*DISCLAIMER* Despite its title, this article in no way endorses cerebral tissue as primate feed.
We’ve completely had it, all of us! We’re giving up! There’s just no way that the standard issue monkey brains we are born with can deal with the incessant bombardment of information they’re facing. For the first time in human history, our brains are facing more information than the can possibly hope to process, let alone remember!
Our brain, an organ that used to be solely responsible for the straightforward yet important task of “not getting us killed” is now expected to keep up with current events, industry news and popular culture, as well as remembering birthdays. As a coping mechanism, it raises its standards. It singles out the juiciest pieces of information while ignoring the rest. Our brains approach the vast buffet of information in the very same way we do with an actual buffet – we pick what we know we like or whatever is presented in a way that makes our mouths water.
In short, and perhaps a bit over-simplified, our monkey brains like shiny things. As a consequence, we probably know more about Kim Kardashian’s private life than the situation in Syria. How, then, can we make important news and information more appealing to our monkey brains? Simple: we make it shiny. But rather than dumbing down critical information, we must learn to present it in a way that is impossible to ignore.
Because of this increasing saturation of information, creativity is no longer a “nice to have,” it is essential to ensure a message gets noticed by the right audience. By packaging and positioning information in a creative way, it becomes irresistible for your audience and will not be ignored.
Defining the “right audience” might sound obvious, but this is where it often goes wrong. All too often people try to be controversial or shocking in the name of creativity, but end up missing the mark. You might get noticed, but for the wrong reasons and by the wrong audience. Only when you know your audience, as well as what makes them tick, can you get started on the right creative solution to engage with them.
Creative services will obviously include visuals, but creativity itself is about more than just visuals. It could be defined in a broad sense as “finding a refreshing angle or perspective on a subject”. It should never be an add-on that is wheeled in near the end of a preparation phase, but rather should be integrated right from the start.
Is creativity then a part of PR? How could it not be! We have established that a thorough understanding of the audience makes or breaks any communications effort, and that creativity will increasingly be the defining factor for success in any PR or communications campaign. Where the purpose of creativity used to be to make a message stick, it now comes into play at an earlier stage: making sure the message actually appears on the radar. Because it doesn’t matter how well written a press release is if nobody’s reading it in the first place.