After many years spent in a communication and marketing agency, monitoring the marketing behind the scenes and in trenches, I have understood that creative agencies represent the biggest part of the system. Yes, the most part of marketing agencies on the global market offer services based on creativity.
Let’s go step by step…If you are a businessman or a marketing director and therefore you take decisive choices for the branding and packaging of your products, it means that SALES of your products depend on you. Yes, you are the most important person inside the company because profit or losses of your company depend on you.
Fine, once this aspect is clear, I have two questions for you:
- How many times have you talked with a creative agency?
- How many times have you talked with an agency that regards itself as non-creative?
Without knowing the situation, I can say that the ratio is 1000 out of 1.
Probably, many companies know creative agencies as the only interlocutor for services of communication and marketing and they are regardless of the fact that there could be agencies that regard themselves as non-creative and have a different approach, a scientific approach.
Well, we are that black swan, that swan that fights against 999 white creative swans that try to exterminate it every day. This is why it is worthwhile to “scroll down” the mouse up to the bottom of the article, because I won’t say things that you have already heard by those other 999 agencies.
The real marketing is not creativity but it is science, a rule that together with technique ensures the sales of your product. However, well or bad, everyone knows these things; therefore, why keeping on entrusting agencies that regard themselves as creative and do not talk about technical aspects of the marketing and how can they allow your product selling more?
Are we the only one that can do that? No.
Let me be clear:
- we are not the most capable ones
- we are not the best ones
- we are not the only one that can do it
- we are not the only one that do it
There is not “only one black swan” in the world, but it is fair to know it, to give an average and a sense to the reasoning that finding an agency that approaches the marketing in a scientific way it is not easy.
You can easily see it, by looking around you… Try to think about how many groups of creative talents, copywriters, designers and art-directors are there on social networks and how many of them talk about “the science of marketing”. Looking at this sector, it seems to be essential to use creativity and flaunt it as a magic element because actually everyone speaks about it.
I give you numbers that confirm this aspect in a definitive way so that we won’t be back on it. On Instagram (the social network of biggest growth) these are the data that it has as “hashtag”:
#non-creative = 0 post
If we move to the English language, the result is upsetting:
#creative = 11.764.794 posts
#non-creative = 275 posts
The problem is simple: if you are NOT #creative you are not cool, but the worst part is that you are a loser to be #non-creative. Truth, however, is another one. You actually jinx yourself just right when you develop a packaging in a “creative” way and this is because creativity does not help you selling.
IF YOU MAKE A CREATIVE PACK, YOU WON’T SELL THE PRODUCT ANYMORE
This is it, and you can easily see it also by the description that agencies give of themselves; generally their name and payoff is a mix of terms such as: creativity (in all its forms), passion, fantasy, flair, originality and so on, without hitting the target. Sometimes they mix some English term which sounds international, such as ADV, an acronym, the surname of the founder and the job is done!
Question: if they do not clearly describe their job by looking just like the spitting image of their competitors, will they be able to help you in the delicate task of distinguishing your product from those of the competition through a packaging?
Simple things work, do as Mutti does.
The simplicity of the message (pay off, logo, naming or packaging) makes the difference. The historic Italian tomato puree Mutti could have said many things, but it preferred focusing the attention of the consumer on just one concept: tomato.
Actually, today after the restyling, the payoff of Mutti is “Only Tomato”. Congratulations to the black swan that has done justice to a historic product with a suitable pay off. Is it a creative, brilliant or original work up to the core? No, Sir. Is it a work that will help the product selling? Yes, Sir. Nice and functional, all you like!
How many graphic or corporate identity projects and packaging development have you commissioned? And, when they come to present to you the first draft, did they try to justify creative choices with logic motivations? Maybe you didn’t understand the situation well and you hadn’t got the reference points, but be aware that, in that occasion, it happened what happens 999 timers out of 1000: a creative idea as an end to itself, explained with good words by the art director, but without a real meaning. It is not my opinion, they are just the flop of all those products that had to revolution the market but went face down on the ground.
Creativity (sometimes) goes hand in hand with serendipity
You don’t know what serendipity is? Don’t worry; I have discovered it by chance the last weekend while reading a detective story. Serendipity is not a disease and neither a tongue-twister, but an extraordinary discover while looking for something else.
It happened to the engineer Percy Spencer, for example, while he was making some radars and he realized by chance that a chocolate bar melted in few seconds and therefore the microwave was born, whereas one of the most famous examples in history is the one of Cristopher Columbus who left to look for Indies and ended up discovering the America.
There is a wonderful expression of the biomedical researcher Julius Comroe who defines serendipity in an exemplary way:
“Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and discovering a farmer’s daughter.”
Let’s get back to our creativity, that looking for a packaging development at all costs basing on pure subjective beauty of the creative talent of the time; in practice, starting from the creativity of the project hoping that packaging could help the product to sell is just like leaving for the Indies and discover the Americas. Well, maybe you will do the packaging of the century. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you will sell like no one before. But, what if it is not so…?
How much luck do you have to have?
How many times does it happen in a lifetime?
And, above all, is it how you want to run your company?
If you’re making business and you know the rules of marketing, you know that you cannot entrust neither luck nor subjectivity. Otherwise, you would give custody of your yearly balance to the numbers of the lottery; but I guess that you’re very precise and demanding on that. So, why don’t you do the same thing with the marketing of your products?
Be precise and demanding with your marketing
When you are about to choose the agency for the development of your packaging, make these 3 questions to your spokesperson and listen to the answers carefully:
- Will you make me brochures and website in addition to packaging?
- Do you feel yourself very creative in the agency?
- Have you ever developed creative naming?
If the spokesperson of the agency will say just one Yes, distrust; if there will be 3 Yes, instead, run away to the other side…
What you have to understand before investing even one Euro in marketing shares is if the final result for which you will pay the agency and from which sales of your products will depend, will be the result of a precise and scientific process or it will be only the product of a mix of luck, intuition, personal taste and… serendipity.
Today, your sales depend directly on your marketing; this is because, compared with the past, today the supply exceeds demand and the consumer is surrounded by plenty of products in every business sector. Therefore, making wrong marketing choices (that for a product see packaging at first place) means dooming your products and your company to failure.
The solution is standing out from the competition from competitors in a smart way to supply a smart motivation to the consumer in order to get his attention and his money.
This result cannot be achieved in a casual way, or be the result of sole creativity.
This is the reason why your products need packaging solutions made with a scientific approach, and this is what only very few agencies can do.
They are agencies that place analysis and scientific assessment before the creative process, making creative talents working to the service of a precise strategy. They are the black swans…
This allows you knowing where the Americas are and not discovering the Americas; furthermore, you will get there with a GPS without trusting in case or good luck; even more important, it allows replying sales successes on large scale.
If you have never talked with a “black swan”, do it, because I am sure you will find the answers that you have never heard before talking about packaging and sales. Packaging in Italy is a black swan and it is happy to be so, and our clients, above all, are happy to give custody of the destiny of their sales in the hands of a black swan. They explain it well with their witnesses at this page.
P.S. I love creative talents and I work with them every day. Weren’t they wrong? No, I just let them express their talent to the service of a strategy which aim is sales. This is what guarantees the best results.
In 1996 enters in the world of marketing, in 1999 founded Ardigia Marketing Funzionale (Ardigia Functional Marketing), in 2013 founded Packaging in Italy, Design Agency for Packaging Positioning™