Embracing a creative ideology and accepting that creativity is a value driver has always come easy to me. However, finding empirical evidence on the positive role creativity plays in marketing effectiveness to back up my belief is not quite as straight forward.
Things they are a-changing, however, with a strong case for marketers embracing what is occasionally discounted as ‘irrationality’ as an avenue to make a meaningful impression on consumers coming from several hallowed halls of marketing theory as well as independent academics and researchers.
For example, the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science concluded that emotionally powerful advertising is more effective in driving sales after analysing the impact of rational versus emotional advertising.
And behavioral economist Dan Ariely argued in his book Predictably Irrational that the many decisions made by us humans are not taken after extensive rational thought, but rather on the basis of our feelings, or systematically applied irrational thinking.
This is fairly profound given that we have always prided ourselves on our analytical capacity to rationally determine the best value, optimal choice or most sensible solution. It appears these powers are seldom employed when confronted by the endless consumer propositions that characterise life today.
Ehrenberg-Bass and Ariely, as well as others, clearly show that the ‘automatic’ mind, which is fast and guided by emotional responses to situations, is often deemed sufficient when it comes to purchasing decisions.
As our decisions are increasingly expected to be guided by big data, small data and the endless vanity stats that underpin our marketing, it’s refreshing to consider a case for heightened creativity.
Now, ultimately it’s the blend of art and science that is producing the best campaign results within trackable media environments, such as the digital landscape.
Given the general state of the economy, and the outlook for growth, marketers can expect austerity, and keen eyes on ROI.
But, isn’t it refreshing that even during an economic recession one doesn’t have to have a creative recession? Those resources are untouchable by a downward turn in general prosperity. What undermines creativity is ‘attitude’ and it being undervalued as a business driver in itself.
The belief in the transformative power of creativity and technology is celebrated in style by The Black Eyed Peas front man Will.I.am. He actively promotes science, tech, engineering, arts and maths.
Judging by his traction in the space, the musician, technologist and now investor in multiple tech and hardware businesses, may just be the inspiration the younger generation needs to embrace the challenges facing the new world.
It can’t be overlooked that there has never been more avenues to integrate with a consumer’s life. As we see the ubiquitous technological layer envelop all of life, and not just our media choices, through wearable tech and smart everything, we are presented with unchartered creative opportunities.
Integrated marketing doesn’t have to solely mean a seamless translation of communication across media types; it should also mean ‘integrating with your audience’s life.’
That requires much more insight as to how they use their devices when supporting, streamlining and promoting their day-to-day activities. If you wait for your media agency to make sense of these before embracing emerging messaging platforms, you may just miss the boat.
In this day and age, where the ‘revolution’ is forcing out the dinosaurs and demanding that we rethink our palate of marketing tools, strategies and what constitutes success, it is essential that a ‘hacker’ type attitude and openness to unexpected possibilities should be present even for a nominal percentage of one’s marketing agenda and budget. These won’t always be easy to ‘brief’, but that’s the point. Strategies and creative technology solutions actually need to be nurtured.
Curiosity. Insights. Experimentation. Prototypes. Bravery. Persistence. These words are great company to have a seat at the marketing round table once again.
To get a sense for how this can play out, consider attending “Break. Make. Create.” South Africa’s newest hackathon, launched to not only improve the skill set of the marketing industry, but give all creative, technically minded and innovative thinkers the chance to tinker, craft and play.
The initiative, brought to fruition purely by the communications industry’s need to break, make and create, will kick-off with its inaugural event in Cape Town, 2014’s Design World Capital, on June 5 and 6.
David will be speaking at the IMC Conference taking place on 9 & 10 June at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.