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Posted by Benjamin Voyer at 10:00 - 3 Comments

Today, I want to discuss two common shortcuts people make when thinking of what makes a brand creative - and what doesn't.

When I ask students that question, the same names come back most of the time - Google, Samsung, or Apple. Often, people make judgements about creativity based on the industry companies belong to - technology being often seen as a shortcut for creativity. The problem with this kind of reasoning is that it treats creativity in absolute terms, rather than in relative ones. Let me explain. Creativity marketing is about being better at using creativity than the industry average. In addition, not all creative brands come from creative industries - for instance, Innocent can be seen as a very creative brand, although its industry - fruit juices - is not a very creative one. Creative inspirations can be found in any industry, not just the creative ones.

Equally important when making judgements about creativity is to understand that me-too strategies are not a sign of creativity. Brands that have copied Innocent's humorous packaging style are not creative brands - although they may appear as creative to a non-educated mind. Innocent was the first to disrupt communication about fruit products, by adopting their signature packaging style. Salvador Dali once said: "The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot". Creativity marketing is about being the first one doing something, not the second one.

The next time you think about whether a brand is a creative one or not, ask yourself the two following questions: is this brand significantly more creative than the industry standard? Is this brand an innovator or a follower in terms of creativity marketing? This could well lead to surprising judgements!

Latest comments 3 Comments

11 November 2012
Interesting post, Ben, it reminds me of Warren Buffett's famous quote: "First come the innovators, who see opportunities that others don't. Then come the imitators, who copy what the innovators have done. And then come the idiots, whose avarice undoes the very innovations they are trying to use to get rich" Whether it's in the context of product innovation or creative marketing strategy, the same holds true. Let's be on the side of the innovators, not the idiots!!
12 November 2012
Indeed Marie! What strikes me as well is that while creativity marketing usually leads to profitability, copy-cat marketing doesn't necessarily. And this is because those who copy miss some critical aspects of the marketing strategy that came up during the creative process. A creative product is only the emerged tip of the (creative) iceberg!
12 November 2012
I agree, I think the process can be just as important as the outcome in this case, and in fact, that's probably where much of the value creation takes place (e.g., through co-creation, engagement etc)

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