Within the advertising and PR industries, there is a prevailing attitude that does not seem to value how much money an advertising campaign has helped a company to earn, or how a PR campaign has helped a business to shift from being merely another organization to a well-established brand.
The advertising and PR industries seem more concerned with creativity than with concrete results, more interested in having fun spending your money with bright ideas than in developing a methodological approach that will lead to new and repeat customers.
Creativity may help a business become a trend, but it is not a given that a trend will convert into a brand.
There is another misconception that should be clarified together with one we have already talked about in a previous article.
The creative effort is geared toward getting as much attention as possible, as attention seems to be the most valuable commodity a company can use to become massively influential in the consumer’s world.
However, attention is not always positive. In fact it can seriously damage both your brand positioning and your finances.
In the world of PR there is what is commonly referred to as Black PR, which is an immediate danger that can sometimes be averted with great effort, although sometimes any attempt to re-establish the credibility of a brand might turn out to be useless.
However, a less drastic force that can nonetheless lead your brand into an equally deadly collapse is a medium to long term series of wasted opportunities in replicating and underlining the core values your brand aims to stand for in the mind of your target audience.
Likes, shares, and comments on Facebook or Instagram aren’t a guaranteed source of new or repeat customers.
The number of sales isn’t decided by the number of engagements.
Simply because reaching millions of people is useless if you are not communicating with your target audience, which is the people who can be motivated enough to buy your product.
Do you remember the last Adidas commercial that went viral?
Everyone was talking about the person who shot the video, but Adidas didn’t like it.
Every newspaper was talking about this controversy.
Have you purchased a single pair of Adidas shoes in the last six months?
You can learn an important principle from this example:
It matters less how large the scale of your reach is than how well you communicate your product or service to your target audience.
It is better to communicate with a limited community of raving customers than with millions of indifferent ears uninterested in hearing your message.
So how does creativity relate to this statement?
If you aren’t a big corporation with millions of endorsements every year, with investors willing to cover your losses because in 10 years you could potentially escalate your sales globally, your only chance of consolidation is to have enough sales to generate profits you can reinvest to create progressive positive revenue.
If you aren’t Amazon or Tesla, and the only institution available to help you grow your budget is a bank that pays interest, then this is more than a suggestion.
It is an indisputable principle.
How can creativity destroy all your efforts while creative ad agencies are filling their pockets with your early budget and the CEO is ready to fire you?
Creativity will undermine your good will and expectations by limiting its goal to attracting attention. Creativity is more the result of a cultural movement than a strategy. It is more than a 50% risk investment when there is no investor on the planet who would bet a single buck on a 50% chance of failure.
There is no strategy in creativity.
Creativity is never strategic.
Creativity is a flux that has no chance to be effective outside a well structured methodology, a methodology of conveying the core values of your brand, the pillars of your brand positioning, the roots of your differentiation.
Everyone in the business world knows that the most important part of a goal is the strategy you have planned to achieve it.
The ease with which you will reach your goal almost completely depends on the strategy.
Good intentions and hustling aren’t a strategy.
The fact that you are striving to reach a result doesn’t influence at all the end result of your work unless it is integrated in adequate well thought out strategy.
To Be Noticed: Using the most efficient way to reach a goal in business doesn’t mean that you are justified in working less. It means that you must work even harder with the awareness of having an advantage that your competition seems not to consider.
When is creativity helping you reaching your goal?
When is creativity instead helping you to lose your job as a marketer, destroy your brand positioning, throw away your market leadership, or, worst of all, face bankruptcy?
Creativity must be associated with a well defined process of influence.
What any company needs to keep selling is trust.
What you need to gain trust is creating a perception of trust.
To create a perception of trust your communication needs to be consistently implemented around a core message able to sell your why so well that eventually you will not need to explain yourself any more.
When your trust (and as a consequence your truth) has been given for granted, you can enjoy the leadership of your market niche.
Creating a truth around your relationship of trust is the most powerful strategy you can ever use while implementing your marketing.
The consistency of your core message has the goal of shaping the belief system of your target audience.
People are in love with ideas.
They believe more in ideas than in people.
Think about the idea of being right or wrong.
Having people buy your product because it is the best might just be a consequence of the idea of you manufacturing the best product.
How can a proper method help you become the most trustworthy, the market leader of your niche?
A method is what the self-proclaimed creatives seem to despise the most.
I used to say that you can sell creativity but you don’t sell with creativity.
I might be wrong, but I am sure I am not that far from the truth.
Creativity and methodology aren’t necessary polar opposites.
They can absolutely be integrated.
The method alone might be redundant and boring.
Creativity by itself might lead to just short-term attention and nothing else.
Creativity is what helps you get the attention of your target audience.
Methodology is what helps you get the affirmation of your target audience by directing its attention where it needs to be focused: on your brand positioning, on your differentiation, on your core message, on your why.
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Founder and Managing Director at POWER BRAND. PR that Sells for Startups and SMEs,
How to turn your content into a PR advocate
Why you should write a book from a PR perspective
How to use PR to disqualify your competition
How to get media coverage by giving the media what they want
Brand Positioning. Broadcast PR. Brand domination.