8 min read 30/11/2022

When To Not Be Creative and When To Be

Salute To The Business Owners/Brand Managers ??

Your brand is your shining pride and joy. Its successes are your successes, its failures are your failures. While it does sound like I’m extolling the virtues of having your first child, it might as well be!

Sculpting businesses from scratch is a journey paved with unforgiving barriers not limited to catastrophic pandemics (I’m looking at you, COVID-19) and waxing-and-waning consumer sentiment. Pat yourself on the back if you’ve managed to maintain a steadfast P & L statement, not allowing obstacles to impede your business growth.

But as intrepid owners, the branding fog of war has a marked tendency to mislead our creative energies. The unrelenting hustle and bustle of Linkedin and the onslaught of advice by respected thought leaders can smoothly seduce us into their webs.

A Possible Branding Trap ?

Trendy designs and newly-minted strings of code could be red herrings that throw a spanner in your entrepreneurial focus. Dipping your toes into up-and-coming brand trends for the sake of it is a terrible idea.

For astute business people, it’s an innate compulsion. We love dipping our toes into new trends. Sometimes at the expense of our brand’s original objectives.

Our hearts are on in the right place, but the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. In the hopes of finding a hidden formula towards brand innovation, we experiment with the latest fads, be it a complete brand rehaul or a brand voice with subtle tweaks.

On occasion, we explicitly mirror the behaviours of our industry idols, falsely attributing them to their resounding success without considering other extraneous variables. From Steve Jobs to Jack Ma, their words inspire immediate action.

The constant promotion of new “ways” to enrich your brand footprint never seems to abate. More often than not, you’ll encounter numerous peers who swear by specific strategies that previously succeeded in their respective careers. You’d be surprised by how much of an influence FOMO has on our business motives.

Take it from a Brisbane creative agency: sooner than later, we find ourselves stuck in a double bind, doing multiple things poorly rather than a few things brilliantly. In the worst of circumstances, such changes undermine the brand omnichannel. New activities conflicting with your concurrent brand strategy would weaken brand recognition and problematise external perceptions of it.

Thematic inconsistencies, an brand voice unsure of itself or a diluted brand identity are a few of the detrimental outcomes of being overzealous in your entrepreneurial pursuits.

Resist the Branding Temptations ??

Formally, business objectives are quantifiable or qualifiable goals that your organisation aspires to accomplish over a fixed time series. Business and revenue growth are objectively (mind the pun), the moving goalpost that all companies strive towards.

If your incumbent brand strategy is showing measurable signs of promise and scaleable progression, why fix something that isn’t broken? Stick to roadmaps and yardsticks that work for your business. Even brand agencies like ourselves have to avoid these common temptations.

Thou shall not be tempted by the polished veneer of viral marketing trends! Close your ears, and don’t let the white noise distract you. Cut through the marketing spin, and invest in the fundamentals instead of cluttered novelties.

Example: Mastercard ?

A new and old image of the MasterCard logo.
Credit: https://www.adozeneggs.co.uk/insights/failed-rebrands/

Mastercard is undoubtedly a financial institution deemed too big to fall, lest card transactions are thrown into global disarray. Valued at 82.9 billion USD, Mastercard has seamlessly facilitated 366 million transactions, be they domestic or international.

A household name, Mastercard is as popular as both wonderbread and Kleenex. Brand recognition, is, therefore, clearly not a persistent problem. Their pre-2006, ‘Venn-diagram’ logomark enjoyed strong brand saliency, recognisability and collectability. Basically, consumers barely struggled to correctly identify their iconic logomark.

In 2006, Mastercard made the watershed decision to completely revamp its logomark in an attempt to modernise and distil its distinctive identity, conveying its competitive strengths as a market leader. In theory, this is undeniably, an attractive proposition.

Disastrously, the revised logo was a catastrophic mess. The inner circle obscured the famous intersection between both the yellow and red circles. Barely resembling their original logo, consumers were confused by this futile overhaul. Consequently, generations of positive brand capital were severely undermined by this $10 million rebranding exercise!

Eventually, Mastercard capitulated to public criticism, reverting to the native logo and shelving the entire rebranding assignment. Mastercard made the disastrous mistake of attempting to bite much more than it could chew.

As an iconoclast, a subtractive process rather than an additive one was necessary to maintain its market-dominant position. A 360 rehaul is an overreaction to competitive pressures. The Mastercard case study presents an important lesson: sometimes, the worst enemy is ourselves.

Creativity Rewards Those Who Are Patient ?

Note that I said that being too creative is a possible branding trap. Brands and businesses evolve. So do customers, as their appetites and preferences. If enough time has elapsed, new customer bases emerge as the marketplace balloons. There’s no turning back the clock.

Threats can soon surface if your brand’s overall perception is being rapidly outpaced by customers’ rising expectations. Competitors that were once denied entry into your industry’s orbit now have the opportunity to seize market share out of your firm’s grasp. In these troubling times, calculated and adaptive brand measures should be taken to defend or amplify your brand’s remaining influence.

Mayhaps, the transitions are taking place internally within your brand. If you’re pivoting away into new sectors or expanding your catalogue of products/services, your brand is exposed to heightened levels of brand misinterpretations. Unannounced shifts in branding or business strategy can be perceived to cheapen, worsen or damage your existing brand.

To prevent the customer-facing side of your business from decoupling from your dedicated audience, a rebrand or targeted brand changes can help gently accommodate shifting business models.

If entrepreneurs like yourself find themselves in these same shoes, then a change of shoes might not be such a bad idea! In these circumstances, creativity and boldness should not be restricted, but encouraged:

“To be Creative, or not to be Creative” Checklist

  1. If your brand is targeting new audiences
    A one-dimensional brand strategy isn’t going to cut it. With new personas entering the marketing mix, it’s important to remain appealing to new prospects. Its size proportionate to your current audience will determine the scope of any creative changes.
  2. If your brand is updating its products and services
    A corresponding update in your branding and content strategies can help convey those changes accurately.
  3. If your brand is facing new (especially stylish) competition
    If competitive egress is starting to encroach into your sector, it’s time to head back to the drawing board. Changes in your branding, content and marketing strategy are in order. Be it a brand overhaul or an enhanced social media presence will depend on your structural objectives.

But knowing when to be and not to be creative is a fickle “feeling” influenced by a deep understanding of the strategic business environment. Creativity is as rewarding as it is potentially destructive! When does one permit change or resist it?

Naturally, our Brisbane brand agency is here with a tantalising offer you cannot refuse!

Turn and Face the Change! ?

Thus far, Vesanique has assisted countless Brisbane companies in designing bespoke branding and content strategies. Each strategic framework lays out the critical courses of action and key performance indicators to meet its target objectives. Our digital agency team formulates the right mix of brand activities and measures, taking out the guesswork during the planning phase.

In reality, no company is alike! Evaluating each company’s unique circumstances gives us immediate insight into what should and shouldn’t be done. Defining the parameters of each branding project allows us to fine-tune any creative changes deemed necessary without crossing those thin lines. We want to add those delicate finishing touches without undoing systems that have been working for years.

But strategies only ascertain the hows. We translate those “hows” into “whats” by enacting those changes on your behalf. If your company is unsure of the path that lies before them, we can help you pave the road towards victory as equal partners. In layman’s terms, we set the stage for your unrivalled success!

But those foundations can only be laid once we get to know you and your business. How about we organise a chat to get the creative ball rolling? Send our full-service digital agency a message or a call, and we’ll set the stage for your unrivalled success!

Let’s talk, don’t be a stranger ?️.

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