Channelling Creativity: Good or Bad?

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In the last few months, I’ve had several discussions with industry folk about the role creativity plays in delivering successful communications programmes.

As usual, the spur for these conversations has been around the impact of social media and how that has changed the way operate.

The question that immediately comes to mind when I read that sentence back is ‘why should it change the way we operate?’

In other words, why do we need an idea for Facebook as opposed to just needing a good idea / theme that can work across all channels.

Conflicting opinions

I’m quite conflicted on this subject.

On one hand, I firmly believe that communications activity should always be integrated, and that the best results are achieved when a concept / theme is activated across all platforms (obviously tweaked slightly to ensure traction).

On the other, I’ve seen and been involved with activities that have worked because they have been developed with one specific channel in mind.

Traditional vs digital / social

Perhaps the issue stems from this misconception that traditional media / PR differs so dramatically from digital media / PR.

Personally, I think really good ideas will work anywhere (if executed well).

Maybe the traditional vs digital / social mindset just needs to be altered slightly.

Where conversations start

The easiest way for me to explain my thinking on this subject is via the graphic below.

Conversations can be sparked anywhere, from the smallest blog, to the biggest news network in the world, but it’s what you do to extend a conversation is where the real value exists.

A great example of this was 2009’s Burger King Whopper Sacrifice campaign which encouraged people to delete 10 Facebook friends in exchange for a free burger.

While this activity ‘lived on Facebook’, it was the campaign’s DNA that made this successful everywhere else (oh, and Facebook’s decision to shut it down!)

Splitting hairs?

Is this a legitimate issue or just the small print?

Personally, I think there are two very good reasons why channel creativity and the great traditional and digital divide cause problems:

  1. People within the organisation of the brand in question will only get more confused than they already are.
  2. Communicators risk losing their ability to create big campaign ideas if they constantly obsess over the channels available.

Perhaps (a word I’ve used a lot in this post), our mantra should go something like this:

Focus on WHAT will trigger conversations as opposed to WHERE they’ll take place.

What do you think?

Should creativity be shaped by the channels available?

Is the audience the most important element?

Drop your thoughts into the box below and let’s chat about it…

COMMScorner.com is the blog from Adam Vincenzini which focuses on social media and PR. Connect with Adam on Twitter or subscribe to his blog

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