Now, more than ever before, consumers can easily tell when a marketing campaign is disingenuous and cynical.
Expectations and norms both in and outside of the marketing industry have shifted as consumer needs and preferences have evolved.
These days, the name of the game is creative strategy and innovative campaigns that reach viewers on a more personal level.
Delphine Maillot, Director of Creative Services with VMGROUPE in New York, spoke with us about types of creative strategy in advertising and how brands and agencies alike can capitalize on the desire for more exciting and authentic marketing and brand identities.
Maillot has spent years as a marketing and creative services professional, starting out in her native France where she even worked with Festival de Cannes, one of the most influential film festivals in the world. She has also received a number of awards for her work in advertising, including the John R. Mazey Memorial Award for Demonstrated Excellence in Advertising.
Read on to learn more about how creativity and collaboration can make marketing campaigns stand out from the crowd.
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The importance of creativity
Explain to us what the term ‘creative marketing strategy’ means to you. What comes to mind?
Maillot: To me, creative marketing is the necessary and often overlooked bridge between strategy and art. People often put themselves or are assigned one of two distinct labels: either strategic or artistic.
Creativity is the commonality between the two, the idea of finding a new solution to a problem, that curiosity in exploring many ways to achieve or express a message. Creative marketing is at the intersection of art and strategy, it is both data-driven marketing and using art and sensorial experiences in a strategic, informed way.
Do you think all marketing agencies are becoming more creative and innovative in their approach?
Maillot: They have to. More technologies equal more problems to solve. More individual identity equals more ways to express a message. You can’t use cookie-cutter solutions in an extremely fast-paced and ever-evolving world.
Do you feel that all marketing and PR involves a certain amount of creativity, even if only unintentionally?
Maillot: Marketing and PR is a mix of a constant state of questioning, problem-solving, and translating, which all require creativity. Whether you use data or art as a solution to a problem, you are being creative.
No two problems are alike. Finding what’s right for a situation versus another requires even the smallest amount of creativity, and to find the right medium for that message, you need to be creative.
The luxury + beauty sector
Do you think it was inevitable that you ended up working with many brands in the area of luxury and beauty? Have these brands always been of interest to you?
Maillot: Luxury to me is timeless beauty reinventing itself every day, yet staying true to its identity. Take Chanel or Gucci. What comes out of the two luxury houses now can seem radically different from what they were at their beginnings, but the codes have remained the same, they have simply been reinterpreted by new generations.
There’s an element of tradition and heritage being translated, and I love this translation exercise. The same goes for beauty. There is a science and a wealth of knowledge that goes behind any product that needs to be translated to consumers. I am a linguist at heart, so the process of communication behind luxury and beauty have always resonated with me on a deeper level.
Have there been any campaigns or projects that you’ve enjoyed more than all the rest?
Maillot: I find joy in most of the projects I take on, but if I had to pick two I would say working with Banila Co on their US launch and working with Reinstein Ross on their new identity have been some of the most rewarding.
Banila Co is a leading beauty brand in South Korea and East Asia, and coincidentally one of the first K-beauty brands I ever interacted with when I studied abroad in Seoul. So helping them translate their brand identity for the US beauty consumer had a special place in my heart. Diving into who they are at their core, finding these pillars that make Banila Co who they are, and building on that to create their US persona was a great experience.
Reinstein Ross is an established, New York-based luxury jewelry house that was struggling to keep up with the new generation and express their identity in a way that would resonate with a younger demographic. Re-evaluating their brand codes and finding a modern, more focused and straight-forward expression of their brand message and heritage was fascinating and simply a lot of fun.
Changing needs, differing ideas
Are consumers more sensitive to the creativity and artistry of marketing materials than they were 20 years ago? Do they expect more from brands?
Maillot: Absolutely. Social media and technology opened the doors to a much more openly creative world. People are bombarded every day by so much content, seeing so much talent, they are discovering new ways, new solutions.
New generations have grown more bold, more unapologetic, and are looking for authenticity, individualism, and “newness”. Authenticity and individuality lies in craftmanship and art as irreplaceable and unique talents, and the idea of new really goes back to being creative.
When working with a team, is it difficult to reach a point where everyone agrees on a particular strategy?
Maillot: Yes, and no. I would say that when a room is full of creative individuals with different backgrounds, aesthetics, habits, and ways, it is definitely challenging to have everyone agree on one approach, which is why I typically like to present two or three angles or directions to my clients.
What I find worrying, on the other hand, is when not a single person disagrees. Mob mentality or group dynamics are fascinating. I’ve seen firsthand that if everyone agrees on one strategy, the chances of that team getting swallowed up and ignoring other parameters are really high.
When one idea gets all the fuel, energy, and attention, details are disregarded, other ideas that might actually make the original one more comprehensive and stronger get overlooked, and you end up with a group funneled vision. And that is dangerous. It also means that you are not leaving any room for a backup, which could cost you a project, a client, or a contract.
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For additional information on Delphine Maillot and her past work, feel free to visit the links below: