Reprogramming Creativity

Observations can be deceiving. Most people perceive their world visually and absorb ideas at face value. Some call that advertising; others, the theatrical and visual arts. Whatever you call it, we’ve been expressing ourselves that way for millions of years.

Then, along comes technology and the way things are done needs a deeper look to be understood. These days, a simple action or expression may not be so simple to create.

Some people are more talented in the creative process than others (although everyone has the potential to be creative in some way). Inspiration usually comes from a personal insight or a desire that spurs a realization. In other words, it’s mostly thinking stuff up, seemingly out of thin air.

That’s fine, but now a new dynamic is entering into mass communications.

A very talented tech engineer told me, “There isn’t much of a difference between what you and I do. It’s just that people can look at what you do and say they like it or not; if they look at what I do, they can’t tell up from down.”

Beauty powered by the framework of technology; this isn’t really an insight, it’s a power, and a burden that shapes online advertising.

What does this all mean? Think about it this way: A comet moves at incredible speeds, trailing and colliding with all sorts of things. It constantly obtains and discards variables. Think about interactivity as the comet and all forms of marketing tactics, concepts, and strategies as the variables. The variables change due to a couple of primary dynamics: creativity and technology.

If you’ve focused on offline marketing for many years, the discomfort you feel could be from grabbing that interactive comet. You’re not alone. Most marketing professionals getting into interactive for the first time or returning after a long hiatus, feel the discomfort of interactive velocity.

Do you need to speed up? Should you take a course in online marketing?

That depends on you. What’s great about taking a formal class is you always have the Internet by your side to support anything you need to know. Beyond taking a class, also consider the best process for getting a bead on your best online marketing opportunities.

The technique is called the What-If and How-To. It’s pretty simple, but it gives you a form for taking consumer insights and seeing if there is any online alignment.

The What-If is easy. What if people could send this ad to each other, for example?

The How-To isn’t as easy. It’s where technology and creative must intersect, and it can be a very complicated, time-consuming process. When it doesn’t work, it can be for the simplest of reasons. When it does work, it’s magic.

This is the dualism of online creativity. This concept isn’t alien offline; producing all the aspects of a :30 TV spot are just as complicated. Sometimes, difficulty is overcome by throwing money at the problem. Other times, it requires a very creative producer to make things happen.

All this is learned experience. We’ve learned a lot over the decades of how to overcome the constraints of making TV. With online, we work within the constraints or the opportunities of the medium. Sometimes, no amount of money can make things happen.

When you start talking about online marketing as part of your new initiative, don’t fret if you can’t get it all. It’s the reality of understanding how to talk in two languages at the same time. It’s a bit of reprogramming we all must go through now and then.

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