Common sense isn’t regarded very highly, in fact it’s usually sneered at.

Common sense is old fashioned, who needs that when we’ve got more technology than we can keep up with.

Consequently, we are so eager to learn the complexities of any job, we never learn the simple common sense part.

And yet you would have thought common sense would be the basic foundation for any job.

Take politics.

The most common sense approach to life, and consequently government, is Maslow’s’ Hierarchy of Human Needs.

But I doubt if there’s a politician who knows it, it’s common sense so it’s worthless to them.

Maslow’s’ Hierarchy of Human Needs is a pyramid, like anything you start at the bottom and build upwards stage-by-stage.

You can’t start on the next stage until the previous one has been properly built.

So Maslow’s pyramid is the various stages necessary for human life.

The first stage is food – no one can live without food.

When you have food, you can start on the next stage – shelter.

You must have those two before you can move to the third stage – safety.

Food, shelter and safety are the essentials for life, after you have those you can move to the next stage, things that make life pleasant – relationships.

Finally, when all those are complete, you can move to the final stage – fulfilment.

But you must start building at the bottom, without food there is no life.

Only then can we work our way up towards life’s ultimate goal – fulfilment (which will be different for every individual).

Now imagine how different things would be if that was on a massive chart in the House of Commons.

If all the politicians had that as a list of priorities in front of them: Don’t start arguing about trivia until everyone in the country is fed.

Don’t start quibbling over party-politics until everyone has a home.

Don’t start scoring points off each other until everyone is safe.

A big chart like that would force all politicians to stay on track and attend to essentials.

Now transfer that thinking to advertising agencies.

Imagine every agency had a big chart on the wall, like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs.

A big pyramid divided into three levels.

Similarly to Maslow’s chart, you can’t start on the next level until you’ve completed the previous level.

The first level on our chart would be – Impact.

(If our ad is invisible, it has no chance of doing anything at all.)

The next level would be – Communication.

(If no one understands our ad, how can it possibly work?)

The final level is – Persuasion.

(Once we’ve built the other two levels, we have a chance to influence our audience.)

If we don’t build the first level – Impact – nothing happens.

We each see 1,000 advertising messages a day, 89% are not noticed or remembered.

So we have a 9 out of 10 chance of being ignored.

Which is why the first level is crucial.

Just like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs.

Unless we build the first levels properly, making sure everyone has food, shelter, and safety, the other levels are irrelevant, our audience won’t be around.

Which is where advertising and marketing are just like most governments.

We spend all our time concentrating on the trivia instead of the important stuff.