I’ve been highly interactive and inquisitive from a young age. Whenever we used to meet dad’s friends and their children, I would try to make friends and get along with everyone. One of the best days of the year would be my birthday because I would get so many presents from everyone- friends, immediate family, distant relatives! And me being me, I would sit up till I had not completely unwrapped every box and untwined every ribbon. I think that was the time when I started showing interest in marketing- just kidding. Actually, it was a symbolic play that kept me engaged!
I still have a picture from a DIY fancy dress competition I had participated in. I had used an old curtain to make my cape while my hat was two discarded corn flakes boxes cut and taped together. I had painted it to add the final finishing touches of perfection! When I reached the venue, I saw another girl dressed as a fairy, but she had used the cardboard boxes to make her wings and bling- glitter tiara. It also had some creative light up in it that I’m sure her mother had made for her.
So you see, two of us, the same age, had used the same cardboard box in different ways. And just for the record, she won! I guess that was my first lesson in how a little dash of creativity can take you to new heights. She wasn’t a real fairy (at least not to me that day), but she convinced the judges that she looked like one, and took home the trophy.
You see, this is what marketing is all about—convincing your buyers that you are better than the other brands competing in your domain. While they may be selling the same product as you, how you reach out to them is what makes all the difference. Welcome to a heartfelt blog on why creativity and marketing are #soulmates.
God bless my higher secondary Psychology teacher.
When I was in school, the general notion of the masses was you either pick Science or Commerce. Humanities/Art as a career choice was something people rarely encouraged you to choose. Since Maths and I had zero compatibility, I married medical science. While pure of Science did not offer Psychology, I had a mixed course. My syllabus had several topics, such as learning, memory, and intelligence. However, what proved most helpful was the chapter on attention.
My teacher believed in me and always encouraged me as one of the brightest in her class. She explained different factors, such as sound, light, motion, colors, and novelty, are external factors that helped to draw attention. To date, I follow the secret mantra of ticking off these boxes when I am creating a marketing strategy. In this respect, I feel that motion-sensor awareness signs or even live performers (working on a cause) for that matter, in India work excellently.
A few days back, I was driving by my school when a motion-sensor sign lit up as my car came close to it. It signed that this was a no-horn zone as there was a school ahead. I was impressed with how effectively my city was working towards eradicating noise pollution. They are selling the idea!
The idea is to normalize what we earlier thought was a taboo. Let’s take Durex, for example. Did the name make you uncomfortable? Did you straighten up to see what I’m referring to? Yes, that’s what I am talking about. If you follow their social media ad campaigns, you’ll see how strategically they have normalized the discussion on protected sex- an innate drive in all humans.
My point here is that when you grasp on to your creative side, you can find a way to boost it ahead. Indeed, success comes to those who dare!
At what age did I learn the creative art of marketing?
While you may think that I started off on this journey when I chose the subject as part of my formal education, I regret to inform you that you’re absolutely wrong. I feel that all of us learn marketing right from the time we are born and start marking a sense of things.
I do not remember much about the day when I had accompanied my parents to get admission to the school. But my mother often tells me that I was quick as lightning in arranging all the play-toys in order of size. My principal was super impressed and proceeded with my personal interview first, out of a group of 5. It was my first marketing success- I showed her why I was better and why I deserved to crack the deal!
What is marketing? It is how you project your creativity, get the target audience’s attention, and persuade them that you deserve their time, attention, and money. You need to be worth it by creating a niche for yourself.
One of the top names that comes to my mind at this point is Sabyasachi. He is an eminent designer who is famous for his exquisite bridal wear and ethnic designs. But a closer look at his designs will tell you that he has successfully brought back the heavy bridal lehengas our grandmothers and mothers wore for their weddings. Not to forget, Sabya pieces are priced exorbitantly and yet have so many buyers. Have you wondered why? The answer lies in how he adds a modern touch to those pieces and creates stunning product-videos. An extra frill there and one more twirl here is all it takes!
How can creativity make or break your brand?
The moment I talk about creative brands, I cannot overlook KitKat. I remember saving my pocket money to buy that chocolate when I was in school. And whenever I would take the first bite, I would say, “Have a break. Have a KitKat.” Now that I’m way past my school age, the jingle has still lingered on. The company came up with different tones for the jingle, but the tagline remained the same.
Recently, I read that the jingle was actually created by mistake. The company already had a jingle that it would pitch ahead. However, it needed a throw-away song that they would present first and then move to the actual piece. Surprisingly, the throw-away song made it to the charts and impressed everyone with the idea that a KitKat is the best break-time snack.
Another brand that is the personification of creativity is JK Rowling herself. While the Harry Potter series has ruled hearts for decades now, did you know that Rowling used her life experiences to form the base of the story? Yes! Rowling is a depression-survivor and realized that it was a significant period of her life. That is when she created dementors in the Harry Potter series- they are gliding dark creatures that feed on happy experiences and generate despair in individuals. You see, it is how she marketed her suffering creatively to convey her thoughts to the world. Today, Google states her net worth to be around $650 million.
In simple terms, creativity is not only limited to what you make but also how you package it. Remember, we all love brownies, but the Theobroma boxes hold a special place in my heart!
Is there a proven way of effective marketing?
You see, this is such a subjective question. Marketing is like fashion- what works for someone may not work for someone else. Just the other day, I was deciding what to wear when I created an outfit idea and shared it with my friend. While she wanted me to add another scarf of a brighter shade, I thought it was colorful enough already! Similar is the case with marketing. Here, your strategies will be #yay or #nay, depending on your target user.
Since we’re talking about tastes and preferences, it’s impossible to conclude this blog without talking about Maggi. (Yes, we all love to lick our plates clean after having Maggi, and I’m not ashamed to admit it!) Despite suffering a major loss of face in the market recently with the controversy that it had contaminated produce, Maggi managed to remain at the top of every bachelor and youngster’s shopping list. It is because Maggi marketed itself as the “2-minute noodle,” with India being its target buyer. If you are a true desi, then you know that here we can reach everywhere in 2 minutes (even if we are still at home), call back in 2 minutes (even if it is half an hour), and get dressed in 2 minutes (even if we are running late). If you are tired of reading so much, “Bas yaar, 2 minutes aur!”
There is no such thing as a proven strategy of marketing. Sometimes, even top brands may fail. For example, Coca-Cola suffered a setback when it changed its formula. So you see, never mess with your brand’s core and always remember to coat your strategies with creativity. Follow my Psychology lesson on attention, and you’ll be good to go!
If Shakespeare could wrap the same old lovers’ death, Romeo and Juliet love story, and market it for centuries, then I must say that creativity and marketing are the new-age #soulmates- they’d die without one another. (Yeah, Oreo and milk- twist, lick, dunk is another favorite pair of mine!)