The dangers of misdirected creativity
Creativity is a wonderful thing, but it can be capricious - I could give many examples of what I mean by this, but suffice to say that the intention behind creativity is absolutely paramount.
Over the last 15 years of creating visual communication media for commerce and industry I have seen a lot of 'misplaced creativity' that was far more about designers imposing themselves onto the work than about communicating the message to the consumer, to the detriment of the content's ability to connect with the intended audience; the potential for delivering the right message or eliciting a desired response was much diminished - the potential for speaking to a specific type of consumer was hamstrung.
Instead of being crafted to speak to a specific demographic or consumer archetype, the designer 'gets in their own way' in one of the following ways:
- The designer feels the need to declare their significance, to justify their existence, justify their position amongst their agency peers, perhaps even the desire to win media awards. Eventually, they may realise (or be told) that this ego-driven approach comes at the expense of the media's effectiveness at communicating the message to the targeted consumer.
- The designer isn't inclined or simply hasn't spent the time to really understand the target customer, the kind of media he/she consumes on a regular basis, the type of message they respond to, the kind of people and concepts they are influenced by.
So whoever you choose to create your marketing content, be aware of the above.
That said, there are instances where creative content can be entirely abstract, especially when the intent is not to sell product, but to drive recruitment, extend corporate outreach, celebrate legacy or boost internal morale.