That old black magic

We are at an impasse, one I hope we can all roll up our sleeves and tackle together.

It started out because business repeatedly said to creatives, “Here is all the information you need; now go work your magic”. The creatives inwardly rolled their eyes, because where it may have implied a sense of awe, what it actually meant was that business expected creatives to go back to the work space and poof! problem solved in mere moments (just like magic!). Creatives knew that in fact—after they put on their sorcerer’s hats—they needed to compile mountains of research on products/services, competitors, and audiences to find the best way to solve the given problem. But, like The Wizard, they never let business pay attention to that man behind the curtain.

Some creatives perceived that the path to increased value in the eyes of business involved outlining the process by which innovative solutions were developed, drawing specific comparisons to a scientific research and discovery process. This gained some traction, and all beheld it and said, “Lo, verily, this is good. Now we all understand one another.” Only, the gods of business smote them for thinking that creative solutions could be stamped out like wallets, in a repetitive, predictable fashion. Creativity, she is a fierce goddess who will not be chained!

Now everyone is running around talking about the end of branding as if what we’ve all been talking about for the last ten+ years is a house of cards waiting for one stiff breeze to take it down. How is the slight movement from promoting a brand to actually telling its story that different from where we were before advertising’s golden era? How is it different from how small businesses have been marketing locally since civilizations began? Even in cities people have relationships with their area businesses—barbers, stylists, restaurateurs, bakers, dry cleaners—and by interacting on the smallest personal level, they create a bond. This small bond is what made people in my suburban town support a local businessman who lost everything when his business of 50 years burned down. I doubt they’d have done that for Target had it burned down!

Creatives, you are not blameless in this either! Now more than ever your clients need your creative problem solving skills to help address the continuing sea changes. If your craft is rusty, collaborate, research, brainstorm, and just plain old DO IT. Get that magic crackalackin’!

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