One of the constant challenges in advertising is the creative process of turning a brand or idea into a piece of content that will connect well with audiences. The right ad can draw the attention of swarms of potential new customers and increase brand awareness.
Yet, what happens when the client’s industry is less exciting? To help you craft creative content regardless of industry, nine industry experts from Ad Age Collective share their advice for making the most of any advertising opportunity.
1. Have a great narrative.
There is no boring brand, just bad marketing. The best way to tell a great story—even in a less thrilling, highly regulated category—is to have a great narrative. The story should flow from a product truth, and then be shared in a way that is personally relevant to the audience, spotlighting the things that are true about the brand and matter to them. Engage the audience on their terms. - Marc Landsberg, SOCIALDEVIANT
2. Be an authentic superlative of what matters.
Any brand today must simply magnify what is true about themselves rather than rely on superficial short-term messages intended to “catch eyes.” A brand within a classically “boring” category can still find something—even if minor—that matters to buyers and they can become a superlative of it via commitment and discipline. Once the operations can deliver, the brand can take it outward. - Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive
3. Focus on the ‘why.’
We work in a handful of highly regulated industries where the thrill of creating an award-winning Super Bowl commercial will never happen. For those brands, we have to ensure we are looking at the brand story and “why” they exist. What need are they fulfilling for their consumers? I think you can be pragmatic with creative savvy! - Kelly Ehlers, Ideas That Evoke
4. Start with content.
In our experience, we've learned that you can typically get much more creative with a brand's content marketing strategy than attempting to push the boundaries when it comes to traditional advertising efforts. Examples of this include testimonials with creative storytelling, educational videos that stray from bland traditional content or even entertainment content that may appeal to a larger audience. - Chris Carter, Videofort
5. Leverage user-generated content.
A great way for your brand to stand out and be more creative in advertising is to get your customers to create your ads for you (i.e. user-generated content). What problem did they need to solve? How did they find you? What was their experience? How do they feel now (after using it)? This is a proven way to develop high-performing ads that convert, since everyone has a different story and people relate to people. - Eric Schechter, GiddyUp
6. Be honest and open.
Companies need to embrace transparency and authenticity and talk to their audiences rather than talk at them. The best storytellers have something to offer those being targeted. Telling a story is developing a relationship with someone that can last a moment or a lifetime. Being honest and open, and knowing when to listen, is the foundation to strong brand stewardship and effective storytelling. - Tim Ringel, Spring Studios
7. Remember that it's about human nature.
Every form of branding, regardless of industry, must be human in order to be great. By tailoring your story for every medium and carefully considering the mindset of your target audience, you can more easily identify ways to empower your audience. Find a way to add value to peoples' lives and compel them to engage, interact and see the world a bit differently. Activate their imagination. - Alexander Jutkowitz, SJR
8. Start with what would get you fired.
The best creative motivation I ever received came from a CMO who demanded we start with ideas that would get us fired (or arrested). Starting with something so outlandish allows—even in a less than thrilling industry—to break out and push boundaries. It encourages open thinking and doesn’t hamper the creative process with budgets, industry constraints and brand guardrails. - Maggie O'Neill, Peppercomm
9. Leverage interactive whenever possible.
Get creative with interactive assets, tools, landing pages or website elements. Your brand associations are built on your buyer's experience, so use engaging and clickable content to turn relatively uninteresting language or selling points into exciting opportunities for connection. Added benefits include longer visitor dwell time, higher conversion rates and stronger message retention. - Mike Skeehan, Salted Stone