Three seconds. That's what you have to convey your message. Creativity is the strategic weapon that allows us to capture those few precious moments of attention from busy consumers in our increasingly competitive, time-crunched environment.
Focus groups tell us that time is a precious, yet dwindling resource. Attention spans are dwindling, as well.
Many forces condition people: competing messages, special effects, quick cuts, pop-up videos, too much media. We should not totally surrender to these trends but instead look at the yearnings they reveal: a desire for simplicity, efficiency, truth, and quality of presentation.
When we design and write marketing communication material we must recognize a very fundamental fact: we are interrupting someone's day.
The fact that they chose to read, hear or view our message places a great responsibility on us to present this work as best we can. All the elements should contribute to a single point. A single reason for being there. Add something and it is excess baggage. Take something away and it's thin soup. The balance is critical.
And, we can't underestimate today's consumers. They are smart and we must not fall prey to communicating to the lowest common denominator. Consumers demand creativity, and ultimately they are who we work for.
Do The Math
It adds up to this: the increasing need for creativity. Thinking beyond the rote. Asking why and why again. Researching. Feeding the mind. Looking at the situation from a different angle. Parking your biases at the door.
Once you've done the research and asked all the questions, it's time to let ideas flow, not just on concepts, but also on content, medium, style.
Quick example. A small New York lingerie store with virtually no budget wanted to boost business. Its ad agency had an idea: paint messages on the sidewalk within eight blocks of the store. The messages read, “From down here, it looks like you could use some new underwear. " Business exploded.
Creativity isn't just a flash of lightning. It is a deliberate, disciplined process that anyone can follow. Now, go be creative.
Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR. He has 26 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Brent Dees Financial Planning, Levolor, New World Mortgage, North Carolina Tourism, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems VELUX and Verbatim.