Has creativity lost its value?
It is amazing what technology has enabled. Real time analytics used to be available only to companies that could afford to put the technology infrastructure in place. Today, any company of any size can deploy Google analytics. It’s powerful. And it’s free.
Technology has opened up all kinds of opportunities for businesses. As a result, a lot of marketing’s attention has been shifted from creating brand preference to more technology-driven priorities. These include setting up analytics, developing good data capture mechanisms, ensuring a site works across devices, and more.
This has led some to suggest that brand positioning and creativity no longer hold the business value that they once held.
We’re still talking about humans here
We are in an era where much energy is spent deploying technologies in order to advance a business. We look at how we can launch marketing automation and programmatic ad buys. We look at how we can capture and analyze data to make better decisions. These are all valuable and worthwhile endeavors. But the technology is not enough. At some point, we have to be able to offer something of value to a human being to help them move to a purchase decision. That has to be more than just a price (after all, if you are competing on price alone, you are in a commoditized situation.)
In other words, we have to find a way to differentiate. Then we have to be able to inspire prospects or to help them work toward their aspirations. These are the qualities that companies and products can develop that help them become more meaningful and valuable to prospects. That takes brand positioning. That takes creativity.
This is not a new phenomenon
Technology was at play when society shifted from the craftsman to mass manufacturing. You don’t have to look any further than Henry Ford to see a great example. The assembly line was a technological advancement that gave him a business advantage. But it wasn’t too much later, that competitors had adopted the advancement, and the Ford Motor Company (along with all the car manufacturers) realized they needed something beyond the process to continue to build an advantage. They turned to the creativity of branding to tap into the powerful emotional drivers that created customer preference.
Today, once again, technology is offering a functional advantage. But technology will always commoditize. In fact, it is happening at an ever increasing pace. That is even more reason to understand the power of creativity in brand positioning.
It comes back to balance
We need to deploy technological advancements. We just can’t expect the technology to be enough. People still want to be moved and inspired. They want to associate with things and companies that reflect their beliefs. That’s where brand positioning and creativity can help. But, the creativity is not enough on it’s own either. We need to be able to balance the two.
No, creativity has not lost its value. At the same time, if you’re not deploying it along with the possibilities that the technologies offer, then you’re missing the opportunity to create something exponentially more powerful.