Creativity: the shortest path
Jose María Piera
Thanks to BrandZ, we know today which are the most valuable brands in our country. All of them are distinguished by something that goes well beyond the value of sales or a logo. They transcend the quantitative field and gain much of their value from clearly qualitative factors. If you analyze them, you will discover that they are a set of success stories in which truly effective creativity has been powerful at some time or other. And you will find there has been very little room for fireworks or foolishness.
In these stories, you and I are protagonists. Because that is a brand: what each one of us perceives it to be. From the moment it appears in our lives, whether in the form of an advertisement, a logo on a label or a comment from a friend, the brand impacts us in some way, and initiates a relationship with us; it acquires as many meanings as the people who are impacted.
It is true that this relationship will be built primarily through the experience of a brand’s products or services. That is undoubtedly the most important thing; the foundation. But when everything is clonable or, at the very least, tending to lack differentiation, a good experience is simply necessary but not enough to make a difference. If a brand wants to truly be valuable, it must surprise and transcend the realm of the functional to generate expectations and emotions. Then it will begin to be really relevant.
How to get there
First, brands must avoid the false shortcuts or short-term temptations that have done so much damage to so many brands. But, above all, they must hold a point of view and express with firmness their vision of the world and the brand’s role within it. A brand needs a point of view that differentiates it and makes it unique, at least in its sector. BMW will cease to be itself the day that, regardless of the evolution of its sector, the arrival of autonomous cars or any technological progress, it fails to defend and promote the right of drivers to enjoy the pleasure of driving. IKEA will do likewise when it abdicates its will to democratize the best designs for the home. Banco Sabadell will lose its raison d'être when it prefers its commercial interests to building long-term, honest and useful relationships with each of its clients.
The point of view is both a commitment and a great builder of connections. In fact, it is usually the first way a brand makes a connection with consumers, even before anyone tries their products or services. Fortunate are the brands not yet released, which carry no baggage from the past. And fortunate are the professionals who can work for them, as their work will be much easier, and their impact will be more easily demonstrated.
But not all brands have that opportunity. In fact, the vast majority drag their past behind them. Does that mean that they cannot make proposals that will favorably alter our perception? No. We all have the right to surprise – even positively – and brands are no exception. They can all work to build new relationships or generate new perceptions. They just need not be shy, disguise themselves or exaggerate; they must do it honestly. This is why it is so important to know how to identify and express the true soul of a brand – that real, essential quality that can differentiate it and make it unique in our eyes.
We must use the information available to us – and this increases in volume and quality each day – to find the area of intersection between the true essence of a brand and the interests of its potential consumers.
Each brand has a soul that makes it unique; a reason for being that differentiates it from its history, its products and its people. You have to find it. Once this has been identified, it is the turn of creativity to take something both simple and complex at the same time, and define and express it in a truly original and relevant way, through what we call an idea or a creative concept. That idea, if it truly lives up to its name, will be the shortest route, the real shortcut, to the creation of added value. And it will not matter if it is expressed through a tweet, a product label, the look and feel of an office or through an advertising campaign. Because the important thing will be its sense and consistency.
We believe in the brands that are built like this; solidly, step by step, shining in the short term, but with long-term vision. We enjoy being part of this building process, where creativity is the real short cut for brands.