Who’s creative, who’s not?
By Dr Ben Voyer, Associate Professor at ESCP Business School
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!
MSc in Marketing & Creativity
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