Digital is no longer a channel. Digital is behavior. For consumers of every age digital is a normal fact of life. At Boston Digital, we refer to this phenomenon as the Impulse Generation. This moniker is not meant to imply that consumers are simply impulsive. Rather, it points to all consumers’ ability to act freely on impulses, without friction. And it cuts both ways as consumers are also constantly bombarded by outside impulses created by the changing winds of the world, we live in. Marketers must keep pace and act accordingly.
This multi-part blog series will explore how to build a comprehensive marketing strategy to meet the Impulse Generation by optimizing different parts of the marketing process including branding, personas, designing, activation, and analytics. Our journey to meet the Impulse Generation continues as we look at the keys to crafting showstopping creative.
CREATIVE FOR IMPULSE
To create awareness and activate growth for the Impulse Generation, a strong brand requires more than just digital marketing tactics. A strong brand must be brought to life in a compelling way with strategic, bespoke creative that contributes to a mental image — a feeling, vibe, or personality — that’s more than the product or service itself. Creative (which is a catch-all term encompassing not just design and copy but their symbiosis, concept, and creative strategy) straddles all capabilities with a look and feel that ties every component together.
But creative thinking can (and should) be applied to more than design and all that goes with it. Creative thinking is the practice of solving a problem for the client or consumer at the intersection of human needs, business goals, and technical feasibility. Whether determining requirements for a website, brainstorming taglines, or mapping out a nurture campaign, creative thinking is critical to ideating with purpose in the digital normal.
Creative thinking is:
- Socratic: Research and exploration are aimed at uncovering actionable insights and fundamental truths about behavior to better engage and relate to the consumer. We must question every element to arrive at our best version. Anyone and everyone can and should participate.
- Human-centered: Asking who you’re solving for rather than what is the first and most critical question. Understanding and affecting behavior is critical in the digital normal.
- Holistic: Taking a 360-degree view to create something that’s familiar in the micro and consistent in the macro is the only way to build a brand and achieve tactical results in an increasingly dynamic and complex world.
Put simply, creative is as much about thinking as creating. And when ideating for the Impulse Generation, it’s critical to engage that perspective outside of just the Creative Team. Every department should think creatively to ensure their work is thoroughly examined, consumer-focused, and wholly informed.
So, what actually defines good creative for the Impulse Generation? Remember, we’re focused on the who over the what: behavior, personalization, and rapid response. Creative for impulse must be:
Bespoke and made for the consumer, not just directed at them. A homepage is no longer a place to sell yourself with company history and product beauty shots — it’s your chance to give the consumer exactly what they’re looking for. If they don’t care that you’ve been around for 75 years, you shouldn’t either. Instead, pinpoint what the consumer wants and tap into it to elicit a desired response.
Emotional. Brands have become people, and not just figuratively. Kylie Jenner isn’t a billionaire because her makeup line is the best. She’s successful because she connects to her followers in a way no product ever can. Creative must produce a feeling of familiarity and constant newness at the same time.
Satisfying. Copy and design must quickly lead the consumer to a logical and streamlined next step. For the Impulse Generation, a great product isn’t enough. They demand a juicy, feel-good journey from discovery and brand engagement until the second your packaging is tossed into the recycling.
Customized. That doesn’t mean targeted creative for every persona. It means your creative journey is optimized for the user no matter who they are or how they arrived. People are coming to your website form Google, Instagram, and programmatic ads. Does the creative flow for each of them? Similarly, your Instagram content must deliver the same outcome as your direct mail does, but in a very different way — the message can change for the format, audience, or persona, as long as the brand is always your foundation.
How to be impulse ready
To make creative that successfully drives consumers to your optimal outcome, it’s critical to consider all the characteristics of the Impulse Generation.
Fast decision making: Satisfaction is urgent. Consumers want you to take them through the marketing funnel faster than ever, and good creative can leverage that desire. This doesn’t mean less information, but rather more thought behind the way it’s put together.
Constant connectedness: Mobile-first design isn’t new, but it is rarely adhered to. Creative must consider both how something is being viewed and how to get more views on every platform.
High expectations: To meet these expectations, you must be proactive and reactive with your content. Content has to be hyper-relevant, so you have to be ready to share something on-brand the moment it’s called for.
Short attention spans: Creative has to be creative again. You have to flip traditional storytelling on its head and tap into new ways to use a platform or engage consumers to keep the highly distractible Impulse Generation engaged and interested.
When it comes to creative for the Impulse Generation, things move quickly. The only way to stay ahead of the game is to think first, ideate with purpose, and always create for the consumer first.