Did you know that, according to Ad Age, consumers are exposed to an average of 6000 marketing and advertising messages per day? That’s one ad every 14 seconds, 24/7. In a world where marketing is nearly ubiquitous, it takes some creative thinking to break through the noise. But is all creative created equal? How can you apply those creative wiles to smart, strategic marketing that can truly give your brand the edge over the competition?

Creative that Connects

Of course, there are scores of examples of outside the box thinking clamoring for the attention of ad-saturated audiences. But what does it take for a marketing piece, campaign or stunt to not just attract attention – good or bad – but really land with the audience for which it is intended? The true creative challenge for today’s world is connection. By creating engagement and more meaningful connection, standout creative can be the edge you need to rise above the rest and capture the attention you want. Cut through the noise with creative strategies that focus on four key qualities: personalized, dynamic, relevant and engaging.

Now It’s Personal

Marketing is all about the people, and sometimes you just need a creative way to let them know. Personalized marketing is one of the most effective ways to pull away from the pack of marketing messages consumers face each day.

Coca-Cola's Personalized Share a Coke Bottles | What's Your Creative Edge | Clementine Creative Agency

Case in point: Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign which launched in 2014 had the fizzy giant printing its iconic cans and bottles with thousands of names and encouraging consumers to buy one with the name of someone close to them and share it. Simple and effective, the campaign was an ingenious way to personalize one of the most mass-marketed products of modern times as customers shared not only their Coke but also their experiences on social media using the hashtag #ShareACoke.

Personalization is also a powerful tool for more targeted, boutique marketing efforts. A specially packaged brochure for ultra-luxury condominium development One Museum Place reflected the luxury expectations of the brand with an elevated, engaging presentation that reads less like marketing collateral and more like a gift for the intended recipient. In fact, each package came with a personal note from the owner. Now that’s sure to make an impression.  

Marketing in Motion

Dynamic creative is another great way to catch the eye – and heart – of audiences. One of the most innovative examples of this idea came from none other than McDonald’s in the form of a very special billboard. Erected in 2016 after consultation with scientists and experts, the board was designed for its specific location to act as a working sundial. McDonald’s breakfast menu items were arranged in a curve with a signature “M” precisely constructed along the board’s top edge to cast a shadow over the item corresponding to the appropriate time of day. The board culminated with the shadow of a perfect McDonald’s “M” cast at exactly high noon.

Not ready to consult NASA for your next campaign? Never fear. There are plenty of ways to add a touch of the dynamic to your creative that don’t involve rocket science. Even small touches can make a big difference. Think about the way that animation or motion can add interest and engagement in your digital marketing efforts. For example, with just a little creative magic a social media post

that looks like this:

can become this:

It’s a small touch that can make all the difference when it comes to creating thumb-stopping content in your social media feeds.

Stay Relevant

When you’re creating connection, it’s important to stay relevant in the minds of your audience. That could mean making sure you are relevant to where they are in life. This principle was taken to the extreme by Ikea’s famous (or infamous) 2018 crib ad. The ad, which ran in women’s magazines, was treated with pregnancy-test technology and invited readers to, you guessed it, urinate on it. A positive test result would reveal a special discount price for an Ikea crib. It was an outrageous campaign that nevertheless generated 4.3 billion global impressions and that equals a whole lot of cribs.

Shock value aside, staying relevant can also mean simply keeping current and timely and engaging with things that are on your audience’s mind in the moment. This social media series posted on Leap Day is a whimsical and engaging content piece that leveraged the trending topic to draw attention to some fun, personal yet branded work with animated effects bringing to life daydreams of the perfect “bonus day”.

Engaging Experiences

Often the first step to building connection is just spending some time together. That’s where creative that targets engagement, drawing the audience in and encouraging them to stay a minute and interact, can be so powerful. Spotify’s Yearly Wrap is a great example of this principle at work in a creative social media campaign. Spotify leveraged its stores of user data to create playlists for each individual user of their most listened-to songs for the year, which they encouraged users to share on their own social platforms. Music lovers eager to share their favorites obliged in droves, inspiring other users to share their own playlists and ultimately creating tremendous amounts of awareness, engagement and cross-promotion for the brand.

Engagement is not just digital. The Pratt Stacks Experience Center is an experiential space design that immerses visitors into the lifestyle of the Pratt Stacks condominium development. Built in mixed media but strategically engineered to work together as one piece, the space combines choreographed video and audio against the backdrop of a bold wall mural painted by local artist Miles Davis of Massive Burn Studios. The mural depicts the rising artistic spirit of Atlanta, reflecting the vibrant arts community of the surrounding neighborhood, with nods to Lemuel Pratt Grant, Atlanta’s iconic “railroad man” for whom Pratt Stacks is named – all in a carefully assembled palette mirroring the primary brand’s colors. The wall’s main message is punctuated with three aptly chosen letters – ATL – which are crafted as colorful string art, a fun detail which also subtly underscores the craftsmanship and quality of the underlying homebuilder brand.

Big spaces and big budgets are not required, though. Clementine’s own 2019 Holiday Card is a charming example of an individual piece handcrafted to engage and delight. The card arrives flat, prompting the recipient to unfold and pop up the card revealing a festive snow globe and seasonal good wishes. The simple act of the recipient popping up the card themselves to reveal the globe and greeting allows them to pause and spend a moment with the piece and its message and to appreciate the detail of how it works.

Back to the Future

You may be wondering, and it’s fair to ask, are creative touchpoints and experiences really still effective in an industry and a world that are becoming more digital by the minute?  It’s true that the rise of digital marketing has provided technological and analytical opportunities that marketers of the past could only dream of. But adding the science does not replace the art. Rather it creates new opportunities for creative marketers leveraging available technology to understand their audience’s needs and expectations and to respond in ways that are personalized and contextual, leading to a deeper, more meaningful connection with the people they are trying to reach.

Even what many believe to be the next frontier in digital marketing, artificial intelligence, cannot replace the distinctly human spark of creativity. What it may be able to do is provide powerful solutions to putting creative in front of the right people at the right time. It could optimize campaigns. Streamline customer journeys. Analyze audience data. Boost ROI on ad placements with targeted delivery. Map out strategies. All of these things will not replace creative marketing, but help to give it wings, enabling hyper-personalized interaction delivered in the right place at the right time.

Make It Your Own

Large or small, flashy or subtle, sweeping or simple, there are as many ways to bring that extra creative edge to your brand as you can imagine. Focus on personalized, dynamic, relevant and engaging ideas to help ensure that your creative marketing connects. But most of all, keep it authentic and true to who you are as a brand and who your customers are as well to build meaningful engagement and loyalty.

Need some help getting those creative juices flowing? Connect with Clementine to give your brand the creative edge to stand out in the crowd.

Header photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash