Creativity falls out of favor, but it makes growth more ferocious

There is no doubt that “big ideas” are falling out of favor.

Publicis was forced to restructure the production department of a creative agency in New York after P&G slashed its advertising budget;

At the end of last year, the advertising giant Dentsu Group was exposed to layoffs. The layoffs spread to business lines in seven countries including China, Britain, France, Germany and Australia, and the number of layoffs reached as many as 1,400;

This year, Omnicom chairman John Wren confirmed layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs across the Omnicom Group;

WPP, the world’s largest media giant, took cost-cutting measures this year, stopped various discretionary costs including travel, hotels and participating in awards, and postponed the 2020 salary increase plan;

WPP-owned Ogilvy fired its chief creative officer Leslie Sims in the US.

It’s just the beginning, more and more CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) are becoming CGOs (Chief Growth Officers) and marketing departments are becoming growth departments.

Under such a background, it is naturally not a top priority to focus on the “big ideas” that tell the brand story and shape the brand’s tonality. It’s hard to gauge when and how much conversion a well-received slogan can lead to.

When survival becomes the number one priority, marketing that coexists with it should also have immediate results. After all, the worst case scenario is not hurting the brand, but the company goes out of business before the brand story is finished.

However, focusing only on growth and not on creativity is a headache-inducing approach—the mechanical conversion action of discount promotion/traffic trading can certainly gain sales, but this is a one-off, and the effect will stop when the investment is stopped. Even performance ads that focus on growth actually require creative support.

I had a long conversation with Alan Lan, managing director of Twitter Greater China, about the advertising and marketing strategies of Chinese companies on Twitter. He believes that the main communication content of many brands is how to convert, how to sell, and how to get consumers to download , but from the perspective of the marketing funnel, brand recognition and reputation must be achieved before purchases can be made naturally. Only the last step of the purchase is actually a data-backed sale.

“You can only see ROI, and think that spending one dollar and earning two dollars is good marketing. If you only do conversions, it will become more and more difficult to obtain the volume, and the competition will become more and more fierce. All advertising platforms have bidding, and only do Transformation, the more refined and better everyone can do it, the more expensive the amount, and the smaller the amount.”

Therefore, whether it is the meaning of the brand or the trend of the effect, the ultimate method is to return to “creativity”. When the traffic conversion campaign becomes standard, the place to open the gap is “creativity”.

Chinese brand Mobvoi collaborates with tech giant Zach King on humorous creative video ad

With growing demand, creativity is more important, not declining.

Huge Engine has put forward a new word “growth creativity”, in fact, it clearly points out the current trend of advertising and marketing creativity. On the one hand, it attaches importance to growth, uses data to drive insights, and uses technology to improve efficiency; on the other hand, it uses creative means to improve ROI and help companies break through growth bottlenecks.

Technology makes it possible to improve the efficiency of tool-based creativity, and the simple and easy-to-use operating system allows creativity to be replicated in large quantities in a short period of time, which can be scaled and sustainable;

Technology and data can also allow marketing creatives to test whether their ideas can stimulate growth at any time, making them quantifiable and iterable;

And creativity as a trigger to connect user emotions and achieve long-term impact can further optimize growth.

But this is a relatively idealized state, and balancing creativity and growth is easier said than done. People always say “quality and effect are one”, but the real front-line practitioners understand that the synergy and balance of quality and effect is not the ultimate combination of the two.