Creative without strategy is called ‘art’. Creative with strategy is called ‘advertising’.
– Jef I. Richard
I recently hung up my lab coat and moved in a direction that nurtures my right cerebral hemisphere. I am a creative, and working in the world of digital marketing has become my latest test specimen. With an Internet that is constantly changing, we must adapt to the latest trends to stay ahead of the game. Or else we risk getting left behind with the other failed hypotheses. I often find myself applying my technical background to observe the nature of marketing, and it is here where I found my appreciation to think outside of the box. This is where great ideas form, and now more than ever fresh content can be shared across the web with a click of a button. Even those of us that who are not in explicitly creative fields must come up with innovative ideas and insights in order to move ahead. This has led me to the conclusion that advertising is just thinly disguised science.
Newton’s second law of motion, when rearranged, reads “acceleration equals force over mass.” In other words, a larger particle requires more force to change its direction. This theory can be applied to marketing when related to brand visibility. Bigger brands are more difficult to reposition when changing marketing tactics. Think of McDonald’s: do options like oatmeal, carrots and apples with caramel really make it a healthy choice for dinner? PNG, for example, separates their brands to leverage all marketing verticals with different brand names like Dove, Pringles and IAMS. The physics of this concept: a massive brand requires more force in order to change the perception of consumers.
Who would have guessed Newton was really a businessman.
Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle
It is impossible to determine with perfect accuracy both the position and momentum of a particle at any given point in time, because the act of measuring changes the state. This principle can be applied to the sector of market research, which has proven to move brands in the wrong direction on several different occasions. For instance, Coca-Cola released a “New Coke” version of their soft drink that promised consumers a better taste in order to compete with rival Pepsi Cola. This campaign proved to be an epic failure. Although successful for Pepsi, Coke fans validated Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle by disapproving of the new taste for their beloved old-fashioned soda.
Fortunately, marketing is getting easier. Digital media consumption allows us to measure what consumers “actually do” rather than what they say they’ll do. The Internet can follow trends without actually prodding into the state of each particle. So, take a tip from Heisenberg and use digital consumption patterns to measure what consumers are actually doing in your next brainstorm session.
The Scientific Method
The scientific method states that we cannot prove a hypothesis through observation, but only disprove it. A test can be run hundreds of times to gather more data that ultimately strengthens the results, but one single robust observation can blow the whole idea out of the water. There are parallels in marketing as well. A company can invest ample time building a brand and one wrong disposition can disprove all credibility. BP, for example, spent millions of dollars promoting an environmentally friendly image, until one little accident. Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal ruined his entire endorsement career. Lesson learned, we cannot prove a hypothesis but easily disprove it, so be true to your brand and practice what you preach.
Individual creativity can tap different channels of marketing genius. I welcome anyone to comment with their out-of-the-box thought of the day!
Hannah Vergara, passionate for holistic marketing and living.