The most effective way to grow a brand

'Sell the sizzle, not the steak.'

Advertising needs to be effective. It needs to produce a positive business outcome, otherwise it's obviously a waste of money. Not just that, but poor advertising is a wasted opportunity. Less market share. Less customers. Less sales.

The aim for any business - always - is good advertising.

In their famous study, The Long and Short Of It, marketing researchers Les Binet and Peter Field conclusively demonstrated that the most effective form of advertising, that builds long-term brand value, is work that is highly-creative.

Emotional campaigns, and in particular those that are highly-creative and generate powerful fame/buzz effects, produce considerably more powerful long-term business effects than rational persuasion campaigns. - Les Binet and Peter Field

Highly-creative work stands out. It's distinctive and memorable. It builds a strong brand that commands a higher margin. It's a powerful business asset. Potent creativity creates excess value.

So why does business make such limited use of creativity?

Why are big banks not hiring full-time, shit-hot designers to help them differentiate their approach? Why are telecoms not falling over themselves to snap up philosophers and photographers to explore and beautify their offerings? Even ad agencies are selling themselves on their process rather than their creative talent these days.

Why is creativity so undervalued by those that are best positioned to amplify the commercial value of it?

There is a giant of an opportunity lying in plain sight for somebody with a pulse to seize here. Honestly, most of the communication that is produced by commercial ventures these days looks as compelling as a church songbook in the 1960s. If creativity is the key driver of human connection and perceived worth, then these resources should be increasingly in demand by those hoping to capitalise on this.

A great marketer who we worked with many years ago, always used to say: "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." And that's exactly right.


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