Creative That Performs Should Be Your Brand’s Goal
The great French writer Alexandre Dumas famously said, “There are two distinct sorts of ideas: those that proceed from the head and those that emanate from the heart.”
Although he wasn't speaking about the yin-and-yang between creativity and return on investment measurement in advertising, he could have been. The creativity behind a brand’s marketing is clearly essential in touching the consumer’s heart, but if that creativity isn't achieving whatever the goal your brand has decided — whether it’s specific sales numbers, social media engagement, web traffic, or whatever metric matters most to your business — your ‘head’ knows something is off.
Creativity is inherently subjective and usually focused on forging a connection between the consumer and the brand. The results brands want, however, are decidedly objective. There are specific, quantifiable results expected to come from that creative. Because of that, the challenge brands face today comes down to recognizing that duality.
Do you want your brand to increase household penetration or generate awareness for a new product? What are the barriers to success? Is your product too expensive? Is it a navigation problem and consumers just can’t find it in stores or online?
Like a great mixologist, finding that perfect blend of subjectively strong creative, and objective data, remains the ultimate brand goal.
Finding White Space Where None Existed
When you begin to consider your brand’s goals through the lens of "performance creative" you begin to find opportunities where perhaps none existed before.
For example, Tyson Foods and Halloween don’t seem like an obvious fit, but the Share More Scares campaign was born out of specific data that found adults were much more engaged with Halloween than in the past. Before it was all about the kids, now it's a shared experience between adults, kids and the community, and there was white space for the brand to play a role in the Halloween occasion.
Another example is Bud Light's Squares campaign, which was also born from data around the brand and consumer behavior. The Squares platform incentivized consumers to play — and engage with the brand — every week throughout the football season.
Tips for Combining Your Brand’s Head and Heart
- RMNs Can Help You: Yes, retail media networks (RMNs) complicate matters for marketers by restricting third-party data, pricing or formats, but if retail brands can tailor their messaging depending on the RMN, they can better target specific audience segments.
- Culture is King: How can your brand play a more active role in pop culture? The answer is creativity. Use unexpected partnerships to your advantage, like when Twix tapped into a passionate sneaker with a collaboration with The Shoe Surgeon.
- Speaking of Cookies: In 2023, brands must get creative to circumnavigate the limitations around third-party data. Focusing on refining your value exchange; consumer experience is key.
- Roll the Dice, and Give the Robots a Chance: Don’t be afraid to take chances. Consider predictive testing on creative using artificial intelligence and algorithms to help create campaigns that will resonate with audiences. However, don’t go overboard. Use your tried-and-true metrics to inform your "creative gut" and then leave the rest to the tech.
Bridging the head and the heart to arrive at creative that performs is a lot like solving a puzzle that's constantly changing. But when you approach your brand’s strategy through a lens of datasets that inform consumer behavior, you see that the right balance between the subjective and the objective can drive both brand and retailer success.
Dino de Leon is executive vice president and executive creative director at Advantage Unified Commerce, the Chicago-based, 500-person strong commerce marketing agency.
Related story: 3 Strategies to Build Better Brand Experiences Into Your Marketing Initiatives
Dino de Leon, EVP and Executive Creative Director at Advantage Unified Commerce (AUC), has been creatively solving marketing problems for 20+ years. With a traditional advertising background, his curiosity and passion for challenging norms led him to leadership roles with digital, promotional, and shopper agencies. Before joining AUC, Dino was EVP Executive Creative Director at IN Connected Marketing, before that he also held the position at Shoptology as their Head of Creative and at TracyLocke as Executive Creative Director.