Monday, March 01, 2010

"Can you really quantify creativity?"

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This is the question posed by brand agency SarkissianMason with the launch of their newly redesigned website. The home page sports a glut of metrics they've "collected" from their creative process—things like "mouse miles travelled," "Ideas Generated," and "Bathroom Methane" levels—all in a tongue-in-cheek attempt to point out the answer: you can't measure creativity.

It's really about the emotions. 
In their explanation for the new site SM poses that consumers and buyers buy first with their emotions, not their rational minds (even when they say differently). And placating to the masses with freebies and sweet offers and marketing gimicks only attracts those who hunt for the ever-elusive killer deal rather than true brand evangelists who will shout your praises from the mountain tops. For the most part I have to agree.

Apple. King of Branding.
I mean, just look at Apple. When's the last time these guys had a "one-time-only smoking deal" on a new product or gave stuff away to get you to come to their site? They haven't. And if they continue to play smart, they won't. Why? Because they don't have to—they've built a brand around emotions first.

Either you love them or hate them but rarely do you find people who are ambivalent. And their products appeal to those who love who Apple is—smart, sexy, cutting-edge and creative. And Apple makes a killing ($40 billion a year) by rounding up their lovers and getting them to buy in to the whole family. What's even more amazing is that Apple does it with a family of only 40 or so products. They totally get that if you spread yourself too thin you have a hard time honing in on the emotions that matter for the people that love (or will love) your brand. Focus, patience and consistency in your brand will pay off.

Data Still Counts.
Don't get me wrong though. Data still has it's place. A survey can be a great way to start figuring out what people think about your brand or help you narrow in on that perfect person who will buy your products over and over and over. And numbers can be a great indicator of where you've been and where you're going. But if your sales numbers are slumping and your headache count is climbing it may be time to analyze your brand's overall emotional impact rather than throw out a cheap, gimmicky fix. Be brave. Be bold. Jump hard and long. Lead the pack with big, creative ideas and those numbers will go up.