Brand Creativity Goes A Long Way With Consumers
For years, we heard marketing departments and marketing experts drone on about how "content is king." And for the most part, it was. But simply creating a library of content isn't enough; great content has to be high-quality, relevant to your audience, provide value to the person consuming it, and also strike a balance between representing your brand values and also solving a problem for a consumer.
As the digital landscape has progressed and we've placed a higher value on social channels as a marketing tool, brands also have to figure out how to be more creative. Henric Larsson, CEO and Founder of Chimney Vigor Group and author of a recent Forbes article titled "Move Over Content; Creativity Is The New Capital 'C'", says that 'in order to create memorable brands that drive conversion and customer retention, [companies] must shift their branding models to be less about quantity of content and more about quality of creativity."
How, exactly, can brands do that though?
Meet The Consumer Where They Are
The first step in creating content that resonates with an audience is actually understanding them. Without knowing who your audience is and what they want, your marketing efforts will miss the mark, no matter how creative you think it is. The goal is to not simply create; it is to create within the bounds of what your audience needs.
The perfect example of this is Old Spice and their weird, wacky approach to selling deodorant to men. Super creative, out-of-the-box thinking went into putting that initial campaign together, but it's clearly geared towards men. Dove, on the other hand, also had a creative approach to selling deodorant, except that their campaigns were empowering, inclusive, and body positive since they were selling to women. Creativity doesn't always mean wild and nutty. More often than not, it means finding the best new way to connect with your target audience.
Be Willing to Fail (And Dust Yourself Off & Try Again)
When I worked in comedy (see: The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, CollegeHumor), I witnessed so many epic brainstorms and so many epic fails on a daily basis. But no one focused on what didn't work outside of applying that learning in order to tweak an idea or scrap it and move on to focus on something else that had legs. The marketing industry has to start adopting that same mindset, as perfection is no longer a valuable (or reliable) metric.
Failure is actually an essential part of being successful in business and in life. The goal is to learn something new within every failure, an insight that can be used to help propel you forward in a way that couldn't have been achieved without the failure. When you take the pressure off of your creative team (or yourself) to be perfect in every marketing effort that you execute, you're actually shoving room for creativity out of the process.
Give Yourself or Your Team Time and Space
When I see the phrase "fast-paced environment" in job listings, my immediate thought is that they have such an aggressive approach to deliverables that they leave no room for meaningful creativity (and lots of room for burnout). This seemingly never-ending hustle culture--in particular, within the creative field--can be a slow death for a truly creative person. In order to nurture creativity at work, creatives must be given the time and space they need to experience life and feel inspired to keep creating.
Although creatives in the marketing world have to be good team players (let's be honest, not all of them are), scientific research has shown that creativity is sparked when solitude and loneliness are involved. A December 2020 study published in Nature Communications and cited in a Byrdie article "found while people thrive on being social, they also have neural circuits that increase their imagination when they’re lonely to fill that social void." Essentially, by giving yourself the time and space to step away from your work, your brain will start to feel inspired to create in a more meaningful way. For me, this always happens on hikes in the woods, long solo walks in my neighborhood, or in the shower.
While it may seem challenging to shift your mindset away from data and legacy success metrics, if your brand can figure out how to capitalize on creativity, you are way more likely to find meaningful success in the long run.