Monetisation in the creative industry. Do ideas make money?

Since the early 2000s the growth rate of creative services has increased by 17% year on year. Today, the volume of the global creative industries market amounts to around $104.2 billion and it may exceed $1T by 2024.(1) Pretty impressive, right?

What we can define the “creative economy” will be the next generation economy, where the main value to capitalize on is new ideas. It’s an economy based on innovation, on creative products and services. As creative agencies, we’re fully part of this industry. By means of our creativity, we add value and purpose to our clients.

Research shows that organizations can increase productivity and business by 78% by investing in creativity.(2) This is because a truly creative idea will correspond to a convincing truth, capable of creating consensus and making all human beings understand it. Creativity and ideas do a lot more than just driving sales or raising awareness: they bring brands closer to their audience, reframe a brand’s identity, push the competition aside and can even change the course of an entire business. 

But how can we convert an idea into money for our clients? What is the process? Here are some steps:

1. Define

The first step is to identify the right balance between a brand’s creative vision and ambition in order to create a relevant  and original narrative. As creative agencies, we need to help our clients see the ideas we present in action by making them see their benefits at large and how the world would be different because of your ideas. As we all tend to think in pictures, so a good tip could be to show your expected outcome in a vivid three dimensional picture – videos, mockups, graphics. In this way your message will be more compelling.

2. Engage

Your client should always participate in the creation process and milestones. This will allow you to obtain important insights, confirmations, answers, and relevant perspectives about its market, environment and expected results.

3. Implement

You need to provide clear evidence of the impact you are making on the client’s revenue and investment. Decision-makers need to know the value of your design and ideas to decide to invest in them. So make sure you clearly outline business objectives and set your client’s expectations.

4. Inspire

Creativity often entails getting out of your comfort zone. Risk-taking is a necessary ingredient for innovation and growth. Therefore, providing an environment where clients - and teams - are encouraged to think differently can be highly beneficial. While it can be tempting to simply tell your team to be creative and innovative, creativity is more than just a state of mind: it's a culture, a platform of knowledge, and it requires tools, empathy, research, focus and passion.

All this also explains why creative ideas are so rare: they require hard work to be discovered, defined and implemented. So don't forget: in the creative industry monetising means starting with a good idea. Make ideas, make money!

  1. Fonte: https://www.g20-insights.org/
  2. Fonte: Adobe State of Creativity Global Report

The Author

Valdemar Silva da Pires

Chief Marketing Officer, The Ad Store Portugal & New York

Have you found this interesting? Drop me an email if you want to know more: valdemar@adstore.pt

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Creativity vs Brain: a way of living.

It’s been said before: creativity is a way of living and working in communication inherently implies a significant aptitude towards creativity. But did you know that our brains are not meant to be creative? Yes, because they’re wired to help us find the best solutions every moment of every day. Their function is to help us make simple, quick choices, to solve difficult situations as effectively as possible by simplifying complexity. That sometimes stifles creativity as our brain tends to stick to what’s known rather than find new, more innovative solutions and/or ideas. Yet, despite our brain's non-propensity for creativity in all its nuances, it is extremely relevant for anyone working in communication, as for any human being, to learn how to train, develop, and apply creativity.

A basic but vital concept that we should also assume when talking about training creativity is that creativity is not a gift. That is important because we can learn how to train and stimulate it. Based on this assumption, we can modulate the ways we interpret and develop it. So, how can we open the doors to more aware, trained and developed creativity?

1. Happiness is the answer

Perhaps obvious but far from trivial, we can say that our mental and physical state affects everything, positively and negatively. When you are happy, steady, and positive you’ll attract good energy, find solutions, make progress with whatever you’re doing. And what are some small/big actions that help you be happy? For instance, dancing, singing, shouting, jumping, doing silly things, exercising…

Scientifically speaking when you dance, or when you sing and shout, when you jump, do silly things and you engage in sport, your brain produces serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, so physically you are really fighting stress.

If you deliberately choose to introduce or increase similar behaviors in your daily routine, you will undoubtedly impact on your happiness levels. And the happier you are, the greater your chances of “producing” creativity. So, if you want to increase your creativity levels, try and make some time for these actions during day: they will lead you to positive and optimistic thoughts, and thinking positive increases your resourcefulness.

2. Get out of your comfort zone

Another way to spark creativity (and making great experiences in the process) is to try and change your habits. Break your routine, train to consider things from many perspectives, pay attention to what’s around you and start connecting the dots. Make a conscious effort to find inspiration and beauty everywhere, without fail. Even better if you do this on a regular basis, to keep training your creativity.

