January is International Creativity Month. Really you ask? Well yes, it’s the perfect time for fresh new ideas and innovative marketing. Sure, it’s grey outside and there’s a pandemic dragging on. But that hasn’t stopped brands from digging deep and showing just what they’re capable of. As Creative Director of Contentworks Agency, I’ve seen plenty of brand innovation already this year. So here are 5 of the best campaigns of Creativity Month.
#1 Airbnb – The Road Ahead
Since the reports of Covid-19 first hit the news, Airbnb has done everything in their power to keep their marketing efforts and business model fresh and relevant to the ever-changing situation. From offering local breaks to providing online experiences led by one-of-a-kind hosts, their approach has been very much in touch with the current climate.
What really caught my attention was a recently launched Instagram campaign called 2021: The Road Ahead. This was presented at the end of December with the following caption and provided a unique starting block for interesting content throughout January.
“They say hindsight is 20/20. So, we’re looking back on this year to see what we can learn. By reviewing listings and experience data, as well as the results of an independently-commissioned survey, we’re making some educated guesses about what’s in store for travel. What will new forms of isolation and togetherness mean for our relationships? What will new forms of mobility and lack thereof mean for us for our lives? We can’t know for sure, and that’s hard because uncertainty is disorienting. That’s why our brains evolved to constantly seek patterns and extrapolate. Guessing about what’s coming soothes our unease. And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing over the next six days – mapping out The Road Ahead in six themes: Connection, Curiosity, Renaissance, Movement, Control and Fantasy. So, buckle up and stay tuned.”
Asking and addressing questions relevant to your audience is a great way to boost engagement. The Road Ahead was then backed up by a series of Instagram Stories which included everything from statistics to consumer feedback and isolation stories, all the while positioning Airbnb as a relevant brand during challenging times.
Top tip for creative marketing: Do your research! Commission surveys. Find out how your audience is coping. And feed all of this back into your marketing efforts. For example, if you know that 47% of people under 50 are interested in isolating closer to family, you can use this to shape your campaigns. Posting well researched statistics also shows you’re on-the-ball.
#2 ZSL London Zoo – Zoo School
Home schooling! Say no more. It’s a balancing act for even the most organised of parents. As a parent of one small but incredibly demanding ginger cat, I can’t fully appreciate it but I can imagine. But brands such as ZSL Zoo have tapped into reality to provide interesting, age-relevant educational resources to make things just a little bit easier. Nice one.
This is displayed clearly according to Key Stages on their website…
Top tip for creative marketing: Lockdown has disrupted the normal business flow of many organisations. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still engage your target audience. ZSL London Zoo is closed, but they’ve created a home schooling campaign with unique hashtags such as #ZooToYou and #ZooSchool and #ZooGoesOn to make their content easy to follow. Check out the imagery on the above post too. A simple graphic ensures your themed posts are simple to identify.
#3 Gourmet Burger Kitchen – Veganuary
A record number of people have signed up to Veganuary this year, promising not to eat meat-based products. This is a global campaign that has recently focused on Latin America where 150,000 people have signed up this year, along with 80,000 in the US and 50,000 in Germany. Of the 500,000 sign-ups, a quarter of those taking up the challenge are also in the UK. So it makes sense for British restaurant campaigns to get involved.
This is exactly what Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) has done with their ‘buy one get one free’ Veganuary campaign. The chain has a wide range of vegan and vegetarian options ensuring they can support this initiative with ease.
Note the consistent use of GBK brand colours with the offer highlighted in a different shade for optimum impact. Asking fans to tag their vegan and vegetarian friends also helps to spread the word and generate interest.
Other brands supporting Veganuary creatively include Tesco supermarket. They’re all over it launching tantalising video content to their social channels alongside links to vegan recipe ideas and shoppable content. This is great because the more expansive and engaging your content, the more people will connect to your brand. When brainstorming and implementing your campaign, make things as easy as possible for consumers to understand and cut down their need to search for relative content by using clear calls to action.
Top tip for creative marketing: Join in national days that suit your brand. These get a lot of attention and will allow you to piggyback off popular events. Beware not to jump in unnecessarily, however. #PrideMonth is a good example. If you’re not actively supporting #Pride initiatives but are using #Pride to catapult your brand into the limelight, this could backfire and land you with a whole bunch of negative PR. Choose your involvement carefully. On the subject- January 18 being Martin Luther King Day #MLKDay I actually saw a mattress brand use the line “Great dreams start with great mattresses.”
#4 Netflix – Capitalise on Popular Content
The Queen’s Gambit set the record as the most-watched scripted limited series to date on Netflix – with 62 million member accounts tuning in to the show in the first 28 days. That’s huge. So what better way to make the most of such popularity than by posting additional relevant content? Building on the excitement around The Queen’s Gambit, Netflix teamed up with Norwegian Grandmaster and World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen to create a video breakdown of Beth Harmon and Vasily Borgov’s final showdown. This was viewed over 55K times in just 18-hours. Win!
Top tip for creative marketing: Know your stats and trends. By looking at content and platform analytics, you can identify what’s exciting your audience and what isn’t and on what channels. While Netflix pursued The Queen’s Gambit because it was a hit, you can do the same for popular content. If you wrote a blog that got huge engagement, for instance, why not recreate it in video form for social media? Or present the stats in an infographic? You could even go live about the subject and ask followers what they’d like to see next. This way you’re engaging with your audience and tapping into what makes them tick.
#5 Dove – Stay True to Brand
January is typically a time for fat shaming and guilt tripping the public after a festive season of overeating. Not cool. But it’s great to see so many companies bucking the trend. Dove, for instance, promotes body positivity and acceptance. And has remained true to brand as we toil on through this difficult time of year.
Dove’s social accounts are littered with impactful imagery and messages that stand out among a sea of diet videos and exercise tips. While there’s nothing wrong with safely promoting a healthy lifestyle, Dove’s creativity comes from being unashamedly bold and making people feel beautiful – no matter what their size, shape or appearance.
Dove’s creativity shines for numerous reasons. Firstly They’ve created a No Digital Distortion Mark which is used across their platforms. This shows that their images haven’t been altered in any way and is on par with their overall brand messaging. Secondly, they’ve provided feedback from #DovePartners to help bring their efforts to life in a more realistic and engaging way. Even if you don’t have brand partners you can post user-generated content to enforce your brand USPs and messages.
Top tip for creative marketing: If you’re going to embrace influencer marketing, great. But make sure you work with people who match your brand’s morals and ethics. In the Dove post above, they’ve partnered with a plus size model which enhances the diversity of their campaign. If you don’t have a big budget to pursue high-profile influencer marketing worry not. Working with micro or nano influencers who have smaller follower number of between 1,000 and 10,000 is becoming popular. This is because nano influencers tend to have high engagement rates and know how to communicate with niche audiences. They’re usually much more cost effective too helping to keep your marketing budget down.
Before I sign off, a quick note on creativity. There’s a common misconception that creativity is just in advertising. It isn’t. Creativity could be baking, dancing, flower arranging, writing, painting or anything else that inspires you. It’s also about being bold and original. Let me know what creative campaigns you’ve seen so far this year in the comments or tweet me @Charli_Says . Happy Creativity Month!