are telling us that they want to line up with the V8’s and RedBull, and North Queensland Cowboys and all of these other events as well. So this is a great example of where all of this brand just start lining up for a common cause. This is where it becomes really powerful. This is the power of lining your brand up and solving problems.

Mark: Wow, what a great result.

Paul: If you take any idea, and you put through that framework that I mentioned there if you just start there and think how do I line up my brand with someone else? What’s another brand that I can actually line up with? Who’s kind of similar to me that’s going to get me in front of the new audience or desired audience or something like that?

Mark: It’s an amazing thing to think of. You had this client who was an extreme bicycle stunt person and you turned around and integrated his brand into every event in North Queensland, which is just an amazing proposition. So I think that’s a really great take away for people who are listening, that you need to find a solution to other people’s problems and integrate that with the product or the brand that you have or you’re managing in there.


See paul’s work for Townsville here. And his website here.


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