3. Work in a team

Another great way to train creativity is working in a team, exchanging views and opinion. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or be proved wrong. Share your ideas and listen to other people’s. Working in a team gives you the great advantage to share a piece of thinking with other people who can help you fill in the missing piece of the puzzle: this is the quintessence of creation.

All the above suggestions have something in common: training and change. Therefore, I’d like to close this article by suggesting something concrete but hopefully useful for helping you get started on your process of creativity training. Why don’t you immediately challenge yourself by reviewing one or two small elements of your routine?  Brush your teeth with your left hand if you usually use your right hand. Start reading the newspaper from the last rather than the first page. Take an object and imagine all the alternative, less common uses you can make with it. And let me know how it goes!

The Author

Luis Chica Fuentes

Creative Director The Ad Store Spain

Have you found this interesting? Drop me an email if you want to know more: luis@adstore.es

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Stranger insights: we don’t know they exist, but they do.

Insights are something that we, as advertisers, never stop chasing and searching for. While representing a pivotal element in building a campaign, insights are really hard to find.

In our industry, looking for insights is a bit like throwing yourself into a Pokemon chase - you never know where it might lead you. But what is the real nature of an insight? What are they? What are they not? And how can you set yourself to find them?

In order to better understand the true nature of insights, it is useful to analyze the key elements composing advertising campaigns. They are the following:

Proposition

Or the client brief, summarized in one sentence: it’s the one bullet to your head, the one thing that synthesizes all you want to communicate in the whole campaign. 

Insight

An insight is an original intuition. It is the support and foundation of your idea for the advertising campaign. 

Idea

The campaign idea is where your insight and your brand finally meet. We can also call it “concept”. It is where your insightful conception meets the needs of the brand.

Execution

The last component of an advertising campaign is the execution, e.g. the proper crafting of the idea. It is the only component people will see. It is the most unfair of the four elements, because if you don't have enough time, budget, resources to work on it, it will not be up to great standards.

Now that we’ve defined the basic bricks building an advertising campaign, let’s deep dive on our main topic: insights.

What is an insight?

As we’ve seen, an insight is an unexplored common denominator of people, as humans. It’s a behavior, a habit, a thought that is shared by a multitude of people. The wider the insight, the more effective the creative idea can be. Insights are universal truths, revelations that are brought to light becoming clear and evident. They become seen and stick to your head. You cannot forget them as they come from a deeply unconscious or irrational domain that is at some point revealed and brought in plain sight. It’s something that concerns a community, something that we didn’t know but that’s always been there. It was there, but it went unnoticed till that moment. On the other hand an insight should not be sophisticated - it is something obvious. When you come in contact with it, you can’t help but raise an eyebrow and say: “Yeah, that’s true!”. A good insight sparks ideas and triggers creativity. For all of these reasons, we can say that an interesting insight should be somehow uncomfortable. You certainly won’t find it where all is quiet and nice - it has to make you smile or feel sad, it has to reach into your memories and generate unexpected feelings.

Insights are unbranded

Also, for obvious reasons, a good insight cannot be branded. Advertising is often viewed with suspicion by people and nobody likes to hear a brand talking about itself: in fact what you should do is to stop thinking like advertisers and start thinking like normal people. Last but not least an insight is not always identified through sophisticated qualitative research but, more often, it emerges from a lucid observation of life: it relates to people, human beings, not to consumers.

Great & insightful pieces of advertising

To understand and fully get the power of insights let’s look at some good examples and understand why they can be considered particularly interesting under an insight perspective:

SPOTIFY: LET THE SONG PLAY

BRAND : Spotify

CAMPAIGN : Let The Song Play

PROPOSITION : Most of the music is listened to in the car, but very little through streaming services: the goal is to push Spotify as a solution for listening to music in your car.

INSIGHT : When we drive we turn into crazy singers.

IDEA : Have you ever let a song finish? When we really love a song, we would be in the car even longer than necessary, just to listen to it until the end.

EXECUTION : The idea is developed through a series of funny cartoons, where people are shown driving while singing Sia's Elastic Heart with huge enthusiasm. People outside notice them with skeptical reactions.

HEINEKEN: CHEERS OR NO CHEERS?

BRAND : Heineken

CAMPAIGN : Cheers or no cheers?

PROPOSITION : Launch the Heineken 0.0 non-alcoholic reference.

INSIGHT : People who do not drink alcohol are normally excluded during toasts.

IDEA : Heineken wants to revolutionize social occasions, including people who for a reason or another do not drink alcohol.

EXECUTION : A time-traveling film where people of all ages who don’t drink are excluded during toasts, till the present time, where this stereotype disappears thanks to the new Heineken 0.0 beer.

