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‘Thinking and doing’/ “The key to getting under the skin of your consumers and persuading them to buy” Scott Logie, St Ives Group

“Expect to see more awards ceremonies for thinking and doing, and fewer accolades for simply making an idea come to life.”

The Won Report, the annual global guide that ranks agencies based on the number of creative gongs bagged at headline industry bashes, last year collated results featuring nearly 4,500 pieces of work. Inclusion in the publication is prestigious, a sign that creativity remains a very powerful discipline within our industry.

Yet something is changing. A great piece of work can still wow consumers, but being creative for creativity’s sake is no longer the be all and end all. The shift from push to pull marketing is making this so. Thanks to the boom in personal media, people are much better placed to seek the information – and brand relationships – they desire while ignoring a cascade of unwanted communications.

Scott Logie, strategic marketing director, St Ives Group

An off-the-wall creative campaign can raise an eyebrow or even a titter, but a scattergun approach won’t bring the ROI required of these testing economic times. That’s why I believe the key to getting under the skin of your consumers and persuading them to buy is now based on a combination of ‘thinking and doing’.

The ‘thinking’ aspect, which can also be labelled innovation, is all about understanding customer habits, and then using that understanding to derive strategy and plan engagement. Who likes to access brand information by searching on a website, and who still likes getting offers by post? Who’s happy to receive ads on social media and who finds this intrusive and ill-judged? Innovation is based on deep consumer and market understanding which helps clients answer all sorts of questions about people’s preferences, shaping the future direction of travel of their business. It drives strategy, planning and measurement, creating the need for content-led conversations that are carried out cross-media.

‘Doing’, or execution

‘Doing’, or execution, is something we’ve been synonymous with for almost 50 years. During our move away from being a print-led company to becoming a wider marketing solutions provider, we’ve taken a more holistic view of all the channels consumers use to interact with brands, from traditional, physical direct mail to online and mobile channels. The magic in the doing is knowing which channel is best to engage the right person at the right time, and shaping the content to do just that. This maximises the marketing spend and crucially works well for client, consumer and agency alike.

In some of the best examples of innovative strategy in the last few years, the innovation could have been lost without great execution. Take Tesco Clubcard, not the first loyalty scheme launched but one that followed through on promises, and both continued to innovate and execute extremely well over time. Or one of the most successful campaigns of recent times, the RNLI social media campaign to engage younger supporters; a great idea, well executed.

The times are definitely changing and the industry needs to change with it. I’m not sounding the death knell for creativity or creative agencies. But in this hyper-connected world, where information drives content, and content delivery through excellent execution is paramount, there will be less need than in the past for blue-sky creative work.

Expect to see more awards ceremonies for thinking and doing, and fewer accolades for simply making an idea come to life.

Scott Logie, strategic marketing director, St Ives Group

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