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Entries Tagged as 'Innovation & Creativity'

Is creativity bad for marketing?

April 8th, 2014 · Innovation & Creativity

funny eggs with facial expression: scared screaming and being terrified.As a writer just typing the question – is creativity bad for marketing – hurts a little.

Advertising and marketing people pride themselves on their creativity. After all, it’s one of the lures of the profession for most of us.

But does it serve our businesses and our business goals?

On the surface, it’s easy to argue that creativity is essential to good advertising and marketing. Whether it’s strategic nuances and insights, being innovative in your brand and how you express it, or marketing materials that capture the audience’s attention and imagination – all of those are built on a foundation of creative thinking.

But I’ve been in some situations recently where it was evident that the long-term objectives were not being well served by an infusion of creativity. Then, sadly the answer is yes…. creativity can be bad for marketing.

So let’s look at how the very thing we work so hard to capture can also be a detriment.

Too many ideas: This can be a killer. When a team is on fire with great ideas and falls in love with them all, the end result can be a mess. Sometimes the team tries to pack in all the ideas so rather than building a message hierarchy where you lead with your key message and then support that message — you get five pounds of ideas shoved into a one pound bag. That results in a lot of superficial messaging rather than a well-developed story with depth and relevance.

The other possible outcome of too many ideas is that the team decides to use them all sequentially. That typically means that no one idea is left in place long enough to really take root. Remember, about the time that we as the creators are getting sick of the ad/brochure/tagline etc. is about the same time the intended audience is just noticing the communication. If you pull the plug too soon, you lose all momentum and have to start all over.

Unbridled creativity: As the brainstorming pendulum swings, it often goes to an extreme that’s beyond the audience’s sensibilities. Sometimes a team can get so enamored with being provocative or wildly creative that they forget who their audience is. We’ve all seen ads that were very outlandish and got a lot of attention but in the end, were too far over the top and the company ended up issuing an apology or retracting the ad.

Marketing has a very simple purpose – to sell something. It might be selling a product, or an ideal or a candidate or a charity’s cause. But it does not exist to entertain, provoke a reaction or win awards. If it sells AND entertains, all the better. But it needs to do its job. Which means the audience’s perspective must always be front and center.

Cart before the horse creativity: Believe it or not, good creativity is actually the outcome of a very disciplined process, at least in marketing. To truly be creative in a way that nets the desired results, you have to do your homework before you release the creative juices. Until you define the goals, identify and get to know your audience and understand your unique position in the marketplace – you hold your creativity in place.

When you unleash it too soon, you may come up with the most compelling marketing tools that drive the audience to action, but they might be the wrong audience, might be taking the wrong action or might play to one of your competitor’s strengths.

Like most things, creativity isn’t good or bad, at least not in the world of marketing. It’s how we use it that makes it either a huge asset or a hindrance to us achieving our ultimate marketing goals.

 

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Want to up your creativity?

October 27th, 2013 · Agency life, Innovation & Creativity

idea_lightbulbNo matter what you do for a living, you need to be creative.  Innovative and fresh thinking are always in demand, whether you’re a cop, a plumber, or a marketing pro.

Unfortunately, on the job, we can’t wait for the muses to strike.  We need to be creative on demand because there are clients, deadlines and projects waiting.

Want to up your creativity?

Having a career that demands creativity every day has forced me to find ways to keep that particular saw sharp.  Here are some of my favorites:

Exercise your brain: My goal is to keep my brain cooking at all times, so if I need to call on it, it’s already fired up.  I love brain teasers, word games like Scrabble, games of strategy and even lumosity.com which is like a brain obstacle course.

Simmering: When I’m stuck or every idea I come up with seems tired and overdone, I tuck the challenge in the back of my mind and let it simmer.  I do other things, concentrate on something else entirely and just let my subconscious work out the knots.

Blood, sweat and tears: Okay, skip the blood and tears part.  But sweating really works.  When we move our bodies, all kinds of endorphins are released.  Those magic chemicals put us in the perfect state to create.

Hang out with creative people: This is not only effective, it’s great fun. Actively look for opportunities to talk to creative people about creative things.  Listen to the language they use, the stories they tell and even how they use their body to enhance their tales.  If you live in Central Iowa, you have the perfect opportunity this Thursday.

The Iowa Creativity Summit is Thursday night from 6 – 8:30.  Come hear from David Burkus, the author of The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas.  Check out the event here.  I promise — you’ll get your creative juices flowing for sure!

If you’re like me, your creativity is a tool you rely on.  Like any tool, it’s my job to keep it in tiptop condition so it is ready when I need it.

So how about you — how do you keep your creativity flowing?

 

 

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How does your paper resume stack up to this?

May 1st, 2013 · Innovation & Creativity, Trends · 3 Comments

The world has changed.  Things are different.  This is the new normal.  This ain’t your grandaddy’s marketing. We can say it a million ways but some folks just aren’t going to get it.  Or at least not yet. With the tools out there, the connections that can be made and the audience’s diminishing tolerance for [Read more...]

How does your customer use what you sell?

August 24th, 2012 · Innovation & Creativity · 5 Comments

An exercise we don’t do often enough (especially if you sell a service rather than a product) is taking a look at how our customers actually use what we sell them. When you make the time (not take…make) to actually dig into the functionality, the how and where they use it, and what they have [Read more...]

Advertising can’t just be funny

July 16th, 2012 · Innovation & Creativity, Media, Storytelling, Strategy · 13 Comments

Don’t get me wrong.  I like funny.  Most of my favorite movies are funny.  The TV shows I watch — usually funny.  And I appreciate a funny ad. But…it still has to sell something.  That’s the ad’s reason for existence.  No company runs a TV commercial just to entertain the viewers. So when I see [Read more...]

Going viral = out of your control

May 8th, 2012 · Growing & Learning, Innovation & Creativity, Life, Social Media, Trends · 1 Comment

It seems like one of the goals I hear more and more is… “and we want it to go viral.”  I translate that to mean — we want a lot of people to see it. But rarely when someone says they want something to go viral, do they really understand the implications of that.  The [Read more...]

The psychology of color

February 13th, 2012 · Innovation & Creativity, Psychology · 23 Comments

Color (or the lack of color) triggers a very powerful emotional response in us.  We can use insight as we select company colors, design logos, create ads, build websites and even create products. Check out this fascinating infographic on how we react to color.   Bravo to CertaPro Painters for creating this and Cool Infographics [Read more...]

Do you take yourself seriously?

October 7th, 2011 · Agency life, Business owner/leader stuff, Innovation & Creativity, Love affair with customers, Passion · 5 Comments

At McLellan Marketing Group, we live by our core beliefs.  One of them is: We take our work seriously.  Ourselves… not so much. Let’s be honest here.  None of us save lives every day.  (Okay, if you actually do… you have my permission to skip this post) Sometimes, I think we need to just get [Read more...]

How to be creative on purpose

July 31st, 2011 · Books, Innovation & Creativity · 12 Comments

…Do you need to be creative on demand? My job is to be creative on demand. The demands come in all forms.  It might be a strategy session for a client’s marketing plan, writing a print ad that will generate action or keeping the content on my blog, newspaper column or enewsletter fresh and worthwhile. [Read more...]

Just because you can…

July 6th, 2011 · Innovation & Creativity, Strategy · 17 Comments

At MMG, we’re often heard saying “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”  This applies to many things but it seems to come up most when we’re talking about design. Just because you can use 12 fonts on one piece doesn’t mean you should Just because you can auto tweet every 5 minutes doesn’t [Read more...]