When you scan the topics of marketing conventions, examined the titles of webinars that are available everyday and study what marketing subjects are most tweeted, you will find the marketing landscape is covered and dominated by new processes and platforms. All the talk is about social media, digital platforms, analytics, market segmentation and targeting, lead generation and tracking and ROI. Where is the discussion about “big ideas”? About creativity? About speaking uniquely to the consumers’ hearts and minds?
Now all of these things are important and create exciting opportunities. But none of them really matter absent the right, break-through idea. Where is today’s equivalent of Volkswagen’s “Think Small”, DeBeers’ “Diamonds Are Forever”, “The Absolut Bottle” or Avis’ “We Try Harder?” Oh there are currently some great campaigns but it seems we have too often substituted creativity for things we can compute and measure.
Brands benefit from savvy marketing tactics and superior media planning but great brands are built with great ideas. Sure there are some new powerful media platforms but they cannot make a bad idea good. Or a build a great brand from mediocre concepts. All the best new communication platforms and the analytics that go with them can’t capture the heart and soul of a brand. Or the critical position in the consumers’ minds.
Maybe our first question should be “what” and not “how”. An architect conceives a great structure before deciding the tools and materials to use. An artist has an idea for a subject before deciding on the techniques and colors. And a composer hears a grand symphony in his mind before deciding the instruments to use. And as marketers, we should have a great concept, a big idea, before deciding where to place it.
New tactics and processes can make us more efficient but great brands they do not make. Great brands come from breakthrough ideas. Marketing should be less about analytics and more about inspiration. Less about measured results and more about creativity. After all, great brands are created and transformed by big ideas.