Have we forgotten to be creative?

The digital age is here and the buzz-words that brands seem to be focusing on more than ever are ROI, analytics, big data and more. So why is it that good old fashion creative, sometimes doesn’t get the recognition it so rightly deserves?

How times have changed. I remember growing up to the catchy tunes of consumer branded advertisements that were delivered through our radios or television sets. We used to be able to quickly identify with a brand, purely because we remembered the words and the tunes by heart.

So, why were those advertisements so memorable when compared to some of the advertisements we see or hear today? Was it the fact that in the good old days the brands that had the deepest pockets were the only ones who were able to capture their audiences’ attention? Or was it because there was not as much competition or choice as what there is today? Or was it the advertisements we remembered were so well crafted in their language, tone, messaging and visuals that made them so appealing to consumers?

It’s fair to say it was a mixture of all of the above, however let’s take a look at where we are today. The number of consumers who are accessing content from online or social platforms is increasing rapidly, as consumers are able to consume more personalised content in shorter amounts of time.  Consumers can quickly scan through news feeds until they see something of interest. They are able to fast-forward and choose what they wish to consume and when they wish to consume it. And let’s not forget the vast amounts of competing brands all vying for the same consumer attention. It seems that brands only have a small window of opportunity to effectively connect with their consumers and this is why terms like ROI, big data and analytics play a huge role in a brands ability to learn more about their target market so they can get that edge.

You may have heard of the word viral. It is the term we refer to when something has been shared online and has been viewed by thousands or even millions of people without it being promoted or advertised.  And this begs the question “Why was this video or advertisement worthy of being shared?” The answer is very simple, and that is emotion. The video evoked an emotion of the person watching it and they felt they needed to retell that story to their friends so they too could feel the same sensation they felt when they saw it for the first time.

And what was it that created that emotion? Was it through a compelling headline or image or was it a short story that enabled the audience to resonate with it? Images or videos can only go viral when they connect with people and they are not determined by how much they cost to produce or promote.

So, shouldn’t all brands be looking to go viral when promoting their products and services? Yes 100% correct. Brands should be looking at this rational in every piece they deliver to consumers every time. Although, I am not suggesting that every piece will go viral, but it forces brands to focus more on the creative element in their advertising and marketing first, before they worry about other metrics, which may overshadow a great idea.

At the end of the day, in agency land we are constantly held accountable for the results of the campaigns we deliver, and yes we rely heavily on analytical data to ensure we hit the appropriate target markets, however we can’t discount the true value of good quality creative, as this is the first and last thing a consumer will remember about a brand, long after the campaign has finished.

What should brands ask themselves to be more creative?

  • Does this advertisement/campaign have the ability to go viral?
  • Is this advertisement/campaign emotive and thought provoking?
  • Will my audience understand and remember it in a matter of seconds?
  • Is my brand very well represented in its messaging?
  • Does this advertisement/campaign allow for consumers to interact?
  • Is this advertisement/campaign unique in its market space?
  • Can this advertisement/campaign be produced inexpensively?

Creative innovation is key to being remembered in a world of unprecedented content overload. And remembering back to a time when things seemed much simpler seems the best approach in bringing creativity back to the forefront of advertising and marketing. Making that true connection with a consumer will promote an everlasting memory and will go much further for brand innovation.