APPLE: 911

BRAND : Apple

CAMPAIGN : 911

PROPOSITION : Apple Watch Series 7 allows you to make emergency calls. This feature can save many lives.

INSIGHT : It can be very difficult to make emergency calls during an accident.

IDEA : How to prove that Apple Watch can make a difference to people's lives? By telling real stories of real people.

EXECUTION : A woman trapped in an overturned car, a paddleboarder taken out to sea and an elderly farmer who fractured his hip after a serious fall: three real 911 calls become the script of the commercial, along with superimposing headlines and aerial shots.

Conclusions

All of these great pieces of advertising are a great example of an insight that hit the mark by digging deep into small epiphanies that managed to reach the ultimate goal: making sense. Here are some suggestions to find insights and use them in your work

1. Steal
Steal words, jokes, feelings, observe everything without shame and take notes without censorship. Make sure not to miss anything.

2. Train your sensitivity
To find an insight, you need an exceptional amount of experience, mixed with intuition and sensitivity. Never stop learning from others and train your insight hunting skills!

3. Be relevant
If there is no dilemma, conflict, unfulfilled need, or limit, then there is no insight. There are only observations that any brand can make. Look beyond reassuring insights.

4. Look outside the brief
Play with perspectives, look the other way.

5. Look inside yourself 
In-sight: look within you, dig inside yourself, and you’ll find it.

Insights are not to be created. They’re already there. Your job is just to catch them.

The Author

Giulio Nadotti

Creative Director @ The Ad Store Italia

If you want to know more about our approach and on how to develop an effective campaign for your food retail brand, email me at giulio@adstore.it

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The NFT Strategy for us AD peeps

If you’re overwhelmed by the world of NFT you shouldn’t be, because it honestly takes a good 10 hours of solid YouTube research to understand what they are all about, plenty of YouTube channels out there to get your knowledge up to par on what they are, and especially for us, how to think from a brand perspective on that NFT collection for your client and how to properly launch it.

The most important aspect to understand about NFT’s from a brand point of view is the purpose of having an NFT for the brand: is it brand building, is it promotional, tactical, or a combination? What’s most important though is the consumer and what he/she is going to get out of it beyond just the “coolness” of having that brand’s NFT, the art, or the collectible value.  What’s important is what the consumer is going to get out of it in the short and medium term, and if you can crack a long term value then you’ve really aced it. This is what is called the “Utility” value!

The utility you create for that NFT has obviously got to lay on the brand values and a deep understanding of your consumer and why he/she should FOMO (fear of missing out) on having that specific NFT and become part of the collection, the community. Once you’ve thought of that, the rest is basic advertising strategy to launch that collection. 

The launch of an NFT collection is not very different from the launch of any campaign, it utilizes mostly the same channels (depending on budget), great creativity (campaign and of course the NFT art itself), multivisuals, great production, social engagement (x10 of what you are used to, this is the main challenge, to be honest), launch visuals, tactical visuals, and your media optimization mix. See, not so overwhelming after all!

The two main challenges for a successful NFT launch are the concept of that NFT collection, as well as the value you attach to it, and secondly the community you are going to create around it.

The utility is the true value you need to create that people are going to want to have, and the weaker your brand notoriety, values, positioning are the more you will need to pack in.

  • For Pepsi, a super known brand, they launched a collection and sold it in less than an hour and hardly had any utility. They banked solely on great and cool art, and of course their rep thus creating a collectability aspect.
  • Dunkin’ also launched an NFT collection, much the same as Pepsi. However, they had some golden NFT’s that granted owners free donuts for life.
  • Karl Lagerfeld’s "x Endless" collection gave owners a URL ticket to a brand event in Paris in 2022, which will feature another launch where only Karl holders will be invited to take part.
  • A less well-known restaurant in the UAE, launched a two-tiered NFT collection, granting discounts, desert perks and free delivery as utility.

You get the drift; creativity has no limits in creating true utility that is based on the brand values and positioning.

The second challenge is engagement and creating a community, and this is something us ad guys are not used to. We’re used to 4 to 5 quality posts a week, well-crafted with very well thought of messages. When creating an NFT collection, it really is about creating a community and for those of you who are on discord you know exactly what this entails.  Discord is social media on steroids and your social channels like twitter (primarily) and IG need to be on fire, and this is going to go against what you are used to. Handling discord is prime and needs especially skilled people at it.

So, in a nutshell, don’t be overwhelmed by that NFT collection, use your basics, but 10x it!  Or call the Ad Store UAE and we’ll sort it out for you!

