How Creativity Has Become A Hygiene Factor — And Why That’s A Good Thing


Confronted with the question, “What do you do?” adland tends to reply, “We do brilliant creative” or “We create advertising campaigns.” Let’s call it what it is — we sell. Clients hire us to sell their products and services to their target consumers and make those consumers fans. “Selling” is not a dirty word. If a client’s brand campaigns don’t trigger action, then we’ve failed our primary mission.

Let’s go back to 1984 and the Apple Macintosh commercial at the Super Bowl. In those days, a great TV ad could literally change the world. After the ad aired, Apple sold 72,000 computers in 100 days, twice as many as they had anticipated.

For 37 years since, agencies have been trying to emulate or outdo the Apple Macintosh launch ad and have failed more than they’ve succeeded. Even Cannes Lions award winners have been criticized recently for their lack of performance measurement — focusing on style over substance.

This was the old way of doing things. And we now have a new world of marketing.

The omnichannel world means brands are constantly competing for ever-dwindling consumer attention and windows of opportunity for brands to make an impact are getting shorter. Neuroscience tells us it takes only 50 milliseconds for consumers to form a first impression of a website. Brand experiences are collapsing. Customer journeys are being compressed. And there are more complicated pathways to purchase.

In this context, the notion that a single “creative idea” executed across a few media channels can be successful is naive. It’s way more complicated than that! I am not saying that brilliant creative and content do not have value — they do. However, they are now hygiene factors. Brilliant ideas must be grounded in human understanding.

When we talk about the power of “human” to make a sale or grow a business, we’re talking about tapping into the triggers that move people to act. Our brains’ mirror neurons fire signals when we observe an action being performed by another person. This gives us the ability to understand and interpret gestures, behaviors and emotions, and to associate them with our own experiences. This means that seeing a person touch a product or smell it can trigger similar desired feelings and emotions among viewers — even in a digital world. From using behavioral triggers to elicit deep emotional reactions to optimizing the customer’s sensory environment, haptic priming for digital experiences is highly effective.

Creative must be delivered in a myriad of ways to generate sales. There’s no single, big bang creative moment, but a series of touchpoints with the brand that moves the individual at an emotional level. Luckily, technological advancements in neuroscience, behavioral science and data science have supercharged creative departments, providing rich insights into highly targeted consumer groups. We can now diagnose customer journeys and better target customers with brand messages. Data is now our most powerful ally!

Consumers make non-linear decisions and keep marketers guessing. They are driven by physiological makeup coupled with individual personality and values. All of this we’re unlocking now, and the results are electrifying, as we move audiences from excitement to sale.

Selling — yes, I know some marketers hate that word — relies on focusing on our strengths and knowing what makes people tick: Why people buy. Because, in a world where it seems everything is constantly changing, human understanding isn’t.

Read the original article here.