Mad Men, the popular ad agency show on AMC, takes place during the golden age of advertising creativity. TV was a fairly new medium, but people had worked with it enough to start doing some pretty creative things using the new nuances of picture and sound. Ad men with names like Bernett, Ogilvy and Bernbach were changing the world. Those times are long gone, but are we entering a new area of unprecedented creativity? I think so.
This new age of creativity is set in motion by two major factors. Again, we have a new medium that has been around long enough for people to start figuring it out – the Internet. And that new medium has spawned all sorts of new channels, including online video, social media, mobile, search and much more. Now add to that an era where the customer is more in control of things than they've ever been. It's no longer good enough to shout your message to a massive crowd. You have to craft your message into something interesting or engaging or useful. That takes more creative thinking – from more departments than just the one labeled "creative."
To play in this new pool and to engage on a more one-to-one manner requires creativity in all facets of your business plan. Your strategic thinkers need to be creative in their strategies. The media planning and buying needs to be creative. The thinking that goes into how your product interacts with the consumer at all touch points needs to be creative. And, of course, the messaging itself needs to be creative.
This all requires a lot more thought than before. It's not like there weren't professionals putting a lot of thought into your brand and it's marketing before. But, branding and marketing today requires a lot more innovative thinking. It's why even a smaller firm like us is going to market differently. For instance, the firm that is our Houston office, Yaffe/Deutser, actually does very little traditional advertising and marketing. They do a lot more consulting in areas where they can help companies think differently – in research, company culture analysis, how they deal with employees and their various constituencies, brand management and a whole host of other things that weren't being done by companies like us just 6 or 7 years ago.
For a creative person like myself, it's a great time. In a previous blog post, I already talked about how now is a good time to get back into radio, if you're willing to do something creative. Now, we're looking at all kinds of new possibilities. Instead of just thinking about how the TV ad will drive sales or promote a products USP, we get to think about how to engage people. Our direct marketing division, Yaffe Direct, has found that emails with a video component increase engagement, add over a minute of time spent on our message by the consumer and lift sales by 34%. So, instead of just concentrating on a sale designed to bring in a customer this weekend, we can create more interesting and engaging web videos like this:
RoomPlace Cinco de Mayo Web Video
So, what do you think? Are we really entering the next golden age of creativity? And is it one that crosses over many departmental lines? Who's with me?