Stand out creative

Creative is the most difficult aspect of the promotion process to explain. It doesn’t grow on trees, it means different things to different people and it’s very difficult to measure.

That’s why I encourage you to have a SINGLE strategy when it comes to delivering creative. Are you looking for sales? Awareness? Engagement? Or something else? You need to know what to track or this whole process is screwed.

In my previous posts I wrote about finding your strategy and crafting your message. Now, we’ll tackle what you put on paper, online, radio, TV, whatever… and I’ll leave you with a few resources to help you with the creative process.

How do I get my message heard?

The world is a cluttered place and the brain is very lazy, so that makes the job of getting your message heard EXTREMELY difficult. Turn on the TV, go on social media, listen to the radio or flip open a newspaper or magazine and you’ll be inundated with content trying to get your attention. Heck, look outside and you’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of stuff battling to be seen. All of this confuses your lazy brain, so it ignores the vast majority of the messages it comes into contact with.

In order to stick out you need to be different. The catch is you need to be different while relaying your core message. I recently flipped open a Fortune magazine and almost every ad inside was pretty much the same. A man or woman in a suit with text wrapped around him/her. In a case like this – how do you stand out? Well, you know what everyone is doing, so why not do the opposite. Maybe you throw a kid on there instead of an older business person. Maybe it’s an animal or maybe it’s just a few words with text. You also have to be mindful of the colours you use (an elaborate colour chart with each colours meaning) and the colours your competitors are using. It seems like everyone in the financial industry uses a green or blue, so if you’re opening a new financial business you should probably steer clear of those colours.

Being different

If I lined up a classroom of 20 students who were white and then added a black student…what would stand out? The black student.

Or let’s say I put three granny smith apples on a table in front of you and then slammed down a banana. What’s different? DUH! The banana!

Seeing as the brain is lazy, you need to shock it in some way to get its attention. If something looks like it fits, the brain will gloss over it rendering it unnoticeable. If something looks out of whack, the brain will say, “WTF?”

I find it funny how so many ads and messages all look, feel and sound the same. Why? Because it’s easy to follow the leader and do what everyone else is doing. The brain takes the path of least resistance and that’s why you get the same messages over and over again. How many ads have you seen or heard from a small business claiming they are the most affordable and have the best customer service? BORING!

How many small businesses claim to be the most expensive or offer horrible customer service? Think about it, there’s a reason why Rolls-Royce and Bentley roll in the dough and Dick’s Last Resort restaurant survives (it would thrive if the food was a few notches better). Who would of thought cars that cost $200,000 and up would be extremely profitable or a restaurant where the servers offer you poor service to the extent of making fun of the guests, would work?

Sell the benefits

Maslow's Hierarchy of needs

The above is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Most ads play to the bottom portion of the pyramid. They sell the features opposed to the benefits.

I worked with a large company in Eastern Canada to develop a launch campaign for their new security service. They did very well in the oil & gas industry, but wanted to branch out into home and business security.

When we first got into discussing their message – we did what everyone else did…started at the bottom of the pyramid. We talked about price (feature) and the how you can set your security system from your mobile phone (feature). Then we started digging deeper. I used the “Three Why’s” to narrow down what really mattered to someone who is looking for a security system for their home or business.

1st – Security (Why is that important?)
2nd – I want my family and/or business to be safe from harm (Why is that important?)
3rd – I want one less thing to worry about in my day to day life (Why is that important?)
Finally – I want to be able to live my life comfortably and confidently knowing my possessions are safe and secure.

Okay, now we’re on to something. We went from the feature of a security system to the benefit of living your life comfortably and confidently.

We went from ads that showcased burglars breaking into your home, sounds of alarms going off, babies crying and dogs barking to a dad on the sidelines at his son’s soccer game enjoying life with his family because he was confident his home was safe and secure. And he could check in on it from his mobile phone. We went from the ‘Safety’ level of the pyramid to the ‘Esteem’ level of the pyramid. And guess what…it worked. Overwhelmingly well. It didn’t sound like your regular security system ad. It took a few steps up the ladder and turned out to be very profitable.

Sell the benefit (capture your memories) instead of the feature (12.2 mega-pixel camera).

Again, crafting your creative is very difficult, it takes time and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are some recommended resources for you to peruse before you get down to business:

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind
Marketing Warfare
Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All

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