By Allein G. Moore


 

At the beginning of June a large crowd of advertising and marketing men and women came together at the Pan Pacific Hotel to witness the presentation of the EFFIES Singapore 2014. The EFFIES are the annual awards given for marketing effectiveness and judging is held in different markets around the world. The entries must be submitted with detailed paperwork explaining the strategy and recording the success in terms of sales or action taken with detailed numbers to back up the claims.

This year, Priti Mehra, Managing Director for Millard Brown Singapore, one of the sponsors and the firm supplying the analysis of the winners, drew attention with an ingredient which separated the winners from the other entries. Leading brands seldom make errors in strategy or media planning. Years of experience ensure their marketing is usually faultless. This makes it very difficult for any brand to score points over the competitors. In today’s world, any product advantage is quickly matched with the aid of modern technology and manufacturing.

The only ingredient that can give the marketer an edge is creativity.

“A focused creative strategy emerged as the key point of differentiation that set the winners apart from the others”, said Ms Mehra at the awards presentation.

It may be in the imaginative use of the media, a fresh idea in presentation or an exciting graphic or video execution. It doesn’t matter if we are considering an interior for a new restaurant or a global advertising campaign, we need that creative ingredient.

All of us are becoming overwhelmed with sheer amount of marketing messages we see each day. Estimates run between 3,000 to 20,000. Obviously if you walk the streets of New York, watch TV and buy newspapers and magazines, you will see more than a farmer working daily in the rice fields of Thailand. But it is clear that one needs a fresh, intriguing, or exciting idea to gain attention and engage with potential customers.

How will you, as client, know if you are being presented with a creative breakthrough? Is the presenter an artistic madman or a creative genius? The idea will probably make you feel uncomfortable. It is often easier to accept something that is similar to what you have seen elsewhere than something new. Choosing an approach which follows the usual path means you don’t have to stick your neck out. I’d say that if you feel nervous in presenting this concept to the CEO, this is a good indication that you might be about to embark on some breakthrough marketing.

What if it is wrong? Yes, there is always a risk when you take a path not trodden by others. You have to accept some failures. However, in seeking a fresh approach, there is no need to forget all the disciplines you learnt in your career. You still have to do market research, keep a clear picture of the audience to which you are addressing and, for the sake of the CFO, do not forget budget constraints. Mix in a bit of common sense, too.

The EFFIE winners built their campaigns on solid foundations but it was the creative ingredient which gave them originality and resulted in a jump in sales. Will your marketing in 2014 excite and engage the consumer. Are you prepared to commit to greater creativity?