EXCLUSIVE | Shiraz Khan, SDA, on leveraging the power of emotions with creativity 

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Shiraz Khan, Founder and Director of Spicetree Design Agency (SDA) writing exclusively for MediaBrief, shares his views on what makes a marketing campaign stand out, how creativity can be nurtured, and looks at how successful brands have implemented out of the box thinking to execute memorable campaigns.

Creativity is the foundation on which great marketing campaigns are built, and rightly so. Today, the business landscape has become increasingly challenging and competitive. As a marketer, one needs to think out-of-the-box every single day in order to make the brand stand out and to drive the sales.

Looking at that, customized and creative marketing ideas, campaigns and content is of paramount interest. Here are some of the key benefits that you get from rooting your marketing strategy in creative innovation.

Creativity is originality

When you create a novel brand campaign, it creates an easier and stronger brand recall. For instance, it is almost impossible not to recall Fevikwik when you hear the caption “Chutki mein chipkaaye” or Amul whenever you see the girl wearing polka dots frock delivery witty punch-lines in print and outdoor advertisements.

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Creativity leverages power of emotions

Every marketers’ playbook has lengthy elaborations on the importance of emotional connect with the audiences. There are various emotions which can influence a buyer’s behaviour and decision to accept and reject a product. Joy, anger, patriotism, community bonding, gratification and human relationships are some of the key triggers that drive people towards buying products.

Why would you buy an Apple phone worth 100,000 rupees that doesn’t offer some of the features offered by a rupees 25,000 Android phone? While product quality matters and Apple has never lagged behind in that area, it is that exclusivity, and gratification of owning the best luxury products that makes Apple devices stand out.

That’s the same reason people go for diamonds despite them not having a clear standardized valuation similar to gold. Similarly, the tagline “diamonds are forever” highlights the importance of strong life-long relationships. When a brand’s communication is distinct, the brand recall gets embedded in the psyche of your audiences and makes them remember the products fondly and vividly.

Cost-effectiveness

Creating a distinct and consistent brand communication helps it become more organic and less cost-intensive with passage of time. If you desire to buy a luxury car then you would naturally look at Mercedes, Audi, BMW, and Volvo etc even if you haven’t seen their advertisements. The approach is not exclusive to luxury brands like Apple or Mercedes, but, also equally effective in inexpensive daily use items.

For instance, if you have to buy incense sticks, you would remember ‘Cycle Pure Agarbatti’ and for adhesives, even a layman would look for Fevicol or Fevikwik.

Having looked at the role of creativity in marketing communication, we also need to look at how precision delivery of messaging can make or break the right impact for even the most creative and emotionally compelling campaigns. In the digital heavy marketing world of today, the parameters of efficiency have become more important.

Creativity is not worth a dime if it doesn’t communicate effectively

Global brand Dove had created an advertising campaign which used 4 pictures starting from a black woman and ending with a white woman’s photo. The brand’s communication purportedly aimed at showing the 4 stages of washing. However, it ended up drawing severe flak as the brand was perceived as racist and showing the black woman as dirty.

The important thing is to keep certain elements in mind while devising the campaign. These include:

Timing

The timing of any campaign has a direct bearing on its performance. As a marketer, you are unlikely to do well if you run a new campaign for ACs in December or room heaters in May. While this is pretty basic and all marketers are likely to be well-versed with such major timing considerations, one also needs to keep an eye on circumstances that unfold.

Natural calamities, pandemic outbreak, terrorism, war or social unrest etc can be some of the factors which might make the timing of a campaign a hit or a miss.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of companies altered their messaging to focus on offering social support instead of pushing sales. Companies align their campaigns with things like elections, major sporting events, global blockbusters and social causes of the day.

Audience sensibilities

Different audiences have different sensibilities and depending on the prevailing circumstances, things can change further. Food habits, cultural and religious beliefs, race and gender are some of the topics that need delicate handling to ensure that the campaigns don’t end up antagonizing the public.

Amazon has been incredibly successful in India with its campaigns that have constantly plugged in the local sentiments. From ‘India kiApniDukaan’ to the ‘Apna Amazon’ campaigns which highlight how Amazon enables buyers from all over the country to get the products they want at a lower cost and on affordable EMIs during the festive seasons, the brand has addressed various concerns of the buyers and driven them towards ecommerce.

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Need

Marketers who smartly plug their campaigns and highlight the products as the ideal solutions for the challenges faced by the users, gain better outcome. We all know how difficult and challenging fabric stains can be, but, Surf Excel turned the stains into something that become easy to handle with their ‘DaagAchhehain’ campaign.

The advertisements highlight how it is important to pursue one’s goals and aspirations without bothering about the stains which can be easily washed off with the Surf Excel detergent powders and liquids.

Conclusion

Creativity ensures that a campaign is impactful and relevant, but, it is even more important to get factors like timing, quality of messaging and audience sensibilities right, if the campaign has to be effective.

Ill-timed, insensitive or biased campaigns, even if they are highly creative and innovative are likely to cause damage to a brand’s reputation.

However, once you get the elements and creativity right, you can achieve the kind of success that Coca-Cola regularly generates with its feel good advertising especially during the festive seasons.

Spicetree Design Agency (SDA) is a multi-faceted marketing firm that was founded by Shiraz Khan in June 2004. The Mumbai-based company’s creative insight allows them to offer a gamut of services in design, digital, and development spheres. Their experience in digital marketing, print design, website and development has made them one of the leading marketing agencies.