As I was writing an article for our monthly Fresh Focus, I got the feeling that I was singing the same tune but to a different verse. Do our readers want me to espouse the virtutes of buying fresh cut lettuce and salad blends for the millionth time? We can package it anyway you see fit, but the message is the same and is perennially relevant; repent of your commodity ways because now is the time to convert to fresh cut– you will save time, money, labor, and freight!
That is when I thought about what we don’t talk about in the produce industry, the structure of creativity. Oftentimes what we do see in our industry is the latest website release or brand re-boot and at times a war of press releases. We are left solely at the receiving end of the marketer’s flash, bang, and smoke. So where is the conversation about the behind the scenes work that inevitably takes place?
This makes me wonder, do I dare share Fresh Avenue’s marketing secrets or the structuring that holds it all together? David Ogilvy, the father of 20th century marketing brilliance, shared all but one of his secrets, so maybe it is a safe enough bet for us to follow in his footsteps. So as I put together this Fresh Focus, let me spare you our fresh cut programing for one month and show you some of the rigging that supports our brand, media, and copy.
We all know it when we see it— work that speaks to us in one way or the other. What most people don’t see is the detail that makes these things pleasant to see, hear, and experience. Have you ever noticed that in some of our videos footage cuts are timed to the measures of the background music? Did you notice that our tag line is comprised of three single syllable verbs? And what about now, that I’m using three questions to drive home my point? These details are for the most part invisible, and when used in the right amount at the right time, they do a great deal of work to make the brand experience highly visible.
One way to leave a mark on human memory is through repetition. This is the idea of touch points and it takes about 8 of these for a person to start remembering a brand. That is why we talk about a topic and then change it up and say it again. It is why we have sent a newsletter every month for the past five years. Another thing consistency builds is trust. Humans need to know what is coming, and even something simple like sending a newsletter each and every month becomes something you can rely on- and what you rely on you also trust.
Poetry made me a better marketer. You can learn much from studying the masters, but a secret I stumbled across is that studying great works of poetry has shown me how to communicate with creativity and effectiveness. Form is important and so are literary devices. Pattern makes concepts memorable. Juxtaposition provides contrasting images that highlight concepts. Varying sentence lengths adds rhythm and music to text and keeps the reader engaged so that your words fall into a ready soil.
Each month we look at a concept that relates to the world of produce. There are a few things that guide how we find the right concept. First, we follow our gut. If the industry is buzzing about guacamole, then pass the chips because that’s what we’ll be serving. Also, we look at what is not being talked about with a particular topic. The normal approach is to talk features and benefits of a product, but we look for what is not said, the oddities that we can magnify. I’m going to stop there, because this is encroaching on the territory of the secrets we don’t share.
It is a conversation that takes place amongst creatives on podcasts and Ted talks, that diversity is a key ingredient to creativity. Diversity may take various forms, but the important takeaway is to source inspiration from a variety of people, places, and topics. At times it is not in our nature to go beyond what is familiar or similar to ourselves. However seeking out what is new and different will reveal new sources of inspiration. What can I learn from other industries that will improve the work in mine? Will studying history, poetry, and politics result in new ideas and solutions for my corner of the market? Am I seeking out diversity in voices and people to feed new ideas?
The Structure of Creativity
Creativity is not a one-size-fits all approach and some of the things we’ve discovered along the way may or may not help you with your marketing. By nature of creativity, you have to find what works for you and what fits the personality and message you want to convey for your brand.
Oftentimes we think of creativity as a force without boundaries, that does its own thing, on its schedule. It seems a bit counter-intuitive, but great works of creativity work within structure. They only appear to be breaking boundaries or reside out of boxes because a master uses these forces without notice. Think about form, shape, structure and the geometry and mathematics behind those, or the fact that color and sound are built on wave lengths of sound and light that fit together when the math is right. Although we are not getting to a mathematical or atomic level, we suspend our marketing efforts on this invisible structuring. That is one of the secrets of creativity, and creativity is something we value in every aspect of the Fresh Avenue team, not just our marketing.