Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Creativity versus Functionality

Whether one is creating a brand name, a tagline, an elevator speech or an advertising campaign, one must balance the need to clearly communicate the brand's unique and compelling promise with the need to break through communication clutter with something eloquent, humorous, unexpected, outrageous or otherwise memorable. 

Effective advertising will accomplish both of these. An elevator speech needs to do at least the first, but it would be nice if it could do the second as well. It is more difficult for a brand name to do both, but some do (such as Taglines are tricker. I have encountered many clients who would rather have a "catchy" tagline that is off strategy or that doesn't say much than a tagline that clearly communicates the brand's unique and compelling promise but in an unexciting way. Creatives at marketing agencies tend to agree on this point. I do not. While it is preferable to develop a tagline that accomplishes both, in the end, I want the tagline that clearly communicates why I should choose the brand over its competitive alternatives. 

This really gets down to the question of whether marketing communication needs to be functional or creative and memorable. Again, ideally it needs to be both. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to accomplish both. When it is, creatives and clients tend to go with the option that is creative but not functional. This is a mistake. Hold out for both.

Yes, you want the communication to break through the clutter and to be memorable, but it had better be linked to the brand in question and it should have communicated why one should love the brand and why he or she should be willing to spend money to use it.

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