When you don’t have talent you should at least have great equipment. If you are a writer/art director/planner, get yourself a funky fountain pen (note: a roller ball is a not a tool, it’s an embarrassment), next up is Apple’s MacBook Pro laptop. If you are short, get the 17 inch model.
Stop trying to gaze into the future. It just makes you look like you have a squint. Nobody can tell you how an advertising campaign will evolve two years from now, let alone five. You live in a time when your consumers and your marketing challenges evolve quickly. Solve today’s problems brilliantly and you will be in better shape to deal with tomorrow’s opportunities.
The BIG IDEA is not where you think it is. It’s not in a script, a print ad, or an activation concept. It should be in the much abused scrap of paper called The Brief. If your communication strategy doesn’t have a leap, your campaign won’t either. The ads might still be great, but what the brand stands for won’t be enduring. The Cadbury’s ad featuring the girl dancing on the cricket field wouldn’t have existed if someone hadn’t cracked a killer strategic thought that Cadbury’s satisfies the glorious child like impulses that we all have.
After it runs in the media and people love it and your competition is worrying about how to counter it, that’s when you tell people you always knew this was a BIG IDEA, till then leave it alone.
This point is just for the ‘creative’ folks. There are many of you who believe that creativity can’t be put in a box, or forced to do the time sheets. Luke Sullivan, winner of a mountain of gold gongs, builder of famous brands and former Fallon McElligot bad boy, now advises that you be organized and disciplined in your daily life, so your work can be crazy and out there.
All of the above are not points; they are points of view. But attempts at humor apart, the thing I’d like to leave you with is that, at all times have your own code. It may not sound as slick as those marketing/advertising pundits hand out, but if you are honest to yourself it will work.
Creative Vs inventive:
Every marketing person knows this. Creative is what comes out of a ‘Creative’ Department, where creative people sit, feet-on-table, chair tilted at a gravity and common sense defying angle, waiting for a brain flash, after which ‘The Idea’ arrives, accompanied by the resonant thunder of creativity.
Actually, the creative process is nothing like that. It starts with hours of grappling with the brief, followed by hours or days of getting tired ideas and clichés out of your system. If your Creative Director kills those with a casual flick of his underpaid hand, you start over.
Anyhow, this is not about creativity. One started this little gander through the woods of my words by stating rather boldy ‘Creative versus Inventive’.
The point is rather simple, really. Good brands have great creative. Iconic brands invent.
IBM was a computer company, till they ‘invented’ e-business in 1999. Did they really invent it? No. They spotted that business was slowly moving from traditional interfaces to digital interactions. What they did next was really smart, they branded it ‘e-business’. Then they launched a global campaign that told the world how business would be conducted in an increasingly networked world, helped by IBM’s products and services, of course.
Go back to last year. Volkswagen wanted to talk up the new Golf’s driving capabilities. Instead of talking about it, they invented a new driving experience. Fifty years back, Avis, the number two car rental company in the US, invented a new attitude. In a culture where number one was always king, they invented ‘Number 2ism’, the attitude that celebrated and defined the virtues of the under dog. Their calling cry, ‘We work harder, because we are only number 2’.Recently, Burger King invented the counter-culture mascot when they launched The King.
Here, at home, we have had our share of branded inventions. Lead India by Times of India. The Zoozoos by Vodafone. ‘The Power of Ideas’ program by The Economic Times. But why invent at all? Because when you invent something new people take notice and if they begin to take ownership of it, you get to own a piece of real estate in their hearts and minds.
Of course, after you invent something you still have to express it in a way that is ‘Creative’ otherwise it won’t be engaging and compelling.