Effectiveness and Creativity: The Genius of the “And”

A blog post for the Moroch blog found here. This was a collaborative piece between Monica Esposito and myself. 

In Public Relations, our goal is to effectively meet our clients’ needs, whether it is attendance at an event, impressions on a Facebook post or a story in the local newspaper; however, is our desire to be efficient and effective hindering our creativity? Can creativity enhance effectiveness?

Author Jim Collins has developed a unique tenet of thinking referred to as “the genius of the ‘and’” where he encourages 21st century companies to embrace the word. For instance, continuity and change, stability andrevolution, predictability and chaos, and many more. Furthermore, Wendy Clark , President of Sparkling Brands & Strategic Marketing for Coca-Cola North America, added one more for those of us in the advertising (and even public relations) industry: creativity andeffectiveness.

In a blog post on PR Newsweek, Clark discusses how the divide between the two in the industry exists because of advancements in market testing and measurement. Because of our state-of-the-art tools to test, track, and measure our work, we (as an industry) tend to make decisions based on data alone “without considering the role of the work in the world,” said Clark. Furthermore, she goes on to state that our drive to be effective is not hindered by creativity but thrives with it.

There are five billion pieces of content shared daily on Facebook alone. Two million blog posts are written each day. And, in one day, there is enough information consumed by internet traffic to fill 168 million DVDs. There is abundant information; however, how does a company stand out? How do we become both effective and creative?

Take Chevy for example. Last week, the company posted a press release written almost entirely in emojis for readers to attempt to decode. In 2013, 74% of U.S. survey responders answered “yes” to the question “Do you use stickers or emoji in message apps?” Pop artist Katy Perry jumped on the trend in her music video, “Roar,” which consists solely of the lyrics to the song as conveyed through emojis. Now Chevrolet has capitalized on the new way to communicate too.

Their creative, emoji-based press release received attention all across the board—consumers, trade markets, competitors and even on social media with their hashtag, #ChevyGoesEmoji. While this was a creative idea and certainly a way to capture an audiences’ attention, was this effective? Wired, noted in its coverage that this press release from Chevy actually highlights the limitations of using emojis instead of words and how this image-based language that people all over the world use daily on the internet and smart phones isn’t really universal, as its lack of specifics can often make a message ambiguous. So will we all go out in early 2016 to purchase the Chevrolet Cruze? Only time will tell.

While we might not have correctly deciphered the emoji-filled release, for PR pros and the Moroch PR discipline, it’s increasingly important to think about ways to support our client’s work in ways beyond the press release, much like Chevy did last week, especially in the eyes of journalists and other media who can receive up to 300 pitches a day, per PR Daily. As our company is working on becoming more effective in an integrated way, we’ll be using our digital and creative partners more and more using these non-traditional mediums, emoji or no emoji.

emoji smile

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