If you believe that everything these days is social, that consumers are no longer content to listen and watch, and that experiences that allow for their participation are more important than messages alone, then the definition of a creative idea has to change.
Where once an idea was deemed great if it were fresh, original, unexpected and perfectly executed, that’s no longer enough.
Today an idea has to be shareable, participatory, interactive and continuous. That’s not to say the old definition has lost its relevance. Just that it’s the world demands more. So we need to develop concepts that inherently allow our community to pass them on, play a role, share feedback, and ideally incorporate those ideas into their life.
It might be as simple as a gathering a community of loyal customers like the one NASCAR built to re-energize the sport. It could be as easy as bookmarking relevant and interesting content and serving it up from our any of your websites. Maybe it’s finding a way to epitomize functionality with an app that lets you take your friends’ coffee orders.
We see new examples every day. Levis crowdsources its new Levi’s Girl on Facebook. AJ Bombers promises patrons the chance to earn a Swarm badge. Nike turns the cancer community into copywriters. Timberland connects construction workers to job listings. Lacta involves a country in the making of a love movie. Duck tape lets customers choose new patterns.
These aren’t necessarily ideas that are clever in the old way of being clever; they don’t use creativity merely as a way to grab your attention or earn your forgiveness for interrupting you in the middle of a TV show or a magazine. Instead they start with an understanding of our desire to play a role, join in, help shape the experience, and become part of a community.
If you have a wall in your office where you put up ideas, submit them to the butterfly test, and allow people to weigh in and express their “likes,” perhaps you ought to add the four new criteria in big, bold letters at the top of the wall. That way you’ll have a reminder that whatever you’re working on – video, digital experience, website, TV spot, iPad ad – it should satisfy most if not all of the new creative criteria: shareable, participatory, interactive, continuous.
Your thoughts? Is there a better way to balance the old definition of creative with the new?