For some time now I have found myself looking at commercials (there was a time when I could not bear see any at all, being so many years too connected to them, that is). Of all kinds, on YouTube, on the street, on TV or on Facebook. Because no matter if we call them now posts, video, content or in any other words meant to separate us, specialists, from the rest of the world who does not understand our fancy marketing terms just the same, they are still commercials. Some pass me by without me noticing them at all (as all of us are still a rushed consumer in our private lives), yet others do catch my eye. They either scream, or occupy half of the commercial space talking about it, the product, or it, the brand, the extraordinary and unbelievable one, always a number one and better than competition. Rarely do I get to stop and say to myself: what a good insight (insight = a sort of supreme truth seed from which a valuable creative idea stems) and what a harmonious execution! And most of the times, especially on Facebook, I get to read some no taste, no smell and no point posts that only make me think: these people upload content by kilo, pay by number, do not look at what they actually write, how they write, not mentioning why they do it. Why on Facebook? Right, you already guessed, because it is cheap and affordable, and because everybody is good at it, it is just social media, really! And I can just imagine a discussion between a client and an agency – the agency which has never received a full brief and sometimes does not even know how to ask for it, the client being dissatisfied that nothing happens due to that campaign and that the agency is not „creative” enough (he feels that those posts do not trigger anything, but cannot yet explain it) and the agency being dissatisfied that the client is dissatisfied and so on. Agencies changing clients and clients agencies.
I will not step now into the arithmetic of measurement and the way in which one can evaluate the performance of communication in general (I am yet working on a training on this J), but I will return a little to the basics… I had once a mentor some time ago who, when things became too complex or actually too complicated, always used to tell us to return to where it all started and check if we are on the right path. Where does creativity come from? That creativity that we all adore and in front of which we sometimes tend to forget other dull details (but maybe sometimes much more important). I have studied creativity in communication for some time now and I realized that the real creativity, the one that impacts our perceptions and behaviors is much more than just a „created” and creative idea. It is more like a reset in a new shape, a happy play of ideas or words, something funny or romantic, a kid or a dog (or a cat, or a beautiful woman, etc., they all fall under the same category). It is more than a shape, it is about essence. And capturing that essence is the hardest thing and is not doable only through a brainstorming session or a relaxation smoking pause in a smart office. It is doable by a deep understanding of those we talk to and communicate with. The essence we look for is not with us, is with them, and only if we have patience and depth to grasp it, we do have a chance to get something creative which should also move something, mean something to the audience, not just to us. In other words, creativity starts only after the analysis stage is over. Though the biggest challenge of a creative person is to continue to be creative. Being creative once is easy, but being creative all the time, campaign after campaign, for the same brand and same public, becomes sometimes impossible (that is why some people say it is good to change agencies from time to time, though most of the times some other thing is the real issue). And the only way in which you can do that is to understand more of and better those you talk to, to really be relevant and not to just look for empty words that sound right and sometimes even rhyme and attach some nice photos or videos with effects that draw attention, yet build no bridge at all between the brand and those it addresses to.
This article is not a plea for improving relationships between research and creation departments (though it usually helps J), neither does it aim at attacking the daily hard work of those providing posts in editorial plans, it just wishes to reset substantive creativity to its full rights as unique impactful method to build brands and relations with those we target, no matter the channel.