In this opinion piece Kevan Baker, general manager at Atomic 212°, explores the transparency behind creativity including campaigns from Project Graham through to Red Bull Stratos, whilst exploring the crux of creatively-led marketing.
Advertising has never been more competitive. The bread and butter, cookie cutter offering is dead as we all face off in a media space which is slowly being taken over by the native advertising and social media based schools of thought. In order to stand out nowadays, brands are looking for the next big creative idea that will not only capture the attention of the every-day consumer on a massive scale, but also communicate the right message – all within a budget that is reasonable of course.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a major player or a seasoned veteran to conceptualise a bright idea or direct your team towards this goal. Your success is determined by cultivating the creative minds around you, and developing the skills to think creatively within the constraints of a client brief.
First things first: If you want to start producing quality creative media, it is important that you value, cultivate and utilise the young and agile minds at your disposal. Strive to be the kind of agency that is mind-led and able to propel great ideas into the datasphere effectively – there is no point hiring smart people, if you’re just going to tell them the “what” every time. Providing visible opportunities and incentives for staff to speak their mind openly, organise collaborative think-tank afternoons and get everyone working together to come up with something amazing.
As a manager or leader, letting go of the reigns can be difficult, however, give it a chance and let your staff surprise you.
Simultaneously (and this may seem trivial or obvious) the creative nuances of an eclectic workspace will also play their part in inspiring staff to think beyond the numbers crawling across their screen or the dot points of the brief whirring constantly in the back of their minds. By practicing what you preach from the top down, your staff will feel more valued and learn to look past the comfort zone of data and think bigger – something that your clients will benefit from in a very real way. Of course this is in no way discounting the positive effect of good ol’ fashioned research driven marketing, but a campaign that instills a breath of fresh air is always a good thing.
Now let’s talk about what ‘Creative Media’ really is. It only seems fitting to explore how an idea embracing leader can make a big impact on the marketing landscape with those big zany concepts. It is in this creative climate that we are able to conceptualize how those expertly laced branded messages effectively infiltrate the market. Project Graham is a shining example of a hard-hitting engaging campaign.
The modern day consumer is savvier than ever so it is our job as responsible ad-men and ad-women to be more creative than ever before in the ideation of a campaign or stunt. Consumers seek that emotional connection with a brand, and it’s about breaking from the ordinary. Take the clutter on Facebook as a challenging obstacle for example.
The consumer is frequently confronted with a diversity of branded content that attempts to trigger a reaction in within the real-time climate of social media. So this poses more questions: How do you make your brand stand out as the one to connect to? How do you make your brand’s voice the loudest without getting lost in the mix? I’m glad you asked. Simply put, It’s about telling a story. Painting a picture and breaking from the confines of the ordinary and pre-conceived.
A few pearls of wisdom I can offer include: Positive Brand Association. Leverage an idea, cultural movement, or social issue, and implement via activation. Take Red Bull Stratos. What a phenomenal campaign and excellent example of creatively-led marketing. This one stunt solidified the synergy between Red Bull and the notion of the extreme. A daring and bold campaign that has ensured Red Bull is forever synonymous with all things daring and exciting.
This is the kind of creative media that has left consumers speechless, in turn taking the association from the product from want to need. They know its branded, they know that someone’s trying to sell them something – but they just don’t care. That’s what creative media is all about – being the most confident voice in sea of clever and competitive native advertising.
Despite all the glitz and glamour behind creative media, there is a daunting sense of freedom that comes with the vastness of the creative ideation super highway. Gone are the days of Don Draper, it’s a cut-throat world and market predictions are not always accurate. So allow me to expel one last fact – cultivate a workplace ethos that is creatively focused and listen to your team. This is the type of environment that generates that content and creativity worth exploring. Deliver the bold and unexpected.