The Value of Creativity in Digital Marketing Campaigns

Creativity’s power to persuade people to take action has been around for centuries. In a world of marketing sameness where a committee often makes creative decisions, or from consulting a spreadsheet, the value of unique and powerful creative cannot be overstated.  

As more and more brands push their content into the social streams, the need to stand out has become paramount to campaign success and, ultimately, brand survival. The audience has become increasingly sophisticated and highly selective in the content they are willing to ingest, and with breath-taking rapidity reject what they are not. With every passing day, the approach to creative marketing needs to be unique, smarter, and bolder to rise above the sea of sameness and stand out from the crowd. 

Why Is Creative Important?

Consumers today absorb 500% more information daily than they did 20 years ago and 1500% more information than they did 30 years ago. The fluidity with which they bounce between devices and channels has developed an expectation of a seamless, engaging, and fun experience across them all. As such, customers or audiences decide in a fraction of a second whether to reward new content, ads, and brands with their attention. Creativity plays an essential role in stopping the scroll, making an impact, and inspiring potential customers to engage. 

Creativity as a Buzzword

As you spend time researching creativity in marketing, you will find barrels of ink dedicated to its value and the role great creative can play in successful campaigns. But, speak to any Creative Director at an ad agency, and you will find that clients reject 95% of their best ideas for a litany of reasons that revolve around not wanting to rock the brand boat. Too frequently, the best creative gets voted down as too avant-garde, drawing too much attention, or just not being safe enough. Paying lip service to the need for a more creative approach and then shoving the best work into the company’s marketing closet to be ignored will ensure the sameness you’ve been bemoaning and will continue to define your brand. That sameness is why websites looking the same, industry ads have the same feel, and why very little stands out.  

How to Generate Creative Ideas

One of the most effective ways to generate a raft of new ideas is to involve every employee in the idea creation process. Many companies rely on their creative department for new ideas. Yet, research has found that many of the best perspectives about a company’s products and services come from employees who rarely get asked for their opinions. Your employees may have unique insights that can lead to creative ideas for how to talk about your company and its products and services.

Step-By-Step Process to Generate New Ideas

Call for new ideas – Put out a simple request for new ideas. Invite everyone from leadership to admin staff. Make sure to emphasize that there are no ideas too small, too out-of-the-box, or too dumb.

The shortlist – Have your marketing department or agency filter the ideas that uniquely communicate a concept that enhances your company’s brand values or helps position your company’s products and services.

Select and build the best idea – From the shortlist and, depending on budgets, select one or two winners. Remember to be bold. Don’t be afraid to embrace a great creative idea.

Hearts and Minds

Your idea needs a message. Your idea also requires a creative execution that stops the eye from the consumer scroll that is speeding up as attention spans go down. 

The most common device used by effective marketers is an appeal to a consumer’s emotions. Whenever a marketer can persuade a potential consumer to identify with their story or their brand, primarily through emotion, the conversion percentage (or purchase intent ) rises dramatically.

Simply stated, the idea of appealing to an individual’s emotions taps directly into an individual’s psychological and social needs for considering and purchasing a product or service.

Emotional appeal tools in marketing include:

Personal – The focus on emotions such as love, safely, joy, and family well-being

Social – Is defined by an individual’s need for recognition, respect, and status

Fear– Takes the approach that an individual’s fears are one of the most potent triggers of emotional response: fear of loss of health, safety, and youth

Humor– Humor sells. Attention and memory recall are both dramatically improved through an engaging, humorous execution

The next step in using a specific appeal is to determine the execution styles for advertising. This is critical to get correct and has to be aligned with the type of appeal.

Executional styles include

Lifestyle: Demonstrates how a product or service fits perfectly into a consumer’s lifestyle or raises their quality of life. If consumers cannot visualize the benefit of the product/service to them, this technique fails to persuade. 

Spokesman or Testimonials: Having celebrities or experts explain and endorse a product is often a way to have a potential customer develop trust in a brand. However, trust must be authentically developed and nurtured and cannot just be a paid voice behind the brand. Consumers today are more intelligent than ever, and brands cannot buy loyalty and trust. It must be earned.

Fantasy: Creating a story around a product and what it can do for a consumer often aligns well with a social appeal to identify with something larger than oneself. (e.x., The status of owning a luxury car and the accompanying glamorous lifestyle.)

Humorous: Utilizes humor themes to engage a consumer in funny and memorable things. More than 30% of ads utilize humor-based concepts for greater success.

It’s All About the Creative 

There are several ways to take a great idea and develop it into a full-fledged campaign. Your great idea needs to stay on-brand and consider your intended audience’s demo and psychographics. By beginning with a clear understanding of your audience, what they need to hear from your brand, your creative team can focus on what types of psychological appeals and execution styles should be employed. But, above all, remember that the best tactics and marketing systems will not help you impress, educate, and convert your audience without unique creative ideas that engage.