One Spark 2014: Marketing as an art
At MarketingSherpa’s headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla., we’re lucky to have the One Spark festival right in our backyard.
If you’re not familiar with the event, One Spark is a large crowdfunding festival that draws entrepreneurs, artists, inventors and amazing food trucks together for five days of elevator pitching to the masses. The festival lasts for five days and is held in the heart of downtown Jacksonville.
According to the One Spark website, this year’s event drew more than 260,000 attendees and generated $3.25 million in capital investments for project creators.
Not too shabby for a festival only in its second year.
The event also had a great speaker series that I had the privilege to attend where thought leaders in the crowdfunding space shared their ideas on marketing and design.
In today’s post, I wanted to share a few snippets of those presentations to give you an idea of how some experts are approaching marketing concepts in an emerging industry.
Value propositions need consistency amid flexibility for growth and evolution
Ross Unger, Experience Design Director, GE Capital Americas, explained how ideas and their value evolves, using Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets, as an example.
Ideas, according to Ross, are constantly changing and evolving. Henson’s idea for loveable creatures made of foam started from a high school project, and moved to commercials before eventually evolving further into movies, toys and attractions at Disney theme parks.
The Muppets had flexibility to grow as their audiences changed, but the idea of Kermit remained the consistent.
Staying creative means staying interested
If marketing is the “pen” in communications with customers, then design is the “paintbrush.” The trick, according to Jeff Barlow, Creative Manager, Starbucks Global Creative, to painting amazing pictures for your customers is to keep your work interesting.
“You don’t do anything really amazing unless some people love it and some people hate it,” Jeff said.
“If you have to make great ideas,” Jeff explained, “it’s a good idea to be continuously curious.”
Jeff used a project based on blues music as an example. He had his team create a design campaign based on the music genre.
To do it, Jeff had them dig deep.
Instead of just creating designs based on what came to mind when they envisioned the phrase “blues music,” they instead took time first to research the history of the blues.
The team covered the lifestyles of famous artists and popular venues, then putting it all together into one piece, pouring heart and soul into a single design they felt encompassed the full weight of the subject.
Jeff also touched on the importance of drawing inspiration from everywhere – not just for the clock.
“It was really, really hot one day,” he explained, “so I made a logo for the sun.”
Jeff admitted it was nothing that he could sell, but it was something he imagined and it kept the creative juices flowing.
He even had his team make a visual design around a fortune in a fortune cookie.
It was a challenge that broke up a work day for his team and exercised their creative minds. Having assignments outside of deadlines, and having the courage to “always explore” keeps things fresh and interesting.
Infuse inspiration into every marketing piece you create
Although marketers tend to get caught up in the numbers, the testing, and the next big thing, One Spark was a gentle reminder that fun and passion are not separate from what marketers do every day. Keep that wild spark alive and think outside your day-to-day marketing world to really develop something unique and valuable to your audience.
Incorporating inspiration to create a great experience for the people you serve will be evident in the marketing content and campaigns you produce.
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