In 2021, a brand’s creative is about much more than just going to Shutterstock, finding a nice stock image and letting it speak for itself.

Paths to purchase are more diverse than ever. Consumers are spoilt for choice, and you need to ensure that your brand will show up in the right place and at the right time to influence potential buyers.

But how do you connect to your target audience in a meaningful way? And how do you make sure your creative is giving you the best chance to drive consumers to action?

Converting the crowd into customers

You can’t expect your audience to just give you their attention. You need to earn it. But consumers exist in a sea of temptation, and their attention can go anywhere, particularly during what we call the ‘exploration’ and ‘I-Want-To-Buy’ moments. If you want them to pay attention to your brand, you have to win them over with amazing creative backed by a clear message.

That’s where the concept of Intelligent Creative comes in. We see Intelligent Creative as the marrying of data, psychology, and science with creative design. By thinking analytically and approaching creative development with a data-driven mindset, you’re giving your brand a better chance to stand out from the pack and get the customer attention it deserves.

Here are six tried and tested elements of intelligent creative.

  1. Brand presence

Did you know that 30 per cent of customers will buy their second-choice brand just because it’s there on the shelf or in their inbox and their favourite brand wasn’t? Being where your customers are and making sure they know you’re there can be the difference between coming first and making the sale or being second and losing it.

For your creative strategy, this means tailoring your creative assets and marketing collateral for all relevant channels. If you create an infographic, don’t just publish it to the website. Turn it into tiles for social media, embed it in your next eDM, or print it in your sales brochure.

  1. Heuristics

A heuristic is a method people use to make a decision or solve a problem quickly. These can be as simple as the star rating of a hotel, which acts as a quick way for an audience to be assured of its quality. The same can be said for common labels such as “Australian Made” or “organic”. People know exactly what they’re getting when they see these words, and the decision to purchase is made easier.

When you’re developing your creative, whether it’s for packaging, your website or printed collateral, consider what markers you can use to signify your brand is the best one to choose, driving people to contact or transact with you.

  1. Social norms

People’s behaviour is influenced by their perceptions of what is “normal” or “typical” in society. This belief pushes us into making quick decisions that rely on what we see as the usual patterns of behaviour by the rest of the target market we’re a part of. In other words, if everyone is doing it, you would too. Appealing to expectations of behaviour through your creative is a powerful selling tool.

When it comes to creative, make sure you’re reflecting your target audience and use brand assets to show the product or solution in use. And keep the situations you depict as commonly understood by your target market as possible.

In a COVID-19 world, creative that acknowledges social distancing, stay-at-home orders and mask wearing resonates more strongly and presents itself as more real than creative that ignores the world around us. But that doesn’t mean all marketing creative needs to show people wearing masks. What it means is we need to use our judgement as to when to apply visual clues that reflect our world, and when we should rise above these specifics.

  1. Authority bias

The best example of authority bias is when an audience sees a lab coat. It symbolises knowledge and authority, and we’re assured that whatever is said by the wearer is a scientific opinion (even if it’s not!). This acts as a guiding light to an audience, and one which can sway the decision-making process.

Influencer marketing is a great example of authority bias. We’re more likely to believe a trusted person we look up to telling us we should use equipment to get fit and live our best lives, than we are to see the equipment standing unused in a static shot and accepting it will just work. Look at how you can build real customers, influencers and celebrity ambassadors into your creative strategy.

  1. The power of now

When we see that something is only on offer for a limited time, we often abandon caution and skip straight to the buying phase. Another example of the power of now is limited time sales, or product offers limited to a relatively small number of customers. They all pressure us to buy before it’s too late. Another aspect of the power of now is that ability to emphasise immediacy.

Including an urgent call-to-action in relevant creative can create the sense of urgency needed for customers to act. Something as simple as “Be one of the first 50 to download” on an image driving people to an e-book landing page could deliver significantly higher conversions.

  1. Scarcity bias

Scarcity bias really came to the forefront of our collective consciousness thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden global obsession with toilet paper. Once everyone was buying it, its worth rose accordingly. Planting the idea that your product is rare, limited or otherwise scarce can make it much more desirable in people’s eyes. Scarcity bias taps into FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. When FOMO kicks in, irrational value for an item is created.

Sportswear brands such as Nike and Adidas are well known for limited edition drops of their bestselling sneakers. Their scarcity is what drives sneakerheads to seek them out and pay top dollar to own them. Make sure your creative lets people know that what you’re selling won’t always be available, either as a written call to action or visually, to really push the need to purchase into overdrive.

Press the button

Creative might seem subjective (“I just know what I like”) or entirely aesthetic, but the best creative is the opposite of this.

It’s about harnessing intelligence about your audience and turning that into aesthetic magic using data, behavioural science, and evidence to produce appealing creative that elicits a response.

In this day and age, it isn’t enough to just make something pretty. It needs to be smart as well.

Want to learn how to harness the power of intelligent creative and make your brand a winner? Speak to us today.