Driving an emotional connection with consumers through creativity

Last week marked the annual Star Wars ‘holiday’. “May the fourth be with you.” In honor of the holiday, I attended the Red Sox Star Wars game night. To say I’m a huge Star Wars fan goes without saying and I attended this spring game at Fenway Park mostly to see the fans dressed up in character. I’m also a Muppets fan and a comic book fan and this is of no surprise to my colleagues. We’re constantly joking about the amount of toys that surround my desk at work. But to me these “decorations” act as inspiration and help to drive creativity in my work as a digital marketer.

My colleague Michael Lewis discussed in his recent post how content remains king, and a key driver of content is creativity. It’s the creative component that engages the consumer and helps to drive an emotional 1:1 connection. Creativity extends beyond graphical images in digital campaigns to include the subject line, the placement of content within a campaign, the ratio of white space to text and images and more.

Last month I had the opportunity to attend a presentation titled Email Design for 2015 & Beyond at Epsilon’s Client Advisory Forum delivered by Pamela McAtee-Lord, Epsilon’s SVP of Digital Services, and Justine Jordan, Litmus’ Marketing Director. During the session, Justine shared 5 ways to improve your creativity that extends well beyond graphic design:

  1. Use open data to drive design decisions
  2. Think inside the inbox
  3. Put the mobile user first
  4. Be responsive
  5. Get personal

Creativity is a reflection of your story and your brand

As a marketer, it’s essential for you to develop your creative story in a way that connects emotionally with your customers. Always remember to put the customer’s interest first and leverage the insights of your data to uncover these interests. Don’t practice ‘assumption marketing’ and present an offer to your customers that you think will be of interest to them. Determine what’s relevant to their needs. How many times have you opened an email that is targeted for the opposite gender? With my name of “Daniel,” I can’t tell you how many times marketers have targeted a female specific message to me thinking I’m “Danielle.” The wrong targeted creative can be a big turn-off, leading consumers to immediately dismiss your brand.

Creativity yields the ‘stickiness’ that marketers need for digital campaign success. Think about the difference in your emotions when you receive a text-based email about a sporting event versus one with images reflecting the action of the game —where you can visualize yourself sitting in the stadium observing the action play-by-play. It’s the creativity that draws you in, forming the emotional connection that’s essential in driving engagement. Emotional bonds direct how people feel about a brand and it is this emotional connection that inspires brand loyalty over generations. In fact, I am starting to see my brand loyalty transcend to my 11-year-old son, who for the first time was more excited about free comic day this month than I was. Creativity is the reflection of your story and your brand. The power of using creativity to drive an emotional connection with your brand can’t be denied.