Digital PR: Workflow & Best Practices

An efficient management of Digital PR projects is a key aspect in the life of any full-service agency such as The Ad Store. In this article, Digital PR & Influencer Specialist Margherita Cavallotti will guide us through the dos and don’ts of this fascinating branch of marketing.

What is the relevance of Digital PR today? What is the role of a marketing agency in managing influencer marketing activities? And which are the main steps and activities involved in delivering a successful influencer marketing campaign to promote brands and products?

At The Ad Store, one of the basic assumptions of our approach is that brands are like humans and therefore - exactly like human beings - they strive to grow and create authentic relationships with their audiences.

Digital PR and influencers can help them achieve precisely that - a more intimate, credible and valuable relationship with consumers.

As you know, influencers are creators who, thanks to their knowledge, skills, or characteristics, have managed to gain the authority to influence their followers’ choices and are therefore perfect allies to create positive relationships between the brands they support and their own communities. They can do so in multiple ways, both sponsored and non-sponsored: live events, stories, feed posts, reels, seeding activations, etc.

If we consider the relationship between brands and influencers, the agency plays an important role of intermediary between the creator and the brand and has the responsibility of effectively promoting the brand’s vision, values, and interests.

The management of influencer campaigns includes the main stages:

  • 1  - Identifying and selecting the most suitable influencer profile(s);
  • 2 -Activating and monitoring the cooperation with the influencer all through the campaign;
  • 3 - Analyzing and assessing the campaign results.

Needless to say, all these aspects cannot be improvised and need careful analysis, detailing, and knowledge, acquired through years of experience and creation of relations and contacts.

When it comes to the operational workflow of an Influencer Marketing project, we usually proceed in 7 steps, as follows:

1. Definition of our objectives

The first step consists in clearly identifying the objectives of the marketing effort: do you wish to increase the brand’s awareness or reputation? Do you want to generate new leads or encourage purchases of new products? Or again does the brand wish to position itself as a thought leader? We ask the client the right questions and clearly define the key goal of our campaign.

2. Budget assessment

Carefully considering the budget at your disposal is important to understand the extent of the project you can build. Based on that, you can balance expectations and define what influencer group you should focus on: micro, macro, mega influencers, etc. That will also allow you to establish how many influencers you can involve.

3.   Definition of the target audience

This is key to any marketing strategy. What is the main age group to target? What sector or preferences should you lean towards? You have plenty to choose from: lifestyle, food, sport, sustainability… Also, what geographical area do you want to target?

4.   Identification of the social channels

All the information you have collected in the previous step is essential to decide on which social media channel your target is more likely to be and interact. Based on our experience and the brands we support, the social platform we have used the most for our influencer campaigns so far is Instagram, even though we are starting to shift to other environments, starting from TikTok.

5.   Setting the campaign KPIs

Clients want results, therefore it’s essential to define some specific KPIs you will measure and monitor to assess the success of your campaign. Some of the most common are engagement, quality and quantity of the audience reached, web traffic changes, impact on sales, number of blog and social media mentions. We use several tools, but mainly, at the moment, Fanpage Karma and Not Just Analytics.

6.   Selection of creators

Now it is time to provide your client with a list of suitable influencers based on the needs you identified. The choice can spam from mega influencers and celebrities with more than 1 million followers up to nano influencers with 10K followers. Once the list is approved by the client, the agency will activate the partnership, dealing with all contractual and creative aspects.

7. Building an authentic storytelling

The final step of our workflow is the creation of the right storytelling. For your storytelling to be successful, the creator should convey the brand purpose and values in the best way. Under this respect, we at The Ad Store play a crucial role of intermediaries between the brand and the creator, by driving them in the best way towards the desired objective.

Some recent digital campaigns we created and developed in Italy were for cured ham brand Parmacotto. A campaign that embodies all these concepts and has proved particularly successful was the #caratterevincente (link) campaign that reached 7 million users and obtained 14K interactions among the desired audience - sport lovers. It went viral in a couple of days thanks to the involvement of some leading Italian athletes who perfectly represented the brand’s values: authenticity, passion, and quality.

Another recent successful campaign was the “Anti-waste Wednesdayscampaign that we created for Italian food brand Saclà. The form was that of a social live series against food waste involving several relevant influencers, which obtained outstanding results and contributed to position the brand as a promoter of positive values of sharing and sustainability. The digital effort was also supported by a press campaign.

Saclà and Parmacotto are just some examples of influencer campaigns with an authentic storytelling based on brand values, integrated communication, and an attentive and accurate talent selection.If you want to know more about our Influencer Marketing campaigns, email margherita@adstore.it

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