Comfort is Dangerous
What’s a good test to see if you might be on to something good with your new brand campaign?
It should make you feel a little uncomfortable.
Why uncomfortable? Because that means it’s creative, instead of dull—which is all too common in a world flooded with vapid digital advertising.
Creative ideas are inherently new and different.
New things can make people feel uncomfortable, especially when that newness applies to something that’s near and dear to their heart. If something feels a little uncomfortable at first, that’s because you’re trying something new, and that’s a good thing.
I do understand the reluctance to put something out into the world that you’re unsure of. Fear of failure is a natural feeling that most of us can relate to.
Whether you’re a brand manager, marketer, or founder of the company, you’re responsible for how the brand is represented. That’s your job. And if it fails, you have to own up to it. I sympathize with that, because as a creative leader, my reputation is on the line too. I’m just on the agency side.
But can you really expect to grow your brand by playing it safe with same-old, mediocre creative? Going that route may make you feel more comfortable in the moment, but it won’t get you where you want to be. And I would argue that there's more risk in playing it safe than being different.
Marketing your product in a way that’s been done before will seal your fate of blending in with the crowd. Creativity is a powerful business tool that can be a game-changer for your brand and your bottom line. But only if you’re willing to take the (well-informed) leap of faith required to be different.
If your product provides value to customers and is positioned effectively amongst your competitors, your strategy is sound and the sky’s the limit for your business. Creativity is the next step that can propel your brand to the level that all brands want to reach.
Sell to the Unconscious Mind
So how do you market your product in a way that’s brave instead of boring?
Whether your brand delivers everyday consumer products or complex B2B service offerings, your marketing needs to make people feel something. Studies show that people make buying decisions based on feelings. This holds true whether it’s an impulse buy or a year-long, 7-figure buying decision.
According to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious, and the most effective way to market a product is by targeting a customer’s emotions.
If you embrace this fact, you have a tremendous opportunity for creative brains to produce powerful messaging and design that customers will respond to.
People buy things they think will make them happy or connect them with who they want to be. At its core, advertising needs to sell happiness. That happiness is delivered through products that make life easier, provide a simple pleasure, make money, give a sense of belonging, and so on.
Think about it—Nike markets culture, not sneakers. Jaguar markets status, not cars. Patagonia markets a lifestyle, not clothing. The list of wildly successful brands that embrace this approach goes on and on.
According to Zaltman, consumers aren't as savvy as we might like to believe. While many people claim to compare brands and price points when making a purchasing decision, his research indicates that this is not actually the case. And the reason is that they are driven by unconscious urges, the biggest of which is emotion.
The reality is that human beings are not as logical as we might want to imagine. And understanding this is huge for marketers.
A lot of advertising focuses strictly on the attributes of the product or the aspirations of the brand, because that feels safe or by-the-book. Good marketers still communicate the key product features but do so by tapping into the subconscious desires of the customer.
Accepting and taking advantage of these desires is not something new to marketing and advertising. Smart companies have marketed their brands based on this premise for decades, probably even longer. But many brands, especially smaller ones, remain small because their natural inclination is to play it safe and just list the features of their products that they’re proud of.
Don’t be like those brands.
So next time you’re working with your agency or internal team to conceptualize a brand campaign or other initiative, make an honest effort to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone. Encourage your team to use their creativity to solve complex business problems. And be accepting of new ideas, as long as they’re communicating the underlying strategy. You might just be surprised by the results.
At Liquid, we have an experienced team of strategists, writers, designers and digital marketers who are eager to learn the ins and outs of your business and collaborate with you to create impactful brand campaigns. Contact us today to learn more!